It can take an enormous amount of time to build a content strategy that’s meant to deliver on aggressive traffic goals. That’s especially true when you’ve already created a significant amount of content for your blog and are struggling to come up with new topics to write about.
What if there was a quicker way to create a unique piece of content without having to start from scratch AND lift your traffic at the same time?
If you’re like most growing SaaS companies, you have a pretty deep catalog of blog posts, collecting traffic data just waiting to be analyzed.
Much of this content has likely contributed to company growth but at some point, it stopped performing like it used to.
There are likely two reasons this may have happened:
- You wrote about the same topic on a handful of blog posts as you were refining your content strategy.
- Your competitors got stronger over time.
Either way, you need to take action so that you can continue to get value out of the content that has gotten you to this point. Just because it isn’t performing like it used to doesn’t mean you can’t reclaim that performance and more.
In this post, I’m going to explain exactly how you can combat the two reasons listed above by consolidating multiple blog posts into one long-form traffic generator.
What is content consolidation?
Content consolidation is the SEO-driven process of combining multiple pieces of content (mainly blog posts) into one larger, long-form evergreen piece of content with the goal of increasing organic traffic.
It’s a critical tactic to ensure that your blog is topically deep, while only targeting unique topics on every piece of content that’s created.
What are the benefits of consolidating your content?
Marketing teams are always strapped for time. There are just not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that’s being thrown at them and content creation is no exception.
So how do you convince your team that you want to focus your time on updating “old” content?
While the benefits may not be initially clear to teams outside of the marketing department, there are plenty that can be communicated to gain strong buy-in.
Quick traffic growth
The easiest justification for consolidating content is traffic growth. If you consolidate your content effectively, you should see an increase in traffic within a matter of a few weeks, if not days after publishing.
That traffic will compound and you will see your overall website traffic lifted over time.
Here's an example of a consolidated post from Baremetrics that saw a near-instant increase in traffic after consolidating and updating older content.
You’ll be spending your time more efficiently.
There will always be a strong desire to generate brand new content ideas. But a lot of the time, those ideas may have little to no impact on the business.
This tactic keeps you focused on topics that have been proven to work and are continually focused on getting more out of them.
Link & social media bait
The end of a successful consolidation project will typically result in a very thorough piece of content on a topic that’s important to your business.
This type of content is great for sharing across social accounts with high re-share potential. Also, it creates an opportunity to kick-off an outreach campaign to build new and powerful backlinks to your website.
As your company grows, so will your website. It’s important to your ongoing SEO efforts that your website contains only the most relevant and unique pieces of content to your business.
If not, it eats up what is commonly known as your search engine “crawl budget” and creates a messy experience for your users. This is an easy way to ensure your website is as lean from a navigation perspective as possible.
How to consolidate existing content in 6 easy steps
1. Go to the performance section of google search console
The performance section of Google Search Console is one of the most powerful tools in a digital marketer’s toolbelt.
This is where you’ll find all of the queries and pages that are driving meaningful traffic to your website. In this example, it’s going to be where you find the blog posts that are competing for similar queries.
2. Identify queries that have high impressions, but low click-through-rate
Quickly filter out any branded queries (i.e. use the “does not contain” filter and use your brand name).
Sort the filtered results for queries that have a high number of impressions but a very low click-through-rate.
Anything with a click-through rate under 1% should be investigated further.
Additionally, you’ll want to zero in on queries that aren’t buried too far back in the SERPs. Focus on anything with an average ranking between 20-50.
3. Look for blog posts that are competing with each other
Once you’ve identified all of the queries that appear to have a high potential for optimization, drill into the page report for each one.
Here you will be able to quickly see what pages are competing for impressions and clicks on that particular query.
If there’s more than one blog post competing for a significant amount of impressions, this is going to be a signal that multiple pieces of content may be covering overlapping or similar topics.
4. Manually search in google to confirm content-type
Before you go any further, you’ll want to do a quick manual search for the queries you’ve surfaced to see what type of content is being displayed on the 1st page of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Things that you’ll want to look for:
- Are results comprehensive guides on a specific topic or shorter posts on one component of that topic?
- Are results consistent across one content type? (i.e. comprehensive guide vs shorter posts)
If the results consistently surface more comprehensive guides on a specific topic, you can feel confident that you should be consolidating the content you’ve identified into a unique, long-form piece of content.
5. Assess consolidation potential
Typically, if there are multiple pieces of content competing for impressions and clicks, there’s likely some overlapping content ideas in each post.
Review each post to see if it matches content that’s addressed in the comprehensive content you saw in the SERPs from the previous step.
That will start to give you an idea of how to structure your new piece of content.
6. Go build your content!
At this point, you should have a strong understanding of how you can consolidate your content into one comprehensive guide on a specific topic.
Most likely, any post that you may be consolidating into a larger piece can exist as “new” section within that guide. Be sure to give your content a fresh new title that matches the new content that you’ve added.
Content consolidation examples
Below is a screenshot of what it looks like when you run through the above process successfully.
In this example, content was consolidated into an existing post that was a bit more comprehensive than the internal competition.
The URL was updated and everything was redirected to the new content.
Content Marketer @ Baremetrics
We've seen the power of content consolidation first-hand at Baremetrics. Here's an example of what happened when we consolidated two articles we had about the same topic.
First, here's a look at the traffic to the individual posts before we consolidated them:
Article #1 was getting less than 60 visitors a month
Article #2 got 200 visitors a month at its height
The consolidated article is getting over 1,200 visitors a month now. An increase of over 400%!
Content consolidation considerations
There are a few key things to keep in mind to ensure that you’re content consolidation efforts are successful. Before going through the steps above, be sure to consider the following:
Website authority is important
If your website authority is below 35, your content may not move up in rankings as much as you’d like and may still require additional work. You may need to prioritize initiatives that can help increase your website authority before investing a ton of time into content conslidation.
Content structure must be strong
When consolidating multiple blog posts into a comprehensive guide, be sure to structure your content appropriately with logical header structure (i.e. H2s, H3s, H4s), and ordered/unordered lists. This will enhance the user experience and helps search engines understand what the content is about.
301 redirect old content
Make sure to implement a 301 redirect on any content that is moving to a new location. This will ensure that any current traffic is redirected to the new post and existing backlinks aren’t broken.
New content may be needed
In your research, you’ll likely see that you don’t have some existing content to make your new guide as comprehensive as it needs to be. Be sure to add as much new content that your research suggests to stay competitive and make your topic as deep as possible.
Ready to give content consolidation a try?
The process of consolidating content is not only a very effective tactic to grow your traffic, but it’s something that you can and should be doing on an ongoing basis.
Ultimately you’re optimizing your user experience and keeping your website in the best shape possible. Both of those things will never go out of style or become obsolete.