The quest for enhancing search engine visibility and improving organic traffic has always been at the heart of SEO (search engine optimization).
But with Google’s constant algorithm updates, shifting SEO dynamics, and the introduction of Search Generative Experience (SGE), it’s increasingly clear that success requires more than just a keen understanding of keywords and backlinks.
It demands an in-depth analysis of what you have in your current SEO strategy and how well it’s working.
That’s where a content audit comes into play. Think of it as a secret weapon that can help you pinpoint your “cash cow” content and add a new breath of life to content that’s past its prime.
So it’s not just about producing and promoting new content but about reviving, reshaping, and repositioning what already exists. With the right links, you can reinvigorate old content and turn it into your loyal ally that lands on the first few pages of Google.
In this article, we’ll explore the role of content audits, among other link building strategies, sharing how they can help you optimize blog content and significantly improve your SEO.
Let’s dive in.
Why Are Link Building Strategies Important in SEO?
Few things command as much respect and fear as Google’s algorithm updates in the world of SEO.
In the past four years, one update that made particular waves was the December 2022 link spam update. Initially feared by many SEO professionals as the potential nail in the coffin for link building, it ironically underscored the undeniable importance of link building in the SEO landscape.
Despite its hype, Google’s “link spam update” was the third least disruptive update in recent years.
Rather than ending the role of link building, it elevated the importance of link quality over quantity. The update effectively discredits low-quality, paid backlinks while reinforcing the significance of hard-earned, high-quality links.
Our internet ecosystem is a complex web of content and links, which remain central to achieving high search engine rankings.
Without a robust and quality-focused link-building strategy integrated into your SEO plan, the risk of strategically adept competitors outranking you isn’t just a possibility — it’s a certainty.
What Is Link Building?
So, let’s backtrack a bit.
Link building, at its core, is a strategy used to get other websites to link back to your website. Search engines view these inbound links, or backlinks, as endorsements of your content’s quality and relevance.
Backlinks act as indicators of trust and authority, helping search engines understand the credibility and importance of your content.
To borrow an analogy from Jeremy Moser, the CEO of uSERP, high authority links are like positive Yelp reviews for your website. Just like consumers trust businesses with excellent reviews, search engines trust websites with quality backlinks from reputable sources.
So each quality backlink is like a favorable review, signaling to search engines that your content is worthy of high placement in search results.
Backlinks not only enhance your website’s searchability and visibility, but they also have several other benefits:
- Improves Organic Ranking. Quality backlinks signal to search engines that your content is valuable, helping your site rank higher in organic search results.
- Faster Indexing. Search engine bots discover new web pages by following backlinks from existing web pages. Therefore, the more quality backlinks your site has, the faster search engines will index your links.
- Referral Traffic. Backlinks from popular, high-traffic websites can increase the number of visitors to your site, leading to a boost in referral traffic.
Sounds idyllic, right? There’s a reason 59% of industry experts agree that backlinks will be more important to their SEO strategy in the next few years.
So let’s look at ways to optimize your blog content with the right link building strategies to help you keep up in this ever-evolving world of SEO.
Content Audit: An SEO Secret Weapon
A comprehensive review of your blog content is a powerful resource for understanding what’s working, what’s not, and how you can improve.
Far from just a cleanup task, a content audit is an insightful strategy that can directly contribute to your link-building efforts and overall SEO performance.
Consider this your roadmap to understand your content’s current state and strategize your future SEO initiatives. Specifically, a content audit can help identify the following:
- Traffic from organic search for the last 90 days (To do this, open Google Search Console and run a comparison period report).
- Content with fewer social shares, no ranking keywords, and zero backlinks.
- Pages with low time-on-site but that should have high time-on-site.
- Bad URLs and broken links.
These findings can shed light on how to enhance your content and make it more appealing for quality backlinks.
Follow these six steps to run a front-to-back content audit.
Step 1: Outline the Goals of Your Content Audit
Let’s face it. Content audits are time-consuming and resource-heavy. That’s why experts at Semrush only recommend a content audit once per year.
And to make sure you’re not wasting your precious time, it’s wise to clearly define what you want to accomplish with this audit and the proper metrics to track success.
While the specific goals may vary depending on your business’s unique needs and circumstances, here are some common objectives of a content audit:
- Improve SEO Performance. Identify opportunities for better SEO, such as fixing broken links or improving keyword usage.
- Boost User Engagement. Determine what type of content drives the most user engagement and use this information to guide future content creation.
- Increase Conversion Rates. Find out which content is most successful at driving conversions and seek ways to replicate this success.
- Eliminate Redundant or Outdated Content. Identify any outdated, irrelevant, or duplicated content elsewhere on your site, and decide whether to update, merge, or remove it.
- Enhance Content Quality. Evaluate the overall quality of your content and identify areas where you can improve.
Remember, the goal of a content audit isn’t just to generate a mountain of data but to unlock actionable insights that align with your overall business objectives.
Be clear about what you want to achieve from the start, and let those goals guide your audit process.
Step 2: Identify High-Performing and Low-Performing Content
As the saying goes, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. And in this case, the low-quality content on your site is weighing down your high-quality content.
Unfortunately, the content you rushed to publish five years ago doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It influences your overall site’s SEO performance, user engagement, and even your brand’s perception.
The odds are you’ve totally forgotten about this content, and it’s the linchpin holding back your site’s true potential.
So once you’ve outlined the goals for your content audit, the next step is to sift through your blog to find your highest-performing and lowest-performing content.
The following typically characterize high-performing content:
- Better rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) — think the first few pages of Google.
- Alignment with Google’s helpful, reliable, people-first content guidelines.
- High levels of user engagement.
- Successful conversion rates.
- Significant social share.
And for low-performing content, the opposite holds true. However, don’t mistake low-performing content as irrelevant or unnecessary. Understanding this dichotomy between high- and low-performing content allows you to uncover the required changes to uplift the latter’s performance.
Step 3: Categorize Your Content Assets
Now, with a pile of URLs, it’s time to create a Google Sheet with three tabs and categorize your content assets accordingly:
- Leave it as it is
Tab #1: Leave it as it is — Add any content that performs well, remains relevant, and doesn’t need updating (read: evergreen content).
Tab #2: Remove/redirect/consolidate — Remove or redirect the pages marked, or combine them in similar topical clusters. Cutting your site’s low-quality content can improve your overall site quality and rank significantly.
Tab #3: Improve — Find content that has the potential for salvation. Learn why your best content is your best and replicate it to these pieces that need tender loving care.
Step 4: Improve Low-Performing Content
Now that you have a complete list of URLs you want to improve, it’s time to do some sprucing. Don’t worry if your eyes just rolled to the back of your head. We know it’s a daunting process but worth the effort.
Here’s everything you need to do to take your worst-performing piece of content and turn it into something you’re both proud of and will naturally attract high-quality backlinks.
Update Any Outdated Information
The internet is an abyss of information. And what was relevant a year ago may not hold ground today.
Start by updating any outdated information to keep your content current, accurate, and relevant. This step not only improves the user experience but also signals to search engines that your content is up-to-date and adds value to the topic at hand.
Optimize Keyword Usage
Gone are the days of stuffing keywords into every nook and cranny of your blog post. Incorporate keywords naturally within your content, focusing on relevance rather than quantity.
And for the best chances of climbing the SERP ranks, consider using a content optimization tool such as MarketMuse, SurferSEO, or Frase to remove any guesswork.
Improve Your Writing Style and Structure
The easier it is for someone to read your content, the more likely they are to stay on your page, which signals to search engines that your content is helpful rather than spammy.
So revamp your writing style by breaking up large chunks of text with subheadings, bullet points, and vector images for better readability.
And don’t underestimate the power of internal and external links to improve your content structure. Think of internal links as bridges that help users and search engines find other relevant content on your site.
- For search engines, internal links guide information architecture, connect related content, and distribute pagerank.
- For users, just like external links, internal links help people easily find more related, relevant content.
Let’s take a look at an example in action.
Pumpkin, an innovative pet insurance company, uses internal links to help educate pet owners on the ins and outs of pet insurance coverage.
Users can learn more about pet insurance vs. preventive care by simply clicking through internal links to another blog post. This simple detail helps reduce bounce rates and any new search engine queries, which alleviates friction in the buyer’s journey.
But the user isn’t the only one who benefits. Pumpkin can share link juice from a popular page to a not-so-popular page to increase its authority.
The takeaway? Don’t randomly link to blog posts on your site just for the sake of it. Be strategic like Pumpkin.
Create a list of important pages, sorted by:
- Conversions. What pages on your site convert at the highest rate? Drive more people to these pages.
- Rankings. What pages aren’t ranking in the top three? Spread the link juice to enhance these pages.
- Topical authority. Link to pillar guides and long-tail posts to create dense sections of valuable, high-quality content.
Check Google for Helpful Content Updates
Keep a pulse on the latest search updates from Google. Otherwise, you might see a drop in rankings and, consequently, in traffic without a clear indication of why.
Thankfully, Google provides decent documentation of these updates and outlines everything your content needs to continue to rank well.
And when you follow the latest requirements for content (and links), it helps make your blog more relevant and authoritative, increasing its appeal to users and search engines.
Hire a Good Content Writer
If your content needs significant rewriting or you’re short on resources, consider hiring a professional writer with years of experience.
There’s a reason content marketing is one of the most commonly outsourced business services. Writing is not a walk in the park. It’s time intensive and eats away at resources.
Hiring a blog writer is a no-brainer. They know their niche like the back of their hand and can easily enhance your content, making sure it’s informative and persuasive.
They can also bring a lot of added value by incorporating some on-page SEO best practices, like meta tags, image alt text, and links to trustworthy sources that support their ideas and strengthen their writing credibility.
Here’s an excellent example of an article about real estate agents, where an experienced writer pulled helpful statistics, relevant links, and infographics from trusted sources to support their ideas.
These added features turn an average blog post into an exceptional blog post. Why? Including relevant images, infographics, or videos can break up the text, provide additional value, and improve the overall user experience.
And Google takes notice. According to Lemonlight, simply adding a video to an existing blog post can boost organic traffic from 10% to 250%. That’s not too shabby.
Step 5: Apply Tried and True Link Building Strategies to Your Blog Content
Once you have your content right where you want it, it’s time to go “all in” on the link building efforts. And no, we’re not talking about buying thousands of $5 links on Fiverr to random niche blogs.
We’re talking about building links the right way. Remember, quality over quantity is the golden rule here.
For instance, if you’re in the SaaS space, finding an expertly curated list of the best product management tools can help you pinpoint those high-quality, relevant websites that should sit at the top of your potential target list for link building.
So how do you land these coveted backlinks from high-authority sites? Here’s how:
Write Long-Form Content Pillar Pieces
Long-form content acts as the cornerstone of your link-building efforts. This in-depth, comprehensive content tends to naturally attract links, press, mentions, and engagement.
While creating these pillar pieces, remember the following:
- Don’t force keywords. They aren’t the primary goal of this content. If they fit naturally, great. If not, that’s okay too.
- Incorporate custom images and quotes from subject matter experts (SMEs) to spark sharing and virality.
Create Statistics Pages
As a primary source of information, your stats pages can become a link magnet. But the key here is to own most of the stats on the page.
Why? Writers love adding statistics to their content to help back up their claims.
Here are a few helpful tips to help get you started:
- Ignore target keyword volumes from SEO tools. They aren’t the main focus and will only keep you from proceeding with a method that works.
- Like pillar pieces, tap into the power of data storytelling to turn your proprietary data into custom, shareable graphics. It improves your content’s readability and gives you another chance to score an “image source” link.
Baymard Institute used the power of data storytelling to create a single stats page about cart abandonment rates with custom graphics to generate more than 46,600 backlinks.
That’s mindblowing for a single link building campaign. And the best part is, you can do it too.
Turn Expert Insights into Podcasts
Jumping on a podcast as a guest might be your ticket to scoring your next backlink. So when podcast opportunities come knocking, say yes. Your blog has plenty of content that you can turn into compelling podcast topics.
Podcasts offer a different medium to reach your target audience, and guests often share these links, increasing visibility. Although this strategy can be hit or miss in terms of gaining followed links, it has a double-win potential when it hits.
Quality relationships are the foundation of the best link-building strategies. Building them takes time but yields tremendous benefits:
- They often result in better link opportunities than cold outreach, making it worth skipping the “spam” of an outreach email.
- Remember, link building is a two-way street. Both parties see mutual benefit.
There are plenty of ways to network. Start by engaging with link-minded individuals on LinkedIn and Twitter. Join Slack communities. Participate in guest blogging on other sites. The key is putting yourself out there and being open to new opportunities (even if it’s a guest post).
Outsource to a Link-Building Agency
If all of the above sounds like something you’d rather outsource, that’s fine, too. Sometimes, it’s best to let experts do the heavy lifting. And Boostability has you covered with BoostSEO.
Outsourcing your SEO and link building efforts can save you time, allowing you to focus on other areas of your business to keep everything running like a well-oiled machine.
Step 6: Measure the Success of the Content Audit
You’ve finally made it to the last step. So how do you know if all of that effort to prune, update, and build links for content was worth it?
The answer lies in evaluating key performance indicators (KPIs), which help you gauge the effectiveness of your audit and its impact on your content strategy.
Let’s break down these KPIs by category:
These metrics give you an overview of how your content is performing in search results:
- Organic Traffic. A successful content audit should lead to an increase in organic traffic to your website.
- Backlinks. High-quality backlinks strongly indicate the credibility and value of your new (and evergreen) content.
- Keyword Rankings. Monitoring changes in your keyword rankings can help you assess the effectiveness of your link building tactics.
User Behavior Metrics
Discover how users are interacting with your content:
- Pageviews. The number of pageviews can give you an idea of the reach of your content.
- Bounce Rate. A lower bounce rate typically indicates that your content is relevant and engaging to your audience.
Learn how people engage with your content through metrics like:
- Likes, Shares, and Comments. High engagement on social media is a good sign that your content resonates with your audience and prompts interaction.
Finally, these metrics tie your content directly to your bottom line:
- Leads. Quality content should drive lead generation, contributing to your sales funnel.
- Conversion Rates. An increase in conversion rates post-audit indicates that your content effectively moves users to action.
- Return on Investment (ROI). Ultimately, the ROI will show whether your content audit was worth the effort and resources invested.
Boost Your Online Presence with Link-Building Strategies
Many SEO experts agree that link building is here to stay. And with generative AI gaining steam, it’s that much more important to double down on building high-quality links.
Because at the end of the day, positive mentions from credible sources = a powerful signal that your content is authoritative in your respective niche. But don’t let your old content keep you from your true potential.
Prune that content that wastes space, invest time building links, and watch your blog soar to the top of the SERPs.
Learn how partnering with Boostability can help keep your SEO strategy in good hands. Don’t let time or resources hold you back. Your competitors aren’t waiting around. Let us help you build a strong backlink profile today.