There was a time about 15 years ago when keywords were king, and everyone in the corporate world was rushing to jump on the blog bandwagon. Because the main strategy in those days was to use keyword-rich material to drive traffic to company websites, quality took a back seat to quantity, and as a result, many sites have many old blog posts simply sitting there, and most people have very little clue about what to do with them. Should they simply be deleted, or is there some way to get some use out of them now that SEO strategies have shifted away from the heavy-keyword model to quality content that adds actual value?
The first thing you need to do is ask yourself why you're looking at the old blog posts in the first place. If it's because your blog inventory is so large that it has a negative impact on your site's crawl efficiency, that's a good sign that the time has come to scale back the amount of overall content on your site. Other good reasons or doing so include that massive amounts of content are simply too unwieldy to manage properly, some of the content may contain dated material that's no longer valid in your industry, other blog posts may need to be updated to keep up with emerging technologies and trends, and keyword-driven blog posts that were written for quantity over quality don't represent your business in a positive manner.
If any or all of the above apply, it's time to push the reset button on your blog. Blogs done right are still valuable informational and advertising tools, but they need a bit of maintenance from time to time to ensure they do their best work. Here's how to give your business blog the makeover it needs to establish an authoritative industry voice and to provide existing and prospective clients with value.
Take Stock of What You've Got
It's hard to make cuts when you don't have a good handle on what you have to work with, so the first step is taking inventory of your blog posts. If you've got seemingly endless pages upon pages in your blog, this task may seem overwhelming at first, but fortunately, there are tools designed to streamline this cumbersome process. Use Screaming Frog to collect the URLs from your blog posts so that you can easily place them on a spreadsheet so that they're organized and in a central location.
Consult Google Analytics
Using Google Analytics will allow you to assess the URLs for performance on an individual basis. You'll be able to see and compare metrics such as conversion rates, bounce rates, overall time spent on the site, and pages per session. You'll also gain big picture information concerning what's working and what isn't. Armed with this knowledge, you can then move forward with building a better blog.
Assess Each Post's Purpose
Going through the blog post-by-post may seem like a tedious process at first glance, but you can pick up the pace considerably by asking yourself the following questions:
- Does the material have value to potential or existing customers?
- Does the material match your brand?
- Does the material contain relevant, high quality links to other parts of your website?
- Does the material contain next logical steps and authentic insights?
Put the post in your maybe pile if you can say yes to any or all of the above questions.
- Does the material contain a great deal of grammatical errors and/or lacks organization and flow?
- Does the material cover outdated information and technologies?
- Does the material contain plagiarized content or duplicate text?
Pull the plug on any material in which any of the above three questions can be answered in the affirmative. Poorly written text won't reflect well on you at all, and neither will outdated industry techniques and technologies — you want content that's relevant current issues in your industry. Plagiarized content puts you at risk for legal issues, and duplicate content negatively affects Google rankings.
When updating your old blog posts, keep a sharp eye out for posts that can be consolidated if they cover the same or overlapping topics, and be sure to redirect the old URL to the new consolidated post.
The next step in overhauling the content you've decided to keep is to remove any minor grammatical errors and issues with flow. Make certain the content is on point, has a clear purpose, contains actionable information and advice, and provides a clear path to a solid next step, such as making a purchase, filling out a form, or simply has a link to another page on your site that will keep users moving through your conversion or engagement funnel.
Once you've provided the content with a fresh coat of paint and made sure it's all up to date, it's time to implement technical enhancements such as Schema designed to attract targeted traffic by organically increasing your overall online presence. Schema works by creating rich snippets during searches that encourage users to click onto your site.
Once you've got your existed blog posts cleaned up and updated, it's time to start considering what type of content to feature in the future. You can perform a simple content gap analysis by researching your competitors to see what their blogs are covering. It's also vital to keep current on emerging industry trends and making sure they're covered in your blog in a timely fashion. Scheduling fresh content on a regular basis moving forward will help keep your blog fresh.
The next step is to send the content you've just polished out into the wild to see how it performs via targeted email campaigns and branded social media channels. This is also a great time to bring particularly relevant posts back to the first page of your blog.
Consistently and accurately tracking the performance of your blog is the best way to implement effective quality control. The most important thing to keep tabs on is how much organic web traffic your blog generates — the essential goal is to get as many actual eyes on the page as possible, because once this occurs, the rest generally falls into place. You can easily monitor organic traffic using the Channels feature under Acquisition in Google Analytics. You can also track which paths bring the most users to your site and the level of engagement by those users. Keep in mind that it may take Google several months to respond to updated content. Once it does, keeping a close eye on metrics provides you with opportunities to adjust and refine your content marketing strategies.
Don't forget the importance of going forward with well-written, relevant, and targeted content as well as revisiting older blog posts on a regular basis to ensure optimal user engagement, a healthy flow of traffic, and increased conversion rates.