Auditing 523 blogs: Lindsay does languages

by Portfolio, Content management

The client

Lindsay Dow is a language consultant and veteran influencer in the language learning space. She’s amassed a large and loyal following thanks to her incredible content production which spans more than a decade. She’s been featured in respected publications such as the BBC and The Guardian. I was a big fan of her work long before we started working together (I even pitched her two years before we worked on this!) so I was thrilled when she reached out asking for help.

The problem

As Lindsay had been producing content for over a decade, her blog was well overdue a spring clean. Her traffic had been slowly declining and she knew there was a lot of low-quality and outdated content lurking on her blog. Content decay, broken links, poor internal linking and missed micro-conversion opportunities were plaguing the Lindsay Does Languages blog.

And the behemoth task of manually auditing 500+ posts was too daunting for Lindsay to take on herself while also running her business. That’s when she reached out for help.

The goals for this content audit were:

  • Uncover more affiliate revenue opportunities
  • Increase email sign-ups
  • Improve user experience on site
  • Identify ways to boost organic traffic
  • Align content with business goals

What I did

The first step to building Lindsay a roadmap for how to achieve these goals was putting together her sitemap. I used SEMrush to crawl Lindsay’s site and gather all the active URLs in her /blog subfolder. I paired each URL with data from SEMrush and Google Search Console on stats like links, clicks, click-through-rate, impressions and average position. This allowed me to quickly identify what pages had the most external links pointing to them and which were doing the best in terms of generating organic traffic. This would be important in improving our internal linking throughout the site.

Once I had all my data organized it was time to dive into the posts and make my suggestions to help Lindsay achieve her goals.

Uncover more affiliate revenue opportunities

One of Lindsay’s revenue streams is affiliate sales. Over the years she’s made more and more affiliate deals and we wanted to make sure appropriate affiliate links were being included in relevant posts. Lindsay provided me with a full list of her active affiliate links and I dug up numerous opportunities to boost affiliate income, especially from high-ranking articles. Broken affiliate links were also an issue which were fixed once I highlighted them and updated the links.

Nothing beats some passive income!

Increase email sign-ups

Lindsay’s main revenue stream comes from sales from her courses and digital products and the majority of her sales close via her email list. Over the years Lindsay had created a ton of lead magnets for her audience which helped grow her email list. However, many of these were eventually deleted or moved so she was losing a lot of opportunities to grow her list by not updating older posts with fresh lead magnets. Users would try to sign-up for a resource only to hit a 404 page, costing her potential new sales further down the road.

I made sure relevant lead magnets and CTAs were linked to on each post and were strategically placed for more views to increase conversions. We had to make sure the user was being guided to the downloadable resource that best fulfilled their original search intent so they could deepen their relationship with Lindsay via her email list.

Improve user experience

After 10+ years of content production Lindsay’s site had its fair share of broken links and 404s. For each post I found any broken links and made sure to relink to relevant content. I also made sure to remove any mention of time-sensitive content, such as webinar promotions or one-off sales, so as not to confuse users landing on the content after the fact.

Image of a Spotify Wrapped inspired round up of Lindsay's most popular posts
I finished this up when Spotify was releasing their Spotify Wrapped for the year so I just had to do something similar to celebrate all of Lindsay’s incredible hard work over the years

Identify ways to boost organic traffic

Content decay was a major problem on Lindsay’s site and it was eating into her traffic.

I went through the posts one by one and made a decision about whether the post should be deleted (and where the URL should be redirected to), upgraded with fresh content, updated with links to relevant YouTube videos from Lindsay’s channel to cross-pollinate her video and blog SEO, and which content should be “merged” to avoid keyword cannibalization. Lindsay had many posts about the same topic all targeting the same keywords. This meant each article was competing to rank, effectively reducing her ranking potential for the target keyword.

There were various posts that weren’t performing as well on search engines because they had missed the mark with search intent. When this was the case I conducted keyword research and suggested how to reoptimize the piece of content for better SEO results.

I also created a tab in our spreadsheet where I organized her content into various topic clusters, for example “French content”, to make internal linking easier. For each post I’d check which topic cluster it fell under and suggest what internal links should be added to the post that were particularly relevant. Now when Lindsay writes a new post she can quickly identify internal linking opportunities.

Apart from this, I also ran an analysis of her top ranking content and which content had the most links pointing to it. This meant I could more easily spread link equity through the site and use these high ranking, well linked-to pages to help pull other pages’ rankings up with the right internal linking structure. The final leg of boosting SEO performance involved suggesting upgrades to old content.

Most of Lindsay’s content was still as valuable today as it was years ago, but there was room for improvement on various posts. For example, one missed opportunity to improve on-page content was adding written content to posts that consisted of an embedded YouTube video and little else. I suggested what keywords to optimize the content around that matched the video’s content and offered suggestions about how to repurpose the video using tools like Descript to quickly produce first-draft versions of text content to accompany the video.

Align content to business goals

I spent time getting to know and understand Lindsay’s business, revenue streams and future plans. This made it easier to decide what content actually contributed to her current business goals. A lot of content still made reference to Lindsay’s online teaching business which she sunset many years prior. I identified any posts that made reference to this and suggested replacing mentions of it with her affiliate links (like iTalki).

Doing this also saved Lindsay time responding to email enquiries about her now defunct teaching services, as well as creating a better user experience as users weren’t being led to services that don’t exist anymore.

Prioritization was key

With 500+ posts to work through as a one person team, this was a big job.

I didn’t want Lindsay to feel overwhelmed when she received my report and walkthrough of recommendations, so I created a prioritization matrix for her. I organized a task list for Lindsay that went from quickest/easiest wins to the more time-consuming work of doing things like updating and refreshing old content. This made the job of much less daunting and helped her take action right away.

Two women posing for a photo at a desk. Tactical Marketing with 4Zero Marketing

Hi I’m Kerry

I’m a copywriter and content marketer who helps brands like yours own their messaging, soar in search engines, and convert more leads into customers.

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