Between 2011 and 2016, the companies started publishing 800% more blog posts per month on average. All the hype around content marketing clearly contributed to such a drastic increase. What’s more troublesome though, is that all that content receives far less engagement. Buzzsumo estimated that social sharing of content has reduced in half since 2015. Even the masters of “viral content” like Buzzfeed and Upworthy have witnessed a dramatic decline in shares per post.
The company also spotted another curious trend though. Websites publishing authoritative research and reference content consistently get shares, links, and traffic over time. Content depth and overall quality are not the only factors contributing to higher traffic stats. Overall website experience also matters a lot. Website speed, responsiveness, security, and overall user experience also have a major impact on your search rankings.
So instead of pumping out new content that’s getting you nowhere, consider optimizing all the content assets you already have for better UX. Here are four simple optimization tips to help you do just that.
1. Don’t Ignore Schema Markup
Simply put, schema markup is a way to clearly communicate the intent of your content to search engines. In turn, search engines are better able to return relevant search results, hopefully yours, to their users. All of the major search engines contributed to a single website, Schema.org. This contains a set of universally agreed upon markups that webmasters can use to tag their content. There are markups created for:
- Local Businesses
Google even has a structured data markup helper that you can use to perfect this technique. It allows you to select the elements on each page that you want to be market up. For example, if you have an article, you can mark the name of the article, the author’s name, the article’s backstory, and other information. All of this information allows search engines to be much more accurate when they determine when your content should be featured in search results.
After a spring update, Google also started paying more attention to author profiles and credentials in several niches including healthcare and finance. Websites that did not demonstrate their Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust (E-A-T) through content started ranking lower as they lacked “external reputation” from Google’s standpoint.
There’s another benefit of using Schema as well. Rich snippets are the ideal result of using schema markup. With rich snippets, Google takes your markup information and provides you with an enhanced listing in search results. Try Googling the phrase, ‘Valentine’s day recipes.’ Most search results are going to look quite standard, but you may run across a couple that looks like this:
Recommended for You
The picture and the rating are both displayed because the webmaster used schema markup, and Google’s algorithm selected this particular web page to feature. Schema will always improve your search engine rankings. Sometimes, you’ll get an even bigger boost with rich snippets and solicit more clicks from search results.
2. Increase Your Page Load Speed
53% of mobile users will abandon your page if the load time is longer than three seconds. Poor page performance than leads to increased bounce rates.
And the avalanche of problems starts growing from here. High page bounce rate is a negative ranking signal for Google. Even if you are doing everything else well, and your content is great, it will still get ranked lower than another post, loading up lighting fast. So slow website loading speed = lower rankings = less traffic.
To improve and analyze your page performance, analyze the various factors that cause performance issues in the first place. Then take action to make improvements. Some tips that work include:
- Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Using compression
- Adding an app accelerator
- Using AMP for mobile pages
3. Revisit Old Content And Make it Better
Much of the emphasis on optimizing content and boosting SEO is focused on new content. What about all of the stuff you’ve already written? Sometimes, it’s easier to bring that up to standard than to simply publish new content. Here are some things you can do to bring new life to dead or dying content:
- Determine which content is worth updating
- Clean up spelling and grammar mistakes
- Fix factual errors and replace broken links
- Add new keywords
- Create a new publication data, so Google sees that old post as new content
- Consider optimizing for performance and adding markups as mentioned above
- Re-promote that “new” post on social media.
Finally, consider updating the content itself. For example, if the list article you wrote in 2016 that covered your favorite TV shows of that year went viral, why not update it to reflect the shows that are on today? Or better – turn this post into evergreen content like “the best shows of all times” to avoid repeating this step over and over again.
4. Optimize Your Images
Using images is a great way to get the attention of search engines, but only if they’re the right ones. If you’ve included relevant images to your website, and they’ve been optimized, those visuals can become a brand new source of traffic and links. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:
- Make your page more valuable by visualizing large chunks of texts (e.g., adding an infographic or a chart to explain a complex process instead of spelling it all out).
- Always add relevant alt texts to each image.
- Use keywords in your image file names, and in captions (when relevant).
- Try using more original images. Stock photos are fine once in a while, but they will not bring you as much value as a unique, on-brand visual.
Instead of writing that new piece of content, schedule a comprehensive audit of what you have. Chances are that making improvements in these four areas can result in a significant traffic boost for your website.