Website Spring Cleaning in 3 Easy Steps

Spring means it’s not just time to enjoy the fresh air, but also to think about the tradition of spring cleaning.

If it helps reduce stress and eliminate waste in your home (and other parts of your life), why wouldn’t it help with your website?

Over time, you can make additions to your home, fill your closets, and change rooms to meet emerging needs.

The house you live in today may not look like the one you moved into years ago.

This can also be said of your website.

Many website owners tend to add content without removing what is no longer needed.

Pages are created based on events, marketing plans, and other activities.

They are then often forgotten.

Even if you don’t see or remember this content, people can stumble upon it and get a less than favorable first impression of your website.

Preventive maintenance of your site

Website cleanup makes life easier for three different parties.

A clean website allows you to browse your admin section and review content without sifting through a sea of ​​URLs.

Your users will also feel comfortable visiting your website because the content they want will be easier to access.

Finally, we must do everything we can to appease the crawling search engines.

Search engines can crawl your site faster (aside from loading speed considerations) if you only provide essential content.

This is not a complete website maintenance plan. On the contrary, these few activities should be fairly easy to do quickly and will leave your site that much cleaner.

I promised you only three steps, so there you go.

1. Evaluate the work to be done

Our first step in the cleanup process will be to get a full view of every page on the website.

A website analysis tool like howling frog can provide an organized list view of all website URLs.

Next, weed out the export areas via sorting to reduce the pages we don’t need to check.

Depending on the nature of your website, this may include non-HTML pages, redirected pages, and non-indexed pages.

Still from Screaming Frog, March 2022

You might find yourself discovering some surprising content.

These may include:

  • A large number of old newsletters, blog posts, etc.
  • Deprecated resource content.
  • Unintentional duplication of pages due to technical issues.
  • Old pages created purely for ranking purposes, aka “Old School SEO”.
  • Irrelevant pages, eg, author or employee bio content.

This exercise is a great way to get an overview of your website and can often reveal any technical issues that may exist.

2. Clean up the clutter

Now it may look like you have a clean website.

However, now is also a good time to review the performance of your content.

Your current list of site URLs appears to be valid, content-filled pages, but should they exist?

Some of our spring cleaning exercises relieve our confusion in website management, but let’s take a minute to help crawlers.

In Google Analyticslook at the number of page views over the past few years to determine what content your visitors want to see on your website.

The reason for 12 months review is that seasonality in industry and behavior can lead to spikes in demand for content.

one year of website page viewsImage from Google Analytics, March 2022

Take a look in the lower right corner.

It can be surprising how many pages generate page views for your website over a year.

You may see anomalies in the generation of metrics due to advertising, but you may also notice that some of your content that is perceived as “valid” is not highly consumed.

This view may seem a bit daunting, but pause for a moment to begin your sorting.

Do an export and get ready to research a few key areas.

We want to look at content that only has a few page views per year as well as user behavior.

Pay special attention to pages with a high exit rate.

This may be due to poor layout or lack of internal navigation. It might also indicate that the content needs to be refreshed or removed.

3. Swipe across the page

So far we have focused only on URLs.

Now that we’ve cleaned up unnoticed content waste and less valuable content, let’s see how we can clean up the content areas of web pages.

We’ve cleaned out the long-forgotten cupboards, but now it’s time to look at what’s on the “living room floor” of your most visited website pages.

For this, we will rely on a heatmapping tool like CrazyEgg or my favorite, LuckyOrange.

From our previous exercise, we looked at website page views by count.

First, review the most visited pages.

Pay special attention to the exit rate column, which is an important indicator of poor page performance.

Under Consideration Pages, examine user behavior to understand where click behavior indicates page box preference.

By looking at your content in both mouse activity, click activity, and scroll depth, you can better understand where the user’s attention is on the page.

Some websites still suffer from old extremely long content SEO tactics.

Although we have worked to remove entire pages of content, you may be ripe for the process of cleaning up content areas of website pages.

In Screaming Frog, you can also sort URLs by word count.

This might help you understand where your long-form content is on your website.

Everything is clear

Through reviewing the website content, removing some content, and making some improvements, you have now completed what could be an annual tradition of spring cleaning your website.

Websites should be a functional connection between you and your online audience.

Eliminating unnecessary content can make you a happier website manager, give your audience a clear path, and make it easier for search engines to crawl your website.

More resources:

Featured Image: Comaniciu Dan/Shutterstock

Daniel L. Vasquez