The “right” way to improve your content’s search ranking and how to effectively conduct an SEO audit is constantly changing. Google best practices change all the time, so it’s important to frequently be looking over your strategy and making changes to stay relevant. When it comes to content, an audit will help you make sure you don’t have any outdated content, broken links, or other issues that will cost you a higher ranking.
If an SEO audit is done correctly, it will not only help improve your content’s search rankings but will also help you in a few other areas:
- Identify if you need to alter any responsibilities within your department
- Discover trends that will help you be more successful in the future
- Set benchmarks and know when something goes wrong. If you’re recording correctly, you should know during what time period your problem occurred, which should help you fix it faster and determine the cause
We all know an SEO audit for content isn’t always the most exciting part of a marketer’s job, and an outdated SEO audit plan might cost you more time than it’s worth. This is exactly what you don’t want to happen. Trust me, it’s worth it to spend a little bit of time going over the latest best practices.
SEO Audit Tips and Tricks to Improving Your Content’s Search Rankings
If you’re interested in a detailed article about actually recording and keeping track of your SEO audits as well as what to look for specifically, I recommend checking out this article I wrote. There are plenty of screenshots to help you see how to record your data correctly.
For a quicker look at some tips to instantly improve your content search rankings specifically, consider the points below:
1. Look over all of your links within the content, not just those that are broken.
In the past a content audit meant looking for broken links and fixing them, and that is still very much the case. However, linking is getting a little bit more complicated now as Google only wants to see you associated with authoritative websites. A website you may have linked to last year could now be penalized or full of spam, so you need to check all of your links. If you have a “bad” link in your content, remove it immediately. If it’s outdated, also remove it immediately (discussed in the next section).
This may seem like it will take a lot of time, but the truth is it is a fairly fast process if you keep up with your audits regularly. Try creating a system where every time someone publishes an article, they record where they linked within that article on a spreadsheet. This way you don’t have to go to each article separately—you have it all there on the spreadsheet.
2. Go through and repurpose old content that is no longer relevant.
This doesn’t just mean entire articles, but even just small parts of an article. In other words, if there is an outdated statistic in one of your articles, go through and make the change. If one of your articles is focusing on outdated information or an outdated idea, see if you can repurpose it and then republish something fresh.
Of course, if you find a piece of content that is just too outdated, you may have to scrap it entirely. I talked with Scott Langdon, Managing Partner of SEO Company HigherVisibility who said, “remember, it’s better to not have an article on your site than to have an article that is old and isn’t helping your readers. Old articles on a website bring the website’s reputation down as a whole, which is why it’s important to look through your content regularly.”
3. Track potential sitemap concerns and indexed pages.
Creating an XML sitemap is going to help you make sure that the search engine bots are caching your pages and are being shown what you want them to be shown (i.e. all of your content). Users should be seeing the most updated pages of your content; so checking these sitemaps regularly will help you make sure nothing has gone wrong. If you forget this point, you might have worked hard to update all of your articles and your users and the bots aren’t seeing that version. Learn more about XML sitemaps here.
As for indexing, simply type in “site:www.domain.com” every once and a while to make sure the content you’re uploading is being included within Google search results.
4. Double-check domain issues and 301 pages.
If there are subdomains out there or 301 pages that are linked to your company this could be affecting your traffic. It’s as simple as that. If 301 pages or sub-domains do show up that you don’t want, be sure to delete them immediately to bring that traffic and those rankings back to your main website.
5. Utilize SEO audit tools to help you record easier and analyze better.
Different tools can help you stay organized during an SEO audit, with content considerations being a big part of that. I highly recommend using a tool to help you gather data and record your findings. Open Site Explorer is a great tool for helping you find broken links on your website, and Screaming Frog will also crawl your entire site to help you find SEO problems. One other popular tool is MySiteAuditor. I haven’t used this much, but it does let you audit specific webpages, which could be great for certain websites.
Do you know of any other quick fixes to improve your content’s search rankings? Let us know what has worked for you and your thoughts in the comment section below.
About the Author
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small businesses and entrepreneurs SEO advice raging from keyword research to local SEO strategy. She is the online content editor and lead writer for Higher Visibility, a nationally recognized SEO company that offers a wide range of SEO services to companies across the country.Follow on Google Plus Follow on Twitter More Content by Amanda DiSilvestro