Tracking performance by topic

July 13, 2022

One of the nice things about strategizing around topics (rather than keywords) is that you can build authority around entire subjects, instead of one-off article ideas.

For example, if you make accounting software – wouldn’t it be nice to be the authority on “small business accounting”? 

Of course, picking a great topic is just the beginning. You have to write the right articles, then see how they perform as a group, then adjust.

So let’s talk about the importance of tracking performance by topic, and how to do it.

🚊 Why you should track topic performance

When you assess page content performance by topic, you’ll get a wide-lens view of the areas in which you’re building authority. 

Topic performance analysis can help you understand…

  • Which topics are resonating with your audience (and Google)
  • Which specific subjects within a topic are getting the most traction How well each topic is aligned with the sales funnel
  • Where the most conversions are coming from

These are insights you simply can’t get by tracking individual blog posts in an atomized way. 

🏄 What you can do

You can start running topic performance reports, even if you didn’t consciously design a topic strategy. A few core topics have probably naturally emerged in your blog over time anyway.

For example: if you’re an accounting software brand, you’ve probably written quite a few posts with ‘business accounting’ or ‘small business’ in the title.You can search for those topic phrases within existing blog titles to start running topic analysis. Here’s how…

First off, decide on 3 core topics you want to assess. (If you’ve got more than three topics dialed in, feel free to explore them all.)

Then, using Google Analytics, filter Page Titles in the All Pages view. Search for each topic phrase. Here’s a little demonstration:

You could also use the handy-dandy Ercule app for a quick inventory (and a less daunting interface). Use the “Library” view, and filter like so:

Once you’ve got data grouped by topic, you can start scanning for insight:

1.Inventory each topic for funnel stage content.

Do you have at least one piece of content for each stage of the buyer’s journey? (We’re talking, at the very least, Discovery, Assessment, and Decision stage.) 

Make note of any gaps in the content program. Create content to fill the missing sales funnel stages in each topic group. Prioritize this in your content pipeline.

2.Compare individual post performance within a topic group.

You can go with whatever data you’ve been tracking for individual posts. Just compare them here within the topic category. How are the individual posts different in their traffic, engagement, or conversion metrics? How are they similar?

If engagement metrics are varied from post to post, for example, but they’re all showing a decline in Impressions, then it might be time to revise the subjects you use to illustrate your core topics.

3.Compare the different topic groups, in terms of performance.

Which topics are performing best? How is performance consistent across topics? How does it differ?

This can offer insights into which elements of your product and value prop are connecting most with your target audience.

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