PHOTO: Christopher Beloch | spray out
Admit it, you have this little problem. You’re not a full-blown content hoarder yet, but you’ve amassed a bunch of older blog posts, websites, and assets in your CMS – most of them unchecked, unoptimized, unloved. Some are years out of date and need to retire. Others work sub-optimally and need a few tweaks to improve their SERP ranking and findability.
You know the importance of regular content optimization, but you don’t. Why not? Because after so much neglect, the task has become incredibly daunting – essentially a massive content review of hundreds or thousands of pages and assets. It can take weeks or months to finish, and who has the time?
Your substantive intervention begins now. There is nothing to fear. I’ll show you how to set up a practical content evaluation and optimization process in which you review and update web pages on a rolling basis in manageable batches.
First, change the way you think about creating content
Do you see content creation as a linear process? How planned, create, distribute / publish and then move on? This approach will fall short of your content strategy. Your pages, posts and assets will not reach their full potential.
Instead, see content creation as a circular, iterative process with an “assessment step” for each content to evaluate its performance and make any necessary improvements on a regular basis. Embed this mindset on your team and incorporate it into your content operations by allocating appropriate time and resources.
Choose your content rating criteria and tools
Save time by developing a set of standard criteria for reviewing and scoring all content. Select only the performance metrics and attributes that will help you answer the question, “Is this content doing what it is supposed to?” Your goal is to set up a system that enables quick review and decisive action on each content item (e.g. keep, update, remove).
I’m a huge fan of setting up a content scorecard, and there are several ways to create and manage it. You can export Google Analytics or Google Search Console data to an Excel spreadsheet, or set up a dashboard in Tableau and pull data directly from your CMS. Or view metrics directly in your CMS.
The following is mandatory: You must rate content both quantitatively and qualitatively.
This means that you don’t make content optimization decisions based solely on quantitative data such as page views, downloads or bounce rate. They also include qualitative factors: is the content well written and engaging? Is there current information on products or trends? Does it reflect your brand’s voice and tone? Does it correspond to the right phase of the customer journey?
Questions like these need to be built into your system or spreadsheet. They will help you make the right updates to keep your content current and improve its performance.
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Set ongoing review dates for content types
Decide how often to review your content. Different types of content require different schedules. For example, a major product or solution page that is competing for a SERP from Page 1 may deserve monthly or quarterly reviews and tweaks. Blog posts could be reviewed every three to six months after their publication date. Evergreen content may only require annual review.
Next, decide how you’d like to stack your reviews. It can get overwhelming to review individual pages and assets individually when their due dates are reached. A better approach is to consolidate reviews and run them once a month or once a quarter during scheduled review sprints. You can also schedule appointments to review pages and assets by subject, product or solution type, or site section. It’s up to you. Of course, keep in mind that other factors also trigger ad hoc evaluations, such as: B. Product updates or launches.
Set automatic reminders and assign ratings in your CMS
Tracking review data can be a hassle if you use a manual process. Determine if your CMS has reminder automation capabilities. Ideally, each time you post new content, you can enter the review date – or the date you want to be automatically archived – in a custom metadata field and assign a reviewer. Your CMS will do the rest, sending reminders to the appropriate team members, who can then enter the content into your system (or spreadsheet) for review.
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Strive for content quality rather than quantity
Regular maintenance and cleaning of your content house will bring you benefits in a short time: more web traffic, higher conversion rates and an overall better experience with digital content for your customers.
But let’s be realistic: The time spent on content optimization reduces the time available for content creation. And what’s so bad about that? The solution to content saturation is to focus on quality, not quantity. Let’s make the most of the content we already have.
Lindy Roux is Vice President and Managing Director of Tendo Communications, a B2B content agency based in San Francisco. She has more than two decades of experience in the areas of content and digital strategy, CMS, SEO, user experience, consumer insights, branding and analytics.