With the latest Google algorithm update, much has been said about content audits and figuring out which old content is valuable to you and what is dragging you down or hurting your site. In these days of “crawl budget” worries, site owners need to make sure Google comes to the right pages and ignores those that don’t help. As things get more complicated and the Google AI learns about pages and sites as a whole, it is difficult to determine what content is helping and what content is hurting, even for small business sites that don’t make a living with news or blog topics. So what is a site owner to do?
Check Out Your Analytics
Are there pages that nobody ever visits, or even more importantly, never get any organic traffic? If you have several years of analytics traffic you can really dig in and do some spring cleaning to keep Google happy. Google views your site as an entity and everything on there contributes to the overall view that Google has for it. Lots of bad, old, or thin content may be weighing you down. By taking care of it the right way, you can make your site work more smoothly and be a better “entity” for Google to send searchers to.
There are a few things to look for in analytics.
- Pages with no organic traffic (Hint: you have to know what pages you have to see what isn’t there)
- Pages that had organic traffic and it has gone away
- Can you refresh this content and update it with new and helpful information
- Can you make a new version of this page and 301 redirect the old URL to the new
- You can probably do one of the above and it is worthwhile
- Index your site with a tool like screaming frog or Moz and compare all of the indexable URL’s to ones that have traffic.
- If you have lots of old blog posts that don’t get organic or any user traffic, it may be time to trim the fat and get rid of them or at least noindex them.
- Don’t forget, if they have inbound links or traffic, you should 301 redirect to a new page. Chances are if it isn’t good content, it probably doesn’t have a lot of links.
- Search out low quality or thin content on your site that isn’t serving a purpose for the searcher
- I see lots of blog posts announcing events that have already happened
- Orphan pages that were created to advertise an event or service and then forgotten about
- Blog posts that were short and not overly helpful
When in doubt, just go back and try to freshen up your old content. In most businesses, things change at least a little bit each year. You should be able to update your service pages with new content that is more relative to the latest that you offer. Take a look and see if there isn’t a chance for a freshening or improvement. Spring is here. It is time to get your site in order and present the best version to Google and your users. If you need help figuring it out, we are just a phone call away.