Blogs are regularly used as part of a content marketing strategy, but whilst creating a plethora of posts may be an enticing short-term strategy, it’s important to keep your blog maintained to keep organic traffic growing. Here we run through the reasons your blog should be audited and how to perform an audit to make the most out of your blog.
HOW TO RUN AN SEO AUDIT ON YOUR BLOG
Blogs are an excellent way to drive traffic to your website and generate brand awareness! It’s no secret - the vast majority of brands utilise a blog as part of their content marketing strategy. It positions your business as an authority in your sector, as well as being able to provide a human element to your brand (and this human element is only increasing in value).
But are you getting as much traffic as you could be to your blog? Are you focused on delivering quality posts that resonate with your users, or are you pushing quantity, with many posts receiving little traffic and resting in the blog post graveyard?
If the latter is true, it’s likely that your blog could do with a spring-clean. In fact, even if you think you’re in the quality over quantity category, it’s highly likely that you aren’t maximising the SEO strength of your blog pages.
How can having too much blog content negatively affect your SEO?
Below are three key reasons why you should consider an SEO audit to tighten up your blog performance.
If you have articles or blog posts that cover the same or similar topic, then it’s entirely plausible that they are targeting the same or similar keyword terms.
This is where keyword cannibalisation occurs – by targeting the same keywords across multiple pages, you are hurting your chances of ranking for either page. If you write two blog posts about (e.g.) keeping your New Year’s resolution, which of those should rank for the keyword ‘how to keep your New Year’s resolution’? If you don’t know, neither will Google! By competing against each other, both pages are weakened as Google will prefer to rank unique content higher.
By consolidating the information into one post, you are boosting your ability to rank for the search terms you are targeting. You’ll also end up with a stronger post too!
Backlinks are a critical pillar of SEO. In Google’s E-A-T framework, the ‘T’ stands for trust. Google crawls links and if your website is linked to from other high-trust websites, you vastly improve your chances of ranking. But having similar posts on your blog or posts being buried 10 pages (or clicks away), you’re impeding your ability to gain those important backlinks.
For example, let’s imagine I have a blog post titled ‘how to write a blog post’ and another blog post titled ‘5 things to include when you write a blog post’. Any website that wants to refer to my content would have to pick between the two. So maybe, we end up with 10 strong domains linking to each post. This is ok, but results would be far better if we had one strong post with 20 strong domains linking to it.
What about those buried posts? Ensure you have an effective filtering system in place – this means that no post should be more than 3 clicks away from the home page.
Internal Linking – it’s not just about the external links coming in to your blog either, every time you add a post you are diluting the strength flowing through it. Maintaining valuable posts and removing outdated (does that post talking about the small competition you ran 8 years ago really still hold relevance?) or repurposing them into something more valuable will aid in retaining more linking strength on your pages.
Crawl budget refers to the number of pages of your website that Google crawls at any one time.
By adding more and more pages to your site, diluting link strength, you could find that the pages you want Google to find are missed. When low-value pages are crawled in favour of high-value pages, this is wasted crawl budget.
With that in mind, by maintaining your blog you will ensure those high-value posts are crawled and ranked more effectively.
How to Perform a Blog Audit
Now we understand why we need to maintain our blog, how do we audit it? Follow the steps below
1. Collate All Current Posts
First of all, we need a list of every post that is on the site. You could find posts that have seen sessions through tools such as Google Analytics, or you could find these on CMS – but I would recommend using a tool such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider to run a scan of the site to gain all blog URL’s.
2. Gather Performance Data
To make an informed decision, you need the facts.
In this case, you need to know how your posts perform. A good timeframe to look at is the previous 12 months. The following metrics would be most useful:
- Organic sessions
- Organic conversions
- # of Keywords Ranked For
- # of Keywords Ranked For on Page 1
- Social Shares
A consideration with pageviews is that this shouldn’t be just organic pageviews, as you may be impacting performance of other channels.
With the above, you should have a clear picture of the performance of every post on your blog.
3. Identify Similar Posts
The best way to do this is to categorise your posts by topic. By creating topic clusters, we can then establish whether we have posts that have near-duplicate content, which we can then use to establish actions with. There are also tools out there which can help to identify duplicate content, which are easy to find.
4. Establish Low- performers
Are there posts there that are seeing a low number of sessions? Not ranking for any keywords? These can be identified using the metrics we collected earlier on in the process. Before you move onto any decision to remove these posts though, you should examine why this is. A few questions to ask yourself:
- Is this still time-relevant? (a post about an event in 2015 isn’t likely to be valuable in 2021)
- Is there a content issue? (Is there minimal copy? is this a duplicate post being passed over for another in the list?)
- Is there a technical issue? (Is the blog indexable? Is it full of broken links? Does it have metadata/an effective H1?)
Once we have established the performance of posts, we can move onto the final stage.
5. It’s Decision Time!
Now you have a list of your blog posts and all the facts to make an informed decision.
There are generally 3 actions to choose from:
- Keep – These are the high-value posts and need to stay
- Repurpose/Merge – Where there are two duplicate posts, merge the two (if one is strong, merge the content from the weaker one into that one). Some weak content could be included here too, maybe there’s a post that is on an interesting topic, but there are only 200 words on it. this could be worth keeping, providing the copy is expanded and optimised.
- Remove – These are the posts that are obsolete. With no relevance, no engagement, and no reason to stay on the site. Get rid! Ensure the page returns a 410 response code, indicating to Google that the page has been permanently removed.
A Solid Foundation
By the end of the blog audit process, you are in a position where your blog contains only high-value content that is easily accessible to users and easily indexable to Google. From this base, you can begin to develop those topics that you found in the audit and grow the blog in a sustainable way, focusing on quality over quantity.
Are you looking to develop your SEO or content strategy? Get in touch to speak with one of our specialists.