You did your homework, crafted an SEO strategy, and got to work creating content that you hoped would take the world by storm – or at least, make an impression. But then, your posts and pages underperformed. What should you do?
The first thing to remember is that you shouldn’t despair. In fact, you’ve been presented with a golden opportunity to see why search engines didn’t rank your content as well as you think they should. To get the full picture, you’ll begin with an SEO content audit and we’re going to look at how to do that next.
What Does an SEO Content Audit Look At?
Having decided that you want to examine your content to see why it isn’t ranking well, you’re not going to settle for any half-measures. A job worth doing, as they say, is a job worth doing well. That means examining all your content – web pages, landing pages, blog posts, product descriptions, and every bit of associated media you’ve published including videos.
Decide whether your content is valuable and accurate. Then, take a look at how people find it and how many people are not just finding it, but taking a closer look. Remember, absolute numbers aren’t as important as attracting the right visitors – ones who are genuinely interested in what you do.
Keep your goals in mind. What do you want to achieve? Is it ranking higher within your niche? Is it evidence of engagement with your content? And if any of your content is out-of-date or is no longer particularly relevant, you may want to take it down altogether. The content that is of a high standard may need a few improvements if you want to stack up well against the competition, so identifying items that just need a little help will be among your goals.
Organise Your Information
If you have access to tools that can help you to organise your SEO audit information, you’ll save a little time. But you can also use an old-fashioned spreadsheet to collate your info. List the URLs of the content you’re auditing. Now list the categories of information that each URL represents. You might also want to evaluate the results you’re getting from different content creators as well as the intent behind each item and whether it resonates with your visitors. Add this information to round out your data collection.
Size matters – and by that, we mean word count, so add that to your spreadsheet too. And, of course, interaction is important too, so look for likes, shares, and comments and record the information.
Before the Deep Dive
Knowing what doesn’t work to improve your search engine rankings and why it doesn’t work is one thing, knowing what works and producing more content like it is another. If it’s not broken, you don’t need to fix it – but knowing what works and why will help to guide your future content strategies. Simple analytics tools like Google Analytics will make your task a lot easier than it sounds – but you still need to do the thinking. Data is only as helpful as the way you use it.
So, put on your thinking cap, and where there are red flags showing that your content isn’t working for you, try to figure out why. Is it your overall content strategy that isn’t hitting the sweet spot? Is it the type of content that lacks appeal? Or is it the way you present your content that’s to blame?
Measure Results That Matter
Organic Traffic and Unique Visitors
Your organic traffic – the traffic you attract through search engines without paid advertising provides valuable insight. After all, your SEO performance is what’s under the microscope here.
Unique visitors are discovering your website for the first time. It’s your chance to win their hearts and minds. A growing number of unique visitors could be an indicator of SEO success – provided they’re sending out signals that they were interested in what they found on your website. This thought brings us to our next important set of metrics.
Bounce Rate, Time on Page, and Pages Per Session
Do you seem to have a high bounce rate? That means you attracted search engine users to your content, but they took one glance and moved on without interacting with it. Consider why they’re finding it less than relevant. A high bounce rate will harm your SEO performance and needs to be addressed.
The time users spend on your pages is of interest too. If the average time is too low to indicate consumption of your content, you may be missing the mark with it. Are you grabbing their attention only to lose it? Are people spending time enjoying your content? That’s the type of information you need to guide your strategy and boost your SEO results.
Finally, visitors that view several of your pages after finding your content are a very positive indicator. You attracted them, interested them, and made them eager to know more. At worst, you’re building awareness that may translate to future sales – and that’s not a bad thing. At best, you’re converting them right away and you’re gaining new customers. Knowing how users found you and what they did next will help you to fine-tune your content strategy for better conversions and more exposure.
Backlinks can help or harm your SEO. Some people think that any and all backlinks are good, but that’s simply not true. If low-quality, spammy, or worse yet, scammy websites are linking to your content, they’re definitely not helpful. The good news? You can take low-quality backlinks down.
New Users, Returning Users, and Traffic Sources
Returning users are enjoying your content. But is it converting them into customers? Is there a way you can boost your conversions? New users are a fresh audience to pitch to, and since website visitors come and go, you’ll want the fresh exposure too. Aim for a good mixture of the two. What’s your biggest drawcard? You want to do more of that!
You should also look at where users are coming from. You should be getting as much mileage out of your content as you can. Adding it to newsletters, and posting it to social media could be getting you a lot of traffic. The source of your visitors indicates which platforms gain you the most attention – and attention boosts search engine results. Not getting results from your attempts to boost traffic? Consider whether changing your approach can make a difference.
Each piece of content that you craft should serve as a call to action. That may be making sales, but on a less ambitious level, you may just want to guide users toward the next level of your sales funnel. Perhaps you want newsletter subscribers, for example. Gaining conversions can be a slow process, so give it a couple of months before deciding whether you’re getting the conversions you hoped for. There’s only one way to keep your finger on the pulse. Track your progress with regular audits.
Plus a Few Extras
We’ve already covered the main criteria you should consider in your SEO content audit. But you can do more. For example, which SEO titles and meta descriptions did you use, and how did that work? Are you using landing pages to drive conversions? Which ones work best?
If you were achieving good search engine results for certain keywords, which ones were they, and how long were you able to retain a first-page ranking? If you’re using influencer marketing, how many conversions did that generate? Decide what matters to you, and include it in your SEO audits.
Use Your Content Audit for SEO Improvements
At the end of your audit, you’ll have a lot of information to process and act upon. You should be able to see what your audience wants from you, how to optimise it for visibility, and, most important of all, what you should consider when adjusting your SEO and content strategy.
Did you think you were finished after doing all that work? You certainly made progress and gained some valuable insights, but to get the best results, you need to do content audits on an ongoing basis.
Looking for an easier, better way? Why not commission expert SEO auditing by Yellowball? We’re a leading SEO agency based in London, and if you’re looking for results, you can fast-track them with us. Want to know more? Let’s talk today!