Imarc

Digital Spring Cleaning Victoria Andersen

Written on: April 19th, 2018 in best practices, SEO

Spring has sprung! Unless you’re here in New England; all of us at Imarc East are having a lovely extended winter. No matter the weather, spring is a time to clear out your winter clothes and make room for the new, so why not do the same with your website? If it’s been a while since you did some digital dusting, here are a few things to clear out and shine up to get your site spring-fresh!

Clearing Out

Content Cleanse

Don’t be a content hoarder! I get it, we work really hard to create content. Initially, content typically starts off as current and useful. But just as fashion trends evolve and fade, so do online marketing strategies. At times, those strategies do a complete overhaul (Instagram, I’m looking at you and your algorithm updates!), and that information is no longer helpful. And that’s okay! What’s not okay - is keeping out of date or subpar content on your site for content’s sake.

Here’s what you can do. Take some time and review your low performing content. As you revisit it, ask yourself: Does it answer a question? Is it still current? Does it make a point or take a clear stance on a subject? Does it clearly communicate why the reader should care? If the content isn’t adding any value, don’t keep it around. It’s only distracting from your higher quality material.

Dog holding lots of bones. 'I'm not a hoarder. I just like to be prepared.

Having just recently gone through a move, I realize how hard it can be to purge. As I emptied out the deepest corners of my closet, I found myself struggling to part with some of my treasured belongings, going through the mental bargaining (“What if one day I need my…”). Much like my embellished Ed Hardy T-shirts, old content can make your site look dated and out of touch. The content on your site should be relevant, polished, and true to your current brand identity.

It's also important to remember that not everyone is entering your site through your snazzy new homepage. An old piece of content may come up in a Google Search, or might be linked in someone else’s outdated content. If a user comes to your site via that old content they’ll get a much different first impression of your brand than if they’d arrived via fresh content. First impressions are everything - don’t let yours be an outdated one!

Speaking of Google…

One of the major reasons we create content is to support SEO and content marketing, so you may be thinking, “less content = less search results, right?” Wrong. When SEO and content marketing really took off, many sites were pumping out tons of short form content to gain those precious page-one slots. However, after this surge of short (not necessarily quality) content, Google released the Panda update. 

Panda prevents short and shallow content from ranking well and favors longer, more comprehensive content. Additionally, Panda uses content quality as a sitewide factor, not just a factor for page ranking. This makes deleting your poorer performing “filler” content all the more important. Despite being released in 2011, Panda continues to receive regular tweaks and updates. Clean out your content closet, and you may end up with a nice little SEO boost!

Broken Links

Like the collection of unmatched socks at the bottom of my dresser drawers, broken links quietly collect over time. Pages get deleted, URLs change, and inevitably some old links get immortalized elsewhere on the web. Broken links not only make sites appear less reputable to users, they can also ding your SEO.

Running a scan can help you identify broken URLs and get them repaired or deleted. The Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is a great place to start. The console will tell you exactly which links appear broken to Google’s site crawlers and where they exist on your site. We also love Screaming Frog SEO Spider. Along with finding broken links, Screaming Frog offers a multitude of SEO tools and is free for small to mid-sized sites (up to 500 URLs).

Shining Up

Once you’ve cleared out the clutter, it’s time for a little polish. This is a great opportunity to give the key components of your website a second look and refresh any stale content.

Calls to Action

Whether your site is B2B, B2C, or somewhere in between, its goal is to inspire users to do something. That said, users can only take action if you give them the opportunity to. Today’s users are impatient, and today’s site designs are richer and busier than ever; a contact link in the footer isn’t going to cut it. To be effective, your calls to action (CTAs) need to be easy, enticing, and obvious.

When researching effective CTAs you’ll find a million articles that state the most eye catching colors or the most compelling verbiage, but the real key? Say it with me, “Location, Location, Location.” It’s all about providing the user a way to take action, when and where they are ready to take action. The world’s greatest CTA is totally useless on your privacy policy page.

'Where is it?

The good news: CTAs are smarter than ever. Using tools like Drift, you can leverage your content and create tailored CTA’s to guide users through the buyer's journey. For example, if a user is engaged with a blog post about a recent product launch, Drift enables you to set up a conversational CTA that offers a link to the product page. This allows you, as a marketer, to focus your CTAs on a specific target while providing the most useful content to users. Using conversational tones are a surefire strategy for increasing conversion. In fact, personalized CTAs convert 42% better than their more traditional counterparts.   

Social Integration

One of the biggest trends to come out of 2017 was the humanization of marketing. Rather than treating marketing as either B2C or B2B, we’re now focusing on making a human to human connection. What’s one of the most effective ways to humanize your brand? Two words: social media.

But you’re smart, you probably already knew that. You’ve been tirelessly snapping, tweeting, sharing, and story-ing to build a killer social media presence. So why not show it off on your site? Go beyond simple social icons by incorporating a social feed on your site. Provide easy ways to share and highlight relevant content. Basically - turn your site’s monologue into a dialogue.

social media

A social media feed can pull data from you preferred platform, and display your posts in real time on your site automatically. This can be a fun addition to your homepage, or it can serve as a centralized hub for all your social activity as its own page. Either way, a social media feed allows you to have a live stream of updates, and encourages engagement with your social channels.

These are just a few of the methods you can do to give your site a spring spruce up. What’s most important is that you’re doing something. Just because you aren’t redesigning your site, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t constantly be evaluating, enhancing, and evolving your content. Your site should be like the seasons, always changing!

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