How to Find & Improve Underperforming Content: A Practical Guide

All web sites depend on efficient content material to bridge the hole between organizations and their audiences.

However, not all content material is created on an equal footing or has the chance to fulfill its true potential.

In this sensible information, I’ll share a couple of of the sensible ideas and recommendation for:

  • Finding out how your content material is performing.
  • Detailing a couple of particular ideas for fixing any content material areas that may work tougher for your small business.

The Search Engine Journal web site has a couple of associated content material enchancment articles that may complement this one.

Two latest objects that I might advocate studying are:



The predominant instruments and analytics packages I’ll use for this submit are Google Analytics, SEMrush, and Ahrefs.

As you may think about there’s a myriad of different instruments that may also be used.

However, Google Analytics is free, plus SEMrush and Ahrefs supply trial durations or free scaled again performance variations of their software program that you may attempt at minimal (if any) expense too.

The intention of this submit is to information you thru a few of the typical steps to undergo when on the lookout for under-performing content material.

You’ll additionally learn the way to make the mandatory choices on how to enhance the worth of current web site content material.

Using Google Analytics to Identify Under-Performing Content

Google Analytics (GA) will possible be the go-to analytical bundle for many digital advertising specialists.

This is due to the ever-present nature of the software program, the worldwide familiarity of utilizing it for enterprise and advertising functions, plus the truth that it’s free usually (until you decide into an enterprise-level answer).



GA can be a number one selection because it dovetails into different Google merchandise and knowledge insights reminiscent of Google Search Console, Trends, and lots of extra.

I’m utilizing a demo account for this text demonstration, so some screenshots won’t have the info units in place you may even see once you log into your individual account(s), however this can work for the present goal.

Also, if you happen to haven’t already put in Google Analytics, it is a simple motion to do afterward.

Simply go to and Google have a useful step-by-step information titled Get began with Analytics.

Practical Google Analytics Demo

For content material efficiency, my desire is to use the Behavior stories in GA.

This set of report sorts allow you to see what your guests do in your web site.

Specifically, these GA stories inform you what pages individuals go to and what actions they take whereas visiting content material in your web site.

To start with, it’s necessary to take a top-level and combination view of your web site content material.

This makes it quick and easy to resolve the place it’s best to focus your time and vitality, and steers your knowledge discovering in an environment friendly manner.

In this demo state of affairs, I’ve set Organic because the channel I would like to verify the efficiency of my content material towards, plus I’ve set a earlier yr comparability so I’ve sufficient significant knowledge to take away skewing components reminiscent of seasonality throughout the trade.

Demo data from Vertical Leap

If you aren’t aware of the Content Drilldown report in GA, this teams collectively sections of your web site content material based mostly on the location setup on a folder by folder foundation.

In this demo, we will see content material grouping reminiscent of:

  • Blog.
  • Home web page.
  • Other subfolders on the location together with “Content Marketing”, “Social Media”, and extra.



The cause why it may be helpful to take a look at content material at this aggregated stage is that you may get a single click on abstract of the principle content material advertising efficiency metrics reminiscent of:

  • Pages views.
  • Related high quality measurements together with bounce charges, exits, and time on web page.

The instant objects that stand out to me when Organic solely customers on the web site is that:

  • The weblog has misplaced practically a 3rd of the web page views in contrast to the earlier yr.
  • The information part is underperforming to a decrease stage too.

When contemplating that on this demo state of affairs, the weblog receives extra web page views than some other part of the web site, this is a crucial downside to repair – so we will drill down into that just a little extra.



At this level, we will both click on into the weblog part and see the identical knowledge, or we will add to our investigations and begin wanting on the main metric to web page views, which is touchdown web page visitors.

To see touchdown web page visitors we merely click on on Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages and instantly we will see that we have now moved from combination stage knowledge and into page-level knowledge.

Added to this we will now see different significant enterprise metrics reminiscent of periods (or visits), customers (or individuals), and firm worth objects together with purpose completions.

Google Analytics Demo Data - Vertical Leap

You may even discover that our pre-selected timeframes, advertising channel, and comparability info remains to be in place nonetheless, it’s at all times price checking this as some screens will change this by default.

Next, we would like to focus again on the weblog part – that is straightforward to do by including “blog” into the desk search bar.



If you might be following alongside by finishing comparable steps with your individual knowledge, you’ll discover that the info is mechanically sorted by the best touchdown web page visitors.

We can take a look at the person content material pages which are performing worst, and prioritize our focus accordingly.

In this case, I might need to take a look at enhancing these two pages as they’ve the required stage of affect to warrant the time and sources to enhance the pages, plus they’re underperforming by over 65%, so I do know they will contribute extra in direction of enterprise success.

Google Analytics Demo Data - Vertical Leap

So, the very first thing I would like to do is take a look at the web page in query, and I can do this by clicking on the small icon subsequent to the URL nonetheless inside Google Analytics.

Now, I would like to make some greatest apply, data-led, and experiential updates to the content material, in order that I can assist the content material to carry out to a greater metric based mostly commonplace as soon as once more.



Practical Steps to Improve Existing Content

The following steps offer you a glimpse into the numerous actions that may be deployed by yourself content material initiatives.

For the needs of this sensible information, right here is a few instance content material that my beneficial enhancements are based mostly upon.

Demo content example - Vertical Leap

Practical steps I might contemplate and full for this train embody:

  • Refreshing the content material. The content material in query has not been up to date in a while (years) and we all know that the main serps reminiscent of Google prioritize content material that’s up to date and dependable. Easy updates would come with:
    • Adding new statistics.
    • Including contemporary, related quotes.
  • The content material is textual content solely. Google appears to show content material that applies to many customers and their content material preferences. Ideally, I might search to add in photographs, plus a video if I had the flexibility to simply report content material.
  • There has been a big resurgence in audio content material over the previous two-plus years (instance podcasts and audio downloads), plus it’s easy to report audio information, so including in an audio choice for individuals to entry the content material on the transfer and through Smartphones could be helpful.
  • The content material appears mild when it comes to the depth of protection and the size of the article (phrase depend). There are two issues that I might do to resolve on how to act on that is:
    • Firstly, see if there are some other comparable contents on the location which could possibly be helpful for combining this content material with. To do that utilizing GA I’ll refine my Google Analytics search to embody the phrase ‘robots’ and I can see there’s one different web page, however by wanting on the URL, I do know that it’s no related for this process so combining content material shouldn’t be the best choice on this case.
    • So, my subsequent choice is to resolve if there’s nonetheless demand for the content material – so I can verify this in a couple of methods. For instance, by typing into Google one thing shut to the subject reminiscent of “writing for people, not robots” and seeing the amount of competing pages.
    • Another choice could be to verify both Google Trends or take a look at Google Keyword Planner. In this case, we will verify Google Trends, and see that individuals are nonetheless actively trying to find subjects reminiscent of “writing for people” in Google UK:

Google Trends demo

  • Google favor clearly structured pages, which have logical content material circulation in addition to clear person engagement alerts. So to assist with each these areas I might contemplate including into the content material some new engagement alternatives. I’ll add in an embedded Tweet which is able to allow individuals to share the content material while they’re studying it, plus I’ll embody a number of in-reading Call to Actions (CTAs) to assist individuals transfer alongside the conversion funnel and skim extra about our content material writing companies ought to they have an interest.
  • Google Rich Results reminiscent of Google Answers, require clearly formatted questions and solutions within the content material (together with schema markup the place applicable), so I can add in a set of questions and solutions throughout the content material that fulfill this want. As I would like to improve the depth of the content material and the completeness of protection, on this case, I might almost definitely add them in full and as paragraphs together with h2 tags for every sub-heading, and ensuring that the solutions are formatted within the methods best suited for Google Rich Results reminiscent of utilizing lists, tables, shorter solutions, and together with any definitions the place relevant.

Using SEMrush to Enrich Topical Completeness of Content

At this stage, it’s mandatory to take a look at the exterior content material subjects and associated search volumes in order that we will add to the depth and completeness of topical protection.



The sanity checks in play at this level are:

  • Any new subtopics chosen have topical relevancy to the unique submit (you don’t want to dilute the content material with loosely associated info).
  • New objects added have the search volumes required to benefit justification for inclusion.

In this case, I’ve chosen to use SEMrush. As talked about earlier, the identical exercise could possibly be accomplished utilizing different instruments.

If you might be new to SEMrush, it is a advertising software that gives analytical knowledge for most of the frequent search advertising (and primarily website positioning actions).

This consists of key phrase analysis, monitoring metric success in areas reminiscent of rating adjustments, and allows you to run varied web site audits.

Using SEMRush you may full analysis in your web site in addition to your competitors.

What I would like to do is improve the topical completeness of the content material by discovering out the principle anticipated sub-topics after which including in something that’s related to my content material that’s lacking.

My subsequent motion is to go to Topic Research and sort in a set off search question that’s related to my focus space.



As I would like to have some broader suggestions, I’ll hold the subject top-level and sort in “writing”.

Now I can take a look at each top-level sub-themes in addition to extra granular objects that exist throughout the theme too.

If I wished to contemplate the worth of those subjects for increasing the attain of the content material, I might take a look at the search quantity of the phrases utilizing Google Keyword Planner or inside SEMrush too. (You can see the search volumes current within the screenshot offered.)

SEMRush screen grab - demo data

Now we have now content material that we all know can carry out higher, plus an motion plan to enhance the content material.

The closing merchandise I wished to cowl is the potential for the content material to carry out socially and its suitability to entice backlinks and common engagement.

Here is the place Ahrefs is available in.



Ahrefs allows you to run web site audits, observe social media, construct backlinks, and full different actions like producing content material concepts from what’s acting on different websites and subjects usually.

In this case, I’m going to see what exterior content material on the subject of “writing for people”, and we will see that:

  • The matter has had a latest spike within the quantity of topical content material created, so now could also be a superb time to concentrate on this theme.
  • There are some recognized authors who’re actively writing on the subject who we might analysis and probably work with as influencers out there to entry wider audiences.
  • We can see the best performing exterior content material (on this case Organic visitors). As our purpose was to improve our decline in Organic efficiency, having the ability to see what works on exterior web sites, examine content material, and make data-led choices off the again of the evaluation, is a strong factor for entrepreneurs.

Ahrefs screen grab


Finding and enhancing your web site and advertising content material can seem to be a unending process.



Most advertising groups will embody devoted time to this exercise each month, primarily as a result of enriching your current content material will present a few of the quickest efficiency positive factors.

More Resources:

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by creator, June 2020

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