It’s Day 13 of Reboot Your Blog - welcome home!
In 2005, during the “Adsense Goldrush,” I was first introduced to internet marketing. During that time 7 years ago, having “content” on your site was simply a matter of having words on a page.
The more thoughtful webmasters among us attempted to create something that at least made sense – I can’t say I was part of that group. I just wanted something, anything that would get the right kind of ads to display on-page.
Today your content has to stand on it’s own legs before even your link building or other SEO efforts. You can SEO the shit out of your site, but without great content, it’ll lose – eventually. That’s the climate we’re working in today.
I don’t mind. I hope you don’t either, because these are the rules you have to play by. I been hollerin’ about it since February 2011 and am gonne keep hollerin’ about it until folks quit trying to weasel around it.
But once you’ve got all that exceptional content, you’ve got to maintain it.
That’s what today’s Reboot Your Blog is all about.
DAY 13 OBJECTIVE
Remove and redirect obsolete content. Update good content that could be made fresher.
DAY 13 ASSIGNMENT
Not everything you publish is a grand slam – or even a home run!
One of the ways we remove baggage from our sites is to completely remove pages that just didn’t gain traction in the search engines (or our site visitors). No one is reading them, the search engines aren’t sending them traffic and they’re pulling internal link juice away from your other, more successful pages (or new posts that could use the help).
Open your stats package. Find the pages on your site with the lowers number of views in the last 12 months.
In Google Analytics, you’ll go to “Content” —> “Landing Pages” and change the “Show Rows” to 500. Scroll down to the bottom (or change the sort for the “Visits” column to Ascending). Now you’ve got a look at the pages on your site that haven’t received much traffic.
Look over those pages and decide which ones aren’t relevant anymore. Which ones aren’t worth salvaging or updating and which ones are.
These could be everything from administrative announcements, contests, product reviews, or news that’s now old hat.
The ones that are worth editing and saving you should change to being “Draft” status. That way you can find them easily in the WP Dashboard.
Another alternative to the “Draft” trick is the WordPress Content Audit plugin – I haven’t used it and think it’s overkill for most niche sites, but I can see some multi-author scenarios where it would be helpful.
Those pages that you know aren’t getting any traffic and aren’t worth updating do have one thing you want to keep – whatever link equity they’ve gained just by virtue of having been published at one time or another. Because of WordPress’s ping list, social sharing sites and plain ol’ scrapers, even our “dud” pages can carry quite a few links pointing in a them. We don’t want to lose that!
You’ll use a plugin called “Redirection” to 301 redirect the old post URL’s to a new location. By using a 301 redirect you’re losing the least search engine juice possible.
You can create a “Group” specifically for these old posts, so they don’t clutter up any regular redirections you may use the plugin to create.
(I use the regular Redirections Group in the plugin to redirect and keep track of affiliate links, for example).
After you’ve created a Group to host your old posts, at the bottom of the page you can add a new redirection:
In “Source URL” you’ll enter in the URL of the post you no longer want published.
In “Target URL” you’ll enter in the URL of the location you’d like visitors – and the search engines to go instead. Whatever you put in this box is where the accumulated link equity of the old page will point to now.
How to decide?
If you have a post that has similar content, but perhaps more recent or thorough, you can redirect the old post to the new post. This is a good idea for posts that were targeting similar keyphrases or variations on the same keyphrase.
If the post was an anomaly and you don’t have a particular place that “makes sense” to redirect it, just redirect it to your home page.
Once you’ve added the post to Redirection, send it to the Trash in WordPress.
As you can see, even old, dead posts do get search engine and real visitors, so this is a process you’ll want to take the time to complete.
Now you’ve got a set of posts in “Draft” status that need updating.
Updating a post doesn’t take nearly as long as writing a new one. Can you update one per day? Maybe one on Monday, Wednesday and Friday?
Set a schedule and work it!
It’s a good idea to change the date on these “new” posts to today as well – Google’s Freshness Update looks for more recent content for certain keyphrases. Since your updated content is fresh and relevant today, update the date on it within WordPress as well to alert Google!
I went through this process on this very site by nixing and redirecting approximately 150 posts and can say that it actually led to MORE Google traffic, almost immediately.
By the end of today’s Reboot Your Blog, you will have:
- Identified the pages on your site that aren’t receiving meaningful traffic
- Determined which low traffic posts are worth reviving, moved those to “Draft” status
- 301 redirected the low traffic pages that aren’t worth reviving & then trashed them
- Scheduled time to update and republish the “Draft” posts