How To Increase Organic Traffic With Content Audit?

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Do you know that content auditing on your website can help you increase your organic traffic by up to 80%? So, in this blog, we are going to show you the exact procedure that you can follow to get this kind of result.

Content auditing can be a bit scary topic to talk about because a lot of it involves deleting content. So before we dig in, take note of some others' experiences-

  • Siege Media pruned around 15% of a website's pages and saw a 50% increase in organic traffic for a much larger site.
  • Robbie Richards saw a 79% increase in search traffic.

And this comes from an SEO strategy that we call a content audit or content pruning. So what is a content audit? Let's find out.

What is a content audit?

In its simplest form, it's a way to get rid of underperforming, low-quality pages to improve a website's overall "health."

Hence, bloating your website with low-quality pages does more harm than good. In fact, John Mueller said, "From my point of view, if you're aware of low-quality pages on your website, then that's something I'd try to fix and find a solution to, be that either removing those pages if you really can't change them or, in the best case, finding a way to make them less low-quality and actually making them useful, good pages on your site."

When you're doing a content audit, you're going to have to make a lot of decisions. Because you don't want to choose pages to delete or redirect randomly. There are basically four different actions that you'll need to take as you manually review your pages:

  • Delete your pages and return a 404 or 410 response code.
  • Use a 301 redirect and consolidate it with other content.
  • Update the page Or leave it as-is.

And before you choose one of these actions, you should ask yourself all of these questions, which will bring clarity and result in more intelligent decisions.

These questions are taken from a private webinar on traffic by Matthew Barby:

  1. Is the page older than six months?
    The important point is that if you haven't given your page a chance to rank, you shouldn't make any rash decisions. Instead, give your pages some time to get results, see how they're performing, and then go from there.
  2. Is the page about a core topic related to your business?
    This is pretty self-explanatory. If you write about social media marketing and have a dedicated post on your trip to France, your travel adventures probably won't be a core topic.
  3. Is the page targeting a keyword with "meaningful" search volume?
    "Meaningful" is super subjective. For example, top-of-the-funnel keywords will likely have higher search volumes, and bottom-of-the-funnel phrases will have lower volumes. Search volumes will also vary based on industry, so use your best judgment when answering this question.
  4. Does the page have thin content?

  5. Does it generate a "meaningful" level of organic traffic?
    And there's that word again. "Meaningful" is subjective.
  6. Does it generate a "meaningful" level of non-organic traffic?
    So this would include traffic sources like social, referral, and direct traffic.
  7. Does it have any external backlinks pointing to it?
    Now, let's jump into a few scenarios for pages that you should consider deleting:
  1. If a page has little to no traffic, has 0 backlinks, and isn't a core topic related to your business, then it's probably worth deleting. Easy.
  2. If your page has good backlinks but does not have a meaningful level of traffic, then you should consider consolidating it with another relevant page. But you do need to take into account whether it's targeting a keyword with search volume.

    For example, if you are targeting a good keyword but you aren't getting traffic despite having links, it may be worth reassessing search intent and updating the content. Suppose you're not targeting a keyword with search volume, yet you have a super strong backlink profile. In that case, you may want to consider consolidating it or using it as a hub to pass PageRank via internal linking.
  3. If you have a meaningful level of traffic that is related to a core topic in your business. A simple answer to this is to leave it as-is or keep it up to date to continue getting traffic from it.
    Now the final scenario is if a page gets a "meaningful" level of traffic but it's not related to a core topic in your business. This is the one that we tend to hate the most. Because we're forced to make a decision with so much uncertainty, so, we can put it in the "it depends" category.
    In some cases, you'll choose to leave it as-is; other times, you'll find that it fits better if consolidated with another post, and sometimes you might choose to update the content.
    Now, if you have thousands or tens of thousands of pages, this can be pretty time-consuming. So what you can do is start by following these steps on the spreadsheet-

Step 1: Import your sitemap URLs.

You can do this quite easily using the "Scraper" extension. Just install the "Scraper" extension for Chrome. Then, go to your sitemap and right-click on one of your URLs. Next, click "Scrape similar."

Finally, copy them to the clipboard and paste them into the Sitemap sheet. You'll want to have the first cell as a header, but it doesn't matter what it's called. If you have other pages in different sitemaps, like a category or video sitemap, then you may want to add those too.

Step 2: Export all of your Google Analytics data over the past year.

This kind of comes down to personal preference. However, you can start by going to the All Pages report.

You can do this by typing in "all pages" in the search bar and choosing this option. Next, you need to add a segment and search for "organic traffic." Select it and apply the settings.

Now, the amount of data we're about to export will likely be huge. The reason for this is that if you're getting traffic from ads or from some social platforms, then they'll often add query parameters, which you don't really need for your export.

Most of these will only have one or two page views anyway. After you've set your filter, set the date to around the past year or so. It doesn't have to be exact. Finally, you need to export the file as a CSV, and you're done with Google Analytics.

You can also go to the link report and click "Top linked pages." You could export this report to CSV and import it into the Links tab instead. But be aware that there's a major drawback to using Search Console data.

Now while it will tell you the number of links and referring domains, it won't tell you whether they're followed links or no follow links.

So if you're targeting a meaningful keyword with that page, you have the links to back it, then you may want to update that content to either better match search intent or provide "fresh" information instead of immediately redirecting it. It's just a matter of executing your action and making the on-page changes across your domain.

So keep grinding away, and manually review your content before taking action.

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