Contrary to common belief, more content on your website doesn’t always equate to better rankings. In fact, it can be counterproductive. Creating content without a content strategy can hurt your SEO rather than help it, as numerous web pages can clog up your website and authority. The rule of thumb is that if a piece of content has been on your website for more than six months without driving traffic, it’s time to reevaluate if it belongs on your website. That’s where a content audit comes in. There are several different options when it comes to deciding the best way to handle ineffective content, and conducting a content audit helps you to identify what content needs remedial action and formulate a plan to deal with it.
Step 1: Collect Data
The first step when conducting a content audit is to look at what content you currently have. This includes gathering data about all content on your website, not just blog posts. If your website is relatively simple, you can manually collect the data and create a content audit spreadsheet to record your findings. For those with more extensive websites, tools like Screaming Frog can provide a comprehensive overview of all of your content.
Step 2: Analyze Content
So why clear content out in the first place? Not only does getting rid of low value content help you generate relevant traffic ready to convert, it also allows you to rank higher in search engine result pages, and boost the authority surrounding your blog. It sets your current and future content up for success in the long run. Once you have imported all of your content into a spreadsheet, the analyzing begins. Here are some examples of questions you should ask when you look at each webpage:
- Does the page target the right audience?
- Are the right keywords selected?
- Is this page ranking for any of the targeted keywords?
- Does this page receive any organic traffic?
- Are there internal/external backlinks?
- Is there enough content?
These questions can help to determine how relevant content is to your overall website and let you decide where to apply remedial action.
Step 3: Make Changes
When it comes to making changes, there are five different courses of action for the issues that have been uncovered:
- If the content isn’t targeting the right audience, ranking for keywords, or receiving traffic or backlinks- it’s clear that no value is being added to your website and it’s time to go. Blog posts and web pages that aren’t serving the needs of your business can be deleted.
- If the content isn’t targeting the right keywords or audience, but it does have organic traffic and/or backlinks, it still holds value but is a work in progress. The traffic that it does bring may not be the most relevant to your business, but with a quick update to the keywords and overall tone it can become relevant.
- If your content has no traffic or ranking, but it does have high quality backlinks, you can perform a 303 redirect so the link equity is passed to a more relevant page on your website.
- If you discover pages that are sparse when it comes to content, if you don’t want to add more content, on-page optimization of the existing content will ensure that it targets the proper keywords and has a high enough quality to perform.
- If you discover pages that have duplicate content and you are unable to delete them, a backup would be to no-index the page so that it can’t be crawled by search engines and crawlers alike.
This list may seem intimidating, but if you take it piece by piece and page by page it can be accomplished. In order to keep your content and website firing on all cylinders, content audits should be a recurring process.
Step 4: Take the Audit Further
Once you’ve conducted your analysis and decided which course of action you’re going to take it’s time to get started. It’s not a bad idea to take a look at the websites of your competitors to see if there are similar struggles or gaps, so you can find ways to create content that fills those gaps. The questions used to analyze your content can also be used when planning for future pieces to ensure that they are hitting the mark and how they fit into the various stages of your sales funnel.
If you have any questions about conducting a content audit, click on the banner below to schedule your free 30-minute consultation with us today!