12 tips to improve underperforming blog posts
From split-testing your content to giving it a visual upgrade, here are 12 answers to the question, “What are the most effective ways to optimize underperforming content?”
- Use A/B Testing
- Get Backlinks to Your Content
- Focus on Search Intent
- Seek a Professional Content Audit
- Support SEO Efforts With Social Media
- Rewrite the Meta Title and Headings
- Write for a Real Audience
- Reread, Revise, Recycle
- Implement Structured Data
- Audit Google SERPs to Align With High-Performing Content
- Reexamine Your Blog Layout
- Make Your Content More Visually Appealing
Use A/B Testing
One effective way to optimize underperforming content is to use A/B testing. A/B testing involves creating two versions of a web page or email and then directing half of the visitors to one version and the other half to the other. By doing this, you can determine which version works better for your audience and make adjustments accordingly
Additionally, you can use A/B testing to compare different subject lines, calls-to-action, visuals, and other elements.
Get Backlinks to Your Content
Backlinks are one of Google’s ranking factors when determining content quality. The more backlinks you have to your content that come from authoritative sources, the higher your content will rank
Sometimes, backlinks happen organically. And sometimes, you’ll need to conduct outreach to encourage other publishers to link to you. Building a strong network makes link-building easier, as your publishing contacts will already be familiar with you and your brand. Share resources with them that their audiences may find helpful or interesting, and ask for a backlink. Do this consistently with all the content you publish, and your rankings will skyrocket.
Focus on Search Intent
When talking about SEO optimization and rankings of a specific piece of content, search intent is one of the significant factors that affect search performance. Writing content for people first and search engines second is a creative process I preach, and now it is showing more than ever across many industries.
Always make sure to nail the search intent the best way possible and offer the most helpful content you can for the designated topic. Updating content to solve the search intent problem brings significant improvements (if there are no manual actions or other SEO problems included).
Seek a Professional Content Audit
One of the best ways to optimize underperforming content is to, first of all, identify what is wrong with it. For the average person, it’s not always easy to identify those nitty-gritty details that can make all the difference between high-ranking content and poor content
For this reason, the best thing to do would be to get a professional SEO and content marketing expert to audit the content
The expert will identify some of the key issues you need to address and give you a comprehensive breakdown of why your content is not performing as well as you want it to
Also, SEO experts may give you immediate recommendations that you can explore right away and long-term solutions that help you get the best out of your content marketing strategy in the future.
Support SEO Efforts With Social Media
If you don’t have an elaborate SEO strategy in place, then that’s the first step to getting underperforming content to do better in search. Keyword research, interlinking, and proper metadata structure are the foundation of well-optimized content. But if you’re already doing all of that and still not getting your content to perform as it should, it might be time to put your social media channels to work.
Social media is part of off-page SEO, the same as link building. This type of SEO activity is vital to establishing authority and broader E-A-T efforts. Since link building is quite challenging, it might not be the most effective way to optimize underperforming content, so give social media a go first. Prepare a posting schedule that you’ll stick to, decide on the format and content of your posts, and choose which platforms best fit your needs. The social media boost might be just the thing your content needs to blow up.
Rewrite the Meta Title and Headings
Write a compelling meta title and descriptive headings to pique the interest of your readers enough that they will go to the full article. Weak meta titles and headings can be reasons why your content is underperforming.
These elements might be small details, but they make all the difference because they either grab a reader’s attention or make them lose interest. The meta title, or title tag, is particularly important because it’s what readers can see displayed on the search engine results page.
Write for a Real Audience
To optimize underperforming content, start writing for a REAL audience. Your audience is composed of real people with real problems and real expectations. Even if you must consider some SEO rules when writing your content, stop thinking about AI and Google first
How to make sure you are currently writing for a real audience:
– Analyze your market news and use it to share insights and comments
– Share your customers’ successes to highlight your expertise
– Focus on meaningful content only related to your personas’ challenges.
Reread, Revise, Recycle
Rather than sink into shame and ignore underperforming content, there are three steps content marketers can take to optimize content:
1. Reread the piece out loud. Does it sound like a human wrote it?
2. Revise the piece. Add personal touches. Update verbs in CTAs to be more interesting than the basic “read more, check it out” etc. Are paragraphs too long? Consider breaking long walls of text into shorter, bite-sized sentences.
3. Recycle the piece. After you’ve revised, it’s time to get the new content out in front of your audience. Promote it on social media, share it in your newsletter, shout it from the mountaintops-whatever it takes to let everyone know you’re offering a fresh perspective.
Implement Structured Data
One way to effectively optimize underperforming content is to utilize structured data to make sure that the search engines have a better understanding of the purpose of your content.
Whether it be a promotional article, event blog post, how-to/DIY, educational resource, recipe, product description page, or for entertainment purposes, correct implementation of structured data will help fine-tune how your content ultimately performs, as search engines are now using intent to deliver better results in the SERPs
Prior to resubmitting to the search engines, be sure to test your structured data schema using a free tool like Google’s Schema Markup Testing Tool
Once you have successfully added the structured data to your content, then resubmit to the search engines and track your traffic, page views, and monitor the goal of the content-sales of an item, tickets to an event, registrations for a course, sharing, re-posting, or engagement.
Audit Google SERPs to Align With High-Performing Content
One place to uncover clues about underperforming content is the Google SERPs for your topic or keyphrase. By knowing what is most valued by the Google algorithm, you can compare your current content to what is considered to be most relevant to searchers.
Drop your keyphrase or topic into a Google search, and audit the results on page one. What’s the search intent of the highest performers? Are the top spots filled with educational articles or how-to blogs, service pages, videos, or product reviews? Does your content align?
To rank near the top for that keyphrase, your content needs to match the intent defined by Google. No fear, however. You can either reoptimize the existing content with the desired intent or reoptimize for a keyphrase that already matches your content.
Reexamine Your Blog Layout
If your blog post is underperforming, take a second look at the layout. Is it easy for your visitors to find the answer to the main question they had when clicking on this article? If the first paragraph does not provide this information, consider adding a key takeaways or TL;DR section at the top of the page.
Here you can summarize in 3 to 4 bullet points the most important details of your article while also including your main target keywords. By outlining this section in its own text box, the information can better stand out and grab your reader’s attention while also helping to boost your SEO efforts.
Elena Rogers, Freelance Brand Strategist & Copywriter, Freelancer
Make Your Content More Visually Appealing
Most people won’t read your content closely – they skim, scan headlines, laugh at memes, or click on something interactive. By adding more white space to your content, making it clearly structured and easy to skim, and including images, videos, or interactive elements where appropriate (with alt-tags for accessibility), you make it easier for the reader to consume and boost performance.
Pro tip: The easiest headlines to scan are questions, so use your H2s to ask questions – just be sure to answer them in the first sentence of the body.
Submit Your Answer
Would you like to submit an alternate answer to the question, “What is ONE effective way to optimize underperforming content?”