Content Audit 101: Build Back Better

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March 15, 2021
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One thing that impacts many bloggers and affiliate marketers is that they lose track of is actually auditing their content to get the greatest return on their time and content.

Sometimes less is more, having 500 posts on your websites can give you 500 ways to find what is valuable to your visitors but it can lead to missing out on a nibble that could be a bite.

Instead of just making content for content sake I propose making sure to go back, at least yearly, to have a look at your content and look deeper into the Google Search Console data on the posts.

Content Audit 101

Build Back Better Content Audit Plan

What you are aiming for in this Build Back Better content audit is to look at the current content you have written and evaluate where it exists within the SERP along with the pageviews it brings.

This information will help you to know what content is DOA and you shouldn't focus more effort on at this time. At the same time it exposes the content that you rank in the bottom half of the SERP (Position 5-10).

Those posts are where you can gain ground that you know will yield actual pageview increases, if you are in position 9 but getting 200 pageviews moving up could move you to 2k+ pageviews.

This will help you focus on building that content that is valuable to your site where you know the pageview numbers versus writing on another new keyword and hoping it can bring pageviews.

This process improvement over time helps firmly build a moat around your content and site, building you into that strong performing site you strive to be.

You are looking to take these posts and add more content to make them the one true resource on the topic, this is how you get to be a solid 1st slot anchor.

Create The Spreadsheet

The spreadsheet is your master list of all the content on your site, this allows you to much faster add the information from Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

Content DateH1URLImpressionsStatus
Dec 2019This is the Titlehttps://www.url.com/113,000Remove
Dec 2019This is the Title 2https://www.url.com/227,000Keep and Update

You will be using the spreadsheet to decide what to do with each post will be and label them with one of the 4 below:

  • Remove - Redirect build for the old URL to a related article, if none match then to the homepage
  • Merge - Consolidate the content into another existing post then redirect the URL at the existing post
  • Keep With Update - Core to Build Back Better, the aim being to keep these and improve the content to move up the SERP
  • Keep - If under 12 months old or if already ranking 1st plan to hold

Each of these four serves specific purposes to fix dilution on your blog and help refocus the content to master the keywords you choose to target.

Remove and Redirect Posts

Over time you will write content that may just never rank or be on target for your site, many times people don't realize they wrote something on a given keyword branch and this hurts both posts performance.

In the case you have posts that just never hit the mark you can choose to redirect them, when they match some related content on your site then building a redirect to the other post is the right move.

The other choice is for content that just doesn't match your site and really holds no purpose to exist anymore, like an old "Christmas Guide to Gifts in 2020" where you don't want them to go to that later but instead route them to your homepage.

Merge and Consolidate Posts

Here is where the rubber meets the road, you are aiming to look at content that share two similar keywords, and look to merge them into one.

This process will help make the single piece of content far more powerful and topically relevant to those other keywords as well as building your sites overall EAT signals, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust.

After you merge them into one post you are going to redirect the old post URL to the new consolidated post and remove the old article from your website.

Over time when you write content you inevitably will cover the same content multiple times, maybe using slightly different wording or just aligned or parallel keywords.

By taking the content of the two or more posts and building one much more comprehensive post you will remove competition from your other posts, making the one left much stronger.

Keep and Update Posts

The last of the updates you need to focus on will be making your edge content better to move it up the SERP, we know each place you move up improves your chance for CTR in big chunks.

Your goal will be to use the tools available to find what you get vast impressions on for search terms but receive very low clicks on, then add this content.

Time to Engage Google Search Console

You will want to log into Google Search Console and select your website from the list, then I would say you want to set your time interval from [ Last 28 Days ] to [ Last 12 Months ] so you get a year long picture of your content.

Then Click the [ + New ] selector and choose [ Page ]. This is where you will put your URL and Google Search Console will become a powerful tool in evaluating each post for the keywords linked to it.

What you want to do is check each post and get the impressions for the post versus the clicks, then you want to choose and work from the highest down with an eye on search result impressions but the posts are not in the top five results.

The you want to look deeper at the post you have versus the SERPs for those posts, your focus being on how you can improve these specific posts to boost them within the SERP. Your work should be to add on more valuable information you are currently missing to the posts to make them the absolute best!

Keep Posts

This is possibly the most boring in this process as these are already ranking in the top spots and are at the maximum traffic they will provide unless they rank for additional keywords.

This makes them valuable but also something where you will want to re-evaluate after another year to catch anything slipping or whether it makes more sense for them to be merged.

How Long Does This Audit Process Take?

Depending on your volume of content this could be a solid investment of your time, it will help you though in the long run to have 100-200 hammer drop awesome posts than to have 500 meh posts.

My personal goal is to break them down into a few actionable chunks and assign myself a set amount per week to work on, my ADHD would grind to a halt if I was to focus exclusively on them alone.

Obviously, after this first pass, you will be much faster on your next audit and as you continue you will get faster on this process by checking when you have a keyword whether it belongs in something you already have or deserves its own featured post.

Additional Site Improvements

When you are looking at this next improvement phase you should also look at what other factors could be improved to yield more results to your bottom line, we know this is the goal of everyone who runs an affiliate website.

Focusing on items that can be easily built and modified is important from a revenue perspective, you can lead though with increasing your Pagespeed numbers in many cases, especially with Google and the new Core Web Vitals this can be important to get a little more boost.

After this you want to make sure you have some item to give away to get visitors to subscribe to your email as this gives you a direct connection with your site visitors and a direct means of contact without needing a Search Engine.

The last thing is to look at information products, these are very simple to add and manage but can escalate your income dramatically without changing your traffic numbers, for many this can lead to doubling income and more.

Improve PageSpeed

I have a huge post on understanding Pagespeed and what tools are available and what methods can be used depending on your site to maximize the performance.

You should go review what I have listed there in detail to see what or where you have gaps, locate those gaps and look into options to fill them and increase your speed. Should you have speeds of 90+ on mobile and desktop then you can skip past this for now.

Note testing scores is far more important on your content and posts, NOT YOUR HOMEPAGE, remember the scores in Google Search Console are related to your visitors lighthouse scores from their Chrome browser...

Having amazing scores with your own test on PageSpeed Insights website doesn't translate 1:1 to your scoring in GSC, in fact, they have nothing in common with each other.

Add an Email Subscription

One of the most basic things any blogger should setup on their site is also one that many fail to setup up, this leaves you in danger should you have a fast loss in search volume giving you no access to previous visitors.

There are many ways to add an email subscription box to your site, I urge you to act today to get an option installed and setup, I am working on the same thing for this site and will soon launch one within the content along with at the end of the content.

My goal being to get people who are actually interested in opening and reading email from me, the number of subscribers is trash if you get a super low open rate on what you send.

Creating an Editorial Calendar for Email Newsletter

Along with building an email list you have to build out at least a basic set of emails to say hi and onboard them into knowing your emails are valuable, then you want to establish the email timeline for updates in regards to showcasing content out and more.

Build an Info Product

This should be an objective for anyone who chooses to run an information based niche website, the power that a information product can bring you in terms of revenue is just amazing.

Unfortunately like with the email list above, niche owners tend to relegate this to the side. But with Amazon and others cutting commissions over time you should be looking to build a way to increase that income by routing it directly to yourself.

Building a ebook can take some time if you don't have the funds to outsource it to a company but it can generate sales year in and out with minimal upkeep as long as it is done on an evergreen topic.

While doing this big overhaul take a look at a fundamental level at what content you could take and merge into an informational product that you can sell, this can give you a way to offer a product for $9.95-$24.95 starting this week, some can be done with video and podcasts and the sky is the limit to pricing.

Measuring Metrics

Its all good and well to put things in motion but what will really help is taking some time to measure progress over the next year to see what hit the mark and what still isn't hitting the mark for performance.

What I Expect From a Rebuilt Posts

When you do a massive edit on a post many times this will trigger within Google the need to retest it, sometimes this is fast and an immediate gain, many other times it can be immediate losses that take some time to grow and surpass previous levels.

Don't expect that this change will yield a boost immediately, you are in this for the long term and to move towards taking the number one spots for all your key words in Google. This isn't a sprint but a long marathon, take time to breathe and relax so you don't burn out.

What to Expect From an Email Subscription

From what I have read you shouldn't expect a high number of opt-ins and many I read say they are happy to get a 1% opt-in rate for the newsletters. If you aren't getting significant traffic this may feel very slow but keep focus and keep growing and ranking and the traffic and subscriptions will come.

What to Expect From a Info Product

For information products you are working yourself into having to manage customers, this may take some time each day to manage effectively but should you find yourself with a high number of returns you may be priced too high for their perceived value in the product.

The other thing could be a lack of actionable information within the product that leaves them feeling like you stole from them instead of offering them a good value, if you see returns I would focus on refunds and request for feedback as to the reasons.

This will help you figure out more information that will be KEY to a products long term success.

Final Thoughts on Building Back Better

Content audits are a perfect way to stop "just making content" and figuring how to maximize the potential of each piece of content, while a new post can be a new line in the water to get new visitors you have data, use it.

Search console can tell you where your existing post could get a vast increase in pageviews if only you were to spend the time learning what your posts rank for and how to maximize their returns.

I am never against making posts but you do need to focus on measuring to maximize their return to your bottom line, wasting time on a post that can get 300 more pageviews versus one with tweaks that could get you 20,000 can catapult you to new levels.

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