Content Strategy For Underperforming Website Pages

A website should have a variety of content pages including static content, landing pages, form pages, thank you pages, and blogs. The top goal for a web content strategy should be to help improve the visibility and user experience of important pages to ensure organic SEO is maximized. If you note that a particular page or series of pages on your website are underperforming, then it is time to investigate. Before deleting, redirecting, merging multiple pages into one single page, evaluate the importance of the content and consider better options.

More About Website Pages and Content

The more quality driven pages a website has, the better it will attract a wide variety of website traffic. This is why pages which are specific about one product or one service rank better than a comparison page that has merged a bunch of varying or related products or services together. In-depth quality content also has a better chance of becoming high authority as well.

Some initial questions to ask regarding quality & authority:

  • Are web pages outdated?
  • Are web pages no longer relevant?
  • Are web pages not supported by links?
  • Are web pages overlapping with material?
  • Are web pages providing enough detail?
  • Are web pages bouncing?
  • Are web pages targeting correct audience?
  • Are web pages displaying content which positions you as the expert?

Use the following tools to assist in your evaluation: Google Search Console, https://ahrefs.com/dashboard/metrics and SEMRUSH.

Fresh Quality Content CAN Get More Leads

There is a known correlation between the depth of your content and Google rankings. Back in 2010, Google Caffeine was launched to rebuild an older indexing system. It has since been updated and to current day continues to emphasize the importance of fresh and updated content. The magnitude of content updates and frequency of content updates do also have an impact on this indexing system.

Google and other search engines clearly prefer websites full of detailed, robust, and fresh material. Some studies say a good goal is 2000 word count per page. The caveat here is that you don’t want to create pages just to create them because it can backfire. Google can easily give up ranking your website if pages are too similar, too short, have too many focus keywords, are not supported by quality links, or are not on-page optimized. Do websites that outrank yours have more in-depth authoritative content?

Improve Visibility of Current Web Pages

You may find that some underperforming pages appear on desktop but are not visible on mobile. Content only found on desktop and missing on mobile will not perform very well for you.  In order for the content to be fully visible and have an opportunity to be indexed, it needs to be on both mobile and desktop. The same goes for content which has been “hidden” behind mobile tabs. Although the content exists on mobile, it may be difficult to find or use. If this is the case it also will not indexed as well as fully visible content.

Due to mobile first indexing and the improvement of mobile delivery and display of content, most businesses have seen traffic on mobile content surpass desktop. Even so, do not forget about your desktop audience! Content on your desktop may still provide more conversions, better bounce rates, and more opportunity for in-depth research.

Quick 10 Content Performance Check

There are ways to salvage underperforming web pages, and the strategy is fairly simple. Address important pages which have high bounce rates, low conversions, or low visibility on mobile first…then desktop. Also address pages that may be holding your website back due to outdated content, duplicate content, irrelevant, etc.

  1. Ensure content is authoritative, relevant, in-depth and understandable.
  2. Ensure that the page you’re focused on is being noticed and understood by search engine crawlers. This means it should be found on a sitemap.
  3. Check for duplicate/similar content. If there are competing pages, tell Google which one you prefer to rank using robots.txt / canonicals.
  4. Your web page should be easily found & formatted for the mobile device & also found on desktop.
  5. Your page must load quickly on all devices. (First mobile interaction 1-3 seconds.)
  6. Add updated, fresh content to existing page; reach 2000 words per page if possible.
  7. Revisit & revamp your on-page SEO- never “set and forget it.”
  8. Support your pages with links, social mentions, comments & multi-media.
  9. Ensure images are not copy write and also have alt tags.
  10. Make sure there is a call to action on every page.

One last thing that is important to mention. If you’re trying to boost a local business landing page, review or testimonials page, Q&A page, video or media page, social profile page, be aware that there is specific structured data available to enhance them!  It could also help get other pages noticed, including in SERP’s such as Google Answers and featured snippets.

Beyond the initial launch of a new website, developers won’t go that extra mile to ensure your content continues to have peak performance. If your website content needs some attention, contact Leaning Tree Digital.

Mobile Performance Means More: SEO 2019

Up To Speed on Mobile-First

The conversation about mobile-first indexing is not new to 2019 however so many businesses and SEO-related professionals are still trying to grasp the changes. All mobile-first indexing means is that desktop performance means less… and mobile means more. A mobile-first focus is also no reason to revert back to an m.dot mobile site. Most businesses I have been working with already have a far more mobile friendly and mobile responsive website than that. When ranking your website for SERPs, Google looks at over 300 factors. Therefore, there likely many items to improve on your current site before jumping into a new one. (speed, metadata, links, etc.) Considerations including a cost analysis, evaluation of internal and external factors, as well as other pros and cons is always recommended before making the decision to jump into a brand new website.

Regardless  of whether or not you improve your current site, or move into a newer version; KPI”s need to be adjusted to mobile. A business should not forget desktop, but the conversation needs to be replaced with mobile. This means you an expect to bring out your mobile phone in the next digital team meeting.

Read more from Google about Mobile First Indexing: https://developers.google.com/search/mobile-sites/mobile-first-indexing

Content, and the importance of it, is not going away. It may be that people continue to do deeper research on desktop, but that doesn’t mean that the content has less of an importance on mobile.

Digital Content for Mobile
So content is a pretty big area covering everything from text to lists, to blog and static, to social, data, voice, images & video. (More on those later.) In today’s digital environment, one must obtain a clear understanding of how content, SEO, and E.A.T (Authority, Expert & Authorship) all connect. Although most deep search into a topic area is done on desktop vs mobile, it’s still a goal to develop quality content which is #1 SEO optimized #2Intersting & Relevant #3 Supported by trusted links supported by different browsers and #4supports top categories on your website. (The top categories on your website are your key revenue generators.) Doing all of these four things will support E.A.T.

In addition, because Google is looking to match searcher intent to SERP’s, content that addresses niche topics is l likely to benefit your business in the long run. Websites that have really good in-depth content will always be more competitive. The challenge is that mobile content is more fragmented than desktop. Strategies such as deep linking can keep visitors on your business even if their research and journey is 100% mobile.

What you should know about deep linking: https://marketingland.com/what-mobile-marketers-really-need-to-know-about-deep-linking-237084

Mobile-First Display & Indexing Content
If a developer tells you that mobile doesn’t support the deep content of your desktop, beg to differ. The way that content is served up on mobile is slightly different due to the layout of the mobile platforms…but content is still available to the visitor. For example, “show more” is often a prompt seen on mobile to make deeper content visible to the mobile user. There are other methods used such as “hamburger menus” and “tab bars.”

In any case, you want both people and search engines to be able to find your content. So the question comes up, “how is mobile content indexed?” Content will be indexed for the mobile AND desktop versions of a page combined. Although mobile has priority, parity of content between mobile and desktop is crucial. If there is content on your desktop missing from mobile configured pages… it won’t be indexed. This includes text content, as well as metadata, and even images and alt attributes.

Organically, if your mobile website doesn’t rank for super common keywords or key phrases in your industry, you can still break through the clutter by creating content for local mobile search. This is because keywords are less competitive on a local level. Be sure that you have integrated the Google Map API and that your content is optimized with localized keywords where it makes sense. All of your mobile & desktop website pages should contain meta-descriptions, alt tags and headers specific to the content on each page. Lastly, longer meta descriptions are now an option, even in this era of smaller mobile devices for viewing search results.

Best Practices for Writing On-Page SEO on Mobile: https://searchenginewatch.com/2018/07/03/writing-seo-meta-descriptions-in-2018-best-practice-across-mobile-and-desktop/

Learn more about what The Leaning Tree Digital Marketing has to offer: http://leaningtreemarketing.com/

Mobile Content for Local Search Results

Local Organic Search & Mobile Devices 

The increased usage of mobile devices for search is what has driven Google’s mobile-first indexing. At least 1/3 of all searches today are related to local inquiry from mobile phones. Local businesses are beginning to understand the importance of ranking high on mobile search- it’s how new leads are gathered and conversions transition into new clients or customers. Local organic SEO on mobile is absolutely required for any business who desires to gain a larger share of the market in which they are a part of.  Besides creating great mobile content, there are big challenges ahead.  Building from broad SEO implementation, there are additional moving pieces to manage. (Incorporating local schema markup, sitemaps, adding location citations, creating content that matches local user intent, optimizing location pages & Google My Business, attention to site speed, etc.)

Don’t forget that local organic searches on mobile phones focus on the  geographic area in which the search is being conducted.

An abundance of relevant mobile content that matches searcher intent… the better for you!

Mobile Content for Local Organic SEO 

Your optimized mobile site needs content more than ever.  Mobile sites may display content differently but mobile-first indexing has not changed the overall purpose of for creating content that aligns with more searches and relates to what people are looking for. Producing and optimizing local content is still one of the best ways to boost your visibility and achieve better rankings in local search results.

For your local businesses, the end goal for content should be to increase local organic visibility for a larger number of search queries. This should include tapping into more “long-tail keywords.” Don’t forget the importance of inserting local keywords into the beginning of on-page SEO for your local content. (Title Tags/Meta Descriptions.)

Ideas for Local Content

Through content, you can make your business a knowledgeable and trusted source; a leader in your local community, and within your industry.

Publish your great content strategically on different channels…

Go for the niche! Find areas of opportunity that competitors are missing, even if those keyword phrases don’t show as much search volume. It’s always interesting to look at the keyword phrases that driving people to your site, or to competitor sites. There are so many free tools out there that can generate great ideas. Depending upon the end goal of your mobile content strategy, you can turn to Facebook, LinkedIn and Google analytics for audience insights. Google analytics will also provide snapshots of current traffic data. Google’s keyword planner is an easy and free tool to measure search volume for keywords, and keyword phrases.

Local landing pages and business blogs are a great way to cover niches while supporting the top level pages on your website. Adding local reviews to relevant pages on your website is another great idea, and don’t forget PR. You can host local events, but many small businesses are more likely to attend or support local events. Although citations are correlated with local SEO, don’t forget the importance of link-building. If you support a local business or local event, be sure to ask them to place your logo and a link from their site to yours. Lastly, feel free to “piggy-back” on local news stories that may be relevant to your business. You can do this really easily through social media posts, tweets, and so forth.

What about a Mobile Responsive Website

If a business has available resources to invest, it may be worth looking into one of the newer platforms available to support a more mobile-responsive site. However, investing in a new website isn’t always the best solution, or the first necessary step. Before dumping a ton of money into a new site, have an SEO Strategist perform a website audit to determine areas that can be improved on the current platform. If the cost to optimize the current website exceeds what it would take to start from scratch on a more mobile-responsive site, then the business can make this decision with all the data at hand.

Local SEO on Mobile Devices

Local organic SEO on mobile should be the sole strategy for business. Google continues to shrink the real estate of local results.  Especially if your business is part of a super competitive industry, appearing in local search results on mobile is not only going to be the sole strategy, but it’s also going to be a continuous project. Your web developer may not have all the answers for you. Make sure you have the right Digital Strategist to do the job.

Befriend the Google Giant

Friends at Google 

Search engine optimization is super important to business, so who wouldn’t want to befriend Google? Those of us looking to keep up with algorithm updates and wish get on Google’s good side actually have a plethora of resources and tools to tap into.

For example ad agencies have one-on-one access to real  Google employees who can help with visibility and performance. (The phrase “agency” can be a one-lady show or a large advertising group.) It’s true… free support from Google! Also, Google provides a ton of information online through forums, blogs, newsletters, training, insights and more.

With all the support and guidance offered by Google, they are like a friend and mentor…there to ensure you are successful using their products.

Google Tools & Resources

Google My Business:  This is where your business can manage your online presence across Google Search & Google Maps
Google Education at Google Partners: One-on-one for Google advice, and this is not a paid service or a privileged service.

Google Partners, (now Google Ads), Academy on Livestreams: Ask questions and share experiences with Google experts & other professionals.

Academy for Ads for Google’s e-learning: Google’s e-learning courses, exams and certifications.

Think with Google: Provides market insights & trends for just about anything.

Google Webmaster Tools & Analytics: Webmaster tools allow one to evaluate & maintain the performance of a website regarding search results. To see how users/visitors interact with your website, use Google Analytics.

Google Accounts & GSuite Learning Center: This refers to a variety of application tools to support & connect your business either by individual sign-in or administered through an organization.

Google Blogs: Again, these are all free! Check out Googles Blog, as well as the Webmaster Central Blog &  the Google Research Blog.

More About Google Products

A business is only as good as their employees. Google has the people to move the machine behind their brand. For the rest of us who are looking for support, guidance, and resources for SEO… Google has it for our taking. Literally, “we all have friends at Google!”

The Google Brand

Google operations are quite impressive both internally and externally.  Don’t be intimidated by the giant brand. Although Google has the most recognized search engine, and is the tech giant in the world, it’s actually pretty relatable, even to the smallest of businesses. For the sake of your revenue growth, it’s worthwhile to get to know Google better.

Google Teams

A company with such a powerful brand is no surprise, very selective about its employees. Teams are structured and motivated to run super efficiently. I’ve read that the most productive teams at Google get the importance of collaboration so much that it’s actually like an unwritten social code.

Google receives over 2,000,000 applications each year and only those good enough for Google are hired. As of March 2018, Google consists of over 85,000 employees of various expertise levels and salaries ranging from $30k to $350k annually.

Clearly, there are super strategic and effective teams within Google. Each member of a team has a clear understanding of corporate goals, as well as a clear vision, accountability, and pride regarding their personal goals. Without clear goals, and a plan of attack, a team of people are likely to step on each other’s toes, spin wheels, and duplicate work without a combined purpose.

Google has a strict code of conduct, non-disclosure agreements and all kinds of rules to keep employees honest. The approach is team goals over individual agendas. Googles got it right regarding how to produce high-quality results; a model that all businesses should mirror.

XML Sitemap & Indexing

Help Spiders Find Your Site

One of the most basic and easiest things you can do to improve SEO is to ensure that web spiders can easily find and crawl your website.  If used correctly, a sitemap serves as a tool to organize and clearly define the pages within your website.  A sitemap can easily be created using Google Search Console, your content management system, (CMS), or a variety of other sitemap generator tools.

What is a sitemap?

A website sitemap is a file; a list of pages intended to be found by web spiders, search engine bots, and/or users.  A good sitemap will provide a clear understanding of your website structure; organizing pages by hierarchy or content type.  It provides important meta-data for each page. There are multiple sitemap types. For the Google search engine, you’re going to be using XML files. Sitemaps can also be pointed at through robots.txt codes and could potentially use other formats, depending upon the search engine you are looking at. When submitting XML sitemaps to search engines, follow the instructions provided by each one. Also consider creating more than one sitemap for your site using variations specifically for images, videos, news, mobile, etc.

Will a Sitemap Get Pages Indexed?

There is no guarantee. A sitemap significantly improves your chances of being indexed by major search engines. If you submit sitemaps, you’re making it easy to be found. All businesses want to be found! However, search engines still need to determine if the quality of your pages are worthy enough to connect to specific search queries.  Ultimately, submitting a sitemap is important for SEO, but it’s not going to make a search engine like Google prefer your site over another just because you have a sitemap pointer.

Submitting Sitemaps to Search Engines

Once you’re happy with the sitemaps you have created, they must be submitted manually to search engines.  (You’ll need to update & maintenance sitemaps manually as well.)  For any search engine, you must be verify the website first, and have appropriate user permissions to submit a sitemap. Be sure your sitemap is in the correct file format and actually exists on your web server before attempting to verify it.

Below I share one version of how to submit sitemaps to:  Google, Bing , Yahoo! And Ask.com.

How to Add Sitemap to Google

  1. Go to webmaster tools, or what is now referred to as “Google Search Console
  2. Find & select “sitemaps” in dashboard options
  3. Select “add/test sitemap”
  4. Paste your sitemap code in appropriate file format
  5. Test , Submit, & ensure it has been saved

How to Add Sitemap to Bing

  1. Go to Bing Webmaster Tools
  2. Locate the sitemap widget from user dashboard
  3. Select “add a sitemap”
  4. Paste your sitemap code in appropriate format
  5. Test , Submit, & ensure it has been saved

How  to Add Sitemap to Yahoo!

Yahoo! Site explorer is no longer valid.  Use Bing Webmaster Tools as shown above to ensure your sitemap is uploaded to Yahoo!.

How to Add Sitemap to Ask.com

Unfortunately Ask.com no longer allows the submittal of sitemaps. The best way to reference your sitemap location for Ask.com is to use robots.txt to reference it.

How to Find XML Sitemaps on Your Website

To see the XML sitemaps currently associated with your website, simply type in your website URL with the XML index extension, such as: https://www.allaboutmybusiness.com/sitemap_index.xml

For validation of your XML sitemap submittals, refer to the dashboards on Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools or other free sitemap validator tools which are widely available online.  Be sure to check and update your sitemaps regularly, especially as new content as added to your website.

NOTE: If you can’t find a page that you think should be on your sitemap, ensure that page isn’t blocked by robots.txt

Help with Website Sitemaps

If you need additional assistance to create, upload, maintenance, or verify the success of your sitemap submittal, contact The Leaning Tree Digital directly for more information.