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December 3, 2021 (Updated: March 8, 2023)
Low-value content is anything you’ve written, posted, or shared that isn’t helping—and may even hurt—your search engine optimization (SEO) and rankings. The good news is that even though you may have some of this low-value content currently on your website or social media accounts, there are ways you can improve those pieces to make them more appealing to search engines and your audience. We have five tips to help you audit and improve existing content, and to follow when writing new pieces, along with topics like:
Use these tips to help improve your low-value content:
Any piece of written content under 300 words might not provide enough information to make it valuable to your audience. Why? Because they’re too short. To give you a visual, 300 words is about three long paragraphs. There’s a time and place for short pieces, but the content marketing you use to generate organic traffic usually isn’t it.
Instead, 500 words is a typical minimum for a content marketing piece. This length is common for what we call short-form content, like blog posts or press releases. Adding 200 more words may not feel like a lot, but that gives you about two more paragraphs of valuable information for your audience, and more content for search engine bots to crawl and match with queries. Longer articles or topics with a lot of information generally run between 1,000 and 3,000 words.
Expand your thin pieces by combining content from shorter articles that target the same or similar keywords. Pick the best information from each one and merge them to create something longer. Doing so may allow you to rank higher without competing with yourself for spots on the first search engine results page (SERP). This is also more valuable to your readers because they need to follow only one link to get all the information they want on a topic. Make things convenient for them and they’re more likely to stay on your site longer.
Image via Giphy by @snl
Do regular updates to old content to make sure its performance is still high. At a minimum, it’s helpful to update evergreen pieces every two years, but you can do it more frequently. Refresh content when it becomes outdated and new information is available, when it’s underperforming, or when it no longer reflects the views or services of your business. Even high-value content benefits from these kinds of updates to ensure you’re always providing top-tier information to your audience.
If you’ve made improvements and done all you can but you don’t see an improvement in SERPs or statistics, it’s okay to delete content that isn’t serving you. Sure, at some point you put a lot of effort into creating that content. But that’s not a reason to hold on to it and hope it gets better.
Consider deleting pieces that include duplicate content you can’t add to another piece. Outdated content you can’t update, like information about a discontinued product or service, is also good for putting on the chopping block. Narrowing your offerings helps search engines find and recommend your more valuable content to users. Once people find your best pieces, you can see an increase in traffic, sales, and SERP rankings.
While the content itself is important for SEO, so is the page format. If you’re not getting the rankings you want, it might not actually be what you’ve written, but how it’s structured. Make sure you’re optimizing each piece for readability and search engine crawling. Add or update page elements like:
How are search engines even able to tell if your content is high or low quality? Google and other search engines use a list of certain characteristics to determine which pieces qualify. The ones that pass the checklist rank highest on SERPs. While the five tips above give you actionable steps to fix your content, it also helps to know what Google’s looking for, and what areas to pay attention to when you’re optimizing. Factors to consider include:
Related: SEO Ranking Factors [Infographic]
There are two types of low-value content you might encounter on your website: initial low-value content and decreasing low-value content. The initial kind doesn’t provide value from the first day it’s posted. As is, this content wasted your time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take the topic, do more research, and try again.
Decreasing content is something that may have once benefited your audience. But because of an algorithm change, a shift in user interest, or another factor, it’s become less valuable over time. These are the pieces to put on your optimization schedule to get them back to their previous glory. Metrics and other factors help you find both types of low-value content in your archives, including:
If you’re still unsure of how to rework or even create new high-value content, set up your free call with CopyPress. As a content marketing company, our skilled team of creatives writes and edits with SEO in mind to make sure you’re getting the best rankings possible for your content. Contact us to get started on your next great campaign!