So, you publish a lot of content that targets the right keywords and you SEO-optimize the content.
But do you analyze the SEO performance of each article over time?
Not doing so leaves massive opportunities on the table for SEO growth.
In this article, we take you through the reasons why you should regularly review the SEO performance of your content, and show you the tools and methods to do it.
Let’s get started.
What is SEO content performance analysis?
SEO content performance analysis is the process of evaluating and measuring how well your content performs in search engines, and how it could be improved to boost rankings for your most important target keywords.
The analysis process helps you identify content that is losing SEO keyword rankings and traffic over time and spot content that isn’t performing as well as it could be.
With these insights, you can make data-driven decisions on which content to prioritize refreshing or updating.
SEO content performance analysis should be an essential part of the SEO housekeeping process of your website.
Why you should regularly review your content’s SEO performance
You should regularly review your content’s SEO performance because you are likely to find opportunities to improve your rankings.
There is no golden rule on how often to review your content’s SEO performance, but typically the more content and pages you have on your website, the more often you should monitor the performance.
A quarterly performance analysis is a good idea for any website, but monthly or even weekly might make more sense for large publications.
Here’s 4 benefits of conducting a regular SEO performance review:
1) Get on to page 1
When you look at the SEO performance of your content, you might notice content that is just short of ranking on page 1.
These are the articles that seem to be forever stuck in positions 11-13.
The good news is that ranking on page 2 or even page 3 for your main keywords does mean that Google thinks you’re on the right track.
However, your content might currently not be good enough to rank on the first page – which doesn’t necessarily mean that your content quality is bad.
That same first page gives you clues on what is needed to improve your content to meet the search intent and make it superior to what is currently ranking.
These articles are excellent candidates to prioritize updating, because a small improvement can make a big difference for your traffic.
2) Avoid dropping to page 2
The more content you have on your website, the more old content you likely have on your website.
Even if you make a piece of content as evergreen as possible, there’s a good chance that one of your competitors will publish a newer, better, updated article on the same topic.
This could cause your article to lose its top ranking for the topic.
Google likes fresh content, and updating your content with fresh data and perspectives can often give it the boost it needs to recapture lost rankings.
Investopedia is a good example of a website that always keeps their content up to date:
Regularly reviewing the SEO performance of your content helps you spot articles that are starting to lose rankings and traffic early.
A timely update to your article can save you years of lost traffic and revenue because it can be the differentiator between keeping your page 1 rankings and dropping to page 2.
Updating your content can even result in massive traffic gains if done right.
3) Maintain a top-notch average page quality
You want all of your website pages to be valuable.
When you publish a lot of content, it’s inevitable that some of that content won’t perform, or will eventually stop performing.
It could be because the main points or the general topic of the content have become obsolete or irrelevant.
Maybe the article is just not evergreen because it covers a hype from 5 years ago that no one is interested in anymore.
It could also be because the content just wasn’t written very well and misses the mark. It happens to the best of us, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Instead of pouring resources into updating these articles, it is often better to just remove them altogether. Counterintuitively, content pruning can actually help the SEO of your website as a whole.
Regular SEO content performance reviews help you identify these articles early so you avoid having them live on your website for too long.
4) Adapt to changes in the SERPs
Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are always changing, and regular SEO performance analyses of your content help you spot SERP trends in your specific field.
If your article is pushed down, it does not necessarily mean you have been overtaken by a competitor.
It could mean that Google is introducing a different SERP element that is placed above your #1 result.
Especially in the age of AI, expect to see more elements getting introduced to the Google SERP, such as generative AI search results.
It is important to stay on top of these developments and continue capturing as much search engine real estate as possible.
How to measure the SEO performance of your content
There are several key metrics to keep track of when measuring your content’s SEO performance.
Below, we cover the most important ones: clicks and impressions, keyword rankings, number of keywords ranking, and backlinks.
SEO clicks and impressions
It goes without saying that this metric is the best indicator of how well your content is performing in search engines.
You can find the number of SEO clicks and impressions in Google Search Console.
Go to ‘Search results’ and click on the ‘Pages’ tab to zoom into a specific page:
You can also see a breakdown of which keywords are responsible for the clicks and impressions by using the ‘Queries’ tab.
If your clicks and impressions are going down over time, it can mean that your article is performing worse for certain keywords.
Those articles on a downward trend are articles worth digging into further.
This brings us to the next metric: your keyword rankings.
You can look at these for a specific page by toggling on the ‘Average Position’ metric:
The amount of impressions refers to the amount of times your page is shown in the search results for that specific keyword.
The amount of clicks refers to the amount of times searchers actually clicked on your page.
In the above example, we can see that there is huge potential (impressions) for some of the first page keywords that are ranking lower than the top 3.
If your content has lost just one or two positions for high traffic keywords, that can be the culprit of the traffic drop.
Number of keywords ranking
Scrolling down the same report, you can also see the number of keywords the page ranks for.
The number of keywords is not a direct measurement of the SEO performance of your content, but can be a good indicator to track.
Especially for new content, it can take time before you start ranking.
Growth in the number of keywords ranking over time is generally a good front running indicator for potential traffic growth.
Stagnation or a decreasing number can prompt you to dig deeper into what is happening.
Backlinks are a tricky metric when it comes to tracking SEO success, as the number of backlinks says nothing about the quality of the backlinks.
However, we still recommend keeping track of your backlinks growth or decline over time.
They can be a deciding factor on whether to update, merge, or prune an article.
The amount of backlinks an article generates also helps you spot trends in topics or content types that attract a lot of links.
How to create your own SEO performance analysis spreadsheet
There are SEO tools that track SEO performance metrics for you.
Some of these can give pretty good insights.
We like the aforementioned Ahrefs and SEMrush for their SEO traffic estimations and keyword rankings data, and tools like SE Ranking and Serpstat for more detailed and customizable keyword tracking.
You can also create your own SEO content performance analysis spreadsheet that combines metrics from different tools.
Visualizing and combining the data in a way that makes sense for your specific website allows you to spot trends you might otherwise miss.
Another good data-driven approach is to visualize color coded month by month traffic trends per article:
In this example, we color coded the monthly traffic numbers for each article horizontally where red means relatively low traffic and green means relatively high traffic.
This gives you a high level overview of traffic trends and a way to easily spot trends.
If you create your own SEO content performance spreadsheet, you can include the information that is relevant for your objectives.
Start analyzing the SEO performance of your content today
At SERP Builders, we use a tailored approach to analyze the SEO performance of each website and each individual article.
We are not afraid to go into the weeds and figure out how each page could be improved to boost keyword rankings.
These tailored insights are what we often find lacking in many of the SEO tools that can “do it for you”.