Auditing Your Content: A Practical Guide
In simple terms, SEO is often broken down into three separate sections (very broadly).
Traffic & Backlinks
Content & Keywords
Since we’ve already talked about technical SEO audits, let’s take some time to focus on the third section: content and keywords. Some professional SEOs would argue that Content is actually the most important audit to do.
What is "content"?
Technically speaking, content includes all the words, images, videos and branded logos that you display on your website. We are excluding all of the design assets, HTML and CSS - we are just looking at the written words and images that are typically placed in the "Body" areas of a website.
This content is what you use to convey the actual message of your website. The design of your website serves a different purpose, a tool to lure people in with nice aesthetics. The words, though, are what really matter to your audience.
Think of web content like a novel. You have a Cover, title page, index page and then your chapters. You may have the odd illustration or picture, but a novel is mostly about the story.
Why is content so important?
Content can often be overlooked when building and preparing a website to showcase your products and services. Many new sites contain images of their products or icons to represent their services, but have minimal writing to support the page.
Admittedly, it takes some effort to write good quality and relevant content that your customers will find interesting. It is also somewhat tricky to know what words and phrases to use without sounding like a broken record or randomly (and unnaturally) peppering your content with keywords.
This is why it is important - because it takes hard work and the users reading your content are the ultimate judge of whether or not it’s any good.
Good content will encourage visitors to your site to stay longer, read more pages, spend more time on each page and reduce your overall bounce rate. It could even entice them to fill out a contact form or sign up for a mailing list.
A poorly written page will have the opposite effect entirely - and these signals are very crucial to help Google determine if your site is "valuable" to people. Your content also helps Google understand when it should show your site, depending on the user’s search intent.
Reviewing Content for SEO - Keywords
Starting with keywords, it’s important to identify what your target keywords are going to be. Check out this guide on Keyword Research to, first and foremost, find the keywords that will work best for your site. Once you’ve chosen your keywords, you need to ensure that these keywords and similar ones are used throughout your content in a natural way. Here is a quick audit list for keywords:
Ensure your keyword appears in the URL
Ensure your keyword appears in the Title Tag
Ensure your keyword appears in a Heading 1 and Heading 2
Ensure your keyword appears as bold in the body text
Check your keyword density (the amount of times that it appears as a percentage of the overall word count). While the target density is something to be determined by good SEO research, a rough estimate would be between 2% and 5%
Use similar and alternative versions of your keywords including plurals, singular and similes. For example if your keyword is "Boots", also be sure to include “boot”, “shoes”, “footwear” and other examples. You might also list different types of boots like “leather boots”, “synthetic leather boots” etc. Think about the different terms that YOU personally would consider to be related to the keyword and use them.
For point 6, if you’re unsure how to come up with related keywords, check out WooRank’s Keyword Tool. For the keywords you’re tracking, we show all of the Featured Results shown for that specific keyword. If you click into the keyword, you will usually see the "Related Searches" that Google will show to a searcher. This is the best place to find keywords that are similar to yours and that are being shown to your target audience as an alternative to their original search.
For instance, for the keyword "Wine Investment", WooRank shows the Featured Results, including a Related Search Pack and a “People Also Ask” section. You can capitalize on the related searches for similar keywords and the People Also Ask section for your longtail keywords (you could even make an F.A.Q. page based on what people are asking online).
How much content is good for SEO?
This is a very common question, and one that Google’s John Mueller on Twitter is asked at least once a day!
Unfortunately, like most other SEO questions and answers, the answer is "it depends". However, let's dispel some myths first.
You do not have to have a LOT (1000’s) of words on a page to make it popular.
Do not use your keyword over and over and over (more than 5% density on average).
Do not write for Google - write the content for your customers and write it in a natural way.
Do not copy content from your competitors.
Do not simply copy and paste content from other sources like Wikipedia.
The right amount of content will depend on what your message is. It should be long enough that it does contain some keywords. More importantly, your content needs to get the message across for that page, as plainly as possible.
Generally, at least a couple hundred words are considered minimum - but it really depends on the subject matter. Sometimes short and sweet does the trick!
Remember: Google is not looking for a thesis on all of your products and services - it’s looking for a page that answers questions.
Formatting and structure of content
Another area of content that is often overlooked or misunderstood is the semantic structure and formatting of your content.
First, no one wants to see a wall of text when they load a webpage! Websites are a visual medium and despite the novel analogy earlier on, they are expected to have a rich variety of content including:
Correct use of Headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
Correct spelling and grammar
Good structures for sentences and paragraphs
Using bold, italic and bullet points when it makes sense to
Referring to diagrams and images
Using compact but decent images and diagrams in the content
Using video content if appropriate
Lastly, one aspect of content that is very important but rarely understood is the "date" of when the content was published.
Some people incorrectly assume that the content that has been on the internet for the longest amount of time is more important than new content (so it’s hard to compete with established websites if you’re launching a new website).
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Content needs to be relevant, and relevancy will definitely include when it was published or last updated. For example, if you have an article about a subject that changes a lot (politics, trends, clothing, etc.) then an article or page that is well written and more recent than older ones will often rank higher!
Think about this search: "Who is the prime minister of Australia?"
If Google simply fetched the oldest most established article from a newspaper 10 years ago - well it would be very wrong! Instead, Google knows that it must look to more recent sources of information (including your website) for a question to be relevant and timely.
Keeping older pages and content updated and timely is crucial to keeping your website relevant and ranking well.
SEO Content Summary
The following key points are a good summary on how to review and audit your content:
Check that your content contains some of your keywords in a natural way (not too many).
Check that your content reads well - get someone else to read it and make sure it makes sense (also is it too technical for your audience?)
Think about WHO the target audience is for your content and try to answer the main questions that people generally ask about your product and service (this is a great way to get a featured SERP result!)
While it’s great to research your competition, do not steal their content or copy and paste content from Wikipedia (or even your Facebook page) - content needs to be unique.
Format and structure content correctly (headings, etc.).
Check your spelling and grammar.
Is the content timely? Update old content if it is not.
Questions? Join us for a live website audit on September 29th at 12pm CET! Save your spot here and get your questions ready!