With a content audit strategy, traffic to RD’s website and the blog grew 70% in 2020; see the step by step and access a free spreadsheet
We had several remarkable facts at the beginning of the last decade, in 2011. In politics, for the first time in history, Brazil was presided over by a woman. In sport, Spain was the current World Cup champion. In the Marketing and Sales universe, Digital Results was born, which is completing 10 years!
RD always had the objective of creating a Digital Marketing Automation software, RD Station Marketing, but in case you didn’t know, RD started as a blog, posting several contents that at the time were unique to the Brazilian market.
If you go back to the first blog posts, you will see that the authors are the very founders of the company – including our CEO, Eric Santos, who wrote frequently.
At that time, it was difficult for a blog to gain relevance and organic traffic without a high volume of posts with an accelerated cadence of publications. Thus, deeper content was not even designed for a simple blog post, and having a large volume of texts was the preferred SEO strategy.
And this strategy worked, in fact, with the blog gaining more and more relevance on the national scene and generating more results, mainly organically.
Even old content, which has been updated and republished, is still among the most relevant on the blog, such as Eric Santos’ post about Leads (originally published in 2012).
Quantity x Quality
With the increase in competition and the digital maturity of the market, it has become increasingly difficult to position content in the “5 tips” style on subjects, especially those that are most in-demand.
In fact, currently, Google’s own SEO Beginner’s Guide says the following:
The content must be accurate, clear, and comprehensive. For example, if you describe your page as a recipe, post a complete recipe that is easy to follow, rather than just a set of ingredients or a basic description of the dish. Avoid posting insufficient content for the purpose of the page.
All of this made us bring ever more depth and quality to the published content, whether on the blog or on the special pages we publish. For this, we use the Topic Clusters strategy, whose objective is to bring more and more quality and in-depth content.
However, despite the change in the content production process and the focus on quality, we still had a legacy that kept getting in the way. It was like an anchor that held our organic growth.
One of the biggest problems Blue World City, identified is holding back our organic growth as keyword cannibalization. Have you ever heard of it?
Basically, by having more than one content developed for the same keyword, we are not only competing against other sites to position the page on Google, but we are also competing with ourselves (ie, being “cannibals”).
To be clearer: if we have 3 different posts explaining how to create a persona, which one should Google place?
It may be that you position content that is neither the best nor the most up-to-date. And the worst: by having more than one content on the subject, the internal and external links end up dissolved between them, impacting the authority and consequently the position.
In short, having just one post on the subject will:
- centralize links, reinforcing authority;
- leave it more complete, as I’m going to take advantage of the positive points of other similar content;
- show Google what content to position for a given word.
Unless we haven’t covered a specific topic/keyword in some way yet, why create a new post about it?
As already mentioned, in the eyes of Google, it is better to have a complete and in-depth post than a lot of granular content.
Ensuring a single content for a given topic means higher quality content, ease of internal links (they focus only on this content) and avoids problems such as keyword cannibalization.
In addition to fighting for Google’s attention with the other content we already have, new content starts from scratch, without links and certainly less complete than reusing the content we already have on the subject.
For all these reasons, it is essential to review content with the potential to generate organic traffic, but which is outdated, and promote a complete update.
Google likes updated (and improved) content, as shown by a Botify experiment.
To ensure that the contents of Resultados Digitais are complete, up-to-date, and do not compete with each other (both for Google and for users), in 2020 we started a complete content audit.
In summary, we surveyed all our content (including the Results Agencies Blog ) and cross-referenced it with other information, such as generated traffic, links and the main keyword of each one, indicating an action plan for each content.
To give you an idea, we have so much content to work on that we are still promoting the audit, but its results made its efficiency clear: after growing practically nothing in 2019, we increased organic traffic by more than 70% in 2020, even reaching Google’s top position for several strategic keywords.
How to do a content audit on your website step-by-step
Now that you know all the potential a content audit has for your organic results generation, let’s put it into practice?
To make your work easier, we’ve made available for free the template of the spreadsheet that I used to do this work here at RD (and that I’m using in the examples below).
1. Survey published content
I recommend you create a spreadsheet (preferably on Google Sheets, for integrations) with the listing of all the URLs that are published.
As Google Analytics only brings what you actually had access to in a certain period, if you use WordPress you can use the WP All Export plugin to export all posts.
If not, you can use tools like Screaming Frog or Google Search Console itself, pulling all indexed URLs and filtering through the posts.
2. Cross-reference with information from Google Analytics
Now that you have the list of URLs, it’s interesting to bring their traffic view in another tab. This will help in prioritizing actions and also in sorting out what remains and what will be discarded.
You can do this in two ways: generating a traffic report directly in Google Analytics, exporting and importing it into the spreadsheet, or using the Google Analytics Add-on for Google Sheets (just go to Add- ons>Install Add-ons and search).
To get more data and have a period standardization, I recommend always pulling data from the last 3 closed months. If it’s mid-December, for example, I recommend pulling data for September, October, and November.
If you want to export directly from Analytics, just go to Behavior>Site Content>Target Pages, select the desired period and increase the number of rows in the report, before exporting (I recommend at least 500).
Important: Since in Google Analytics the website domain does not usually appear on pages, you can use the Concatenate formula to include this information. Create a blank column next to the page information and make the formula =CONCAT(“site.com.br”, B2) – in the example, the URL information is in cell B2. Remembering that the location configured in the spreadsheet affects the formulas, so in the examples, I’m using the Brazil location.
3. Cross-reference with information from Google Search Console
As we did with Google Analytics data, it is interesting to bring to the spreadsheet, in separate tabs, the view of keywords and also of links (mainly internal) of the pages.
To bring the top keywords along with the URLs you can use the Search Analytics for Sheets add-on (again, just look in the Add-ons). After integrating with your Google Search Console account (if you don’t have it yet, go back to a house and set it up today).
When opening the add-on, configure it by choosing the site’s domain and the desired period, group the data by page (Page) and keywords (Query) and finalize (Request Data). If you have traffic from different countries
In addition to this information, if you want to see the number of links that each page has, you can export this data directly from Google Search Console and import it into a new spreadsheet tab. also recommend manually including in the tab where all the URLs are what the main topic or subject of the content is, to facilitate the grouping of contents when getting hands-on. You can do this after the next step, where the information is all in the main tab, to use the Search Console keyword information as a basis.
4. Use the Vlookup function to bring the information to the main tab
Now that you already have the survey of URLs in the spreadsheet, and in other tabs the traffic information, keywords and links, you can cross it all to make it easier to understand the content that is really bringing traffic, the ones with the most links and those that compete for the same word (or similar terms).
To do this, you can use the Vlookup function, which is used to find values in other spreadsheets. For example: =vlookup(A2;TabName!A:Z;4;FALSE) . With this formula applied, the cell will look in the “ TabName ” tab, between columns A and Z, for a value that is equal to cell A2 of the current tab. When found, it will bring the information in column 4 to the cell.
Another way to extract the information is using the Query function, which is used in the template provided for free above.
When we audited the RD, we defined the following actions for the contents:
In cases of content that already had quality and performance, even compared to similar content, which fought for the same word, for example.
Recommended action for posts that would be kept, as they fit the previous criteria, but were not with SEO Onpage “up to date”.
For content that performed well but was not up to date or the content was not very high quality. The action also indicated for old news, which ended up positioning for related terms, turning into evergreen content.
Here the cleaning begins! The ideal is to mark content that is repetitive and competes with those that have been defined to maintain, optimize or rewrite, but which have quality and relevance, and can be reused in related content.
In the end, reusing the content or not, it must be removed from the blog and redirected to the relevant post (if it is actually reused, redirect to the post that contains your content).
Finally, it is the action for content that no longer makes sense for the blog and is not meant to be reused. The ideal here is to remove and redirect to your most relevant content.
6. Get your hands dirty with our content audit worksheet
Now just follow the plan! Organize the spreadsheet by sorting from A to Z by the topics you defined manually (or by the main keyword extracted from Google Search Console).
Now it’s up to you! Diagnose your blog to understand the status of the content and whether a full audit is an alternative for your SEO strategy to take off.
Perhaps by centralizing all the information in the spreadsheet, you notice that the problems I presented, such as cannibalization of words and content that do not generate results, are not part of your context, so the audit will probably not bring the results you are looking for.
Remembering that, even with this work in progress, it is essential to continue your Content Marketing strategy, publishing new and quality posts with an adequate cadence.