It’s important to track user engagement metrics so that know what content your visitors find interesting and useful and what content is not working.
Being armed with information about user engagement allows you to produce content your visitors want and remove or rewrite content that isn’t performing well.
In this article we’ll introduce the key user engagement metrics to track and how to use these metrics to improve your content, SEO and navigation on your website or blog.
Let’s get started on the topic of user engagement metrics!
User Engagement Metrics: Table of Contents
Why User Engagement Matters
User Engagement is important to measure because it tells you how interested and engaged your visitors are with the content you produce. This is a critical factor in the success of your website or blog.
According to a study by Moz, user engagement signals are among the top ranking factors for Google’s search algorithm. This means that websites with higher user engagement are more likely to rank higher in search results.
The benefits of high engagement are:
- Higher ranking potential
- More online traffic
- Reader loyalty
- Increased conversion and therefore sales and revenue
- More social links
The problems with low engagement are:
- Decreased traffic to your website
- Low ranking potential
- Poor customer satisfaction
- Underperforming sales
Therefore, it’s crucial to track and improve user engagement for the success of any business or website.
Key User Engagement Metrics
Okay, now we know the importance of tracking user engagement metrics, the next question is what metrics to track? Let’s go over the key user engagement metrics.
User Engagement Metrics: Bounce Rate
Bounce rate represents the percentage of single session visits to your website. That is the percentage of users who visited one page on your website and then left without visiting other pages.
A high bounce rate suggests that there might be issues on your website. These issues could be related to your content or some technical problems, such as a slow-loading website, user interface issues, or poor navigation links.
You should look further to figure out the root cause. For example, if the bounce rate is limited to only a small number of your pages it’s probably a content issue rather than technical problems.
A slow-loading website would likely cause high bounce rates on all of your pages.
How to increase this metric:
- For content issues – lower bounce rates by improving content quality
- For technical issues – choose a fast, lightweight theme and compress images
- For a website with a global audience – consider using a CDN
User Engagement Metrics: Average Session Duration
Average session duration refers to the amount of time a user spends on a website during a single session. This is usually defined as the time the visitor arrives on the site until they leave it.
Obviously, the longer a visitor spends on your site, it indicates that your content is interesting and engaging to them.
Conversely, a low average session could mean visitors don’t find your content appealing. It’s also possible to have a low bounce rate and a low average session. This means visitors are going from page to page but not finding content engaging, and then they leave.
How to increase this metric:
- More content – for small websites
- Long form content – for sites with mostly short articles
- Higher quality content – more here: Optimizing Your Content Helps Improve SEO
- More relevant content – check you are targeting relevant keywords for your niche
User Engagement Metrics: Pageviews per Session
Pageviews per session means the number of pages viewed during a single session.
A high pageviews count per session suggests that visitors find your content interesting and engaging.
Conversely, a low, and especially a single-page view per session indicates that the content is not relevant to the visitor. Make sure you’re targeting the right keywords for your audience and that you’re addressing the questions and issues the searcher is looking for.
Understanding search intent can help you better answer searcher’s queries.
How to improve this metric:
- Check your navigation links are easy to find and use
- Consider adding internal links in your content, not just header, sidebar and footer links
- Add a “Recommended Posts” section to your content to suggest other posts to read
User Engagement Metrics: Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Click Through Rate (CTR) is the ratio of the number of clicks on a specific link to the number of times people were exposed to the link. This metric is tracked by Google Search Console, find it on the Performance page.
Target low competition keywords to boost your CTR. Keywords with ads for them will take away some of your potential traffic resulting in lower CTR’s.
How to improve this metric:
- Write a catchy blog title
- Write an interesting meta description that will persuade searchers to click on the link
- Good keyword selection (avoid competitive keywords)
User Engagement Metrics: Comments and Social Shares
Blog comments can indicate that users are actively engaging with the content and are interested in the topic.
When it comes to blog comments, adding moderation is important – otherwise, your website may be flooded with spam comments. Spam comments can harm your SEO, as they usually include spam links to cryptocurrency, online betting, and other websites that could harm your reputation.
Social shares can lead to backlinks for your website, which are quite useful and can generate more traffic and interest in your site. Don’t neglect social media and social sharing as ways to get more traffic, backlinks, and interest in your website and its content.
How to increase this metric:
- Add social sharing buttons to the bottom of each blog article
- Ask readers to share your content on social media
- Ask readers to comment on your content
- Allow (moderated) blog comments
- Share your blog content on social media with links to the original content
User Engagement Metrics: Conversion Rate
Analytics software allows you to define a “conversion”. This is some task your want the reader to perform. For example:
- Sign up to your newsletter
- Purchase a product or service
- Contact you
Once you have defined a conversion you can then track it using your analytics software. You can define as many “conversions” as you like.
Conversions is an advanced topic and linked to the analytics tool you use.
Tools for Tracking User Engagement Metrics
Popular analytics tools (that are free to use) include Google Analytics and Google Search Console. You can also use social media analytics tools to track links to and from your site from social media platforms.
Google Analytics can be complicated, especially for novice website owners or bloggers. However, don’t feel obligated to use it just because it’s what professionals use.
As a beginner, you don’t need to create or track conversions since you probably don’t have much or any traffic yet. Choose a tool that is easy to use and simple to set up so you can focus on more important tasks, such as creating great content and selecting relevant keywords.
For example, for beginners I recommend a straightforward analytics tool like Clicky. You can set it up in minutes, and now you have simple analytics for your website. Start with the free version and consider upgrading to cover more metrics when your website grows, and you have more visitors.
Strategies to Improve User Engagement
Here are a few strategies you can use to help you improve user engagement.
Website Design and Usability
Select a fast, lightweight theme so that your website loads as quickly as possible. Speed is an important ranking factor for Google and can significantly impact your position in search results.
While images are a great addition to your content, they can also be responsible for most of the time it takes a page to load, especially if they are not properly compressed, cropped, or use the wrong image format.
I recommend using an image compression service like Imagify to compress your images to reduce page loading times. Additionally, consider using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) if your audience is not limited to one country.
Social Media Engagement
Using social media is a good way to enhance awareness of your website. You can repurpose some of your content on social media and share it with links to your original posts to boost your website traffic.
Have you thought about trying email marketing? It may sound old-fashioned, but it’s still one of the most effective ways to drive more traffic to your website.
Begin by adding a newsletter signup to your website, connecting it to an email marketing service like Mailchimp.
Every week, or so, you can write a newsletter with links to your content. Email marketing services simplify the process of creating attractive newsletters and sending them to everyone who has signed up. You get metrics on open rates and click-through rates that help you make your newsletters more effective.
Final Thoughts on User Engagement Metrics
Thanks for reading this blog post. Here’s a quick recap of the main points:
- Tracking user engagement metrics will help you improve your content and website
- Bounce rate – the percentage of single page sessions
- Average session duration – how long a visitor stays on your website
- Pageviews per sessions – how many pages a visitor views on your website
- Click Through Rate (CTR) – how often a searcher clicks on your link vs how often they see the link
- Comments and social shares – how many blog comments and social shares you receive
Now you know about the key user engagement metrics it’s important to make sure you are tracking and analysing them. If you don’t have an analytics tool already I can highly recommend Clicky, it’s free, easy to set up and covers all the core metrics you need to check.
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