“Content is king.” When Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote those words back in 1996, he definitely wasn’t the first person to champion the unparalleled power of good content. He probably wasn’t envisioning what SEO would look like in 2019 either. Even so, those words ring just as true today as they did more than two decades ago. And the words you wrote on your website last year, two years ago, or even more than ten years ago could be an untapped resource you’re undervaluing and overlooking.
In the world of content creation, it’s not just about creating content and putting it out there for the world to see and to get visitors back to your site, but also to provide value as well. If your content lacks value, then it also lacks a reason why another site or resource should link back to it — which is why most of us are creating original content in the first place. Also, don’t forget that there are now more than a billion active websites and blogs on the internet today, releasing new content all the time. If you want to compete and rank higher in the search results, your content and perceived value are going to need to be better than most.
Running a content checkup or audit on your site is more than just making a few updates to make sure they are accurate with present times. It’s also about adding/removing content to make sure it’s more relevant, updated, and to also add in any new resources or keywords you might be trying to focus on as well. This is all part of the content creation and marketing process, which leads to a successful branding and SEO play.
In order to start working your way through all of your existing content, ranking keyword, and article references, you will want to run a content audit. By taking the time to review the entirety of your blog — not just what you’re writing today or what you have planned for tomorrow, but the entire back catalog of posts and pages — you can ensure that everything is relevant, accurate, useful, and engaging. When a brand-new visitor arrives on your site for the first time, what sort of impression do you want to leave? A content checkup or audit can reveal new opportunities and increase your traffic too.
A content audit consists of three main steps:
1. Collecting Data
2. Getting Organized
3. Updating Content
By following these three simple steps and planning out a simple content audit, recreation, and re-marketing strategy for your site, there is no reason why you shouldn’t see improved growth, traffic, and search ranking in the coming weeks and months.
Here’s what you need to know to get started.
If your blog only consists of a handful of posts, collecting data is easy. You can even do it manually. However, many blogs contain hundreds if not thousands of posts, and collecting data manually can be overwhelmingly time-consuming. Instead, it makes much more sense to automate the process.
Google Analytics is a tool you’re likely already using. When you navigate to the site content section and expand the number of pages shown, you can choose to export that data for your own analyses. The Screaming Frog SEO Spider is another incredible option, as is WP All Export.
For each page, you’ll want to know basics like the title and URL, as well as traffic numbers wherever possible. You should be able to export a CSV or XML file using the tools above. This file can then be imported into your spreadsheet program of choice (like MS Excel), allowing you to filter and sort the variables by column.
Once organized, you can start looking for potential opportunities for updating. Do you have clusters of posts that discuss the same or very similar topics? They may benefit from merging together into better resource articles. Do you have really outdated content that is no longer of value? They may be candidates for deletion or updating. The “Top 10 Credit Cards of 2016” could be revised to be the “Top 10 Credit Cards of 2019.”
There is an art and a science to performing a content audit. You have to decide for yourself what you want to do with your old posts. Once you’ve selected the fate of each post, though, you also need to ensure that the site structure is in place to support your decision.
When you merge or delete content, their respective URLs should get a 301 redirect to the new or updated content. That way, any visitors coming from old links will still get the content they desire. It’s also essential to move beyond the default 404 page and create a custom 404 page that’s more useful to visitors. Consider adding valuable links that will allow the user to navigate on your site instead of exiting.
Growing Your Site’s Potential
From an SEO perspective, removing old “bad” content might sound like you’re losing potential traffic, but it’s more likely that you’ll experience a net gain. The overall quality of your blog (domain) factors into how the individual pages rank and perform, so by increasing the overall quality through a content audit, you raise the value of your site overall in the eyes of the algorithms.
This kind of content checkup can also reveal new monetization opportunities, capitalizing on that increased traffic through platforms like Aragon Premium. Through premium content marketing partnerships, you can monetize your site more effectively, boost your traffic, and make more money. That’s just a win-win all around.