If you are planning to refresh some of your site content, make sure to consider the SEO impacts. Many organizations make the mistake of updating their site content for a new product launch or some other business goal, only to realize that they also lost all of their existing SEO equity in the process. If you’ve already got some good shelf space, don’t do anything to screw it up!
It’s hard enough to get a top ranking position. Don’t overlook SEO in these important content planning stages. I’ve received panicked phone calls from Marketing Execs that just completed a site refresh and now don’t see their site’s rank. How awkward would it be to explain that to all of your stakeholders? Here’s 3 tips to avoid this and to make sure you’re taking all of this into consideration when refreshing your site content.
Run a rank report for all URLs that will be updated
I can’t overstate how important this is. This is the foundation that will drive a lot of your content decisions. You’ll want to see where you are currently ranking for your keyword landscape and which URLs are driving search traffic. This will help you establish your top priority URLs that need to be carefully assessed with any content changes. Remember, you may have a top ranking position due to the way your content is currently structured.
Changing the content on those top priority URLs may impact your ranking position and you could see a drop in rank and, thus, traffic. Once you’ve established these top priority URLs, make sure the people in your organization can clearly understand what the current SEO equity is, which will help with the content planning and overall strategy.
For example, your marketing department may want to overhaul the home page, removing the existing content and replacing it with a video introduction by your CEO. Now, if you do it the right way, you can structure your video content in a way where it’s SEO friendly. But – why would you go this route if your home page has a top 5 ranking for 10 different keywords and is already driving a lot of traffic? A better idea would be to assess what content is helping keep those top ranking positions and leave it alone. You can always create other calls to action on the home page, such as “see our CEO introduce our new product” – which would link over to a new page.
Establish 301 redirects
Part of your content refresh may include removing some sections or pages that are no longer relevant. Let’s say that you no longer offer a particular product or service and those pages are planning on being removed. It’s easy to overlook this and simply remove the page and then remove the ability to navigate to that page or link to it. There’s nothing wrong with removing pages, as long as you have the proper redirect strategy in place.
Remember, even though the page may not appear in your site navigation or internal linking does not mean that the page is no longer in the Google index, nor does it mean that all of the other sites out there that were linking to that page will remove that link. Make sure that a 301 redirect is placed on these pages. You can easily customize which page you would like to redirect to, which should also be a part of your overall content strategy and can also help with Information Architecture decisions.
Use search research and data to plan new content
In a previous post, I mentioned how you can really take your keyword research to the next level by having it inform all aspects of your communication strategy. If you’re planning a content refresh, get your SEO folks involved early. You’d be surprised at how useful some of the research can be when developing a content strategy. This is especially true when your site’s content refresh includes some new pages to be created. Using Keyword Research to define the true intent of what we know people are already looking for can give you ideas about how to establish content themes for these new sections of your site.
Take advantage of this opportunity to build your new content instead of looking to go back later and rebuild it!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.