Your website content is a major contributor to your website performance. Has your website has been up for a while? Have you been adding content regularly to your site? The number of pages on your website may have gotten out of control. Maybe to the point where you don’t even remember half the stuff that is on your website?
The problem is search engines and users do remember. Visitors may be landing on out-of-date content. Or worse incorrect pricing or old discounts and offers. To prevent this from happening, schedule regular Website Content Reviews.
What is a Website Content Review?
A Website Content Review is the process of identifying all content currently live on your website. Reviewing each piece of content. Then identifying what content needs to updating, deleting or created.
How to Start your Content Review
To begin, you will need a list of all your current web pages. There are options to pull this list directly from your website. Without having to create a list by visiting every page of your site. See our instructions on creating a page inventory. This article talks about a blog post inventory. But the tools and processes can be used for your entire website.
Create a spreadsheet with the list of webpages. Add columns next to the page names for keep, delete, rewrite.
I would also log in to your Google Analytics account and Google Search Console. Both will have data you need to make decisions about your content.
Now you need to go through each page of the site and flag it as a keep, delete or rewrite.
Identify Core Pages – Stuff you will need to keep.
Before you make any changes to the website, identify your core pages. These are the pages that are crucial to business and marketing activities. Pages that may be in-use by a current campaign. Pages where if changed or moved would cause major problems offline.
Look at out for these types of pages:
- Branding – Pages that identify or explain brand names owned by your company.
- Products/Service Description Pages – as long as they are all current.
- Pages Linked to Online Advertising like AdWords or Re-Marketing campaigns.
- Pages linked to Email Marketing campaigns sent recently – I would look at the last 6 months to be sure.
- Pages linked to Social Media campaigns – Don’t forget to check for Promoted content or pages linked to ads here too.
- Call-To-Action Pages – Pages that contain forms, where you collect your sales leads. Don’t forget to include any follow up pages. For example, most forms will have an associated “thank you” page. A page where users are automatically re-directed once they submit their data.
Don’t forget to address what is missing
While you are reviewing core pages, make a list of what is missing. Review product and service pages. Did you add anything since the last site review? Is your list of offerings on the site complete? Also, look at the contact or location information. Do you have new people or new locations?
Add missing content to your spreadsheet. Add a column called “create” after keep, delete, rewrite to help keep track of new pages needed.
Should I delete the old stuff?
If pages are no longer helping your website, you can delete them. Your site performance is not determined by quantity of pages. We need quality pages. Weed out the weak stuff and focus on the strong pages.
Yes, you can delete if any of this is true:
- Content cannot be updated – Past event or topic no longer current. You can delete.
- Thin – Too short, too spammy. Your benchmark should be anything less than 500 words. If content appears elsewhere on the site, it might be too spammy. Good indicator for WordPress site owners. If your side bars are longer than the page text, you will have problem.
- Dropped from Google’s Index – Find this in Search Console. It means Google no longer recognizes the page and it won’t bring search traffic.
- No traffic to the page – Check Google Analytics. Look back 12 months and then 2 years at your Acquisition reports. If it doesn’t appear in the reports, get rid of it.
- No links to the page – Find this data in Search Console. It means other sites are not using the page either. It’s OK to delete.
Even after all this evidence, you still may hesitate to delete pages. You did spend time writing this content at some point. So its hard to let it go.
Here are a couple of other options:
- Consider combining old pages to make one, new robust page. To help, add a column to your spreadsheet called “combine” and mark pages that might work.
- Refresh the page – Don’t just do a couple of quick edits. Give the page a new title, a new url, new SEO Title and page description. Make sure other pages are linking to it. Have a call-to-action on the page. Give users a clear next step so they don’t find this page as a dead-end. After this, give it a little time and see if your page traffic comes back.
When or How Often to do a Website Content Review?
Part of this depends on what your business website needs to do.
I would plan a Content Review yearly as part of your Website Strategic Planning. If you are running an online store, review before heavy sales periods. You will want to make sure all your product is available. Websites that depend on a good SEO strategy may review content on a monthly basis. If you your site has really grown, your review may take thousands of pages. Break it into sections and review quarterly.
Planning a website re-design? Include a Content Strategy as part of your project. We would highly recommend doing a Content Review before taking down your old website. Identify which pages rank high in search results. Also look for pages generate a lot of traffic. Discuss with your web developer. You will need a strategy to maintain search performance during the web re-design.
Feeling a little overwhelmed? This is a big job, but a necessary one. We would suggest getting help with your first review. Once you have that baseline, the follow-ups on a yearly basis should be much easier. Have questions about this process? Sign-up for a free website consultation. Cybervise can get you started.