The first thing to consider when starting your blog post audit is the overall quality of the content. Ask yourself — is this blog of high quality, or does this need optimizing? A good blog post should be simple to navigate, easily accessible for your marketing team (if you have one), and able to generate traffic.
Blogging is a unique text-based platform that aims to supply informative and engaging content for the user. Ensuring your blog is original and stands out from other posts within the same niche is essential for creating a successful blog post.
Content audits help you identify new SEO opportunities you could implement on your own site. These opportunities become evident through metrics tracking, analysis of user behavior, and reviewing the existing content.
Consider the SEO, layout, design of your website and focus on the area’s most important to you, considering which areas do you want your blog post to perform best in.
Categorizing these areas in a Google sheet and using SEO tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console will help you gather your data. Once you have this information, you can begin to break your blog post down.
Key steps to cleaning up you blog
Take full inventory of your blog content – This will help you understand what you’re working with and find ways to make improvements.
Discover your winning content – By finding out what works well for your blog, you can spot successes to replicate. Check your SEO and social platform to identify what type of content is successful.
Find problem content – This is content you will eventually remove, optimize, and delete. Check the date and quality of the blog to make those all-important decisions.
Assess the competition – Check competing blogs within the same niche as our own and see if they are offering anything you aren’t.
Plan, fix and create – This is the fun part when you can overhaul your blog and optimize this for a better user experience.
Create blog content for humans
Before we get into your blog post audit, something to consider is the new Helpful Content update from Google, which focusses on people-first content. This means all discoverable content in the SERP will need to be people-friendly and helpful to be able to rank.
When writing your blog, it’s important to remember you are writing for humans, not search engines. Having keywords and an SEO-based approach is great, but ensure your content is readable for humans is the most important thing. If it’s not readable, it will result in a negative user experience and bring your blog rankings down.
The new Google update introduces a signal to automatically identify content that carries little value and prevents it from ranking. Sites with excessive amounts of unhelpful content are less likely to perform in the search under the assumption there is better content available for the search to display.
Removing or optimizing unhelpful blog posts from your site could help boost the rankings of your other posts. Sites identified with unhelpful content will have the signal applied, and the signal will remain in place for a few months.
The update is another reason you should conduct your blog audit now and remove anything unhelpful.
The good news is the signal isn’t permanent. Once the signal determines the removal of the unhelpful content, the classification won’t apply for much longer. However, it may impact your visibility for a few months, so it’s better to conduct an audit sooner rather than later.
Why your headline matters
The headline of your blog is essential, as it’s what grabs the reader’s attention. It needs to be instantly engaging or informative, using language that makes them want to read the rest of the article.
Don’t use language and information not included in the blog, as this is simply click-baiting. Although it may temporarily boost your clicks and interest, it will drop once the user realises it’s clickbait, resulting in bringing your ranking down.
Top tips for creating a catching headline:
Know your target audience – Having an awareness of your niche and target audience will help you solidify the perfect headline, as you will know what your audience is searching for and the best way to draw users in.
SEO optimization –Including a keyword of focus within the title will make your content more discoverable within search engines. Structuring your title around this will help bring in more traffic.
Knowledge vacuum – Headlines described as a knowledge vacuum leave the reader wanting more. The language should be intriguing, urging users to read the article and look for more information on your site.
The 5 Ws – Engaging titles that begin with the famous five Ws – who, what, when, where, why – show the reader they are about to learn something.
Adding ‘you’ – Adding the word ‘you’ or ‘your’ into any title is directly appealing to the user and adds a personalized touch to the blog before the user has even begun to read it.
How to write a successful Introduction to your blog
So, you’ve secured the perfect headline and attracted the reader — but this isn’t all. The introduction to your blog needs to be enticing enough so the user keeps reading.
A great introduction should build on the original starting point (headline) and let the reader know what to expect.
Things to include in your introduction would be:
- The statistic hook – Uses facts and statistical data to pull on the reader’s curiosity.
- Quotation hook – A memorable quote that relates your blog post. Using a quotation hook is excellent — just ensure you add further context.
- Question hook – posing a question will immediately capture the readers’ attention. Ensure the question is open-ended to give the reader something to explore further.
- Statement hook –Stating facts or opinions makes the reader want to argue against your point or follow along with your claim.
Regardless of which style you choose, a great hook will grab your reader’s attention and start the foundation for your blog.
How using visuals can help your blog
Visuals are an essential part of your blog post. As humans, our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, so it’s crucial to have high-quality images and include screenshots, infographics, GIFs, videos, graphs, and charts.
- Infographics are 3 times more likely to be shared on social media
- Using relevant infographics can increase website traffic by up to 12%
- Web articles that contain images receive 94% more views than articles that don’t
- Blogs using colourful visuals make people 80% more willing to read them.
When importing and attaching images to your page, there are a few things to ensure you have the best results:
- Use high-quality images that are relevant to the content discussed.
- Compress images with a valuable tool like TinyPNG for faster load times and less data consumption.
- Add a relevant caption to the image, as people read captions 300% more than the body of text.
- Use relevant screenshots and charts for visual aid.
The statistics and what they tell you
Using statistics from trusted sources can help you back up your claims. You want users to trust the information you publish, and using relevant stats throughout your article to back up your points is a fantastic way to do this.
Before using any statistical data, ensure these are current stats relevant to your points. Using anything older than 1-3 years (depending on your topic) is likely to be an outdated statistic.
Don’t worry — you can usually find up-to-date information by using Google Search tools. This will show the latest posts on the topic and give you the latest information.
Perfect your blog format and quality
Take a step back and review your blog post, ensuring it is scannable and looks of good quality. Your post must be easy to navigate through the use of headers, sub-headings, bullet points, and a range of images.
Headers should make it clear what each section is about and give an excellent summary of the post. Using clear headers also helps crawlers get a handle on everything.
For the body content, it is better to stick to shorter paragraphs and use various simple and compound sentences for better flow. Additionally, you should always proofread your work before publishing. If you are unsure of the quality, you will find help online. Multiple tools can aid with tiny mistakes, awkward phrasing, and, more importantly, plagiarism. All blog content must be original, so this last step is essential.
Call To Action (CTA)
Once you’ve finalised your blog post, you would always include a call to action CTA. This is the window of opportunity where you can direct users. Using social media icons or a share button will encourage users to follow your social media platform or share your content on their own social media platform.
Effective uses of a CTA might encourage users to do any of the following:
- Purchase a product discussed within the blog post
- Read a related blog post (supply the link)
- Share your blog post on social media
- Like the post
- Sign up for a newsletter/notifications
However, a CTA is individual to your goals for writing the piece. It’s about extending user engagement one step further to create meaningful results. Ask your users to do something and get an idea of how well they are engaged in your blog.
Count your words
After going through your blog post with a fine-tooth comb, consider the length of it. There is no perfect word for a blog however, it’s difficult to discuss any topic in fewer than 500 words. To ensure your posts are actionable enough to make you stand out, write at least 1,000 words or more.
Remember that shorter posts mean less opportunity for your content to be indexed for particular keywords within the SERPs, so fewer than 300 words means searches won’t include you.
The best way around this is to try a healthy mixed length. Quick posts are appreciated by your readers as users can read them in a brief period, and the longer posts will deliver organic traffic.
HubSpot has found that 2,100 words are the sweet spot for engaging and valuable content that ranks well and is greatly appreciated by readers. Anything between 2,100 and 2,500 is a great length.
Benefits of a blog post audit
You should now hopefully be familiar with what you need to do for a successful blog post audit. Whether you are removing or redirecting a blog post, always consider your critical points of audience and quality while also considering the new Google update. Avoid accommodating purely for search engines, as this will impact your blog negatively, and always ensure you do what is best for the user.
Carrying these tips forward will allow you to show off your blogging skills and boost your ranking and audience reach, which is something we all strive to achieve.