Which content are you going to update?
Here’s the general rule: If any piece of content is over a year old, it needs to be updated.
Taken at face value, following that advice could result in a heck of a lot of work. Optimizing every single piece of content you’ve ever published is a huge task. Much of that work wouldn’t get you the kind of results you want from this, either.
So instead optimizing every piece of old content, consider this: Optimize the top-performing 10%. The question is, which 10% of pages do you go after? What are you optimizing for?
This is obviously hugely important. And answering it is more complex than it might first appear.
Here’s why: After hearing the question, “What are you optimizing for?” most marketers are going to say, leads, or traffic, or revenue generated.
Those are all great answers.
As you know, optimizing for revenue generated is challenging, because tracking ROI (aka “attribution”) for content marketing can be murky. It’s less murky with some of the marketing automation platforms we have now, but it’s still as much art as science.
But optimizing just the pages generating the most leads or revenue would cause you to miss out on some choice opportunities. Optimizing based on just traffic would have the same effect. There are a couple other situations you’ll want to account for:
1. The ‘ole page two to page one SEO optimization trick
Even if we could perfectly track where the business is coming from, we’d still be missing out on one important opportunity with organic traffic. It’s because, in essence, SEO is a winner-take-all game.
What I mean by that is that clicks to the search results aren’t evenly distributed – a page in position 7 doesn’t get anywhere near as many clicks as a page in position 1. This disparity gets even wider when you look at how many clicks the results on page 1 get versus the results on page 2. It’s an old quick-fix SEO trick to
- Identify pages that are lingering near the top of page 2,
- Optimize them just enough to get them to move up 2-3 positions
- Enjoy 2-3 times more traffic (sometimes more) because you’ve moved into the big leagues on page one
That’s a long way of saying that if we optimize only for revenue or leads, we’ll be missing out on this “jump to page 1” SEO trick. And it’s a good trick, well worth using in your “audit” or your “historic optimization” – whichever term you want to use.
2. High traffic pages that aren’t converting well
These are another flavor of missed opportunity for content: Pages that are winning SEO-wise, but that are losers when it comes to conversion rates. The low conversion rates may be coming from a call to action that doesn’t fit with the content or the visitors’ intent well. Or you might have a page that just isn’t delivering on user intent in general. No way to know until you check each page.
3. The high traffic, high bounce rate pages
There’s another thing you’ll miss if you only go after revenue or leads: Pages with high traffic and a high bounce rate. These are pages that are getting attention from inbound traffic sources, but when people actually view the page, they tend to pogo stick back.
You may need to do a bit of analysis. If you have a killer page that answers one question so well that the reader is totally satisfied and leaves your site, that’s technically a bounce, but it’s not necessarily a bad page. Google cannot tell how long a session lasts on a one-page visit, so pay no mind to “session duration.”
It’s a major missed opportunity. You’re getting what should be valuable traffic, but those pages are not delivering the value back to you.