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Content Audit: What You Should Remove from Your Site Right Now

by aschmidt

content_auditPerforming a content audit on your website can be a painstaking process, but it’s one of the most critical elements of maintaining a strong online presence. Effective content will bring visitors to your site, keep them there, and help them convert. Ineffective content does the opposite – fewer people will come to your site, those that do will leave without spending much time there, and they may even form a poor opinion of your brand in the process. This is why the content you get rid of is just as important as what you keep. Below are some common examples of “red flag” content that you should remove from your site right now.

1. Outdated information.

Outdated information on your website can convey the idea that your company is not on top of its game, which can damage the credibility of your business. For example, if it’s 2016 and your website still says that your new store will open in 2015, it’s time for you to remove that content. If you cannot salvage the content by updating a few dates or tweaking a few time-sensitive phrases here or there, then remove it entirely.

2. Duplicate content.

This one’s a biggie in terms of its effect on your search rankings. It’s widely understood that Google will penalize web pages that feature excessive duplicate content, which is basically identical or very similar content that appears across multiple URLs. One major drawback of Google’s duplicate content penalty is that their search algorithm is in full control of which version of your content will be presented to users during a given search, whether that version is the one you’d prefer or not. Here are some tips to help you avoid some of the most common culprits of duplicate content penalties:

  • If you have several pages that are highly similar in content, consider consolidating them into one page, or take the time to expand the content enough to distinguish each page as unique.
  • Avoid boilerplate repetition, such as copyright or privacy disclaimers at the bottom of every page. Create a specific page for this information, and then provide a link in the footer or sidebar for your users’ convenience.
  • Try not to publish stubs or placeholder pages, which are basically web pages that do not contain any real content. If you feel as though placeholders are necessary for your site at the moment, you can block these pages from being indexed by including the “noindex” meta tag.

3. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors.

Many businesses have damaged their online reputation due to careless spelling, punctuation, or grammar mistakes in their content. Go over your content with a fine-toothed comb to ensure that it reflects the professionalism of your brand.

4. Inconsistencies in tone or mode of expression.

Most brands work hard to develop some type of identity or culture that reflects the personality of the organization, and their site content will typically exhibit this unique voice. Whether the tone of your site content is serious, funny, authoritative, playful, or otherwise, make sure that it accurately and consistently matches the personality of your brand.

5. Broken hyperlinks and missing images.

Make sure that every hyperlink on your site (whether internal or external) is up-to-date, and will take the user to its intended destination. If you discover that you’re linking to a missing page or a 404 error, find out if the page has been moved, and if so, replace the old URL with the updated one. If there is no updated URL, just deactivate the hyperlink altogether by either deleting it from the page or turning it back into plain text.

In addition, make sure to address any problems with missing images by double-checking the spelling of the image URL first, as this is one of the main reasons why images fail to appear on a web page. If the path to the image is spelled correctly (including the .jpg, .png or other file extension) but the image is still missing, double-check the folder where the image file is supposed to be to see if it’s actually there. If the file is there, be sure that it’s spelled correctly, which includes paying attention to capitalization. For example, some web servers will treat a file ending in .jpg differently than one ending in .JPG, even though they’re both JPEG files.

6. Factually inaccurate content.

Product/service descriptions, staff members, industry data, pricing, and other key information can change over time, so be sure that your content is still factually accurate. If you see some areas where changes need to be made, make notes to distinguish between content that should be revised or updated versus content that needs to be deleted altogether.

While it’s definitely a tedious process, going through your content is necessary to ensure that you’re presenting your business in the best possible light. Keep the above tips in mind so that your website will continue to faithfully represent the high standards of your brand.

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