How to identify ALL your content that needs consolidating

Hello all, and welcome back to the monthly Ten Speed newsletter where we're continuing with the theme of updating and optimizing existing content.

This month, we're focused on content consolidation.

It’s one thing to neatly identify a single article on your website experiencing content decay that could use a quick update.

It’s another to identify ALL the URLs that are underperforming and need to be consolidated due to too much similar content on the website – also known as too much internal competition or cannibalization.

Below, we’ll walk you through how your team can efficiently and effectively find all the pages that need attention so that you can make long-term proactive strides in keeping your website up to date.

The free tool you’re going to need: Google Search Console

Step 1: Open Google Search Console (GSC) and filter out brand queries

You can start with a 3-month view (the default) to get an idea of how this process works, and we highly recommend looking at different lengths of time to see the differences.

To remove brand queries, you can run a custom regex filter for your brand queries that looks like the below image.

At the top of GSC begin by selecting and navigating through the following filter options:

Screen Shot 2022-11-14 at 4.15.03 PM

Click +New → Query → Queries Containing → Custom (regex) → Doesn’t match regex → [Enter regular expression (regex)]

Your regular expressions will look like this: brand name|brandname|brand|name

For Ten Speed, we removed any words that were a part of the brand.

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***Note: this might not be the best plan if your brand name contains words that are also a part of any target keywords in your content.

Pro Tip: If you know you only want to see articles from a given subfolder like /blog/, then add a page filter at this time that removes all other page data.

Our only note is that it can initially be helpful to see if a blog post accidentally competes with a feature page or your homepage.

To use a page filter, do the following:

Click +New →Page… →URLs containing → [enter subfolder name]

Screen Shot 2022-11-17 at 10.43.14 AM

Step 2: Export your non-brand query results into a spreadsheet

The rest of the filter options we want to apply will be much simpler if we take the time to export our results from Step 1 into an excel or Google spreadsheet.

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We’re looking for queries that have the following attributes:

  1. Have a relatively high number of impressions (“high” is based on your website)
  2. Hold an average position between 20 and 50
  3. Have a CTR below 1%
Screen Shot 2022-11-14 at 4.43.30 PM

The list of queries you now have are “low performers with high potential.”

The way we can interpret the spreadsheet we have so far is as follows:

  • All of these queries are generating our content URLs somewhere between pages 2 and 5 of Google’s SERP.
  • The fact that they are receiving high impressions means that these are relatively popular queries with plenty of search demand.
  • The Click-through rate (CTR) and Average positions tell us that these queries are likely underperforming from the internal competition and/or their intent is misaligned with searchers.

Step 3: Checking your new list of queries for multiple URLs

In this step, we need to confirm for each query on our list whether or not there is internal competition. Let’s take our list back to Google Search Console (see images below for clarity).

  1. Filter by query
  2. View pages report
  3. If multiple URLs appear for one query, this likely indicates internal competition and an opportunity to consolidate the pages that show up
  4. Write that keyword down and document all impacted URLs
Screen Shot 2022-11-17 at 10.52.05 AM
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Doing the clean-up and consolidation work

Now you can repeat step 3 for each query from your list.

Once you identify a query that is underperforming because multiple URLs are competing for it, there will likely be several related queries on your list that you can ignore as you can safely assume that the same URLs’ competition is impacting them.

After you’ve made it through your list, you’ll have identified all the content consolidation opportunities that your website will benefit from. And you can now work those articles neatly into your roadmap to keep your content creation process running smoothly and avoid piling more work onto your team’s plate.

If you’re ready to approach consolidation and updating existing content, we have a few tactical resources for you in the section below that’ll help you carry out the rest of the work.

And if you missed Nate Turner’s conversation about all things fixing and updating your existing content on the Clearscope webinar, check it out here.

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Have more questions related to this topic? Feel free to ask us on LinkedIn or send us an email.

Related + New Resources For Your Team

[Read 📖] Content Consolidation: How to Reduce The Number of Articles on Site To Grow Organic Traffic 
Content consolidation can revive your existing content and turn it into a massive traffic generator. Learn how to fix your internal competition issues.

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[Read 📖] What is Content Decay? How to Identify & Fix To Unlock Organic Growth
For any company trying to scale its blog and drive meaningful business results, it is critical to understand content decay and how it impacts your growth. In the post, we covered everything you need to know to make that happen.

Take me to this resource -->
[Read 📖] How to update existing content to win back rankings and conversions [step-by-step instructions]
Explore this tactical guide to updating existing content to regain organic traffic and conversions on your most valuable content assets.

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[Watch/Listen 👁️👂] Webinar: How to Find and Fix Content Decay with Systems and Processes by Nate Turner of Ten Speed
Nate joined the Clearscope webinar to talk about identifying decay, updating existing content, and how to develop systems and processes that'll keep teams focused and out in front of update challenges.

Take me to this resource -->
[Watch/Listen 👁️👂] How to Measure Content Distribution to Prove It’s Working (***Most Recent Episode***)
Nate and Kevin discuss the challenges of measuring the impact of content distribution, forecasting results, and the metrics that successful teams use.

Take me to this resource -->