Reboot SEO to Revive Underperforming Content

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Getting your content to the top of search results isn’t a one-and-done proposition. With even minor updates to reboot SEO, you can extend its shelf life at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).   

Even a superficial update can make a difference. An Orbit Media survey found that 20% of bloggers say that updating stale content delivers “strong results.”  Here are some simple ways to get started with a basic audit and quick updates.

The DIY Web Audit

You don’t have to shell out for SEO auditing tools to perform a simple web content audit. If you don’t have a vast content library (or a vast SEO budget), you can set up your own audit with Excel.

Start by cataloguing all your content URLs in a spreadsheet with key details like format and publish date. I like to format my data in tables so that it’s easier to sort for variables later, particularly if you include more details like buyer stage and vertical.

Plug each asset URL into Google Analytics to determine which content is getting the fewest organic page views and the shortest average session durations. Make sure you’re looking just at organic traffic data to focus only on organic search performance.

Highlight the lowest performers in your spreadsheet. These are the pieces you want to revisit for some updates to increase their ranking.

Of course, there are lots of tools and SEO partners to turn to for SEO auditing, research and strategy, including SEMrush, Ahrefs and Conductor. If you have the budget and don’t want to go it alone, SEO tools can automatically run performance tests on all your site-mapped URLs to identify waning organic traffic and conversions.

Whether you DIY or enlist outside support to reboot SEO, there’s some low-hanging fruit you can gather with simple adjustments, both on- and off-page.

On-Page Repairs & Revisions

Now that you’ve pinpointed the disappointing URLs in your library, you can review your checklist of on-page elements for errors you can fix and copy you can revise. These are some of the on-page fixes that can generate a noticeable uptick in search results for underperforming content:

  • Title: Make sure the page title or H1 tag include your target keyword.
  • Title length: These shouldn’t exceed 60 characters or they won’t fit on Google’s SERP.
  • Keyword frequency: Check that your main target keyword appears at least three times in the body text. You want the keyword to appear frequently enough to indicate its relevance in the copy, but not so frequently (more than 2% keyword density) that Google will ding you for keyword stuffing. 
  • Meta description: The meta description should include your target keyword and describe the content in no more than 158 characters.
  • Nested tags: Content that’s organized by nested tags (H1, H2, H3 and H4 headings and subheadings) is easiest to read and will therefore rank better. Make sure that no sections extend for more than four or five paragraphs without a new subhead.

Off-Page Repairs & Updates

On-page components aren’t the only factors that affect your content’s rank. Review these off-page items and make any necessary fixes:

  • Broken links: Test each outbound link to make sure they’re still active. Replace outdated links to eliminate dead ends and 404 page redirects.
  • Broken inbound links: SEO content audit tools will alert you to broken links that point to your content. Contact the webmasters at the originating sites to request updates.
  • Backlinks: Poorly performing content often lacks the power of backlinks in its corner. Share the content URL in relevant public forums and your social media sites, and ask complementary sites to share links that are relevant to their audiences.   

Scheduled Maintenance

It’s a good idea to perform these audits at least annually—every six months, if possible. If you’re driving more than 10,000 visitors a month, consider quarterly audits. These efforts to reboot SEO and make sure your best content continues to perform over the longer term.

Of course, the best way to maintain top SERP real estate is to create outstanding content. Content4Demand can help you develop the effective buyer-focused content your buyers are searching for—and we offer web experience audits to make sure all your content aligns with your marketing strategy.

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