Why an SEO Content Audit Matters More Than Ever
It’s easy to assume that the more pieces of content and pages you have on your site, the better it is from an SEO and rankings perspective.
We think it’s a numbers game. Our approach is to keep pumping out net new pieces of content and optimize as best as we can for keywords and search queries. After all, the more blogs there are online, the better our chances of getting discovered, right?
Well, not quite.
In 2018, SEO analytics company Ahrefs deleted 31.7% of its blog posts following a comprehensive content audit. Within two months, traffic rose by 7.5%. That’s more traffic with a fewer amount of blog posts.
Siege media had a similar story. After pruning about 15% of the site, organic traffic went up by almost 50% and hasn’t slowed down since.
Frantically writing blog posts isn’t guaranteed to get you more traffic. In fact, it might hurt you in the long run — sending poor quality signals to Google’s ranking algorithm and destroying potential for your quality pages to rank.
That’s why you should embark on an SEO content audit, which involves taking a step back in order to analyze what’s working and what isn’t.
Why an SEO content audit matters
An SEO content audit helps you improve traffic as evidenced by the examples we referenced earlier. But there’s more advantages too:
- It gives you the opportunity to update old posts. Google loves content that’s fresh because it indicates that the content is up-to-date, relevant, and informative. Plus, it’ll help you insert new statistics and quotes, showing your audience that you’re on top of things.
- It declutters your website. You might not know this, but it’s possible that many of your posts are competing for the same keywords and search queries. This confuses Google as it isn’t sure which page to rank. The end result is that it usually deprioritizes all the pages in favor of one from a competing page.
- When you’re able to analyze what content pieces resonate with your audience, it gives you the chance to do more of them. For example, it’s possible that your audience prefers reading actionable case studies with real-life scenarios as opposed to generic listicles. You would never figure it out until you actually take the time to do an audit. Look for things like page views, social shares, and backlinks to determine the efficacy of your approach.
- An SEO content audit will also help in content repurposing. If one of your blog posts went viral, then it might be useful to repackage that into an infographic. The topic can also be used for your next podcast. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel or shoot around in the dark as the answers are already in front of you.
What must you look for in an SEO content audit?
Before you start your SEO content audit, you must identify the key metrics that will help you decide whether a page should be kept as is, augmented, or culled. This is key for your overall digital marketing strategy.
Here are a few things you ought to look out for:
1. Organic traffic
No one’s saying you should remove pages that aren’t getting thousands of monthly page views, but low-performing pages are probably hurting your site. These are pages with drastically lower views than the rest of the pages on your site. It’s likely that there’s something wrong with the content itself or the keywords used,
2. Bounce rates
A high bounce rate means people aren’t sticking around and perusing your site after landing on one of its pages. This isn’t good news because it means your content isn’t compelling or engaging enough to pique their interest and make them want to navigate through your site further.
Backlinks refer to how many websites link to your content. It’s usually a linear relationship — the more quality backlinks you have usually means your content is top-notch. And backlinks are an important SEO factor as they serve as a vote of confidence, indicating to search engines that you’re a valuable reference point.
4. Time on page
If you’re spending hours researching, writing, and publishing long-form blog posts then you should, at the very least, expect your visitors to stick around and read them. But if the average time on your 10,000 word blog is a minute or less then there’s something wrong. This means your content is either poorly written, researched or doesn’t serve the needs of your target audience. It’s probably best either to remove or update it.
5. Pages per session
When users land on your site, you want them to visit other pages too. For example, an informational blog such as the best winter skiing trips could theoretically encourage them to make a booking or buy a pair of boots. The total pages per session are something you would want to take into account during your audit.
6. New users
One of the hallmarks of great SEO is its ability to keep attracting new users over time. This means your content is ranking well on search engines and is hitting the right keywords. However, if most of your traffic consists of people that have already visited before then you’re not hitting the right SEO benchmarks.
B2B inbound marketing depends heavily on content to drive the right kind of traffic which can eventually convert into leads and paying customers. But the approach towards this cannot and should not be haphazard – simply pumping out content without a concerted strategy might actually hurt you in the long run. That’s why an SEO content audit is a necessary step to take.