Here’s a situation.
You wrote the best-of-its-kind blog and while it was ranking in the SERPs, the number started declining slowly over time. This is Content Decay.
It is the content that sees a decline in the traffic over a year or so, despite the content being a valuable business asset to the marketers and 70% of marketers prioritizing content quality over quantity.
Well, to begin with, 51% of the content consumption derives from organic search. Moreover, research by Orbit Media shows the average blog post takes 3 hours and 57 minutes to write, with an average blog post being 1,236 words long. This can be a time-consuming process, often leading to marketers finding different methods to gain traction with their content.
Content decay mars all their efforts, even though it inadvertently happens over time. Nothing can get more frustrating than this, isn’t it?
Sample this –
In their The Science Behind 100,000-View Blog Posts, Animalz.co outlined the five phases of growth -
The Spike Phase - when the post is first published.
The Trough Phase - where it looks like the growth is stagnant.
The Growth Phase - when page views increase over a few months.
The Plateau Phase - when the growth levels out.
The Decay Phase - when the traffic to the post starts to drop off.
This leads us to the question –
Fresh Content is Google’s Blue-Eyed Boy – It is a well-known fact that Google always prefers fresh and up-to-date content, which is laced with the latest information. Without the ‘newness’ in your content, you will end up with flailing SERPs even with the best resources on the go.
You’ve Got Competition – Next up, you are having tough competition out there, which can lead you to drop you out from your current SERPs. This is why they say, you need to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing from scratch.
Now that you have an idea about what content decay is about, the next step is to implement practices that can help fix it. In no particular order, these are:
Regularly post about the hot topics, recent trends, and other events that are relevant to your niche. You can use a mix of content for the posts to gain traction. For instance,
Infographics, photos, charts, and other image content have seen a 56% increase for B2B marketers in 2019 in comparison to the previous year.
Spot the content decay on your website using some of the best tools out there. These include but are not limited to –
Google Analytics – Google Analytics is the most common tool, which will help you keep a careful watch on your posts. It will also help you assess the overall traffic coming to the posts. This needs to be done manually though.
Clickflow – It can connect to your Google Search Console account and can automatically search for the posts, which have been affected by a decline in the traffic over the year.
SEMRush – SEMrush can alert any time your tracked pages decrease in the SERP rankings, due to content decay.
When you want to tackle content decay, another handy tip is to make sure that you identify the posts that can do with an SEO refresh. You can do this in multiple ways, including inserting new, top-performing keywords, identifying the best keywords that can be used to optimize it, and so on. Likewise, you can settle for keywords that you don’t yet rank for and target them in the content.
Pro Tip: Since people are also using voice search queries, you might want to target long-tail, natural keywords.
If you offer inbound marketing services, Think along the lines of giving them information to –
What is inbound marketing?
What are the different inbound marketing strategies?
What are the best inbound marketing methods?
You get the drift!
The next point is to change the meta descriptions and also, add the headers that can include the relevant keywords. You can also insert the keywords into your H1, H2, and H3 headers. This can boost your organic search results manifold.
The optimal length of the meta description is ~155-160 characters. But, you can keep them anywhere between 50-160 characters.
The optimal meta description content should read natural, with keywords inserted organically.
Pro tip: Make the meta useful for the searchers.
Have you used alt-text or compression on the images? Don’t forget to include these as Google will then get the context of the images. Compressing the images will help in enhancing your page speed. Here are some other methods to optimize the images:
- Resize the images if needed
- Use Alt tags
- Optimize the image title
- Optimize the image file names
- Include captions
- Place unique images in the content
- Add the image structured data
Have a research-based content, say on Marketing Automation? It will get outdated quicker than your other posts. Make it a point to update the research, including the statistics, or just link to newer and better resources. Sometimes, the content decays because the content you had previously linked to, decayed.
Pro Tip: Search for sites that have high page rank and use them in your content as an external link.
Links get broken over time. This can occur due to the deletion of the content that you previously linked to. Ensure that you fix all these broken links in the content, updating them, and linking to fresh, updated content. This is something that Google will take into consideration for ranking.
Content decay is, unfortunately, something that happens to all content over a period. Think of competing blogs, which often tend to use, what is known as the Skyscraper method, where they take the best content and add to it, making it a valuable resource and therefore, get the rankings and traffic. With these tips in tow, you can, to a major extent, explore different ways to combat them – one post at a time.
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