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Website Spring Cleaning In 3 Easy Steps

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Website Spring Cleaning In 3 Easy Steps


Spring means it’s not only time to enjoy the fresh air but also to think about the tradition of spring cleaning.

If it helps reduce stress and eliminate waste in your home (and other aspects of your life), why wouldn’t it be helpful with your website?

Over time, you may make additions to your home, fill your closets, and change rooms to meet emerging needs.

The home you reside in today may not resemble what you moved into years ago.

This can also be said of your website.

Many website owners tend to add content without removing what’s no longer needed.

Pages are created to suit events, marketing plans, and other activities.

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They are then often forgotten.

While you may not see or remember this content, searchers may be stumbling upon it and getting a less-than-favorable first impression of your website.

Preventative Maintenance For Your Site

Website cleaning makes three different parties’ lives easier.

A clean website lets you traverse your admin section and review content without sifting through a sea of URLs.

Your users will also feel comfortable visiting your website because the content they want will be easier to access.

Finally, we must do whatever we can to appease crawling search engines.

Search engines can review your site faster (aside from load speed considerations) if you provide only the essential content.

This isn’t a comprehensive website maintenance plan. Rather, these few activities should be easy enough to complete quickly and will leave your site that much cleaner.

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I promised you just three steps, so here goes.

1. Assessing The Job At Hand

Our first step in the cleaning process will be to gain a full view of every website page.

A website analysis tool like Screaming Frog can provide an organized list view of all website URLs.

Next, eliminate areas of the export via sorting to reduce pages we do not need to review.

Depending on the nature of your website, this may include non-HTML pages, redirected pages, and non-indexed pages.

Image from Screaming Frog, March 2022

You may find yourself uncovering some surprising content.

These can include:

  • A large number of old newsletters, blog posts, etc.
  • Outdated resource content.
  • Unintentional page duplication based on technical issues.
  • Old pages created solely for ranking consideration, a.k.a. “Old School SEO.”
  • Irrelevant pages, ex., author or bio content for employees.

This exercise is a great way to see a backend view of your website and often can reveal technical issues that may exist.

2. Cleaning Up The Clutter

Now, it may look like you have a clean website.

However, it’s also a good time to look at how well your content performs.

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Your current list of site URLs all appear to be valid, content-filled pages, but do they need to exist?

Some of our spring cleaning exercises relieve our confusion in website management, but let’s take a minute to help the crawling bots out.

In Google Analytics, look at the last years’ worth of website page views to determine what content your visitors want to see on your website.

The reason for 12 months of review is that industry and behavioral seasonality can cause bumps in content demand.

a year's worth of website pageviewsImage from Google Analytics, March 2022

Take a gander at the lower right corner.

It may be surprising just how many pages are driving page views for your website over a year.

You may see anomalies in parameter generation due to advertising, but you may also notice that some of your perceived “valid” content is not highly consumed.

This view may seem a little bit daunting but pause for a moment to begin your sort.

Perform an export and prepare to look for a few key areas.

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We want to look at the content that only has a few yearly page views as well as user behavior.

Pay close attention to the pages with a high exit rate.

This may be due to bad design layout or lacking internal navigation. It may also show that the content is either in need of refreshment or retirement.

3. Sweeping Up On-Page

To this point, we have concentrated solely on URLs.

Now that we have cleaned up unnoticed content waste and lower value content let’s see how we can clean the in-content areas of website pages.

We have cleaned out the long-forgotten closets, but now it is time to look at what lies on the “living room floor” of your most visited website pages.

For this, we will rely on a heatmapping tool such as CrazyEgg or my favorite, LuckyOrange.

From our previous exercise, we reviewed website pageviews based on count.

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First, review the most trafficked pages.

Pay special attention to the exit rate column, which is an important indicator of poor page performance.

Under pages of consideration, review user behavior to understand where click behavior shows page area preference.

By reviewing your content in both mouse activity, click activity, and scroll depth, you can gain insight into where user attention lies on page.

Some websites still suffer from ancient SEO tactics of extremely lengthy content.

While we have worked to remove full pages of content, you may be ripe for the process of cleaning up in-content areas of website pages.

In Screaming Frog, you can also sort URLs by word count.

This could help you understand where your long form content resides on your website.

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All Clear

Through website content review, some content removal, and some polishing, you have now completed what could be a yearly tradition of spring cleaning your website.

Websites should be a functional connection between you and your online audience.

Eliminating unnecessary content can leave you a happier website manager, give your audience a clear path, and make it easier for search engines to crawl your website.

More resources:


Featured Image: Comaniciu Dan/Shutterstock 

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SEO

Google Analytics 4 – More Than SEO [Podcast]

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Google Analytics 4 - More Than SEO [Podcast]

In the past few episodes, we’ve discussed the SEO and organic tracking implications of the switch from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, but how does GA 4 help with paid campaigns, affiliate campaigns, Google Ads, campaign tracking with IDs, etc.?

Krista Seiden of KS Digital and former VP at Quantcast joined me on the SEJ Show to discuss the benefits and advantages of GA 4 for paid campaigns plus other opportunities digital marketers will face with the sunsetting of Google Analytics UA.

One of the misconceptions is that this product just isn’t there yet, and I would push back a little bit and say it’s constantly evolving, and a lot of new things have come out. So take the time to know how to use the tool and understand what’s actually there. –Krista Seiden, 4:55

Don’t expect your data to be precisely the same between UA and GA4. So even things like sessions and user accounts will be different because GA4 calculates these things in different ways than Universal Analytics. –Krista Seiden, 44:41

I do not think that this deadline is going to change. I would suggest taking this one seriously. If you don’t start moving now, you’ll probably not be able to pull your year-over data within GA4. The sooner that you get it implemented, the more historical data you will have in GA4 to be able to compare to. –Krista Seiden, 22:09

[00:00] – About Krista & her in-house background at Google Analytics.
[03:23] – Common misconceptions about GA4.
[05:20] – Is there more customization with GA4?
[07:10] – Hesitations with the transfer.
[08:42] – New feature releases with GA4.
[12:57] – Why build reports with GA4 if you can utilize Google Data Studio?
[16:08] – How is GA4 concerning GDPR?
[19:33] – Differences in transition with GA360 and GA4360.
[24:30] – What to expect with GA4.
[26:18] – Can you define direct traffic better with GA4?
[27:22] – Changes that affect PPC.
[30:53] – Differences between goals and conversions.
[34:15] – Reason why the data retention period is only two months by default in GA4.
[35:18] – Recommendations to get started with GA4.
[41:04] – Does Krista recommend a fallback?

Resources mentioned:
https://ksdigital.co/academy/
https://join.measure.chat

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It’s nice that we now have this ability to actually customize the UI of GA4. So, for example, we can choose what reports to show or not for people in our organizations. –Krista Seiden, 5:44

GA4 is a heck of a lot more privacy-centric than Universal Analytics. –Krista Seiden, 16:41

I’m sure there’s gonna be a lot of people waiting until the last minute. So do not wait till the last minute. Like we said, if anything, just go ahead and drop that tag on your site now. –Loren Baker, 49:18

For more content like this, subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/searchenginejournal

Connect with Krista Seiden:

Krista Seiden is a savvy, experienced analytics leader who has led teams at Adobe and Google. In addition, she has led optimization initiatives for companies such as The Apollo Group and Quantcast. As an analytics and optimization methodology expert, she has become one of the most sought-after consultants in the industry.

Her expertise led her to start KS Digital, an analytics consultancy in 2019, which helps businesses optimize their digital marketing and analytics investments.

In addition to being dedicated and hardworking, she also contributes occasional guest posts to top industry publications such as Google Analytics Blog. When she is not working, she enjoys traveling as much as possible!

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Connect with Krista on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristaseiden/
Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kristaseiden
Visit her website: https://www.kristaseiden.com/

Connect with Loren Baker, Founder of Search Engine Journal:

Follow him on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/lorenbaker
Connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorenbaker

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