Cleaning up your current content can boost SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ratings, increase the value of your other pages, make your site load faster, and declutter for a better user experience.
Start the cleanup process with some research.
How do you know what to clean up?
1. Which pages are people leaving immediately?
Look at your bounce rates on Google Analytics. Change those pages up or delete them completely, if you can. If you can’t delete the page, look at how you are using keywords and look at making edits to the content on the page. It could simply be that your ‘About’ page focuses more on what you want people to know, rather than what your potential clients actually want to know.
Growth Everywhere published a great post with step-by-step instructions on how to go through your Google Analytics and create a spreadsheet that will help you organize content deletion.
Don’t want to ‘go there’? Short version of their steps:
- Go to Google Search Analytics. Click on “Search Analytics” then check the ‘Clicks, Impressions, and CTR’ boxes and select ‘Pages.’ Find the Impressions column and make sure your pages are listed from most viewed to least, then download that list into a spreadsheet. Comb through that information looking at impressions, CTR, clicks, and position, to determine whether or not the page has value for your website. Add a column that lets you immediately decide whether to keep, edit, or delete each page. Then an intern, assistant, or anyone with a little free time in the firm can quickly delete the pages in the list or check for SEO faux pas like a missing snippet.
2. Will people want to read it?
Read it again–are there misspellings, grammatical errors, or any sentences that could be cut? Keeping your content succinct and direct will help keep readers engaged. Is the layout engaging? Do you have items for visual interest– GIFs, videos, infographics, images? These items will help boost your page views and let Google know that people are interested in what that page has on it.
Make sure you include a reasonable and connected call to action. What does that mean? Pretend you’re a birth injury attorney and you share a blog post and video about how you can avoid common birth injuries. At the end of that post, simply write: “If you’ve experienced any of these birth injuries, contact us today. We are here to help.”
Instead of a written post, could this perform better as a video or with images? Sometimes readers see a huge block of text and get discouraged, adding elements of visual interest can help you and boost the time on page.
3. Do the search engines like your pages?
On this step, you’ll want to look at snippets & meta descriptions, title tags or headings, internal and external links, and URLs.
- Thing 1: Snippets & Meta Descriptions
At AttorneySync, we use Yoast SEO to help keep our pages on track. It’s a great plugin and lets you know exactly what your pages could use to get an SEO boost. You’ll want to put an attention-grabbing sentence with your post keyword in a place that makes sense.
Thing 2: Title Tags and Headings
Headings and title tags are where you can either engage people or re-engage them if they lost interest in the previous paragraph. The keys here? Put your main idea in the headings, front, and center. You could try a quippy line if you like to show a sense of humor but it could be just as effective to tell people what they can expect to read in detail next.
In your first heading, the page title, you’ll want to put a longer tail keyword that would answer a searcher’s query. Basically, what question are you answering? Use that (in a reader-friendly way) as your title.
For headings throughout the page, make sure that you bold or enlarge main headings so readers can keep visual interest from top of the page to bottom.
Thing 3: Internal and External Links
This is one area where things can go awry over time as your links change or pages get deleted. You’ll want to periodically, probably annually, run a site audit via Moz Open Site Explorer, Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or a smiliar site.
When you do this audit and notice links are broken, decide whether you should delete or simply edit the post with a new link or without the broken one. This step alone should help your rankings because Google really doesn’t like pages that lead readers to a missing or broken page.
Thing 4: URLs
Most people will leave the URL of the page as it automatically populates on their page editor. This is a mistake! You are leaving potential SEO benefits on the table if you don’t check the URL and simplify or edit it. You want your page URLs to be less than 60 characters which can be accomplished by removing stop words such as, “of,” “or,” “and.”
Other SEO ‘Oopsies’ to watch out for:
Duplicate content: accidentally post a blog on the same topic twice? Choose the one that got more traffic or lower bounce rate and then combine the two posts. You’ll probably have better results. 301 the other post so Google isn’t confused with your duplicate content.
Soapboxing or Ego-boosting posts: What’s in the post, just 5,000 words on why you are the best lawyer in town? Yeesh, cut it down to 500 words and add pictures or videos to make the page more engaging. No one wants to read pages about how awesome you are. They want to read about what you’ve done for others and how you could help them.
Once you’ve done all of these things, go back to Google Analytics and track your results.
Thanks for inspiring this post with your post, Rand.