Did you know that more than 40% of a business’ revenue is captured through organic traffic?
That’s why the majority of businesses are spending up to $5,000 per month on SEO.
But there’s a problem: If you’re not creating content that drives your target audience and convinces them to stick around, working your way up to position one will be a tough slog–meaning your SEO budget could be going to waste.
And, with 55% of marketers planning to increase their content marketing budgets over the coming year, competition is fiercer than ever.
Crafting content that shoots to the top of Google’s ranks is tricky.
There’s the ever-possible chance of investing time into 3,000-word blog posts that fail to make an impact–not to mention the several algorithm updates that spring on us unexpectedly (with the most recent one resulting in websites losing 50%+ of their organic traffic).
Don’t fancy overhauling your entire content strategy?
I don’t blame you.
But you will need to fix these content marketing mistakes if you’re to stand any chance at driving organic traffic.
1. Leaving old content to go stale
It’s easy to think that everything in the marketing world needs to move fast.
That’s true if you’re emailing customer post-purchase, or retargeting customers on Facebook within a week of them visiting your website.
But content marketing? It doesn’t need to go that fast–especially if the resources you’re creating are evergreen (like a “how to” blog post).
You can often see great success by working with what you’ve already got.
Constantly producing new content can be a waste of time.
The old content you’ve already invested time, effort and $$$ into could drive thousands of organic visitors if you spent an hour updating it.
Google views constantly-updated content as “fresh”. And, you guessed it: It’s a ranking factor in their algorithm.
My friend and fellow B2B content marketer Jordie Black has the proof.
After updating her client’s content and making it “fresh”, organic traffic to the blog post increased by 1034%:
The biggest mistake I see is writing for Google, rather than writing for your target audience. Write for people. Make content original and entertaining enough to share. Write so it’s scannable, with fun images and pull quotes and intriguing headings that make people want to read more. And link to other posts on related topics to keep those readers on your site, and ensure they’ll come back. But even if you don’t make drastic changes to your old content, Tom Demers says:
There is often a “power law” that applies to existing posts where a small number of older posts drive a significant percentage of traffic (maybe 10-20% from the top two posts and as much as 75-80% from the top 25-50 posts). This can happen even if their previous content creation efforts were uneven and not particularly focused on SEO.
Those posts have not been updated in several months or even years.
When updated, those posts can frequently see a 15-30% increase, which is significant since those posts already represent a significant portion of the site’s overall traffic.
In a nutshell: You could be missing out on a 15% increase in organic traffic, at least, if you’re not updating old content.
So, how do you determine which pages you should start with?
You’ve got two options:
Head over to Google Analytics and find pages with declining search traffic
Use Google Search Console to identify pages loitering on page #2 that could do with a ranking boost
Then, for each piece of content, “freshen” it up by:
Inserting new graphics
Referencing new data, surveys or studies
Reaching out to experts and adding-in new quotes
Checking/replacing broken links using SEO Minion
Adding links to content you’ve published recently
Performing keyword research again, and including keywords that are growing in popularity using Google Trends
google trends to update old content
2. Not deleting (or optimizing) auto-generated pages
If you’re publishing new content regularly, there’s a chance that your CMS is automatically generating new pages on your behalf.
Sounds like a nice helping hand, right?
It’s not always the best help.
Allowing hundreds of auto-generated pages to clutter your site could put you at an SEO disadvantage–especially when they’re left to go stale.
(And that happens quickly when over 300 million blog posts are published daily.)
Pages automatically generated by your CMS, such as:
…can quickly fall off your radar. (Or go completely unnoticed.)
That leads to a ton of low-quality pages bringing down the overall credibility of your website–and could cost you those all-important rankings.
category page examplesSo, how do you fix it and get back in Google’s good books?
Search through your CMS and see whether you’ve got any of those low-quality, automatically generated pages.
For each, you’ve got two options:
Optimize them: Refreshing meta tags; adding alt text for images; writing fresh content; optimizing for a long-tail keyword
OR delete them: and redirect the old URL to a better quality, relevant page
Feel nervous about deleting or redirecting pages because you’re losing a fair amount of pages indexed by Google?
Quickbooks doubled their search traffic by deleting a 40% of the content from their resource center. That extra traffic contributed to a 72% increase in signups.
Remember: It’s quality that counts–not quantity.
3. Publishing awful user-generated content
Opening your site to contributors is a fantastic way to generate content on a larger scale. But if you’re not carefully monitoring the content being published by your network, you could be undoing the SEO strategy you’ve already got in place.
Why? Because external contributors to your website could be posting:
Overly promotional content
Content optimized for a long-tail keyword you’re already targeting elsewhere