Blog SEO Audit: 5 Steps to Superior Google Rankings
Most successful bloggers know that to attract and engage an audience it is essential to regularly create fresh and valuable content. It’s a proven strategy that also helps improve Google search engine rankings (SEO).
What is often overlooked or misunderstood is the need to audit the existing content and improve it or re-direct it to a new and improved resource.
Failing to audit and update website content could harm the SEO of your blog, and frustrate the user experience. A blog SEO audit, and implementing the fixes, will help grow organic traffic and increase conversions.
In this article we explain how to audit blog content to improve user experience and SEO in 5 actionable steps.
Benefits of A Blog SEO Audit
- Identification of content that doesn’t align with your website goals
- Improvement of content that is not performing as well as it could
- Discovery of new areas of content creation for future blog posts
- Improvement of search engine optimisation (SEO) structure
- Refined targeting towards your intended audience
- Improved conversion rates
Looking to improve blog SEO? A content audit is a fantastic place to start.
Blog Content auditing requires discipline and a systematic approach. It is not something that should be attempted without forethought and planning. This is a job that may end up being a lot more complex than first thought. Fail to prepare and prepare to fail.
We advise scheduling regular blog content audits every 6 months, for example.
If left for longer periods the task could be overwhelming and hard to manage effectively. There’s also a greater chance that users will be landing on out-of-date content and leaving unfulfilled.
5 Steps to A Successful Blog SEO Audit
1. Reaffirm Blog Objectives
It is vital to have a clear idea of goals. What is the purpose of the blog? Who is the target audience and demographic?
Understanding this will ensure that content can be optimised and aligned with the objectives. Content that has no relevance to the up-to-date goals can be re-directed or deleted.
Aside from listing the blog goals, it is also important to set objectives for the audit process. By setting objectives, it highlights the value of the audit process, and enables future performance to be measured. Examples of content goals include:
- Improving SEO rankings
- Increasing website traffic
- Improving audience interaction
- Increasing conversions (purchases, sign ups etc)
Create a document containing both the blog goals, and audit goals, and refer back to them during the audit process. There’s a range of free project management software that can facilitate this process.
2. Crawl All Blog Content
With the newly created goals in mind, it is now time to collate the website content. A great place to start is by using a sitemap if the site doesn’t already have one.
Aside from website pages and blog posts, you may wish to audit other documents like publications, PDFs, and social media profiles.
The Screaming Frog software is excellent for a blog SEO audit. It will quickly identify all of the website assets and highlight any technical errors with the pages. Examples of technical SEO errors could include broken links, duplicate content and more.
When you are clear on the content you wish to audit, create a detailed list in Asana Project Management or Excel including…
- Content-Type (Business page, Blog Post, Product Page, etc.)
- Content Format (HTML page, PDF etc.)
- The total number of words
- Initial publication date
- Last modified date
- Meta Data information (Meta Title & Description)
Keeping this information in a centralised place helps with the organisation and enables you to gradually chip away at the auditing process step-by-step. It also helps other team members if you are sharing the tasks.
3. Analyse Blog Content Performance
It is important to analyse the performance of the existing blog content before making any changes. This can be time-consuming. There are two main types of analysis you can perform – analytical using statistics, and using goals and personal judgment. A combination helps with accuracy without stifling creativity.
Statistical analysis is important to assess how well the content is performing. Utilise free tools like Google Search Console to check on basic info like website traffic, conversion rates, and engagement.
If the blog is built on WordPress there’s also some excellent plugins that will assist with content analysis.
Other paid tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs enable the tracking of search engine rankings for specific keywords. These tools are used by SEO professionals worldwide.
We advise undertaking a detailed statistical analysis to see which pages perform the best, and which pages need improving. By using these tools, you can gauge how your content is performing and all but eliminate the guesswork.
4. Edit and Remove Blog Content if Necessary
We advise splitting the content into 3 categories once you have analysed it.
1. Winning: Content performs well statistically and aligns with the goals – no action needed at this time.
2. Has Potential: Content is ok but not quite there – it has potential, but needs improvement.
3. Losing: Content has no relevance or would take too much time to improve. Delete / re-direct it.
Go through each piece of content and apply this systematic approach to the blog SEO audit. You can then quickly remove any off-track content, and update content that has potential, to improve its effectiveness for SEO and user experience.
*Tip – don’t simply delete website content without re-directing it to another URL source*
If the content is deleted without being re-directed, or without telling search engines not to index it, a 404 page not found would be the result. This will frustrate the user experience, as clicks result in an empty page not found.
301 (permanent) and 302 (temporary) re-directs are the most common type of redirects from one URL to another and help re-direct users to old or deleted content to a more useful web page.
There are plugins to do this if you are using WordPress and have limited technical knowledge and time. However, there is a slight advantage in relation to load speed of the re-direct when it is completed within the site’s .htaccess file. This is the better option if you are more tech savvy or have a developer to assist.
Here is more information on deleting pages from your blog correctly.
5. Optimise On Site SEO
Often referred to as ‘On Site SEO’ – there are best practises to ensure your content shines.
- Include relevant keywords and search terms but do not overdo it. If you repeat the same keyword too often it could have a negative affect on SEO.
- Add / re-write META titles (descriptions that show up in Google beneath your blog header)
- Update / remove broken internal and external links
- Add ALT descriptions to all images within your blogs to accurately describe them
*Internal links are links pointing to other blogs or content on your website. External links are those pointing to other websites and resources (for example, Wikipedia).
There’s numerous other technical aspects that can help blog content rank higher in Google – but the points listed above are fundamentals that should not be overlooked.
Blog Posts That Google Likes
The more relevant to user search, accurate and up-to-date your content on Google the better. The main purpose of these five steps is to achieve exactly that – without harming the content that is already performing well.
Example: Someone searches Google and clicks on the ‘Best Things to Do in Bangkok‘. The person reading it is likely to be someone visiting the Thai capital in the near future, or a tourist who is already there and looking for inspiration.
This blog that the reader has landed on should have accurate pricing, opening times and locations. It’s essential all the information is up-to-date and accurate to avoid the reader being misled and frustrated.
Another important check is that the external reference links in your blog are up-to-date and relevant. Imagine directing a reader to a great restaurant via an old link, only for them to realise on arrival that it has relocated to the other side of town or closed down. Frustrating!
Auditing is important in any type of business. It is a useful, often retrospective process that allows you to take stock of what you have. Auditing your blog content is exactly the same.
As a blogger, you should know that content is the main driving force behind your website traffic and any revenue you are able to generate. Regular content audits are vital to ensure longevity and that your blog contains little to no redundant material. Keeping things fresh will help preserve your Google rankings and satisfy users.
“Publish only your best content to Google and make it optimised, useful, and relevant.”