Too many people put too much focus on link building. I don’t blame them; it’s touted as the driving force behind solid rankings, and it’s too easy to get caught up in that rat race, but SEO isn’t just link building. SEO encompasses everything to improve your website’s visibility and that should start with your website itself. Building links to a faulty website is worse than not building links at all.
Adding good content to your website is one thing that’s been hammered into your head, but little attention is paid to your existing content. You may have old pages providing little to no value that are dragging your entire domain’s value down. So before you start link building, do a content audit of your entire website to pinpoint what needs to be scraped and what needs more link juice.
Step 1: Pull Your Data
First, you need to get a list of all the pages on your website. Yes. Every. Single. One. In Webmaster Central, you can download a list of your top linked-to pages, but this won’t include everything. Use a crawler like Screaming Frog to capture more. And then, manually click through your navigation to make sure you’ve captured everything. This will be labor intensive, especially if your site has been around for a while. Use an intern.
Excel is going to be your best friend for categorizing everything, and I only pull the data that I need. Here’s what it’ll start to look like:
Step 2: Find the Faults
The goal is to find the pages that aren’t providing value to your users, so the best metric to look at is going to be page views. If a page on your website didn’t get at least 100 views during the past year, put it on the chopping block. But remember that this is just data. Good data, yes, but just numbers, and anything that has to do with content should be an inherently human task. Before taking any action, you need to have a human eye on it. Ask yourself these questions:
- What purpose is the page supposed to serve?
- Who am I trying to target with this page?
- Is the content actually bad or is it just not visible enough?
- Is this page telling me something I didn’t already know?
Step 3: Decide Your Plan of Attack
Now that you know what you have, figure out what you want to do with it. You have four options: Keep it as is, update and write, better promote it, or delete it. Color coding it in your spreadsheet will make it easy to quickly tell what you need to do, especially when you’re dealing with hundreds of lines of data.
Update and Rewrite: I always try to improve the content rather than wipe it clean from my index. You spent the time and effort in putting it there in the first place, so it’s likely most can be improved upon. Is the information more than a year old? Does the page talk about an outdated service or offering?
Better Promote: If the quality is good but the page views are less than stellar, you may need to just add a little more love and visibility to the page. Give the page a more prominent placement in your navigation or have a direct link off of it from your home page. Look at your In-page Analytics to get this information.
Delete: Bad content slips through the cracks, and if it’ll take too long to update and it’s not worth the effort, it’s better to bite the bullet and just call it quits. Your website has a limited amount of equity in it, so why waste it on crummy pages?
analytics, on-site factors and content development. Follow her on Twitter: @erinever.