Finding the time to create new content for your website is tricky. Despite a quarter of small business owners spending in excess of 50-60 hours at work, many still find it hard to set aside time to produce content for their website.
Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just work with what’s already there?
In an ideal world, you’d be able to set aside an afternoon to optimise the content you already have, breathing new life into your website pages so they’re more appealing to visitors and search engines alike. But is this actually possible, and will this always work?
Well, yes and no. Poor planning and time spent on cosmetic changes aren’t going to make much of a difference to your search engine rankings or the usefulness of your content. Coming up, we’ll look at how you can optimise your existing website content in two easy steps.
How to optimise content for SEO
Step one: Before you do anything, run a content audit on your website
Sounds fancy, actually isn’t. A content audit is a record of all of the content on your website. Think blogs, ebooks, white papers, infographics, and videos – basically everything your audience can view or download that helps to inform their buying journey. Here’s how:
- Make a list via Google Sheets or Excel
Create a list of all the content pages you have (ignore your commercial pages, like your homepage, product, and contact page for now). Include some columns for your page title, URL, content format (e.g. blog, video... etc), the main topic, and where your piece links to on your website (if anywhere at all).
- Include some performance metrics
If you track the performance of your content via HubSpot or Google Analytics, add a column for how many monthly sessions (or visits) this page gets and its bounce rate (i.e. the percentage of people who hit the back button afterward) – this will give you an idea of how successful your web pages are at bringing visitors to your website, and keeping them there. If you’ve yet to get to grips with Google Analytics, we have a great Google Analytics setup guide here.
Next, add some extra columns which will help to give your content optimisation a steer. These could include your keywords for SEO, the buyer persona whom you want to read your piece, and the stage in their buying journey that they’re in. Now, systematically go through your website’s content and add them to your list, populating as much as you can of the above information.
- Make some tough decisions
Once you’re finished, take a long hard look at what your existing content is currently doing: is it getting any eyes on it at all? If traffic volumes are respectable, what are your readers doing after they see it? Jumping off or visiting another page on your website? Look at your content’s topic. Is it in line with a product or service you sell or is it covering something that’s nothing to do with your business? Finally, is your content topic woefully out of date?
Once you have an answer for these, you’ll know whether it’s worth keeping your existing page as it is, refreshing some of the content, or removing it altogether. Here’s an example of the kind of content which would fit into these categories:
Keep it, no changes: if your content page is receiving respectable traffic with a medium to low bounce rate, contains links to your other pages, and is about something you want your business to be known for (i.e. your industry’s hot topics), you can probably leave the page as it is.
Keep it, with some changes: if your topic, traffic, bounce rate, product mentions, and links are lacking but you still think the content is worth keeping, add this to your content optimisation list (more on this later).
Remove it: if your content is receiving little to no traffic, is about something completely irrelevant to your business or is out of date (for instance, if it’s showcasing an event which has already happened), you may decide to remove it. To do this, archive it in your CMS and redirect the URL to another page on your website (e.g. your blog's homepage).
Step two: Optimise your content
For your content that you think is worth keeping, but with some changes, have a think about how it can be improved. Here are some common improvements you could make:
- Optimise your content for keywords
If it’s getting low to medium traffic, and if none of this is coming from organic sources (that is, search engines or direct visits), you should probably rethink the keywords your page is optimised for or the places where your keywords are featured.
To do this, take a look at the gist of your content and search for keywords around this topic (we’ve LOADS of SEO guides that tell you how to do this). Once you’ve come up with some target keywords, add them to some crucial parts of your content, specifically your URL (making sure you redirect your old URL to this new version), your title, and your subheaders.
Now, a word of caution: don’t just bung your keywords into these places without making sure it all makes sense. Search engines may run by AI but they read like humans and they’ll be able to pick up on keyword stuffing immediately.
For tips on optimising your existing content for SEO, FINALLY can give you a steer.
- Link to your other pages
If getting eyes on your content isn’t really a problem but keeping them on your website is, think about how your page is structured; are there enough contextual links to your other pages? Now, context is the watch word here. If you link to another page on your website, make sure that the move makes sense. Will this subsequent page improve your visitor’s journey? Will it lead them to more information that will help them? Put simply, does the link add anything to your page?
Ugly, irrelevant pop-ups or flashing call to actions to nonsensical and irrelevant pages will only aggravate your visitor and encourage them to leave your website. Worse still, Google now penalise websites that use what they call "intrusive interstitials” (aka rubbish pop-ups). That said, it’s essential to have some kind of further action from your content, be it a link to a similar blog or a product page that your visitor would be interested in.
Related: How to measure content ROI?
At a glance: how can I optimise the content I already have?
- Conduct a content audit – getting to grips with the content that’s currently on your website will help you to narrow down your list of pages that will benefit from optimisation.
- Optimise your content for SEO – make sure your content has a keyword focus, and include these keywords and related terms in your URL, title, and subheadings.
- Include relevant links to the other pages of your website – decide whether these links make sense to your visitors’ journey before you include them.
For help with creating content for your business, get in touch with the FINALLY team.