Digital Marketing Best Practices To Keep Your Pages Fresh and Rankings High
Updating website content is like spring cleaning for digital marketing. It’s good to get rid of the stuff you don’t need anymore and make room for what’s to come. But beyond providing a refresh, updating your content regularly means more frequent indexing by search engines. Regular indexing means you’ve got a better shot at maintaining good search rankings, and in fact gives you an opportunity to boost rankings, too. Aside from technical fixes and design and UX considerations, though, fresh content is the best way to keep things, well… fresh. Think of old content as stale. It’s getting the job done, but chances are other websites are looking at what you’re doing and looking for ways to improve. The long and short of it is that if you haven’t reviewed your content in a while, you may be missing out on valuable web traffic. Using a few handy digital marketing best practices, you can improve your content. We’ve compiled a few helpful tips to help you refocus, refresh, and reinvigorate your site’s content. There’s a catch, though: You’ve got to be absolutely, brutally honest with your existing content. Ready? Let’s get started:
Define Your Target Audience
Who exactly are you aiming to please? Be specific. If you don’t know your audience, then it’s going to be tough creating content that meets their needs. Knowing your audience helps determine your tone, voice, approach, and efforts. Chances are, you’ve already got a good idea of who your audience is, at least on paper, but a content refresh is a perfect opportunity to dig deeper and see who else you’re reaching.
We’ve spoken before about invaluable reporting and analytical tools. They help you drill down in your site and uncover further details that can help your efforts. (In fact, you can even determine the devices your users are accessing your site with. Pretty neat, huh?) Start by defining the demographics you’re targeting. You can break this down by a number of factors, including:
- Education, and
As an example, if you’re a tech company selling smartphones to young working professionals, chances are they’re in their mid- to late-twenties and early thirties. They’re likely in major urban centres, probably with some post-secondary education, and could be a year or two into a steady job. You can also infer they’re likely on the go a fair amount, and likely check their phones during evening hours or the morning commute. This info gives you access to the “who” of your site content, but not necessarily the “why.” For example, do your users want a quick and easy read because they’re always on the go? Or are they looking for something deeper? This brings us to the next question:
Why Are People Reading Your Content?
Your readers are visiting your webpage for a specific reason, whether it’s a product, service, or information. When it comes to your content, ask yourself if your audience:
- Reads for work or for leisure?
- Reads at home or on the go?
- Would share your content?
- Prefers short or long paragraphs?
- Prefers long reports or small blurbs of information?
If your content doesn’t meet their needs, they’re going to bounce. Going back to our first example (the young working professionals), why is someone checking out your site? In all likelihood, they’re looking for more info on your products and want to make an informed purchase or decision. Chances are they’re also looking for quick breakdowns of what your product does and what makes it better than the competition. Those questions up above? Keep them in mind and take notes. Compare your notes with the findings you get from Google Analytics and other tools.
Use Relevant Keywords
Before you start overhauling your site content, review your keywords. Will they be affected by your content updates? If they are still relevant to your content, check if your webpage is using them effectively. Are they in title tags, URL, copy, and image alt attributes? If your keywords no longer match your content goals, you will need to do a bit of keyword research. This involves finding the terms you should rank for. A ranking analysis will show your webpage’s ranking and ranking potential. You should also find out which keywords your competition ranks for. If you rank for related keywords and phrases, congratulations! Your webpage is relevant to Google. Aim to improve the supporting content on other pages that relate to your target page. Link building and PR can also improve page authority. Those with no rank will need to update their webpage and digital marketing strategy. Gather up all the info, notes, and research you have to date. You’re going to need it for the next part, and you’re going to have to put your game face on, because it’s brutal honesty time.
Review Existing Content (AKA the Red Pen Challenge)
It’s time to get brutally honest. You might be wondering about the name we’ve given to this section. One of our content experts used to work in print, and before publication, writers, editors, and designers alike would pore over proofs to ensure everything was perfect. Everyone dreaded red pen markups and worked hard to ensure they were kept to a minimum. This is the part where you get to analyze your content and see if it meets your audience’s needs. And it can be tough. Use these criteria to rate your content, and be honest with yourself:
- Spelling and grammar
- Keyword relevance
Here’s an example of a scorecard from Moz you can use to rate your content. In a perfect world, you’d have perfect 5/5 scores across the board, but chances are you’ll always find room for improvement. If you notice spelling errors, take note. If there isn’t enough white space on a page, jot it down. Being honest about the quality of your content and webpage design will help you improve in the long run. Once you’ve taken note of what needs improvement, prioritize the work. Start with what needs the most improvements. Web pages in need of a makeover perform poorly in search, so focus on updating these first. Use this grading system to review your content across all digital platforms. These updates will help you keep your content relevant and useful to your audience – after all, you’re writing for them!
Assess and Reassess… and Assess Again
When you’re ready to update based on your above findings, remember to keep checking your changes as you go. You may become caught up in the editing and stray away from your goals at some point. So a rule of thumb is to re-evaluate your content throughout the updating process:
- Halfway through edits;
- When you’ve completed 85% of edits; and,
- Once you are finished editing.
Check that your content still:
- Meets your goals;
- Meets your audience’s needs;
- Has consistent voice and tone throughout; and,
- Has a proper structure/hierarchy of information.
Finally, do one last performance review using the grading system. This will help you decided if your updated webpage is ready to publish. If you meet all the elements for a relevant webpage, you shouldn’t have trouble staying relevant to Google. But if your rankings are in the gutter, it might be time to consider a digital marketing overhaul. A content refresh and revamp is a great way to get started.