In today’s fast-paced publishing world, website owners are faced with producing new content at a breakneck pace. Yet, despite all the energy that goes into creating that content, all too often those articles, slideshows, and videos have a short half-life, and are quickly forgotten after their initial publication.
If publishers and content marketers want to squeeze the most out of their ongoing content creation efforts, they must spend some time re-engaging with existing content and making sure it is being utilized to its fullest potential for content engagement.
Thankfully, it doesn’t take a lot of additional effort to maximize the engagement potential of the content you are already creating. A few simple practices can go a long way toward revitalizing your archives, enabling you to put existing content in front of new readers and still deliver highly engaging site experience. Here are three tips to get you started:
1. Analyze historical bounce and exit rates
Take a look at the peaks and valleys that have occurred with your bounce rate over the past few months (or over the last year) and dive into those metrics to see what content caused visitors to bounce or to stay longer on the site. Maybe a particular slideshow drove more pages per visit, in which case you can revive that to a front-page placement to achieve a boost in your visitor retention metrics.
Also, look for articles with a high exit rate and investigate the potential reasons why readers may have left your site. Did you provide them with new content avenues to explore, or was your original content lacking in related links? Perhaps you linked off-site and sent the majority of visitors elsewhere, rather than giving them a more well-rounded content experience directly on your site? Even when linking off-site might provide a solid user experience, you should always complement external links with other related resources within your own domain to keep visitors from venturing too far.
Care2.com provides a good example of mixing and matching internal and external links to provide the maximum value to its readers, as demonstrated in the example below:
As you can see, Care2 provided off-site links (highlighted in blue text) to recipes for lemon vodka and apple peel tea, but has also complemented those with internal links on keywords like “onion,” “kale,” and “vegan” to keep readers who are interested in those topics engaged in onsite content.
And at the end of the article, Care2 includes a list of related links to other relevant articles on its site, to capture additional reader attention.
2. Concentrate on pages that see the most SEO traffic
In most cases, the pages of your site that will garner the lion’s share of SEO traffic are archived pages, which likely receive a consistent flow of long-tail traffic over time (as opposed to the spikes that occur with new posts). As these popular pages can continue to draw new readers long after they are published, there is value in taking some time to revisit this long-tail content and optimize it to align with your current content marketing strategy and goals.
Your target audience actively searches for topics based on specific keywords. The more you can match those keywords with additional links and resources in your relevant content pages, the more likely you are to reach and retain those readers.
Let’s say you have an article that consistently performs well on “social media marketing.” Analyze the page and see if it can be updated with any new assets (videos, infographics, etc.) that you’ve created around the subject since the original publication date. This provides real value to the readers who find your website through search, and will keep them coming back to you as a trusted and knowledgeable resource on the topic.
For example, The Skiing Experts receives a high volume of views from searches for the term “Best Ski Boots”:
The article above was originally published in 2011, but still receives more views than many other pages on The Skiing Experts’ site. A quick refresh — adding updated links to yearly round-ups and embedded video related to the top search term — provided a more robust user experience, and gave readers additional information to explore while they were visiting the site:
3. Connect new content with popular archived content
As you’re working on new articles, don’t overlook the value that your high-performing older content still offers. By looking back to see which topics previously resonated strongly with your readers, you can update your editorial strategy to create more content around those topics.
As you start to publish new content, make it a practice to enhance the visibility of your other successful content pieces on that topic. For example, within the new article text, link the most relevant keywords to your archived stories. You can also provide links to pages where readers can find additional resources on related subjects. The idea here is to keep readers on-site, giving them plenty of ways to navigate through your site and find additional content to engage with.
For example, Moviefone publishes a “Best Movies of the Year” feature that really resonates with readers. The content is robust, each title links back to the movie’s individual page on the Moviefone site, and the round-ups from previous years are featured at the end of each new iteration of the article:
Once you’ve made these optimizations to your existing content, keep watching your bounce rate and pages-per-visit metrics on those particular pages to see what’s working, as well as to direct readers to other opportunities for content engagement. Revisit these optimized pages, and take stock of “new” archived content every few months to ensure that you are realizing the full potential value of every page on your website.
What other ways have you found to get more bang for your existing content and keep visitors engaged on your site longer? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Looking for more advice on content optimization? Check out what the experts had to say at Content Marketing World 2013. Access to a wide range of presentations is available through our Video on Demand portal.
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