If you’re an owner of a small/medium-sized business, then having as few pages as possible should be your number one goal.
This way, you’ll ensure that your most important pages have the highest chance of getting to the top of Google results.
As a matter of fact, the more pages you have, the more links you need to build, since they are still one of the strongest ranking signals, and that’s not just the buzzword. If you ever take a moment to analyse the SERPs for any competitive search query, you’ll see that the top 10 page results all have a solid number of links and a high domain rating.
Let’s look at some stats that back up my statement. Here you can see a list of pages that are currently ranking at the top of Google results by a search query “how to use excel”:
Almost every page has hundreds of backlinks and from 20 to up to 160 referring domains.
Another reason why consolidating your content is a great approach is that content pages with over 2k words have a tendency of ranking much better than their scarcer peers.
Moreover, such in-depth content like guides, how-tos, and case studies will more likely earn a link compared to a generic blog post.
So, where should you start?
Update or Delete Pages that Don’t Bring Any Traffic
I recommend starting the purge by eliminating or reworking the pages that perform poorly both in terms of SEO and user engagement. The weakest pages are the ones that have no visitors and no organic traffic.
First of all, you need to run a quick inventory and put together a list of all content pages on your site. The easiest way to do it is to export them from your CMS system.
In case you’re using WordPress, you’ll find an instruction on how to do it in a thread on their official site.
Once you have the list at hand, you can start filtering out the pages that:
- Are not viewed by your website visitors;
- Have no organic traffic.
Pages That Are Not Viewed By Your Website Visitors
If users never come to a certain page of your site, it’s useless to your business.
Orphan pages, that are not connected by internal links to other pages of your site, eventually grow in numbers and can negatively affect your rankings.
To find those pages, go to your Google Analytics account and open a report called All pages that can be found under the Behaviour section. Select a fair time frame, for example one year, and export the results to a CSV file.
Next, with the help of the VLOOKUP formula, match the list of your content pages with the number of page views they have received.
Sort the pages in the descending order and take all the pages with the minimum views for future audit.
Pages That Have No Organic Traffic
This data can be either taken from Google Analytics or Google Search Console.
Personally, I prefer to use Google Search Console, since besides organic visitors you can see how many impressions your content pages get.
If a page hasn’t yet started getting organic traffic but has many impressions, then it means that it has good potential.
Let’s get back to the previous example. Now you need to pay attention to two other columns: clicks and impressions.
Export the data to the dataset that you were previously working with. Once you have it in one table, filter out that pages that perform poorly. To do that, sort the pages by the number of pageviews and clicks (e.g. organic visitors):
These pages are not bringing any visitors on board, not to mention new clients, and are just dead weight to your site.
So, now let’s get to the point where we decide what to do with those pages next.
How To Pump Up Your Content Pages For Organic Growth
I would recommend the following workflow to decide the future of the pages that you’ve collected at the previous step.
- Check the keywords that they rank for
- Group pages with similar content and organise topic clusters
- Delete the pages with no traffic and thin content
- Improve the pages that are bringing you traction
And now let’s talk about each step of this workflow in detail.
1. Check whether the keywords that you’re focused on have enough search volume and are not too competitive
Organic traffic requires high rankings, and getting high rankings is impossible without targeting the right keywords.
First, you need to check whether the keywords that your pages are targeted on have good search potential. To do that, you can use my fav tool — KwFinder. And if you have access to Ahrefs or SEMrush, these two solutions both have keyword research reports.
One more thing to keep in mind while on the hunt for the best keywords is the level of competition in SERPs. Some tools like Ahrefs analyse the pages at the top of Google search results and, based on that data, show how hard it is to get into the top 3.
For example, if you want to rank for such a competitive keyword as “content marketing”, according to Ahrefs, it would be nearly impossible:
However, it’s never a bad idea to double-check the recommendations of one tool.
To do this, you need to scroll down to the end of the Ahrefs page and look at the list of pages that are ranking by a search query that you’re analysing. Then, you need to look at the sites’ DR (domain rating) and the number of referring domains that each page has.
On a screenshot below, you can see that all sites have exceptionally high DR (over 80) as well as an exceptionally high number of referring domains:
These are two of the most important parameters of the top-ranking pages, so keep that in mind when optimizing your content pages.
2. Group similar pages to organise them into future topic clusters
One thing that will definitely help you get more traffic from Google is working towards creating topic clusters. Such structure implies that you have several high-level topics on your website, or pillars, and explore each of them in detail.
For instance, if “link building” is your pillar topic, then your subtopics would be:
- Link building fundamentals
- What is a bad vs a good link?
- How to build white-hat links?
- How to measure the success of your link building campaign?
A good example of successful application of topic clustering would be Brian Dean’s site. His website is built around pillar content — see for yourself how well this strategy has been working for him:
Having an exceptionally high DR of 87 and more than 20k of referring domains, not to mention 253k of organic visits, the site’s obviously thriving.
3. Delete pages that have thin content and no traffic
Yes, sometimes it’s the only right thing to do: delete the pages that don’t get any visits and have poor content on them.
It might be hard to do since every site is its owner’s “baby” and it has probably taken you some time to put it together.
Nevertheless, trust me when I say that there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to turn another “blah-blah-blah” post into something worth being checked out.
Also, you should remember that pages that aren’t bringing you any traction are affecting the performance of other pages. So, once you delete them, you might see some growth in organic traffic (however, that depends on the number of pages that you’re going to kill).
And don’t forget to put a redirect to your main page or pages with similar content in order to avoid 404 errors.
4. Improve content pages that are bringing you traction
Finally, we’ve reached the stage where we need to start updating our content pages. These pages are already bringing you traffic, but they can bring much more once you make the following adjustments:
- Ensure you have engaging visuals
That’s especially important if you’re sharing numbers with your readers. Turning stats into easy-readable graphs is an absolute must. In this post, you can find a bunch of ideas on how to make things happen.
Also, it’s always a good idea to add GIFs to your posts, especially if you’re on a shoestring budget and can’t afford videos. For example, I like funny GIFs and use them on my blog, but you can also make explanations and tutorials with it.
And if you CAN afford creating videos, you can also significantly improve your site’s SEO performance.
Videos make people stay on the page longer, which improves such user behaviour metrics as time on site and bounce rate. And speaking of which, those two play a huge role in Google’s ranking algorithm. But there’s another pro to using videos: explanation and educational videos increase the chances that the user decides to give your products or services a try.
- Add internal links to connect more those pages with your other content
Internal links connect your website’s pages together, which is good for SEO. Adding a link to a certain page to your navigation panel improves its visibility and thus organic rankings. But internal links can also guide your users through the funnel if you decide to do so.
Apart from adding links that are relevant to the page’s content inside the copy, you can add special content sections like “More on this topic”.
- Adding expert quotes
Nothing adds credibility to your content as much as a quote from a famous expert. Moreover, featuring an expert quote gives you a chance to get ahold of their audience, especially if they will be willing to promote your content page on their blog or social channels.
Robbie Richards is famous for his expert-featuring posts. For example, in his latest post, he interviewed more than 130 industry experts!
However, when doing so yourself, don’t chase the numbers because you might get carried away. Try adding 3-5 quotes and see how things go.
What’s more important, a quote should come from an expert who’s knowledgeable in your topic but is still approachable and easy to arrange things with. You can read more on how to find those experts in this post.
In many areas of digital marketing, we hear that more is better. This doesn’t apply to the number of pages on your site, especially if you run a small/medium-sized business.
Instead of creating a bunch of short, superficial blog posts, invest your time in proper content audit, identify your best and least performing pages, refine the former and get rid of the better.
And get ready to see a boost in organic traffic — with these recommendations it will not be long in coming.
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