Have you taken a look at all of the pages on your website recently? How about the depths of your Twitter account? Chances are there’s a page lingering somewhere in the dark corners of a drop down menu that hasn’t been updated in a while. In this post, we’ll take a look at four different ways to assess the freshness of your content.
“Freshness” can refer to content on your website, blog, or in your email and social media channels. Why does freshness matter? It sends a signal both to your audiences and to search engines that you’re still there and that you care enough about them and your business to keep your content up to date.
There’s nothing worse than showing up at a restaurant only to realize that the hours on their website aren’t accurate, and that they’ve changed for the summer. Or to be working on a policy issue…that’s already passed through Congress.
Here are four ways that you can ensure that your content is fresh:
Look for Ghost Towns
Checking for Ghosts: When’s the last time you updated your Facebook page? How about your blog? The first step in the process is to see if you’ve posted anything in a while. Are you active, or is it a ghost town?
If you’re not sure what to talk about, think about the top pages on your website, and pull a fact, quote, or statistic from that page to share on your social media channels. Your blog is a great place to answer all of the questions that your clients are asking. Your email inbox might be a great source of blog post ideas.
Look in the Back of the Content Fridge
There's Something Scary in the Back of Your Content Fridge: Okay, so let’s say you are pretty on top of updating your website and social channels on a regular basis. What you might want to do is to go page-by-page through your top-level navigation, and check to make sure that the most visible pages on your site are accurate and up to date.
Pay particular attention to facts, such as dates, hours, addresses, and staff names and emails.
Google looks for a consistent name, address, phone number, and URL for physical locations featured in local search. So if your business or organization has a brick-and-mortar location, you might want to check those facts a second time to make sure that they are formatted identically.
Look in Google Analytics
Google Analytics has a wealth of information on your content. One report that we like to look at regularly is Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. This report will give you a nice look at the most popular pages on your website.
But if you click on the column labeled “Pageviews” it will also let you look at the least visited pages on your website. If one of your least visited page is pretty important, you may need to think about ways to make it easier to find on your site. (User experience designers call this “surfacing” content).
If it’s a blog post that hasn’t been viewed in a while…it might be time to share it again through your social networks. Looking at blog post metrics over a longer period of time, might yield some insights on topics that are more popular, or less popular.
You can also rewrite a post, taking a slightly different angle or approach, such as turning a fact-heavy article into an infographic. Repurposing content leftovers are a-ok in our book.
Speaking of which, if you want to look at content metrics in a single area (also called a directory or folder) of your website, here’s a handy trick: go to Behavior > Site Content > Content Drilldown and then click on the directory that you want to look at.
This makes it easy to look at the content metrics only for your “blog” or “about” section. In the below example, I see the directories for my homepage, and my blog.
Look in your Social Media Management Tool
Get Social with Your Metrics: It’s a good idea to look at your top posts. We recommend doing this on a monthly basis. We like to look at our top 5 posts sorted by reach, and then by engagement.
When looking at engagement (which is a catch-all term that describes likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc.) it's important to keep in mind that if a post reached few people and the engagement rate is very high, that bit of might not be as helpful to you as seeing the stats on a post that reached more people but had slightly less engagement.
Our top five social media posts often give us ideas for future social media posts or even blog posts topics.
Below, is an example from a report we pulled in Sprout Social for our client Clergy for a New Drug Policy.
Why aren't we talking about the bottom five? We often look at those posts too, but if there's a clear reason that a post may have gotten less reach (such as a Facebook boost not being approved, or spending less on a boost), that’s less interesting to us than seeing the posts that really resonated with our audience.
Keep it Fresh!
We hope this gives you some great ideas to keep things fresh! Let us know if you have questions about content freshness in a comment below.
For more tips on making your social media content work harder, check out some of the other posts in our social media audit series.
There's a quick and easy thing you can do to improve your content metrics, such as bounce rates and time on site. That's to filter SPAM out of your Google Analytics reports.
If you're looking at your Google Analytics Acquisition report and you see a bunch of suspicious looking referral sources, that include phrases like "free traffic", Russian characters (as in the lifehacker example below), or which end in .xyz, then it's important to filter SPAM out of your Google Analytics account.
This is what SPAM referral sources look like:
Why should you filter SPAM out of Google Analytics?
Expert digital marketers are able to look your Google Analytics Acquisition report to assess strengths and opportunities of your marketing program. It helps us assess:
If your referral traffic is artificially inflated because it has a bunch of SPAM in it, it won't give us an accurate picture of what's going on.
Other consequences of not filtering out SPAM include:
Creating a SPAM Filter
Setting up a Google SPAM filter should take ten minutes of time or less.
Step One: Open Your Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals Report
This is what you need to do to get a list of the SPAM URLs in your report. Look for URLs in your referral report that end in "xyz", which contain Russian characters, or include the word "free" in them.
This Moz article on stopping SPAM bots lists some common SPAM referrers in it.
Step Two: In a New Tab in your Web Broswer, Open Your Admin Panel and Go to Views > Filters
Make sure you're looking at the "View" column, and clicking on "Filters". It's a little confusing because there is also an "All Filters" label under the "Account" column.
Step Three: On the Filters Screen, Click the "Add Filter" Button
If you don't see this button, you're not going crazy. You just don't have the right permissions to add a filter to your account. Talk to the owner of your Google Analytics account about granting you permissions to add filters to your account.
Step Four: Set up the SPAM Filer
The graphic below shows what your SPAM filter should look like. Make sure to click on the "Custom" tab. In the "Filter Pattern" filed you can include multiple URLs separate by a pipe ( | ). When typing in the URLs into the filter, leave off the "http://"
Google Analytics only allows you to enter so many characters into the "Filter Pattern" field, so after entering about ten URLs, you may need to set up a second SPAM filter.
Finally, Check Your Referral Report Once a Month
Finally, it's important to check your Referral report for SPAM on a monthly or quarterly basis, to make sure that the SPAM referral sources are not creeping back into your reports.