We have all heard the phrase “Spring cleaning”, but when most of us think about it, we see that closet full of Winter stuff, the man cave or woman cave (apparently now known as “she shed” or “femme den”) that has been getting more and more cluttered as we find new “cool stuff” to put in them. Who knows, maybe you ended up at a ton of marketing conferences last year and you are inundated with swag piles across a once work/gaming conducive desk area.
Like the way this stuff builds up, websites also build up “stuff” over a year and some times that “stuff” results in assets desperately needing to be cleaned up due to potential new page duplication, linking to expired and now redirected links or, maybe the worst-case scenario, old site URLs that were never captured and redirected appropriately after a site redesign or series of updates. Just like our private space at home, these types of things come up and eventually the “clutter” begins to expose itself more to the search engines than we would like.
Now, there are ways to get the clutter cleaned up, identified and taken care of. Some ways are more hands-on than others while others, especially if you have the budget, can be offloaded to a trusted SEO firm that can run a detailed SEO site audit for you.
Now, if you are the hands-on type with your website and your SEO strategy, you should have some tools to auto identify a good chuck of the low hanging fruit clean up tasks. This could be using something like DeepCrawl to do a full site crawl and then spend the multitude of hours processing, reviewing, making corrections on the site, recrawling, reprocessing, etc. until you finally get a true clean read. The critical part is making sure you have enough crawl credits to capture your whole site versus just a sampling. The great part of this tool, is it shows you the page that the URLs were found on making it easier to track down those pesky error links.
Now, there are of course other options outside of a formal 3rd party SEO audit for those “do it yourself” kind of folks out there. You could use Screaming Frog, but I would make sure you (or your company’s desktop support team) sets you up with the expanded memory for this so you can try to capture the whole site. This will also identify all those errors like old blog posts that are linking to an old URL format causing a 301 redirect (or worse, a 302 or 404). Additionally, you could opt for something like Visual SEO Studio to do this, but again, you want to make sure you have it set-up to capture enough URLs to identify most issues, which means you probably need to get the non-Community Edition.
Now, unless you have some true SEO expertise yourself or through others in your organization, you may opt to have a 3rd party do a comprehensive audit that includes (as any audit should) a detailed list of clean-up opportunities. The audit would also cover those more nitty-gritty types of SEO aspects like sitemaps, content audits, content gap analyses, link audits, domain portfolio auditing, information architecture mappings and all those other key elements of a great SEO audit. As we all know, SEO is made up of a ton of variables. Cleaning up your site on a periodic basis is a great way to take care of those issues (I prefer “opportunities” personally) that just make your site look untidy.
So, are you ready to get to work on Spring cleaning your website? Hopefully this article helps you identify a personal strategic approach to doing so and, if you are interested, you can always talk to us about a comprehensive SEO audit, after all, we only hire experts here (our most junior SEO has 7+ years experience), so you know you’ll have the back-up of an experienced SEO professional providing you recommendations for your website Spring cleaning project.
So, get started now because if not, and your competitors do, you may be stuck losing market share all year on the organic front.