In between major changes at your website, like content refresh or redesign, you can still make incremental improvements by working to improve the performance of individual pages. If you improve one page or post every work day, you’ll have some 250 improved pages each year. It’s worthwhile upkeep.
But randomly dipping into your website and optimizing pages you happen to see is not the most effective approach. Take a more strategic approach to optimizing pages from your website, and you’ll see business benefits as well as SEO improvements.
First, find the underperforming pages.
There are a number of ways to identify the pages that aren’t working as hard as they could. A good starting point is Google Analytics. Check the Behavior> Site Content> All Pages report. You’ll see your most popular pages, but you can also find your least popular pages. Just click the arrow on Pageviews to see your least-frequently accessed pages.
If you have a small website, this might be enough to give you a starting point. If you have a large website with many pages, though, you’re likely to find that many of the entries at the low end of the Pageviews report are site searches, translations, and timely news or events.
Somewhere around the middle of the report, though, you’ll find pages that align with your business goals but don’t get many visitors. Identify the ones that are most important in terms of path to purchase or which make the most compelling argument for your goods and services. Make a list of 10 pages you’d like to have visitors see more often.
Do the same for Bounce Rate to identify pages that may get sufficient traffic but don’t encourage people to stay and browse.
Next, look for patterns.
But look, too, for more popular authors, or pages that convert well but don’t have much traffic. See whether changes in layouts affect the likelihood that visitors will exit from a page or go on to another page. See whether here are topics that you’ve overdone so that multiple pages compete with each other for attention. See whether factors like the length of a page or post, reading level, or Pinworthy images affect a page’s performance. Consider the possibility that your page isn’t using the right keywords.
Now, decide on action.
You have some options with your list:
- Optimize the pages. If you see that harder to read pages get less traction, rewrite those pages. If you discover that pages with bullet points do better than those without, add some bullet points. If you don’t have the skills to see the patterns or make the changes, contact us and we’ll be happy to help. This is a must for any pages in your main navigation; if it doesn’t matter that they’re not performing well, they don’t belong in your navigation.
- Ignore the pages. Pages that should be ignored probably shouldn’t have made it onto your short list, but if you see that a page provides interesting reading material for a few people a month and doesn’t have a lot of potential from a business standpoint, leave it alone.
- Replace the pages. This may not mean removing the old posts, but there are certainly times when things need to be updated. If your page on vaccinations has outdated information, rewrite it directly on the page. The content will be new (and will draw the attention of search engines). If your last-year post about sustainable packaging has value but there’s more to say, leave it and also write a new post on the same subject. Obviously, if a product is no longer available, remove it immediately from all the pages that reference it, and create new product pages.
Regular upkeep at your website will make a significant difference in its performance.