How to increase the number of visitors to your site by optimizing its content
Updating already published / existing content is just as important as regularly posting new content to increase site traffic.
Already in November 2011 Google announcedthat the “freshness” of the content is an important ranking factor. That is, by making a few simple changes to your existing site content, you can improve your site's ranking in search engine results pages (SERP - Search Engine Results Page) and, consequently, increase the number of visitors to your site.
The potential for "freshness" is even very impressive - several experiments have shown that refreshing "old" articles / posts can increase the number of visitors by as much as 100% and more.
In this article, we'll look at how to optimize your existing articles / posts to increase your SERP visibility and increase your site traffic.
What is content optimization?
Optimizing existing content usually means updating it:
- Adding to existing content (adding new sections and / or increasing its level of detail);
- Reflecting changes / developments in the topic (addition of latest data / findings / research);
- Replacing outdated content with the current one;
- Improving the relevancy of content for search purposes;
- Adding new, thoughtful quotes;
- Adding new links (both internal and external);
- Adding and / or replacing and / or optimizing multimedia content (info graphics, videos, pictures, podcasts);
- Adding new keywords
- Combining multiple articles into one;
- Changing the title, subheadings, meta descriptions;
- Adding structured data (Microdata / Schema markup), such as answers to frequently asked questions;
- Formatting text to make it easier to read / understand.
Benefits of content optimization
Improves SEO ranking
Because the freshness of your content is only one of Google's ranking factors, improving your search relevance or ease of perception will also improve your ranking in the SERPs.
Creating a new article takes a lot of time:
- You need to look for new topics and keywords;
- You need to plan content that is relevant to your keywords and theme (headline, subtitles);
- You need to search and verify the data sources - both the content itself and the references, citations…
- You have to put it all together - write a new article / post;
- You need to find or create illustrations, infographics, videos that match the content…
By adding more depth and clarity to an existing article or updating the facts, several of these steps are omitted or take significantly less time.
Increases the authority of the site
If you want to develop your site and increase its audience, it is very important to be considered an authority in your niche.
Authority can be created by showing your competence. And this means that the content of the site must be up-to-date, not outdated, untrue (beliefs, facts and their interpretation change), outdated…
Builds reader loyalty
From a user experience perspective, updated content is much more likely to attract readers than old content that is no longer relevant.
Updating your content helps build more trust because it shows you are investing the time and energy to provide your readers with up-to-date, useful, and truthful information.
Nobody wants to read old messages.
Get more backlinks
Backlinks are very important. The more backlinks you have to your site, the more Google and other search engines trust it. The site's rank in the SERPs also generally improves.
If you want to get more backlinks to your site, it's important to update your content regularly, because anyone who wants to share or refer to something outdated and irrelevant.
Which articles / posts to optimize?
You don't have to update all the content you've ever written - it's better to focus on the pages that optimize for the best results.
Pages with high quality links
These are pages that get a lot of backlinks but don't rank well in the SERPs. This can happen if the content on the page doesn't match the keywords you're using. That is, the keywords identified by the search engines do not match the ones you chose when writing your specific content.
In this case, the page needs to be refreshed:
- Either the content needs to be adjusted to better match the keywords identified by the search engines;
- Do you need to add content to match the keywords you want.
Pages with the most traffic
The pages with the most traffic are likely to benefit significantly from content optimization.
Updating these pages will also increase your chances of ranking higher in the SERP as you improve the quality of your content.
Pages with high bounce rates
You may have noticed some high bounce pages on your site (Bunce rate) level. This usually means that:
- Visitors to these pages don't find what they're looking for;
- The page is taking too long or it has other technical issues.
Check both with Google Analytics and the Google search console. Find the cause of your audience bounce and fix it by refreshing the page.
Pages that appear in the SERP but with low rankings
If a page appears in search results, it means that search engines have crawled and indexed it.
However, if it appears on the second, third P SERP page then:
- The page / article / post is not well optimized for keywords;
- Its contents are obsolete.
You have to have the page either updated with new information or optimized for keywords.
How can I optimize my site's content to increase traffic?
Optimizing your existing content should be part of your content strategy, as it's a safe way to increase traffic to your site.
Now let's look at how to optimize your existing articles and posts.
1 Make it deeper
Simply adding characters usually does not produce the desired results. It does not matter to the reader whether the article contains 1200 or 2000 words. It is important for the reader to get the information they are looking for.
So review the existing content and try to understand what it is missing to give the reader more complete information on the topic.
It is possible that the places are written too generally and require more detail.
It is possible that something is not mentioned at all and an additional section is needed…
Add authoritative and credible sources of information, because every time you make unsubstantiated claims, you lose trust.
2 Add new keywords
Sometimes older posts on your blog may match keywords relevant to your industry that you haven't used before.
Improving existing text is usually easier than writing something new and unique. Simply optimize your existing content for these new keywords.
You can find new keywords by searching your competitors' sites or your Google search console account / Search Results / Search Queries.
You can also use keyword research tools like MOZ, Ahref, or SEMRush…
Read more about keyword research HERE.
3 Consolidate your content
This is probably one of the easiest ways to optimize your news to increase traffic from Google and other search engines.
Look for news with good keyword impressions but low rankings, and combine them into one. This way, you reduce the number of pages on your site, making it cleaner and easier to use because:
- Create more complete content;
- Prevent or reduce internal competition (fewer pages trigger specific keywords);
As a result, you increase your rankings on an optimized page, because merging news expands on a specific topic in both breadth and depth.
4 Add frequently asked questions
Just enter the keywords you want to optimize for a particular article / post in the Google search engine, and go to the "Related Search Queries" section at the bottom of the page - here are some questions to give you short, specific answers.
You can also answer questions that you are asked about in a specific post, on social networks or in forums.
By enabling FAQs and other schemes, Google may consider them worthy of appearing in the SERPs as snippets of content. If this happens, you will significantly increase the visibility of your content in the SERP and, consequently, the number of clicks.
5 Include the current year in the title
Specify the current year at the end of the optimized news headline. This may seem insignificant, but it can significantly change the position of your article in the SERP.
This is a simple but effective way to update your content, as people are usually looking for up-to-date information instead of historical / outdated information. It is also desirable to update the content of the message by adding information relating to the year mentioned in the title.
The inclusion of the year in the title is not recommended for so-called "evergreen topics" (always a topical topic with well-optimized content that stays "fresh" for a long time).
6 Update the meta tags
Look for pages that are low average clicks (e.g. using the Google Search Console). These are the pages that the links / links appear on the first page of the SERP, but people don't click on them. This basically means that the title and description that appear in the SERP are not attractive enough.
At this time, Google already generates more than 30% content descriptions, so first check that the description in the SERP matches the one you defined:
- Right-click on the page and select "View Page Source." A new window will open with the page code;
- In the search box (called up by pressing “Control” and “F” at the same time) type “description” and search <meta name=”description” content=”.
- Check that the following text matches what appears on the SERP.
If the description matches what you defined - nice, you can improve it.
Just look at what descriptions the SERP has for referencing your competitors' pages and draw conclusions.
It should be noted that the average number of clicks on your competitors' pages is even lower than yours, so the Copy / Paste method is not the best solution.
Experiment, update headlines and descriptions (meta tags) and evaluate the results after about 3 months and you should see an increase in traffic over time.
And the higher the traffic, the higher the quality of the search engines' content. Respectively, references to it are shown in an ever-improving position.
The average number of clicks (indicative) when only natural search results are displayed without additional content snippets.
Position in the Google SERP
7 Improve the relevance of your content for search
Make sure the content on the page exactly matches the search query you selected. For example, if the title is "What flowers to give to a loved one on Valentine's Day?" make sure the article provides a comprehensive answer to this question.
Google has to look like a huge library where people come looking for answers to their questions. If you want references to your content to appear in the top positions in the SERP, you need to provide the most complete answers.
8 Add internal links
When you already have enough articles, it is advisable to link them to internal links according to the topics covered in them.
This is a great way to combine old and new news and:
- Help search engines find related topics and understand the content of specific pages;
- Help readers stay on your site longer.
9 Post links to the latest research
Research links support your claims with evidence. As studies and opinions change all the time, it is useful to update the evidence. That is, about once a year, review whether the research mentioned in the article is still relevant and relevant.
10 Remove or repair the broken links
Follow the attached internal and external links. Whether visitors click on them reaches their intended landing page or another (such as Error 404).
Remove all broken links or replace them with other content-relevant links.
If you use WordPress to find broken links, you can use the plugin Broken Link Checker. Only it puts a lot of strain on the server (it can slow down the site), so activate it temporarily - while looking for broken links and then deactivating it.
Or one of the many online tools like - https://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/
11 Add structured data
Structured data (Structured data or Schema markup) A semantic dictionary of tags / microdata that you can add to your site's HTML to help create an enhanced description of your content and its display in search results (by adding links to your pages with Rich Content snippets).
Snippets of rich content add extra eye-catching information to search results. This can increase the average number of clicks and, consequently, the number of visitors to your site.
If you use WordPress to add structured data, use one of the plug-ins created for this purpose.
12 Add new pictures and videos
Search engines like content that attracts page users for longer - they are considered to be of higher quality. As a result, references to them are ranked higher in the SERPs, and the number of visitors to the page increases.
Images and videos are more likely to attract visitors than plain text. So add illustrations and videos to your text.
Large (non-web optimized) images significantly slow down your site. To reduce this effect, reduce the image size to at least 1024 pixels and use the JPEG or WebP image format. Try these online tools to optimize your images:
The same goes for videos - don't upload videos to your site, but YouTube, for example. That is, the video is only displayed on your site, but the actual file is on a completely different server.
13 Update and optimize existing images and videos
When updating old articles / posts, you should also pay attention to the images and videos used, because:
- They may be out of date (such as a product photo);
- They may not correspond to the updated / supplemented content;
- They may be too large and slow down the page load time.
Also note the alternative text in the images (alt text). It should include relevant keywords or phrases.
How often should I update my old content?
References to a specific page in the SERP are considered to be stable for 3 to 12 months from the time the page is first indexed.
It also determines the review period for each page.
Record the reference position in the SERP about a week after the article / post is published and after 3 months see if the article position in the SERP has improved or deteriorated and how much it has improved or deteriorated.
If you see an opportunity to improve your article's position in the SERPs, make the necessary changes and notify Google when requesting re-indexing of your article in the Google search console.
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