If you feel your brand has produced an inordinate amount of content over the last several years, you’re not alone. There has been an ongoing push for marketers to produce, publish, and promote more content across various channels as online marketing has become increasingly competitive. As new blog posts, landing pages, videos, and other content are added, brands build their own library of content.
And as team members, strategies, and market conditions change, that library of brand content naturally needs an intentional effort at maintenance to help it continue to perform its best. And with Google’s Helpful Content Update having rolled out recently, there’s no better time than now.
Consolidating website content can help combine shorter, thinner, less helpful pieces into one more useful page. It can give you a flagship piece to drive higher quality traffic and enable you to distill your SEO, PPC, and social marketing efforts to your top-performing pages.
The traditional funnel is no more; today, there are thousands of potential discovery and touchpoints between local consumers and the businesses they frequent. It’s essential that your brand meets each local searcher with the best answer to their particular needs at that moment, and consolidating similar content can help.
In this post, you’ll learn more about why content consolidation is necessary, consolidating website content prioritization tips, and best practices to get your brand started.
Why consolidate web content?
Publishing ebooks, blog posts, webinars, product and service pages, and other types of content over a period of years can result in some resources becoming redundant, outdated, and simply not as useful for searchers and customers.
Consolidating website content can help key pages perform better in search, as well. Since Google’s Helpful Content update is a sitewide signal that considers the ratio of helpful content on a website versus content the algorithm believes to be lower quality or designed specifically to rank in search, it’s important to look at your body of content as a whole as well as the optimization of each individual page.
How a poor content strategy can impact page ranking
Here’s an example.
Let’s say XYZ Italian Restaurant brand, founded in 2017, lacked a brand-wide content strategy for the first few years. Of the brand’s 500 locations, 300 are operated by local managers and 200 by franchisees. Prior to 2020, the corporate office shared local marketing suggestions with local managers and franchisees, with mixed results.
Some locations had a Google Business Profile; many others did not. Most of the franchisees GBPs were registered using franchisee emails and already, a few dozen locations had changed hands. A portion of these listings were simply forgotten about in the transition and hadn’t been transferred to the new owners.
Some locations had their own website. Some were on WordPress, some using Google Sites, and others still built on a variety of platforms.
The franchisees followed the branding guidelines they were given but from a customer experience perspective, interacting with the brand online could be a completely different experience depending which location the customer encountered in search results.
Why a local marketing partner can help
Late in 2020, XYZ Italian Restaurants engaged a local marketing partner to provide the technology platform and SEO services it needed to improve its local presence across all markets. Finally, its local listings, reviews, location pages,
But, before the partner came onboard, XYZ Italian Restaurants had been publishing 1 blog post per week on its corporate blog for 3 years and had amassed over 150 posts there. A local presence audit revealed thousands more pages in the brand’s name – hundreds of pages of outdated offers and specials, low quality blog posts, blog posts targeting the same keyword, and landing pages that had been created by franchisees.
Not only was it a disparate experience for local consumers but in many markets, the brand presented a jumbled mess of content to search engines. Despite having many webpages optimized for highly competitive, lucrative searches such as “Italian restaurants near me” and “top Italian restaurants,” the brand was unable to rank locally on these terms. Search engines could not find one page they considered the best answer, and the high volume of “thin,” outdated content on the corporate and local websites sent a signal to Google that overall, this brand didn’t offer helpful content for users.
Consolidating website content into topically relevant blog posts and local pages rich in accurate, compelling information authored at the local level, photos and videos, and embedded reviews improves both consumer and search engine experience. And that means greater visibility, better search rankings, and more traffic – both online and in-store.
Here are a couple more benefits of consolidating website content.
Preventing keyword cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization happens when a brand splits links, content, or conversions between two or more pages that belong together. Keyword cannibalization can damage your online presence because it dilutes your brand and takes away your ability to rank high for competitive keywords.
For example, if a banking and investment services brand has five or six different pages all optimized for “small business loans,” how are search engines to know which one is the best answer for consumers in need of those loans? Google may end up ranking a page other than the one you prefer.
But if you incorporate keywords correctly, it can help improve your rankings and increase traffic.
By strategically combining similar pages together, you can create a single page that ranks highly across multiple related keywords. You can also focus on diversifying your keywords per product or page. This way, you don’t end up with the same keywords across pages.
Improve content quality
Quality content can be difficult to achieve, especially when you need to consistently produce a great deal of it. If you’re looking to improve your brand’s content, you need to make sure it’s unique, well-researched, engaging, and personalized.
You’ve probably heard about the power of personalized content before. When people visit your site, they’re hoping to find valuable and specific information. That means your content needs to be both helpful and engaging.
If your content doesn’t answer specific questions your target market is looking for online, or if it doesn’t provide additional insight into a brand’s products or industry news, they probably won’t come back to your site.
On the other hand, great content provides something unique and interesting to each visitor. This could help improve your click-through rate and increase sales. And it enables you to stand out from the crowd by improving your brand’s rankings. The best and most compelling content is rich in local context. Download a free copy of Local Content Marketing Strategy for Enterprise & Multi-location Brands to learn more about how brands can achieve this at scale.
How to prioritize content updates
Taking a systematic approach to content auditing will help ensure you can put your highest value and lowest effort opportunities first. It’s also essential for budgeting that you understand the full scope of the work to be done.
Here, we’ll discuss your content evaluation options so you can determine which action needs to be taken for each webpage, blog post, or other pieces of content.
If the content is no longer needed, of such low quality as it doesn’t warrant expanding, or is a duplicate of another page, you can delete it. Use 301 redirects to tell Google the page has permanently moved and point people to a higher quality, relevant resource.
If you don’t have another resource on a topic directly relevant to your business and you’ve built or attracted links to this page, you don’t want to delete it. Instead, you can update and expand on the content.
If the content is of good quality and the page draws traffic – or, if it is relevant to your business but you want to make sure all claims, figures, statistics, and information are up to date – you can do a light refresh for this content.
If you have numerous resources on the same topic that serve the same search intent, or are splitting traffic off onto these different pages and giving Google multiple pages to consider for similar queries, you can consolidate the information from each of these onto one URL. Redirect the pages you’re unpublishing. This offers a more cohesive experience for searchers, customers, and search engines alike.
Tips for Consolidating Website Content
To improve the value of your SEO analytics data, you have to improve the quality of your content and resolve any keyword cannibalization problems. So let’s discuss how you can accomplish that:
Avoid keyword cannibalization
As we discussed, keyword cannibalization occurs when one web page uses another’s keywords to rank well for those same terms. This happens because each site wants to dominate a particular niche, so it tries to use words related to the targeted topic. If a competitor’s site ranks highly for your desired term, you could lose traffic and sales.
Tips to avoid keyword cannibalization
So how do you avoid it? Here are some tips to help keep you safe:
- Keep a site plan and editorial calendar. These tools will help you keep your content organized and will help you stay on schedule when it comes time to reevaluate older content. This also means your site will be easier to navigate for your customers.
- Keep the URL. Every URL should stand out from the rest. Use a unique domain name and memorable URLs that are easy to type and remember.
- Check every keyword target to see whether there are other similar pages. Keywords are used to describe products, services, locations, people, and events. So get creative. When someone types in a certain word, you want to know whether they’re looking for something specific or just browsing around. To find out, look at the number of times a phrase appears for different search queries. If it’s high, they’re probably searching for something specific.
- Track every worked-on date. Keep track of the worked-on dates to make sure pages are being regularly updated to ensure you have quality content throughout the site.
- Sort by keyword target. You want to make sure that your pages aren’t competing with others for the same keywords. Start by sorting your results by keyword target. Then go down the list and compare the rankings to ensure that no duplicates exist. Remember that zero-volume keyword myth. Even queries that show 0 volume in keyword research tools can still get conversions and impressions.
Improve content quality
The best way to improve the quality of your content is to make it more useful and relevant to your audience. If your content doesn’t help people accomplish something specific, it probably isn’t worth creating.
So instead, focus on creating content that provides value to readers. This could mean giving helpful tips, answering common questions, or sharing great stories.
Take some time to think about what types of content you’d like to write and how you might go about doing that. Then figure out ways to make each piece of content more valuable and engaging rather than just posting another listicle.
Look at questions your audience is asking
You can start by using AnswerThePublic to see what questions can be answered around a topic. For example, if you use the search query “Plumber in Tampa,” it could populate questions like “will plumbers fix drywall?” or “will a plumber install a toilet?”. Then you can write content to answer these questions.
Don’t forget to optimize for long-tail keywords
It is also crucial to write about multiple similar long-tail concepts on one page. Focus your efforts and resources on high-value opportunities to get the best ROI on your content strategy expenditures.
When you begin auditing your current content, remember to redirect the pages you are removing to better pages. Also, make sure to add sections of content from pages you’re removing that aren’t redundant.
Keep your content fresh and current
Remember to improve readability and update outdated information when auditing older pieces. You should also remove outdated details from the public view.
Update your content regularly
Generally, brands should update and refresh old content every six months to one year, changing the publish date once you refresh the content. This will help ensure you always have up-to-date, top-quality content for seasonal and all other marketing campaigns.
If you make these efforts to consolidate your site’s content strategy, you’ll not only help improve the chance to rank on Google but also create a better user experience for your customers. Have questions about consolidating website content or improving your SEO? Our team is here to help – start by requesting your free local presence audit and we’ll be in touch to discuss your most pressing SEO opportunities soon.
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