Regular website audits are important but when’s the last time you focused solely on your website content? If you have a rather large website, content can easily go stale sitting around for months, if not years.
Post Google Hummingbird and Penguin 2.1, it’s important to focus on fresh content that is SEO friendly in terms of semantic search. The good news is that this means that you don’t have to worry about adding tons of new content. Instead, focus on salvaging strong pages/URLs that you already have and optimize them for more relevant searches.
Where to Start?
Creating a sound structure is the first step. Combing through your website and organizing pages by topic can be a challenge, especially if you haven’t been maintaining your sitemap. It needs to be done! Completing a full content audit will force you to look at and analyze each page of your website.
Rankings are often a common indicator of the quality of your internal pages. If you have a page targeting a niche phrase or keyword that’s not ranking, it indicates that Google has manually or algorithmically filtered that content out.
What Pages You Should Keep and Those You Should Trash
You can start by looking at bounce rates and in-page Analytics. High bounce rates and low/no clicks on-page are a strong signal that the content isn’t helpful or relevant. Next, you should ask yourself if the URL is worth salvaging or to completely ditch it if it’s a page that is rehashing content elsewhere on your website. If bad links aren’t your problem, there are other issues to consider: duplicate content, overlapping content, keyword stuffed content, spun or thin content.
Pages you’ll want to keep include those that receive good traffic and rank for broad or specific terms. By looking at Analytics, you can get a better idea of how to shape that page to better serve the users that are landing. You’ll also want to see if you can salvage aged pages with search engine friendly URLs if possible.
Pages to ditch include those that are obviously spun or consist of little to no content. This tactic might have worked a few years ago but nowadays, they’re only dead weight to your site. Over time, pages might be added with little value to your website as a whole. If you look carefully, they might not be linked anywhere else on your site except for the sitemap. How useful can these really be? Instead, make your strong content stronger and get rid of these pages. Pages with manual penalties or unnatural links can be solved by letting the page die without any type of redirects. Eventually, these problem pages will be cleared from Google’s index.
Refreshing + Traffic/Engagement is the Key
In order to revitalize stale website content, rewriting content is almost always necessary. But that’s not the only step. Once you have fresh, unique content up, you’ll need traffic and user signals that indicate that you have a quality page. This is where social shares come into play. Sharing your website will bring in relevant clicks, shares and help your website gain authority.