Imagine thousands of new customers arriving to read your articles & blog Social Stores & possibly buy a couple of things, everyday. They are interested in what you have to say. Some of them click on advertisements (bring in some revenue), others click on affiliate links & drive more revenue there, still others make acquisition via your online store.
For many Internet entrepreneurs, that is the dream – a stable flow of valuable traffic that drives growth & profits.
The reality is that most small businesses websites simply cannot make enough of an impact to cut through the clutter & start ranking at the top of page one for decent keywords. Regardless of whether you have a great social media network, or email marketing list.
But because it is not easy to dominate search, does not mean there are not some low-hanging SEO fruit that will help you pick up any conversions you are currently missing out on.
While aspects of this plan have been referred to by a number names, like PageRank sculpting, I call this plan SEO lensing because it takes diffuse traffic & focuses it into a beam.
What’s SEO Lensing?
Think of how a magnifying lens can concentrate the diffuse rays of the sun into a tight beam of light, strong enough to burn through blade or a leaf of grass. That’s what we are doing – only the light is replaced with organic traffic & instead of being concentrated a leaf it is being directed to a high-converting landing page.
The method is to take a bunch of poor to average ranking pages & use them to:
- Make a single outstanding page
- Better match content by user intent
- Offer customers a better experience
- Flow PageRank from multiple URLs
- Remove low quality pages to increase trust & authority in the domain
- Provide additional opportunity to generate buzz & backlinks
1. Identify Diffuse Traffic
Almost each site, no matter how small or big, has some pages or articles that drive plenty of traffic and many that do not. Not each site can send each piece of content to the top of page one. Those that do get there drive lots of traffic & the numbers quickly drop off as we move down to popular pages.
Most of this “weak“ content that does not drive much traffic might be of decent quality. It might not have generated enough backlinks to persuade Google to rank it highly or Google can simply decide not to rank it, for whatever.
A better way to find these pages is Search Analytics data in Google’s Search Console (whatever analytics software) over the last 90 days or view impressions in ascending order to see the pages poorly:
Because almost of this content forms part of the overall blog/content plan, many webmasters are hesitant to play around with it, much less get rid of it. But here is the thing; if it is not driving traffic what benefit does it bring anyway?
Because most blogs tend to concentrate topics within their niche there is quite a lot overlapping information between posts. Some reasonable sized blog can probably find more than 3 or 4 overlapping articles on any topic.
The net result is your content generates diffuse organic traffic, like the rays of the sun before they have been concentrated by the magnifying glass. Traffic arrives in small amounts across a number of pages.
This is bad from a search optimization perspective and it is even worse for conversions.
Having 5 pages that rank on page 3 or 4 of the search results is far less costly than having one page that emerges on page one. It is much better to dominate a single term than to contend poorly across many.
Not only that, traffic trickling in across a range of pages you have to add repetitive calls to action too, add conversion elements to each page, or be inconsistent & have some posts optimized for conversions & others not.
Would not you rather get all of this traffic onto one top page & funnel it to a conversion from there?
2. Concentrate the Beam
Ascertain pages that are performing well in Google search & add these to a big list of the pages you want. Maybe they are not quite at page one, but if they are the best performing page on your site for that topic, that is the one to keep.
For every of these “keepers,” build a list of overlapping, weaker pages & call ‘em “weakers” – the pages that you will borrow from in order to advancement the keepers. Take what unique, relevant & interesting content you can from them & rework it into the keeper version.
The aim of this step is to produce single page that is unbelievably awesome & useful for the readers. This can develop the user experience & is especially effective in list type articles, this one that covers top 10 new business ideas from University entrepreneurs:
All the weaker pages have been cannibalized for their quality part, you could get rid of them. But, once they have been deleted it is necessary that your server redirects that weaker URL to the new URL so that any PageRank & links gained by the weaker page can be passed onto the keeper, making it stronger & more likely to rank well.
This update gives you an additional marketing opportunity. You can re-share & amplify the newly updated content with your social media followers, share it with the media, tell influencers about it, etc.
The new social, combined with a higher quality page & a few 301’s coming from established older pages will focus the dilute PageRank shared across all the weaker pages into your page, developing it to climb the rankings.
For instance, we stripped out a number of weaker forum pages related to a keeper page about website builders & SEO, took their content and redirected them. After a week – two we focused a significant improvement, as shown by the develop in search impressions for this page:
Repeat this method until you have reworked & improved all your keepers while redirecting your weakers. By the end of this stage you will have a much smaller, leaner & meaner page ranking machine.
Google has definite several times that the presence of low quality pages can change the rankings of your entire site –having no weak content is ultimately a better SEO strategy.
Follow the traffic patterns on your new pages. Monitor visitor activities closely in order to better understand what will be happen on that page. Are they searching for something else? Are people bouncing? Are they converting, browsing away and doing anything else completely unexpected?
I think the single most necessary SEO tweak you can make to content is to ensure that it’s pitched perfectly at the target audiences – taking the intent into account. Understanding user intent is extremely necessary and quite tricky. Google always gets it wrong & sends mismatched traffic. You have to do a good job, otherwise conversions will suffer.
Often we view articles & blog posts as content & not a landing page, we neglect to clear calls, provide strong to action on those pages. We include links in text to related resources we need people to visit, we take sidebar content to encourage newsletter signups.
If you have made a good quality piece of content that has a strong, logical & relevant call to action then do not be afraid to make it stand out. Give visitors a clear & visible next step.
For instance, our website builder and SEO forum post contained text links to free guides on how to get began with each one. However, these links simply were not prominent enough in the rather lengthy body. Very few visitors clicked through. The guides are something aspiring webmasters could be using, we wanted to make them more visible:
The results were abrupt; the bounce rate dropped & clicks through to the beginner guides shot up.
Visitors skim read content looking for a specific nugget information, in order to move forward. Taking these actions easily findable means they can reach their objectives quicker.
Here is a snapshot of the visitor flow through this page:
There is always room for improvement, but hopefully you could see how the vast majority of traffic is funneled to specific pages.
Not each change you make will necessarily match the user intent or develop things in the way you hoped. Have they led to a higher bounce rate? Have the changes lead to better conversions? Have you made the content meet the expectations & intent of the user better, or worse?
By repeating this process:
… you could eventually make a page that is pitched dreamily, absolutely useful & relevant to visitors and converts extremely well. With happy visitors come a happy Google & the net result of this is often developed page rankings – due to an overall increase in mentions, referrals and editorial backlinks.
So that is SEO lensing or content consolidation in a nutshell. The aim is to take diffuse & poorly matched traffic that brings diffuse PageRank to average rankings in the search engines & focus it all into one unbeatable quality resource that ranks well & meets (and exceeds) visitor expectations.