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Cut the Crap: Next Level Content Audits with Crawlers - Sam Marsden, SEO & Content Manager, DeepCrawl



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Sites with any level of content production quickly build up pages that are outdated and left unmanaged, crawl budget can be wasted on low quality pages, penalties may be incurred and organic search visibility can be lost for the pages that matter most on a site.

Sam will be sharing a new framework for conducting regular content audits that make use of many data sources but that are time efficient to implement and put you in the best position to make decisions on how to deal with the content on the sites you manage.

Sam will examine the different data sources that you can bring together from commonly used tools and how to anchor this with crawl data in unique and original ways to assess onsite engagement and performance in search.

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Cut the Crap: Next Level Content Audits with Crawlers - Sam Marsden, SEO & Content Manager, DeepCrawl

  1. 1. Sam Marsden Cut the Crap: Next Level Content Audits With Crawlers @sam_marsden
  2. 2. About me... 2 SEO & Content Manager at DeepCrawl
  3. 3. Last year I started at DeepCrawl...
  4. 4. Soon after we received Series A funding... @sam_marsden BrightonSEO 4
  5. 5. Very happy CEO! This meant we could scale up... @sam_marsden BrightonSEO 5
  6. 6. Funds were made available for a site redesign @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  7. 7. A website redesign is a long process 2Source: A site redesign is a long process 7
  8. 8. A website redesign is a long process 2Source: ...and we needed to move to a new CMS 8
  9. 9. A website redesign is a long process 9 ...because we were suffering from plugin bloat
  10. 10. 10 And we needed to manually re-enter existing content
  11. 11. we only wanted to migrate the content that we needed 11
  12. 12. A content audit was in order! @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  13. 13. @sam_marsden BrightonSEO How can we do this in a thorough but time-efficient way?
  14. 14. @sam_marsden BrightonSEO What is a content audit?
  15. 15. What do the search results say? 15@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  16. 16. We want a more data driven approach... 16@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  17. 17. What guides are out there? 17@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  18. 18. We need a fresh approach... 18@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Comprehensive Time- saving Replicable
  19. 19. Content auditing is like a spring clean @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  20. 20. Content auditing is like a spring clean First you need find all the crap you have hidden away in your home. ≈ Discovering all of your URLs
  21. 21. @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  22. 22. What’s your reasoning behind what will go? ≈ Creating a set of criteria for judging content performance @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  23. 23. Making the call on what gets binned? What stays? What gets a new lease of life? ≈ Deciding what to do with your pages 23@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  24. 24. @sam_marsden BrightonSEO A Crawl-centred Approach
  25. 25. The Discovery Phase Aim: To discover all existing URLs
  26. 26. Other guides say to export pages... @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  27. 27. say to export pages... @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  28. 28. o expopages... Other guides suggest crawling... Source: @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  29. 29. BUt Other guides suggest crawling... Source: Great idea BUT… Limited view of data@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  30. 30. Other guides say to export data from 3rd party tools… @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  31. 31. BUT… Joining the data is laborious and time consuming @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  32. 32. Here’s where a cloud crawler can help… @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  33. 33. Not limited by scale @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  34. 34. Can seamlessly integrate multiple data sources...
  35. 35. 35 Crawl data needs to be at the centre of your audit, not just a single source. @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  36. 36. Running a crawl 36@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  37. 37. Running a crawl 36@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  38. 38. Use custom extractions to pull out: ● Authors bylines ● Published & last modified date ● Structured and meta data ● Wording and phrasing ● Image alt tags ● Tagging & tracking Extracting out onpage data 37@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  39. 39. Running a crawl 36@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  40. 40. Running a crawl 36@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  41. 41. Take your dataset… 39@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  42. 42. 2@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Whittle down to useful data, so you can start making decisions
  43. 43. 2@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Cut that sheet down to size
  44. 44. 2@sam_marsden BrightonSEO You should be left with: Page descriptors – URLs and page titles Page attributes - word count, published & last modified date, links, duplicates, categories, author Performance metrics - backlinks, social shares, traffic, SERPs, impressions, engagement metrics
  45. 45. With your inventory in place, auditing can be streamlined and efficient. 2@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  46. 46. @sam_marsden BrightonSEO What are we going to cover? Four questions you can answer with your content inventory Four examples of insights to inform your content strategy Introduce ways to automate content auditing process
  47. 47. @sam_marsden BrightonSEO Four Key Questions You’ll Want to Answer
  48. 48. 2@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Question No. 1: What is and isn’t performing well?
  49. 49. Defining a set of criteria to judge content performance 46@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Performance depends on nature of the site. A news site that generates revenue through ad impressions will define successful content differently from a B2B site that provides a niche service. May also have different expectations of content performance dependent on the content type. Mass appeal vs. targeted content.
  50. 50. Inclusion relies on correct goal implementation* In the DeepCrawl content audit… 47@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Content performance assessed based on: Unique pageviews Share count Backlink count Page value*
  51. 51. 2@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Question 2: How can you deal with content that isn’t performing well?
  52. 52. Adding an ‘Action’ column 49@sam_marsden BrightonSEO In your spreadsheet you’ll want to create an ‘Action’ column and add in four options Keep Cut Combine Convert
  53. 53. In DeepCrawl’s case... 50@sam_marsden BrightonSEO We knew there was a lot of outdated content no longer providing value. We could afford to be cut-throat and only keep content that: ● Had a publish date within the last year. ● Or had a specified volume of traffic from Analytics or impressions from GSC Search Analytics.
  54. 54. For pages where you aren’t sure about what action to take... @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  55. 55. Is the page being seen in search and receiving traffic? @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  56. 56. Is the page actually bringing value to the site? £££ $$$ €€€ @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  57. 57. Do they exude Expertise, Authoritativeness & Trustworthiness? @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  58. 58. @sam_marsden BrightonSEO Number 3: How can you get the most out of content that is performing well?
  59. 59. 2@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Filter your spreadsheet by what you want to keep...
  60. 60. ...and examine ways you can maximise the value of your top performing content... @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  61. 61. @sam_marsden BrightonSEO Optimising titles & meta descriptions Keyword cannibalisation Duplication issues Internal & external linking Page speed Structured data Tag pages Start using a fuller breadth of the data you’ve pulled in. Key areas to focus on for content optimisation:
  62. 62. 4. How can you use this data inform your content strategy? 2@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Question 4: How can you inform your content strategy?
  63. 63. 60@sam_marsden BrightonSEO We need data driven insights… because content marketing resources are finite...
  64. 64. 2@sam_marsden BrightonSEO And need to ensure resources are invested into more of what works...
  65. 65. Achieving this is all about finding relationships... @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  66. 66. @sam_marsden BrightonSEO Useful for larger sites where page-by-page assessment isn’t possible
  67. 67. 2@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Let’s look at some relationships which may be of interest...
  68. 68. Tool of choice: the pivot table @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  69. 69. 1. Performance by channel/category/content type 68@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Do some types of content perform better than others? Group content into categories and look in terms of performance (views, shares, backlinks) and volume of production (no. articles published). Are you allocating content efforts efficiently? Is time, money and effort being spent on the right types of content?
  70. 70. Performance by channel, category, content type 69@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  71. 71. 2. Content length and engagement 70@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Is content length positively correlated with engagement?
  72. 72. Content length and engagement 71@sam_marsden If engagement doesn’t increase linearly with content length then can resources for content production be used more efficiently. Create guidelines for content length based on insights. Select topics based on impact rather than length. Greater awareness of time taken to create content and the likely impact that can be expected. BrightonSEO
  73. 73. Is page speed harming bounce rate and conversions? 72@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Do some pages load more slowly than others? Are some resource heavy? Images optimisation required? Important, especially for eCommerce as load time and bounce rate closely tied to conversion rate.
  74. 74. Performance and engagement by author 73@sam_marsden BrightonSEO How does content performance vary by author? ● Useful for sites with high turnover of content, like news sites. ● Define ranges by which to rate content performance ○ E.g. Poor, average, good, excellent based on pageviews ● Can be replicated on a weekly, monthly, quarterly basis for ongoing monitoring. Name Poor Average Good Excellent Barton Haberkorn 26 64 11 60 Jacquelynn Kline 19 79 4 49 Claudette Etheredge 87 79 77 11 Sharell Phinney 73 31 8 20
  75. 75. 5. Performance fluctuations by publish date and time 74@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Is content better received on specific days of the week, time of the day or months of the year?
  76. 76. But this is just the beginning... 76@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  77. 77. From here you want to automate the auditing process 77@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  78. 78. Aspects you can automate @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  79. 79. 79@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Crawl like clockwork Scheduled crawling Automatically triggered crawls using DeepCrawl’s Zapier integration
  80. 80. @sam_marsden BrightonSEO Creating automated rules Automated alerts traffic drops, broken pages Noindex low quality UGC
  81. 81. ...pull data into dashboards for continuous monitoring 81@sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  82. 82. To wrap up... @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  83. 83. To wrap up... 83@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Number 3: How can you get the most out of content that is performing well? Question 2: How can you deal with content that isn’t performing well? 4. How can you use this data inform your content strategy? Question 4: How can you inform your content strategy? Question No. 1: What is and isn’t performing well?
  84. 84. To wrap up... 84@sam_marsden BrightonSEO The content auditing process should be centred around a cloud based web crawling solution and be: Data driven Automated Frequent
  85. 85. THANK YOU Sam Marsden SEO & Content Manager @sam_marsden BrightonSEO
  86. 86. Useful resources: 75@sam_marsden BrightonSEO Crawl-Centred Guide to content auditing – Me! How to do a Content Audit – Everett Sizemore Automate or Die – David Iwanow Branded3 Mobile Speed Experience – Mathew McCorry Kevin Indig Experts on the Wire Podcast – Dan Shure Webmaster Hangout Notes - DeepCrawl