What do fruit and veg have in common with organic content? Eventually, and inevitably, they will both start to decay.
Your blog articles, which originally brought in an average 2k users a week to your site, have seen a decrease at a pace just slow enough not to ring alarm bells. But since launching, they are now attracting on average just 100 users a week. New posts normally ‘spike’ straight after launch, but this momentum can be hard to maintain.
In this article, we’ll explore why and how your content can lose traffic and what you can do to revive it.
Why does content decay happen?
As explained by Animalz, most blogs follow the same content lifecycle. This can be broken down into five stages:
- The spike phase
- The trough phase
- The growth phase
- The plateau phase
- The decay phase
The spike phase occurs when the content is first launched and gains a lot of visibility. The trough phase then occurs as the growth appears to have stopped. Following this, the growth phase eases in as page traffic increase steadily over a longer time period. As you enter the plateau phase, the growth starts to level out and eventually drop off, entering the decay phase.
Businesses should aim to keep pages in the plateau phases for as long as possible, as this involves very little time and financial investment and still brings in new users to the site. However, the decay phases can begin for a number of reasons.
Over the last year, many larger businesses have seen the benefits of using blogs. In 2019, over 80% of B2B marketers used their blog as a content marketing tactic. This previously lesser-known marketing channel has quickly become fiercely competitive, with larger companies dedicating specific teams towards blog content generation and resource. These shiny new blogs could push your content further down the search engine results page (SERP) and could result in your blogs entering the decay phase prematurely.
Whilst it’s important for your content to be relevant to your product/service offering or related searches, this can also result in a shallow pool of topics to choose from. Be wary of cannibalising content within your blog as this will have a direct impact on the organic traffic to your blog. Overlapping topics can cause your blog traffic to be split across a larger number of pages, rather than a focused stream to one landing page. As a result, Google will be unsure which page to rank first, and therefore ranking across all pages will suffer.
Back in November 2011, Google released the ‘freshness update’, which highlighted the importance of showing users the most up-to-date, current information. This update was significant and impacted 35% of all searches. Since then, the older your blog, the more vulnerable it is to decay.
There are many other contributing factors that can cause content decay, such as technical issues, content quality or new Google algorithm updates – these are just some of the main things to consider. Understanding the reasons for your site’s decay puts you in a better position to reverse it.
Refresh and revive
Refreshing old content is easily overlooked in an SEO & content strategy. Whilst it lacks the excitement of producing new, original content, it’s necessary to ensure the longevity of your blog traffic.
There are many simple ways to refresh content and bring it back to the top of the SERP. First, you must identify the ideal content to refresh, which would be one that has previously seen high amounts of organic traffic, and should now be in a decline for at least three months. After identifying the content that you’d like to refresh, here are a few strategies you can use to implement this.
Information on older blogs especially relating to example products, regulations, locations and contacts, is more likely to be out of date, and will all need to be updated to reflect the correct information.
- Review your content to ensure that all statistics and references are still accurate.
- Make sure the images remain engaging.
- Add any further information which relates to current trends and news.
- Incorporate new, more relevant keywords when updating the copy.
Once you have updated the content, make sure to re-publish with a current date stamp.
With research suggesting that long-form content gets three times the traffic and four times the shares as shorter content, consider merging underperforming blogs with similar topics into one super post. This way you can streamline traffic onto one page and increase your chances of engagement. It’s important to note that when collating content for your super post, be sure to only include the most up-to-date and relevant information.
Identify underperforming pages that need optimising and ensure these blogs meet all SEO best practice checks. Additionally, consider adding relevant internal links and keyword-rich copy to any that need it to further improve your chances of ranking in SERP.
Content refresh brings results
Croud’s client, Upside, had seen that their blog post, How much does it cost to sell a house in Australia‘, which originally performed very well when shared in September 2018, started to decline in traffic by March 2019 – when the content entered the decay phase. On the 30th of December Croud refreshed the article, using some of the techniques shared in this article, which resulted in a +344% increase in month-on-month traffic for this blog – as highlighted below.
If your older blogs are suffering from a slow decay and it’s getting you down, look at incorporating a content refresh into your SEO strategy to increase visibility and boost traffic to your site.
If you’d like to know more about content refreshing or speak to our SEO team, get in touch.