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Did you know your online content needs a regular spring cleaning?

Although it might be tempting to consider your digital assets as one-and-done deals, you should refresh them as you would any other sales or marketing materials. Most websites could benefit from a regular scrub-down to improve their technical health, continue meeting search engines' ever-evolving standards, and ensure audience relevance.

From a technical-health standpoint, spring-cleaning your content can identify potential issues. For instance, you might not realize that readers leave a page too soon because of slow load times or poor design. Once you understand the problems on your site, you can make the necessary repairs.

Moreover, search engines are continually revamping their algorithms, resulting in new search rankings. Search engines are businesses, after all: If they don't provide searchers with a decent service, those searchers won't be happy.

That is where scouring, fine-tuning, and updating your content really comes into play. If your page lacks valuable, expert-level content, Google bots won't hang around, and your website traffic and prospects will decrease.

How to Spring-Clean Your Content Until It Sparkles

So, where should you start on your website's spring cleaning?

A good place to begin is to examine each webpage for relevance. Check out your blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, and other content. Anything you think might entice viewers to learn more about your company should be put through a relevance litmus test.

That litmus test consists of two questions:

  1. Does this content address and solve a common challenge or showcase your business as an industry expert?
  2. Is this content relevant to your target audience?

Answering "no" to both questions indicates that the content needs to be shelved or overhauled. A complete or partial "yes" means you should tidy up the content.

Scan the content to make sure that the language and subject matter have kept up with trends. Be sure all statistics, dates, and studies are relatively recent. A good rule of thumb is to look for sources from the past three years. Otherwise, your content could appear outdated and irrelevant.

Once you're done with your scan, focus on the content's introduction. Does it need a more relevant or time-sensitive hook? If your hook isn't exciting, the content has little chance of attracting readers.

Don't be afraid to crowdsource ideas from your marketing colleagues. If your content is evergreen, you might not want to update anything. Just make sure nothing in the piece ages it.

Finally, check out your webpage URLs. Believe it or not, URL value matters a lot in website content relevance. Take all of those "Top 10" lists, for example. You never want to start a URL with "top-10-things-to…" because what happens if you need to switch the title to "Top 8" or "Top 12" in the future? The simple fix for that issue is to drop the number and make the URL "top-things-to…" so your content remains relevant even if it gets updated.

Four Metrics to Help Decide Whether Website Content Should Be Saved or Scrapped

Now that you've perused your content, you might be wondering what to do with the pieces that are no longer relevant and those that fail to show your company's expertise as an industry leader. Changing a hook or statistic might not be enough to freshen it up. In those cases, you'll need to consider these four metrics to determine whether you should scrap the content.

1. Bounce Rate

If a page has a bounce rate of 70% or above, you can be certain that it's flawed in some way. Maybe it loads at a snail's pace, which can be fixed; or perhaps it just doesn't read well. Your job is to investigate all possibilities so you know how to proceed.

2. Goal Rate

Each piece of content should have a trackable goal. In fact, you might want to construct a goal-related spreadsheet for all the content you spring-clean.

If you've never assigned goals to your content before, start with simple objectives. A goal of a blog post might be for readers to download a guide. If the goal isn't being met, then you know the content isn't working.

3. Total Lifetime Users

Webpages that have been up at least six months or longer have likely amassed a decent number of lifetime users. Let's say, however, that the total number of users for a piece of content is next to nothing. That could be a sign that the webpage serves little purpose and might even be hurting the overall performance of your website.

4. Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization happens when more than one webpage on your site targets the same keyword. Usually, none of the pages end up ranking well.

You can use a tool such as Semrush to help you pinpoint cases of possible keyword cannibalization. Then, consider removing all but one of the pages. You might decide to repurpose the content from the old pages to turn the best-performing URL into a massive, rejuvenated pillar page.

* * *

Your website is an important extension of your business. By putting it through a spring-cleaning, you can be sure that customers see your brand as shiny and relevant, not old-fashioned and stale.

More Resources on Website Content

A 12-Step Checklist for Creating Good Website Content [Infographic]

Does Your Website Really Need That? Five Elements to Rethink

Fix Your Funnel: 15 Things to Remove From Your Site Immediately | MarketingProfs Webinar

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image of Doug Yocco

Doug Yocco is the senior director of digital strategy at Abstrakt Marketing Group, a business growth company that provides lead generation solutions.

LinkedIn: Doug Yocco