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If you ask most digital marketers what their #1 focus or concern is, I’m fairly confident it will be about content.
Since the dawn of the internet, we (meaning marketers) have all been beaten over the head with the saying “Content is King”.
And while yes, this is true, it was greatly misinterpreted. Many embodied this credence as a signal to crank out as much content (mainly blogs) as possible. As if they needed to develop some sort of Ford Assembly line for blogs.
And whenever you mass produce anything, there’s a high probability that a lot of it will be junk.
Creating content that is worthy of kingship is not about frequency or quantity, but more about quality and relevance (to search intent).
However, most businesses continue to create less than stellar content for the following reasons:
- The topic and the content itself are not based in research
- They feel as though they need to keep up with competitors and other content producers, thus rushing their content
- They don’t have the time (or want) to revisit older/existing content to improve it
Since we like to practice what we preach, in September, we conducted and implemented our own content audit. We chose to focus on our blog section.
So far, we’ve only gotten through about half of the updates and the results have been outstanding.
Compared to the Previous Period
When we compare almost the last 3 months to the previous 3 months in Google Search Console, clicks and impressions have improved tremendously.
- Clicks: +25.93%
- Impressions: +67.97%
Looking at the same time frame within Google Analytics, we witnessed a fantastic growth in organic sessions to our blog section.
- Organic Sessions: +31.26%
- New Organic Users: +33.80%
Compared to the Previous Year
Now, as most SEOs and digital marketers know, it’s not just about previous time comparisons. More often than not, due to seasonality and myriad of other factors, it’s best to compare metrics to the previous year.
When we compare the same 3-month timeframe to the previous year, the numbers are very similar to the previous time period comparison, with a much larger increase in impressions!
- Clicks: +24.39%
- Impressions: +80.44%
Then, when we do the same comparison within Google Analytics, we saw similar growth as well for organic sessions.
- Organic Sessions: +29.79%
- New Organic Users: +34.75%
As you can see from the results above, improving our blog content has certainly improved our performance. While yes, it did (and continues to) take a decent chunk of the time, it is worth it.
How to Perform a Content Audit
Step 1: Identify Your Content
Auditing all your content can seem like an impossible, monumental, and extremely time-consuming task (and it can be). That’s why I recommend breaking it out by section. Pick whether you’re going to do your blogs, service pages, or which ever you think you can get the best return for your efforts.
Step 2: Export Performance Metrics
Choose a (or multiple) time frame(s) that makes sense for your industry. If your website’s performance is heavily influenced by seasonality, I recommend extended the time frame to cover both peak and low season. Then, gather all the metrics that you value for the pages/section you’ve identified within that time frame.
In my opinion, from an SEO perspective, the metrics that make the most sense are:
- Organic Sessions
- Events / Conversions
- Current Rankings
Step 3: Crawl Your URLs
Before you just start changing things, you need to take an inventory of everything that was done. Place your list of URLs in a spider crawling tool, like Screaming Frog, and export optimizations and any other information you think is important. I recommend exporting page titles (PT), meta descriptions (MD), h1s, and word count.
Also, this should go without saying, but make sure there are no technical issues with the content. It’s hard to have successful content if things are broken or the user experience is awful.
So, theoretically, your content inventory should be set up something like this:
Step 4: Assess Performance and Create a Plan
Analyze the performance of you pages. Are they doing extremely well or are too new to tell? Have they never shown signs of promise? Are they trending in the wrong direction or relatively stagnant?
Use the “Action” tab to decide what to do with your content. Here are the labels I use:
Keep = Either performing very well or is new.
- I recommend not touching this content much unless there are some obvious enhancements.
Update = Performs well but there is room for improvement.
- I recommend analyzing your metrics, search queries and out-performing competitors to make optimization adjustments or slight expansions/updates.
Rewrite = Content is not performing well. Maybe it did perform well historically but is trending in the wrong direction, or maybe the topic is good (relevant and has search interest), but you just missed the mark.
- I recommend conducting a large expansion/adjustment or a full rewrite. Try again!
Delete = Content has 0 value and/or is not relevant.
- I recommend deleting the content to improve your crawl budget (the number of pages Google will crawl on your site on any given day) and the overall quality of your website’s content.
Step 5: Repeat
You’ve completed your first section. Congrats! Now move onto the next section of the site you wish to tackle and repeat the process.
How to Create Great Content Moving Forward
As I stated early, depending on the amount of content you have, conducting a content inventory and updating said content can take a decent amount of time. So, how do you speed this process up? Write better content upfront to avoid having to make larger changes in the future. To do so:
- Develop a writing style guide to ensure consistency regarding things from tone of voice, SEO best practices, linking to sources, and more.
- Conduct research before you select a topic to ensure it’s worth your time and energy.
- In addition to search interest, this should align with your target audience and goals.
- Conduct thorough research prior to crafting the content.
- Find the top questions being asked and synonymous/related keywords regarding the topic
- Read and analyze top ranking articles around your topic.
- Look to see what others wrote about, but do not copy it. Build upon it, make it better, and take a unique spin on it. This is what we call the Skyscraper technique.
Note: Even after you create great and optimized content, be sure to revisit it and continue to expand upon it as new information comes in (or information becomes outdated) or competition increases.
Interested in improving your existing content and content strategy moving forward? Contact our team of experts today!
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