Spring will be here in a jiffy, and with it, gardeners’ hopes for a fruitful 2021 harvest. Many gardeners in the Deep South have already begun to prune spent branches off summer-flowering plants to ensure better fruiting over the summer and fall. Content marketers can use the same strategy to trim away unproductive content for better overall performance. Effective content pruning on at least a yearly basis can help your content remain relevant to your target audience.
Why Content Pruning Builds a More Fruitful Content Strategy
An effective content strategy impacts both your site’s SEO and your audience’s loyalty. Top-quality, timely content that retains its relevance over time positions your company as a thought leader in your industry.
As your reputation builds, so does your ranking in searches for your products and services. People share your brand’s content with their colleagues and friends, providing you with more organic traffic, backlinks, and perhaps even invitations to write guest blog posts.
There’s one more thing. The latest Google algorithm.
As Search Engine Journal’s Manish Dudharejia points out, the mid-pandemic update further cemented Google’s – and likely with them, other search engines’ – insistence on “high-quality content, freshness, and E-A-T.” EAT, of course, stands for “expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.”
Trim the Deadwood
Getting rid of the deadwood among your digital assets can certainly improve the quality of your content overall. It definitely builds your brand’s authority and trust among your target market segments as you showcase your company’s expertise in its space. The more value your content brings to your audience, the more likely you’ll become the one they turn to when they need reliable information to solve problems and drive decisions.
While there might be content so bad that you think you couldn’t possibly redeem it among your content library, most of that old content can regrow its value with a fresh perspective and updated details.
Just as master gardeners use special rooting soils and fertilizer to coax new greenery to grow out of dead branches, so can the collective talent of enterprise content teams create new, fresh content out of hopelessly dated (or poorly written) material.
Start with a Content Inventory and Audit
If yours is like most companies we work with, you have a huge volume of content to audit. Having these pieces right at your fingertips on a comprehensive content marketing platform can make your teams’ task easier. If you use a content inventory template to do your audit, the pruning process can go even more quickly.
To find content to prune, use your content analytics tool to locate your poorest performers. Older content, too, even if it still performs well, can also benefit from at least a light pruning.
Take a Critical Look at Your Older and Underperforming Content
Next, look at the content you’ve singled out for pruning. Look for outdated facts, flawed reasoning, or just low-quality writing, images, or video production.
Focus editing on shoring up weak areas
Content collaboration can come in handy at this stage. A second, or even a third, pair of eyes can help you detect flaws a single reviewer might gloss over. If the content is highly technical, involve your engineers and developers to update the factual claims in it.
Involve your best SEO people in the revamp. Since search engine algorithms change often, it’s likely that older content needs a little optimization to make it perform well in today’s mostly mobile searches.
Your company might also have rebranded or adjusted its focus since you published a piece of content. If so, assign content teams to update it to reflect your new brand voice and appeal to your new customer segments.
Repurpose and amplify your best-performing evergreen content
Repurpose older content that still performs well despite its age. Take a deeper dive into a topic that a popular blog post covered and turn it into a white paper or ebook. Make its content appeal to visual learners by reusing the information in it, in a video or infographic.
Then, leverage social media and your email newsletter to amplify both the original and repurposed content. Content automation can give it even further reach by posting it to local audience segments at the optimum time in their corner of the world.
In fact, as I’ve advised in the past, focus new content production on reusability. Of course, some new content will need to reflect current events and how they impact your customers’ lives and businesses. However, most of your new production should be content that you can easily repackage for various audiences.
Check your older content for outdated links
Whether it’s a statistic from 2012 that you can easily update or a link to a site that doesn’t exist anymore, it’s a wise idea to click on links in older content to see if you can update them as well. Make sure that the links you replace them with are of the highest quality and rank well themselves in searches.
Fresh, authoritative links don’t only better attract search engines. More importantly, they provide your audience with deeper insights into the topic they reference.
Look for dated keywords
With the advent of mobile came a sea change in the way people search. Instead of typing “best plumber NYC” or “turkish restaurant cleveland oh” into a search bar, people are more likely to ask Siri or Alexa a question.
If your keywords don’t answer those questions, you need to revamp your content to reflect these natural language searches. Doing so gives your audience a better user experience and your brand a chance to feature in Google snippets at the very top of the page – even above paid ads.
Similarly, know that language is ever-evolving. Many words only popped onto the verbal stage a few years ago – some only over the last year.
For example, before the coronavirus pandemic arrived, “social distancing” was an obscure idea spoken only by obscure medical policymakers. Now, it’s a household word.
If your keywords could use an update to reflect more contemporary terms, make those changes, and you’ll likely see a rise in your traffic and search results.
Enjoy a More Fruitful 2021 with Content Pruning
Back in 2018, accounting software company QuickBooks gave content pruning a try. With carefully chosen deletions and by refreshing other pieces of content, they boosted traffic by 20 percent in only the first few weeks.
But make it easy on yourself. Having a single platform on which you can find, prune, create, distribute, and analyze your content, can make the pruning process go a lot faster and produce more effective results.
DivvyHQ can provide you and your teams with such a place. Get in touch with our team for a 14-day free trial today.