Part 1, Quality Content Helps Keep Your Website Safe From Google Updates
Part 2, Is Low Quality Web Content Costing You Business?
In the first installment about the Google Panda Update, we discussed the importance of high quality content for your website. In part 2 of this series, let’s look at what to do with low quality pages on your website.
Google wants websites with very high quality content to appear highest in their search engine results and rightly so. Those with the most authority and the best content are owned by people or companies who care about doing honest business and providing the best content to their customers.
But what many small business owners don’t realize is that low quality website pages – basically those pages or blog posts with very few links and very little traffic – can hurt the overall ranking of your website. In order to keep your site ranking at its highest potential, analyze each page on a regular basis and decide if it should be left alone, rewritten, or deleted entirely.
Step 1: Do Some Research
Sometimes you can tell what’s a low quality page just by looking at it or reading the title. Was this a blog post written in haste, with barely 150 words and no keywords? Does a Happy New Year wish really have relevance to a reader who discovers your site in August? These are the types of posts that should be deleted.
But to analyze your other better-written posts, go to Google Webmasters Tools, sign in with your Google account and click the ‘Add Site’ button in the right corner. Simply enter the URL of each site you want to manage and then ‘Verify’ that you own the site by uploading a piece of code to your hosting account.
Once those steps are completed, you can analyze how many pages your site has, how many links each page has, and how many clicks each page gets. It might be best to put this information into a spreadsheet for easy analysis.
Experts differ on how many links and clicks are considered acceptable; some think anything less than 10 is unacceptable while others think anything less than 100 is unacceptable. Consider your overall traffic numbers for each month and decide for yourself how many clicks or links is acceptable to you.
Step 2: Rewrite or Delete
Now that you’ve done your page analysis, it’s time to decide what to do with your low performing pages. Your two choices are to rewrite the information and try to improve the SEO of that page or to delete the page entirely.
I know…there’s an old school of thought that says you should never delete any of your blog posts because they could still show up in search engine results 5 years down the road and people could still find your site even with old posts. Yes, people can still find you through an old post BUT what is that content like? Does it have good information or is it outdated? Is anyone linking to that post?
The object of this exercise is to maximize your search engine optimization on each page and to create higher quality website content. Remember, poor content quality will hurt you in the long run so if you’re adamant about not wanting to delete previous posts, make the time to rewrite each page that is considered ‘low quality’.
Step 3: Backup & Setup Redirects
Before you start making massive changes to your web pages, always make a backup of every post and image. You never know when you’ll go too fast and delete a post by mistake and you’ll want a backup to fix those types of mistakes.
Also, any post you delete, rewrite or change the title or permalinks for, you’ll want to set up with a redirect. A redirect is a way to simply tell the search engine bots and any future visitors that a particular page has moved to a new location. There’s a very easy plugin called Redirection that helps keeps these organized for you.
For instance, let’s say you wrote a blog post called “Merry Christmas 2012” but you consider this low quality, so you rewrote it and titled it “How to Set Business Goals For the New Year”. If you don’t set up a redirect and a reader follows a link from another website leading to the OLD Merry Christmas 2012 post, they will get an error message saying that post cannot be found. Not a very good impression to make, right?
By using the Redirection plugin, that same reader would not get an error message but would instead find the current post about setting new business goals.
Likewise, if you delete certain posts, always set up a redirection link from the OLD post title to either a similar-themed post, your blog archives or your home page.
Once you get into the habit of analyzing your website content, you can easily outsource this task to a Virtual Assistant or to one of your employees. But don’t let this task slide for too long…you could be losing valuable traffic and business due to low quality content.
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