Spring Cleaning Pt. 2: Audit Your Blog Content
Welcome back to the Spring Cleaning Series: Marketing Content Style!
Last time, we dove into the practice of auditing and refreshing your website content. In Part 2, we’re going to cover auditing your blog content—and I mean all the blog posts because it is possible and important to do so!
While your blog is an extension of your website, it has its own purpose. Plus, one business could have hundreds of blog posts to assess, which is why I felt it made sense to split this into its own post.
We’re going to breakdown how to decide which content to keep, improve, or delete. But I would also advise reviewing the content that you are going to keep by a few of the guidelines in my previous blog post about auditing your website content, including:
Improving your keyword strategy
Updating and optimizing visuals
These same steps also apply to your blog posts. Because your blog likely has a lot of content (much of which is probably a few years old), however, there are a few other things you’ll want to analyze as well.
Why You Should Audit Your Company Blog
You should be auditing your business’s blog every six months or so. Updating and even removing low-quality content can help improve your site’s performance.
That’s right, I said remove! Don’t be scared. Getting rid of low-quality, low-performing content can actually be beneficial to your site when it comes to optimization and traffic.
One reason is the crawl budget factor. The crawl budget refers to the number of related concepts and systems a search engine uses when determining how many pages, and which pages, to crawl. Having a lot of low-quality pages for Google to crawl can lead to a negative SEO impact. Eliminating not-so-great posts will only help your blog’s SEO.
Ideally, however, you’ll want to evaluate if there is a way to add useful info to low-quality blog posts in order to increase their SEO performance. Can you expand on the topic or idea to make the content more valuable for readers?
One great example of success comes from marketing and SEO toolset, Ahrefs. They cleaned up their blog and saw a 7.57% increase in traffic in just 60 days. This is after deleting about one-third of their posts!
The proof is in the numbers. Pruning your blog content is a worthwhile endeavor.
Similar to your website audit, you should first define the goal(s) of your blog audit. The most common goals include:
Increasing conversion rates
Improving content quality
Of course, you could have a combination of any of the above goals, and that’s totally ok!
Then, take inventory of your blog posts. You will need to use Google Analytics and, ideally, a tool like Ahrefs to pull a full list of the posts and stats like backlinks. This is the only way to fully assess all of your blog content and make effective updates.
You will then need to determine which blog posts should be left as is, updated, consolidated, redirected, or deleted.
Next, let’s look at some helpful questions and metrics to consider as you decide what to do with every individual post.
How old is the blog post?
If a blog post is less than six months old, the general recommendation is to leave it as is. It takes time to build up traffic and truly understand how effective a blog post is.
How long is the post?
Do you have some very short blog posts (i.e., 500 words or less)? If you think a topic could be helpful or add some kind of value to your readers, but the article is very short, see if you can expand on it and add more substance.
These short articles may also be the place for condensing. If you have a few posts that cover one topic and have some crossover, it may be worth combining them into one longer blog post (like a guide-style post) and redirecting (301) the others. If you condense a few articles into one very valuable guide, there’s a good chance it will perform better when it comes to both SEO results and user behavior.
Does it provide value to your customers?
This question often goes hand-in-hand with the question about blog post length. If you have a weak, irrelevant, or outdated blog post that isn’t getting any meaningful traffic or backlinks, it may be time to delete (404) it.
But if the blog post is substantial evergreen content (i.e., content that does not become outdated) that continues to get solid traffic and engagement, leave that bad boy up! Update and edit it if necessary. Or, if the info is valuable but you have another similar post that performs better, redirect it.
And that leads us to the next question...
Does it receive a meaningful amount of organic traffic and engagement?
Obviously, this metric will vary for every site and business owner. You know your audience and can determine what these stats will look like for your blog posts. In addition to direct traffic, you’ll want to look at social shares and comments.
Getting no traction? Put a 404 on it.
Still active and getting current traffic? Leave it as is.
Is it receiving followed backlinks?
Backlinks, or links on other webpages or sites that lead back to your posts, are another important metric and the reason you’ll need a tool like Ahrefs to pull this info.
If you have a blog post with backlinks on many other reputable sites and pages, congrats! That means people are finding your content useful and valuable. In the world of web content, it’s certainly a sign of success. If this is the case, you’ll most likely want to leave the blog post as is.
If you find that a blog post has no backlinks, or at least, no meaningful backlinks (i.e., you found the post linked on some low-quality or shady sites), then it may be time to remove and either 404 or 301 it.
Important Note: Before deleting or redirecting a blog post, you should always manually review it and ensure that doing so is not going to be deleting some important content or mess with any links or backlinks. And please make sure you know how to properly 404 or 301 a page before moving forward!
Track Blog Performance Post-Audit
Once you put in all this work analyzing and updating your blog, keep an eye on its performance and traffic. If you’ve done a thorough job of leaving or adding valuable content, you should start seeing improvements. You will also be able to assess if there are other areas you need to clean up or work on.
Regularly checking on your blog’s performance will also show you areas where your audience may be looking for more information, giving you ideas for future blog post topics. Remember, blogging is not a set-it-and-forget-it deal!
Cleaning Up Your Blog: The Bottom Line
Effectively auditing and updating your blog should leave your company in a better position than ever. As long as the content addresses your customers’ needs and problems and is current, you will sound more professional and authoritative in your industry. This will all lend itself to the main goal of a blog: building trust with both existing and potential customers!
Your blog is a great way to help customers without being awkward like Dwight.
Have you performed an audit on your company’s blog? What kind of results have you seen? Share in the comments!