SEO. Search Engine Optimization. It’s a consistently hot topic in the digital marketing world. We talk about it a lot here at Parthenon (see “Don’t Tank Your Rank”, “Alt Text, SEO, and Good Karma”, “Successful Online Marketing Strategy Goes Beyond the Website” and our “SEO 101 Series”), but why? Because we NEED to talk about it. Regularly showing up at the top of search results for topics in your field helps make your business appear to be the expert in your field. And it’s “free.”
Want to improve your SEO? There are some basic, important and great ideas on how climb atop the search-results page:
- Rebuild or refresh your website
- Add Alt Text and Meta Descriptions to everything on your site
- Claim all your listings on social media and directories
- Add video to your content (through YouTube/Vimeo)
- Update and clean up your content on your website
While you need all of those to effectively improve your rank, one of the simplest, yet most important, ways is a quick content update. Depending on how long you’ve had a website, you probably have a lot of old content (some of which you might not even know is there). There are great reasons to have it, but also poor reasons.
The Good: Your content has awesome keywords and an even a geriatric piece of content can drive people to your site!
The Bad: In 2013, Google released two SEO algorithm updates, Panda and Penguin, and a new SEO algorithm: Hummingbird.
- Panda went after low-quality content.
- Penguin went after the types of links used on your site.
- Hummingbird answers the question being asked as a whole instead focusing in on the keywords.
In non-tech talk, people change their writing style as they go! They can improve, new writers can be hired, etc. Old writing doesn’t accurately reflect your current style and doesn’t reflect what your customers will get. The Google changes were meant to keep site development going, especially around content.
The Ugly: There is a thing called “Keyword Stuffing” that is basically the equivalent of the person you meet who drops hints all the time about how well-connected they are (I was throwing a party with my friend, who is good friends with Beyoncé, on my private yacht). Vetting content to make sure it is not full of buzzwords is a must.
Additionally, if the content is outdated your bounce rates will go up, and then Google will take your low engagement rate into account when determining your rank.
Finally, if you have a lot of old, non-relevant content it will take the Google Crawl longer to get through your site — hurting your rank.
How to fix it!
Using Google Analytics, you can easily keep track of what articles are providing use to your business. A simple and easy way is to pull content reports.
Log into your Google Analytics account and set the time frame you’d like to look at (1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, year over year). Go to Behavior> Site Content> All Pages. Click on “Show Rows” and show as many as you have available. Export your content. This will give you a view of everything your users are going to look at.
Now break down which pieces are bringing legitimate traffic. Those pages are not only bringing people in, but users are staying on the page. Most likely you will see some surprises!
Now, before you run off and delete all your old content … READ IT! Can it be refreshed or reused? Is the topic relevant again? Is it evergreen? Many of these items just need another push! See where people are most likely entering your site, and make some decisions on how to re-promote it!
Just like everything else on the internet, a one-and-done approach won’t work for SEO. With analytics, it is simple to create a plan to clean, refresh and write new content that keeps you from being left in the dust.