How to Create a Gift Guide With SEO, Marketing & Monetization Tips.

How to Create a Gift Guide With SEO, Marketing & Monetization Tips.

Ready to create a gift guide for your blog, YouTube channel or a newsletter?  Then I’m ready to help!

The post below is something I sent to the partners for some of the companies that hired me as their affiliate manager to help them grow their traffic and make money. Instead of keeping the strategies private for our partners, I wanted to share them with you because everyone can benefit.

But before we jump in I’d like to note that gift guides are not just for the holidays. People search year round for gift ideas and this type of content is the perfect way to get that traffic.

Below you will learn how to create high quality gift guides, discover themes you can use (with their current estimated monthly search volumes), and talking points for how to pick the right modifiers for SEO.

I’ve also included some bonus tips like in the “Christmas Gifts for Wife” where I share good examples of how modifiers can make a difference in both traffic and conversions and “Yoga Gifts” where I share a big hint as to how to find better themes for your gift guides.

The post has three sections:

  1. Marketing Tips and Strategies
  2. SEO Tips
  3. Gift Guide Examples & How to Build Them

Gift Guide Marketing Tips and Strategies

There’s a ton of competition out there so you need to stand out.  Here are some marketing tips to keep in mind while creating your gift guide.

Please remember I share some of the best gift guide marketing tips in the theme sections below, so make sure you reach through each.

  • Use an odd number in your title tag. Odd numbers normally stand out better than even numbers.
    • If everyone showing up in Google already uses a 7, 11 or 15, try 33 or something larger. The goal is to look unique and attract attention.
  • Change the wording for your H1 tag so that it is for a blog reader and not a search engine searcher.  Title tags and H1 tags serve different purposes.
    • Title tags show up in search engines and are designed to get someone to click to your website.
    • H1 tags are visible on the page itself and should be written to get the user to engage with the content below it.
  • Set the list to be reverse order (ascending). This entices your reader to scroll to find the number 1 gift because it may be assumed that number 1 will be the best.
  • Look at the top ten results in Google for the gift guide theme you are writing about. Next write down the adjectives and numbers being used in title tags and meta descriptions. Now come up with a better adjective and wording mix that is not being used and incorporate these words into your title tag, open graph, rich pins and meta descriptions.
  • Open your guide with unique copy about the benefits to the end user (not just about why you like the gifts). This lets the visitor know they have found a place that lists the gift ideas they are looking for.
    • Bonus tip – Remember, the gift guide is to help them find a gift for someone else, not about you and why you want or like something. The opening is about their needs, the product descriptions are for the person they are buying a gift for!
  • Define why you are the authority on this subject matter in the opening of your guide. This helps build trust with your visitor. Talk about your experience in a situation, any degrees or certifications you have, and other accolades.
  • The Big One!!!  In your copy, talk about how the recipient will enjoy the gift that your reader will purchase. Don’t focus why you personally like the gift. The goal is to get the person to shop for someone else. By helping your reader picture the moment the person receiving the gift opens it, you have pre-sold why the gifts you recommend are the right choice.

Gift Guide SEO Tips

But marketing alone isn’t enough. You need to get people to your gift guide.  SEO and social media optimizations are perfect for this.  Here are some ways to optimize your gift guides to get more traffic!

  • Use proper header tags (H1, H2, H3) for sections and subsections. Header tags tell search engines and users what each section is specifically about.
  • Use UL and OL tags to define that this is a list for the search engines.
  • Make sure all the items on the guide are set in LI tags.
  • Use proper schema on the page when necessary.
  • Add a “best of section” to the top of larger lists that has two links. This helps users quickly locate your top gift recommendations.
    • Make one link your affiliate link so the person can shop and the other an anchor link to read more about the gift idea.
  • Find topics with at least 1,000 estimated monthly searches for the topic. This helps make sure there are people searching for gift ideas in your niche. If there aren’t people searching then you have to build the audience for it which is much harder to do.
  • Use a proper advertising disclosure at the top of your guide and also use proper attributes like “sponsored” and “nofollow” on your links when needed.
  • Write a unique description for every product included in your gift guide. Do not copy and paste from the store’s website or from another website.
  • Create a featured image that is properly named for SEO and has a clear message about the gifts “The 25 best motorcycle gifts for Grandmas in 2020”.
  • Make sure to use proper meta data for the social networks and intent.
    • Facebook has people being entertained and blocks clickbait so creating something engaging that is worth interrupting their fun.
      • Facebook images are also landscape rectangles or squares so make sure to consider this and upload something unique.
    • Pinterest images are vertical and people are specifically looking for ideas and lists.  You’ll want to choose titles and wording that is relevant to these queries vs. being interruptive like on Facebook and use Pinterests ad platform to find high search volumes.
  • Big Bonus Tip – SEO modifiers for gift guides are not just prices, people and occasions.  Think about international delivery and shipping speeds. This is a perfect opportunity for you to stand out and get a conversion.
    • i.e. 25 Birthday Gifts for 5 Year Olds that Ship Free & Overnight.

Now that you have some gift guide marketing tips, lets jump into some example themes with their estimated keyword search volumes.

Gift Guide Examples & How to Build Them

These search volumes are year round (aside from Christmas, Valentine’s and other holidays or seasons) which means that if you make your guide evergreen vs. focusing on Q4 holidays you can create some extra income each month.

In the first few examples I focused heavily on women and wife. These modifiers could be replaced with men, spouse, boyfriend or husband. You could also try grandpa, grandma, cousin or stepmom.  Each of these likely has a high search volume depending on the theme or time of year.

Also, as the holidays approach the search volumes will likely increase as well. By writing them to be evergreen and using affiliate links you can increase your traffic and make money year round.

Below you will find the following gift guide themes:

One more quick thing, here are some affiliate programs I currently manage that are a perfect fit for the gift guides below.

For FTC compliance, these links are ads for the programs and I will earn commissions if you create a new account on some of the affiliate networks.

We also manage other brands. These are specific clients that match the themes below so feel free to contact me for more gift guide ideas and affiliate programs to join.

Gifts for New Moms

With a monthly search volume close to 50,000 this is a big money phrase. The important thing to remember is to talk about new mom problems and how the gifts will help make her life easier. It could be anything from physical and mental health to helping with her new daily routines.

Products for nursing, keeping the baby calm or simply providing her with a few 10 or 15 minute escapes so she can have some down time are all great options. You may also want to think about her body and find products to help restore areas affected from being pregnant and giving birth.

Because of the massive search volume you may want to up your guide to 55 gift ideas and create a few subsections. This will give you a better chance to show up in the search engines based on what I am seeing right now and help you get more long tail traffic.

The top modifiers with search volume include:

                Self Care Gifts

                Self care is something we all need, but we don’t always take the time to do. This topic has roughly 8,000 monthly searches and should spike as holiday or seasonal stress (back to school) sets in.

                Talk to the reader about helping that special someone that takes care of everyone else before themselves and how these gifts can help them relax. Your goal is to inspire the reader to treat that person in their lives who never treats themselves.

                Talk about how the products will help this person relax based on their interests. It could be wine, spa kits, lounge pants, books, in home massage appointments or anything else that will convince the recipient to take a break.

                Top modifiers with search volume include:

                              Christmas Gifts for Wife

                              This is an interesting topic. The word “thoughtful” has 4X more searches than “good”. Using the modifier “my” vs. “your” has a substantial difference in monthly searches too. Depending on the keyword phrase you go after, make sure you modify the tone and wording to match the intent of the website visitor.

                              Thoughtful gift descriptions should talk about creating an emotional reaction with smiles, happiness, and love. You could incorporate meaningful gift items with favorite photos and tchotchkes that are catered around her needs. A thoughtful gift could even be recommending a guaranteed night off each week where the reader watches the kids for the wife. The gift just has to be meaningful and selfless.

                              Good gifts on the other hand do not have to have an emotional attachment. They can be items she’s been asking about or hinting towards. Something that she’ll use or enjoy regularly but does not have that deep and emotional spark. Golf clubs (if she plays) or a nice bottle of wine are good gifts vs. something emotional.

                              You could tackle this post by doing a list of five gift ideas with three or four themes (food, relaxing, travel, romantic, etc…), or simply breaking it out with individual niche posts based on interests.

                              Top modifiers with search volume include:

                                            Gift Ideas for Girlfriend

                                            Shopping for a girlfriend can be intimidating. Your gift guide will be able to help the shopper navigate their way through this tricky topic.

                                            There are a ton of modifiers and themes here too. Below I list “anniversary”, “cute”, and “good” as examples.

                                            One way you may be able to increase your readers clicking through to shop is by focusing on her reaction to the present in your gift guide descriptions.

                                            While writing think about if the gift ideas set the mood for romance and love on an anniversary. Is it something useful or empowering if she is feeling down? Can it spark a memory and be something that makes her smile when she sees it?

                                            These talking points may be able to turn readers into shoppers because you’ve pre-sold why this gift item is the right one for their girlfriends.

                                            Estimated monthly search volume:

                                            gift ideas for girlfriend – 14800
                                            cute gift ideas for girlfriend – 1900
                                            romantic gift ideas for girlfriend – 720
                                            1 year anniversary gift ideas for girlfriend – 590
                                            good gift ideas for girlfriend – 590
                                            small gift ideas for girlfriend – 590
                                            10 romantic gift ideas for your girlfriend – 320
                                            gift basket ideas for girlfriend – 320

                                            Gift Ideas for Wife

                                            This topic is great year round and also has large spikes around Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Just like the girlfriend theme above there are modifiers for age, celebrations like anniversaries, and romance. There are large differences too.

                                            Gifts for girlfriends does not mean the couple is currently intimate whereas a person shopping for their wife likely is or has been intimate with the shopper. A spouse likely has more insight into the wife’s wants, needs and desires which could include opening up to new experiences including toys, lingerie and bedroom accessories.

                                            This guide can be done by theme or as a massive list with themed sections. The themes can be anniversaries, holidays, birthdays and situational like thinking of you gifts. Just like with the girlfriend gifts, try to think of ways to get the shopper to think about the recipient’s reaction and how the shopper will make her life better with the gift.

                                            And remember, there are more couple types than just man and woman so use inclusive and non-gender specific wording.  It helps with conversions as a bonus!

                                            Estimated monthly search volume:

                                            gift ideas for wife – 9,900
                                            christmas gift ideas for wife – 6,600
                                            mother’s day gift ideas for wife – 2,400
                                            anniversary gift ideas for wife – 1300
                                            40th birthday gift ideas for wife – 1,000
                                            3 year anniversary gift ideas for wife – 880
                                            50th birthday gift ideas for wife – 880
                                            gift ideas for wife who has everything – 880
                                            gift ideas for my wife – 720
                                            christmas gift ideas for my wife – 480

                                            Secret Santa Gift Ideas

                                            This topic will absolutely spike after Thanksgiving. The modifiers here include specific people or situations like co-workers or gender, and there are also variations with price points.

                                            From an SEO standpoint you could tackle this with a massive post of secret santa gift ideas divided into sections with 10 ideas for each modifier and a table of contents at the beginning. Another option is to build individual gift guides for the niche themes.

                                            Because it is Christmas focused, it could be “advent-ageous” (see what I did there) to have some fun by playing off of holiday themed numbers like 25 and 12. This is the perfect gift guide for a best of summary like I mentioned in the marketing tips section above.

                                            There are tons of last minute shoppers that need to “ship fast” and to specific regions. This is a gift guide where modifiers matter.

                                            Estimated monthly search volume:

                                            secret santa gift ideas – 9,900
                                            secret santa gift ideas for coworkers – 1,600
                                            secret santa gift ideas for friends – 880
                                            secret santa gift ideas for guys – 390
                                            12 days of christmas gift ideas for secret santa – 320
                                            secret santa gift ideas under $20 – 320
                                            secret santa gift ideas under $25 – 320
                                            secret santa gift ideas under $10 – 260
                                            secret santa gift ideas under $5 – 260

                                            Baking Gifts

                                            This is a fun topic. Guides can include anything from unique themed baking molds to gifts for specific people including kids, couples, and adults. There is also a search volume for life events like birthday gifts, and holidays.

                                            The more unique you get with gift ideas, the better chance you’ll get some extra social sharing to bring in more traffic and hopefully earn more commissions.

                                            Estimated Monthly Search Volume:

                                            baking gift basket – 1600
                                            baking gift ideas – 1300
                                            baking gift set – 590
                                            baking gifts for kids – 390
                                            baking gift basket ideas – 210
                                            gifts for baking lovers – 210
                                            unique baking gifts – 170

                                            Alcohol Gifts

                                            You can of course include a shaker set, beverage glasses and a wine or beer club in your guide. But if you want to be unique then think of creative items like a cocktail of the month subscription that teaches the person a new ingredient or drink type, or a science based cocktail kit to make drinks that smoke or change colors.

                                            Unique alcohol gifts like interesting flavors and ways to make drinks smoke with molecular gastronomy will help your listcicle to stand out. You could even try booze infused meats, liquor filled gummy candies and other alcohol items the shopper likely would not have thought of.

                                            Estimated Monthly Search Volume:

                                            alcohol gift baskets – 3600
                                            alcohol gifts – 2400
                                            send alcohol gift – 1000
                                            alcohol gift delivery – 720
                                            alcohol christmas gifts – 590
                                            alcohol gift ideas – 590
                                            best alcohol gifts – 480

                                            Craft and Crafting Gifts

                                            What makes this gift guide unique is the tense of the word craft and the intent of the user. The searches could be crafts to make as a gift for someone else, or a gift that is a crafting supply or project for the recipient to enjoy creating. It could also be a crafting gift for a kid so that the kid can then create a gift for a grandparent.  The wording choices you use and keywords you optimize matter here!

                                            The search volumes below are more oriented for someone looking to buy a gift for a person that likes to craft.

                                            Estimated Monthly Search Volume:

                                            craft gift ideas – 1600
                                            craft gifts for kids – 880
                                            arts and crafts gifts – 390
                                            craft gift box – 260

                                            Gifts for Long Distance Relationships

                                            For this gift guide, think about gifts that help couples enjoy some intimacy.

                                            Creativity is key here because you have to relate to the shopper and let them know you understand geographic obstacles. Because the couple cannot be together, toys that can be controlled via an app from a distance and kits to let you clone specific parts of the shopper or their partner’s body are items that make sense.  Remember, your goal is to help them feel together while distance has them separated.

                                            Estimated monthly search volume:

                                            sex gifts for long distance relationships – 2400
                                            sex gifts for long distance relationships gif gif – 30
                                            romantic sex gifts for long distance relationships – 20

                                            Romantic Gifts for (Insert Person)

                                            This guide could be someone shopping for a boyfriend, a girlfriend or a spouse. It could even be a group if the person is in a thruple. The goal here is to be unique.

                                            Most gift guides list renting a hotel room, a fancy dinner or romantic dice. What these gift guides forget is to provide how to take it to the next level. That is where you can make money as an affiliate and stand out for social media shares.

                                            Instead of just saying get a fancy hotel room with a bathtub. Tie in how to use the hotel room with products like massage oils, sexy board games and of course ties, toys and novelties.

                                            Bedroom blocks, aromatherapy with memories in mind, unique position cards and adventurous games are all great choices. And don’t forget to add in lingerie or costuming in to set a fun role-playing and romantic mood. You can talk about honeymoons or vacations and dressing up as someone from the resort or occasion to create a fun scene.

                                            Estimated Monthly Search Volume:

                                            romantic gifts for her – 4400
                                            romantic gifts for him – 4400
                                            romantic gift for wife – 2900
                                            romantic gifts – 2900
                                            romantic gifts for girlfriend – 2900
                                            romantic gift for boyfriend – 1900

                                            Sexy Gifts

                                            Just like the romantic gifts there is a heavy skew in search volumes for specific people. Unlikely romantic gifts there is also a large search volume for events like birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas.

                                            Creating unique themes for the specific events can give you more topics to write about, and you can also have fun with themed puns. Changing out “Claus” for “Claws” on Christmas and playing off “surprise parties” for birthdays.

                                            One thing to remember for this gift guide is that it is all about the recipient. But that doesn’t mean the gift has to be for them only. It could be lingerie for the shopper to wear as the gift, or something the shopper and recipient can enjoy together or with a group if that is their style.

                                            Estimated Monthly Search Volume:

                                            sexy gift – 1300
                                            sexy gifts for wife – 1000
                                            sexy gifts for him – 590
                                            sexy gifts for boyfriend – 480
                                            sexy gifts for her – 480
                                            sexy gifts for men – 480
                                            sexy gifts for husband – 390

                                            White Elephant Gift Guide

                                            This is a fun topic where you can let your creativity shine.

                                            The SEO modifiers for white elephant gifts are specific to the recipients’ reactions and price points. By using dollar amounts and words like “funny” in your title tags, you’ll let the person searching in Google, Bing or Yahoo know they’ve found an ideas list that meets their budget needs and gift requirements.

                                            To make the content even more relevant for the shopper, make sure to carry the theme through your content and within your product descriptions. For example if you use “funny” in the title of your post or video, mention the recipient laughing when they open the gift in the description of the gift ideas.

                                            Estimated monthly search volume:

                                            white elephant gift ideas – 90,500
                                            white elephant gift ideas $20 – 4,400
                                            white elephant gift ideas $30 – 3,600
                                            creative white elephant gift ideas – 2,900
                                            white elephant gift ideas $10 – 2,900
                                            white elephant gift ideas $50 – 2,900
                                            white elephant gift ideas $25 – 2,400
                                            funny white elephant gift ideas – 1,900

                                            Gift Ideas for Friends

                                            The search volume for this theme will spike around late November and early December, and once again as national friends and best friends day approaches.

                                            To help get the person ready to shop you may want to talk about how the gift is meaningful between two friends.

                                            Another talking point could be how the gift lets the recipient know the gift giver is always there for them. You may also want to open the guide by letting the reader know you’re not doing the typical friendship bracelets and are instead giving them unique gift ideas if they read through the post or watch the full video.

                                            Estimated monthly search volume:

                                            gift ideas for friends – 12,100
                                            christmas gift ideas for friends – 4,400
                                            gift ideas for best friend female – 3,600
                                            cute gift ideas for friends – 1,600
                                            gift ideas for your best friend – 1,600
                                            funny gift ideas for friends – 1,000

                                            Fitness Gifts

                                            Category based gift guides are great. There is a large search volume and you can stick to your niche. Fitness for example can be overarching and work for everyone from seniors to kids. It could be for parents that have no time to go to the gym or singles looking to find the love of their life. Most generic categories like “fitness” can work across numerous types of sites.

                                            The modifiers are very diverse here and include phrases like “best”, costs like “under $20”, genders like “men” or “her” and of course descriptive phrases like “lovers”.

                                            Estimated monthly search volume:

                                            fitness gifts – 1900
                                            gifts for fitness lovers – 1000
                                            fitness gifts for men – 880
                                            fitness gifts for her – 720
                                            best fitness gifts – 390

                                            Yoga Gifts

                                            One thing to remember is that you don’t always have to go for the main category with a gift guide. Sometimes the niches within the category have a higher search volume.  Fitness gifts is the category above, but yoga gifts has more than twice the monthly searches.

                                            The same can potentially be true for other phrases like running or runners, cycling, hiking or swimmers.  And don’t forget people search for teachers, coaches and instructors too!

                                            By going niche for a specific type of fitness you are able to share more relevant gift recommendations and potentially convert more readers or viewers into shoppers.

                                            Estimated monthly search volume:

                                            yoga gifts – 4400
                                            gifts for yoga lovers – 1900
                                            gifts for yoga teachers – 720
                                            yoga gift ideas – 590
                                            best yoga gifts – 480
                                            yoga gifts for her – 480
                                            yoga gifts for mom – 260

                                            Gifts for Runners

                                            The interesting thing about some of the fitness gift guides is the way the search volumes change when you move the order of the words. Below you’ll see “gifts for runners” has 9,900 monthly searches. When you change the order to “runner gifts” it drops to under 500.  

                                            By focusing on the differences in wording and the order in which the words appear you may be able to optimize for the larger traffic volumes and bring more people to your content. This will help grow your audience and give you more opportunities to earn commissions. 

                                            Estimated Monthly Search Volume:

                                            gifts for runners – 9900
                                            best gifts for runners – 1900
                                            gifts for runners women – 1600
                                            gifts for runners men – 1300
                                            gift ideas for runners – 1000
                                            gifts for marathon runners – 880



                                            $835 a week using FREE traffic in Spain!

                                            $835 a week using FREE traffic in Spain!

                                            The following is a case study from our friends at Affmy 🚀

                                            We’d like to show you a great example of a case study on dating offer, which one of our webmasters shared with us. Hope it will help you to get a feel of this vertical. Dating can make your profits skyrocket if you know what to do and where to look.

                                            • Date range: 20.10.20 – 27.10.20
                                            • Geo: Spain
                                            • Network: Affmy
                                            • Earned: $835
                                            • Spent: $0
                                            • Profit: $835

                                            I got some tricks on how to monetize traffic efficiently, even if you are a newbie, and I wanna share my experience with you. Hope it helps you.

                                            A lot of people are wondering if it’s possible to monetize their traffic without any investments, and the answer is “yes!”

                                            Just keep on reading my case study to learn more!

                                            I used this one Spanish site that allows you to browse for movies. The vast majority of the target audience (TA) is from Spain. The platform got over 31 million unique users per month, that is quite well.

                                            The first thing I had to do was to understand what the users are looking for and what’s the best way to approach them. I had to explore the site for quite a bit to understand the best way to avoid the bans is to like other users’ comments.

                                            Then I created an account of a pretty girl (it’s very important not to use banners with any adult content on them, otherwise my account would get suspended).

                                            My personal tip: keep it low, make sure to remain unnoticed by the admins or moderators.

                                            The next step is to choose the CPA network. I have been in affiliate marketing for a long time, and have tried many networks, and I came to a realization that Affmy converts the best.

                                            I started working with them when I was looking for SmartLink offers. It caught my attention, but it used to target CIS affiliates, nobody I knew worked with them. In fact, I was quite skeptical at first but was very pleased with the results I got, which I’m going to talk to you about at the end of this article.

                                            My next step was to automate the process, so I downloaded BAS (Browser Automation Studio) and watched a few videos on YouTube. This allowed me to create a simple bot, which would like random users’ comments to get more people interested.

                                            The biggest benefit of this source is the clickable link in the account’s bio. And since I was able to automate the process of getting a lead completely, I could focus on my everyday routine, and look for other traffic resources.

                                            I used this well-converting offer. As you can see my EPC on Affmy was 0.1675 and 0.0758 on LosPollos. As of today the source is still functioning and is bringing me money on a regular basis.

                                            Maybe some of you get inspired by my article and will get even better results by using my technique or think of a better way to monetize your traffic efficiently. The resources are endless, and you can always test them out on

                                            Check to get even more hot monetization tips and dating offers. This is a CPA network I used and would strongly recommend to consider using it.

                                            Also, check out the Dating, Gambling, Nutra Affiliate chatroom for web-masters.

                                            5 Ways to Perform an Effective Content Audit (FREE Template Included)

                                            5 Ways to Perform an Effective Content Audit (FREE Template Included)

                                            Ever heard of the Pareto principle or 80/20 rule?

                                            It’s the theory that states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

                                            Why am I telling you this? 

                                            Because it applies to your websites content.

                                            Take a look at your content. How well is it ranking?

                                            If you’re not ranking in the top 10 on Google for your main keyword or, even worse, you were ranking but you aren’t anymore, then maybe it is time for a content audit.

                                            Pareto principle

                                            In this article you will learn how to find content in need of a refresh, how to actually go about improving it to boost your SEO as well some useful content re-optimisation tools. 

                                            Sound good?

                                            What Is A Content Audit?

                                            A content audit is an exercise in which you evaluate the performance of your existing content (blog posts, FAQs, guides, lead magnets etc.), identify its weaknesses, and make improvements.

                                            These improvements are done by adding new content, editing the existing content, or refreshing and updating your published content to make it more accurate and relevant.

                                            It is one of the low hanging fruits in SEO and content marketing.


                                            Because your old content is already indexed in Google Search (even if it’s nowhere near page 1), ranking for a few keywords, and pulling in some traffic.

                                            Plus, it’s much more cost-effective to edit and upgrade old content and build on its success instead of creating a new piece of content from scratch.

                                            Just a word of warning though:

                                            A content audit/refresh doesn’t mean completely gutting your old stuff to make way for the new. 

                                            This could seriously impact your rankings and traffic.

                                            Instead, think of a content refresh as a chance to improve content and bring older pieces up to the standard of newer ones.

                                            But why should you do this? I’m glad you asked:

                                            Why content (sometimes) needs refreshing

                                            Sometimes content needs updating because of increased competition, maybe you’ve recently purchased a site and it is poorly optimized, or the content could be improved by sharing more examples or stats or maybe the information is simply outdated. 

                                            In some cases, you might update your content even if it’s ranking well and bringing in a lot of traffic just to strengthen your position even more.

                                            To start your content audit, you first need to find the content that needs to be improved.

                                            To be more specific look for the following things in your content.

                                            • Loss of organic traffic or possible even NO organic traffic.
                                            • No direct engagement (low time on page and other engagement metrics).
                                            • Little to no social engagement. 
                                            • Poor post metrics. 
                                            • No follow through to content despite social promotion.

                                            How to find underperforming content

                                            Now you know what you are looking for, it’s time to get to work.

                                            Here is what you’ll need:

                                            First you need to make a copy of the Google Sheet. 

                                            Now it’s time to gather up your website data and add it into this sheet:

                                            Step 1 – Get Google Analytics data

                                            First up, we need to get pageviews from Google Analytics:

                                            • Go to Google Analytics >>> Behavior >>> Site Content and the select All Pages
                                            • Change your date range to show the last 6 months of data and hit apply.
                                            • Depending on the size of your site: select more rows to show. I like to show 1000.
                                            • Now export to CSV.
                                            • In the sheet, go to the analytics tab. Click File >>> Import
                                            • And make sure you select ‘Replace current sheet’ and then Import data.

                                            Step 2 – Get Google Search Console data

                                            Next up is to head over to Google Search Console:

                                            • Select your site
                                            • Got to the Performance report
                                            • Make sure all the metrics are selected (clicks, impressions, CTR and average position)
                                            • Change the date range to Last 6 months
                                            • Now select Pages and export (the small arrow above the data)
                                            • In the sheet, go to the search console tab. Click File >>> Import
                                            • And make sure you select ‘Replace current sheet’ and then Import data.

                                            Step 3 – Run your URLs through Ahrefs batch analysis

                                            This is an optional step. 

                                            If you don’t have access to Ahrefs, the spreadsheet will still work, you’ll just be missing some keyword and backlink data.

                                            We’ll be using the Batch Analysis tool that quickly gets a bunch of data for domains or URLs in bulk. To get it setup:

                                            • Go the the Batch Analysis tool over at Ahrefs
                                            • In the Overview tab of the sheet, copy the URLs (column B)
                                            • Paste them into the batch analysis box.
                                            • Underneath there are three option boxes, make sure you set it up like this:
                                              • Protocol – As specified
                                              • Target mode – Exact URL
                                              • Index – Live
                                            • Now hit analysis
                                            • Now export
                                            • Go back to your sheet and go to the ahrefs tab. Click File >>> Import
                                            • And make sure you select ‘Replace current sheet’ and then Import data.

                                            Now you’ll have a finished spreadsheet full of underperforming content that is ripe for a content refresh. It should look something like this:

                                            Content Refresh Finder

                                            What does this spreadsheet show you?

                                            This Google Sheets template gives you a quick top level view of your site and how it is performing.

                                            It shows your website’s:

                                            • Top 100 viewed pages
                                            • The average position in the SERPs
                                            • How users are interacting with your site on Google
                                            • How many backlinks it has
                                            • The keywords it ranks for

                                            At a glance, you’ll be able to look for pages that are in need of a refresh. Here’s just a few ideas of things to look for:

                                            Pages that have high impressions but low CTR.

                                            Low search CTR means that people are seeing your site in search results but not clicking on it.

                                            low CTR High impressions

                                            There are three things you need to see here

                                            • Are You Ranking For The Right Keyword?

                                            Does your site match the searcher’s internet for this keyword? Does your page have the answers the searchers of this keyword are looking for?

                                            For example, you might have a site about fruits and nutrition that’s ranking for the keyword “apple benefits”.

                                            But what if all the other results are about Apple the tech company?

                                            That’s just an example.

                                            But it’s possible that you’re ranking for the wrong keywords which is why no one’s clicking on your page.

                                            In that case, try aiming for long-tail keywords on the same topic that are more descriptive. 

                                            • Improve Your Page Title: 

                                            Does your page title clearly tell the visitors what it’s about? Does it create a sense of curiosity? Does it make a promise? Is it using power words to drive action?

                                            Without creating a power title, you’ll always struggle to drive clicks on your search result even if you rank for a keyword.

                                            Here’s a really good resource for creating blog headlines.

                                            • Write An Engaging Meta Description

                                            Does your page have a meta description?

                                            If it doesn’t Google will use the first few lines of your page as the default meta description.

                                            And that’s not good from your perspective.

                                            Meta descriptions do not impact search rankings directly. But thy have a huge role in driving clicks om your search result.

                                            You need to write an engaging meta description that immediately makes a promise and entices the searches to click on your search result.

                                            This is the place where you need to show your creative writing talent.

                                            If your target keyword has sponsored results from Google Ads, look at the meta description they’ve used because advertisers pay a lot of money to test and optimize their ad descriptions.

                                            Pages with crazy good CTRs

                                            It’s always good to be on the lookout for outliers. Sometimes you’ll have a page that gets a really high CTR (or other metric). 

                                            It’s worth digging down into this and to try and reverse engineer what is working for other pages.

                                            high CTR pages

                                            For the pages that are driving traffic, you need to pay particular attention to Bounce Rates

                                            If the Bounce Rate is higher than your site average, it means the visitors are not finding the information they’re looking for.

                                            In this case, you need to improve your content and make it more valuable. Try to highlight the key items of the page at the start so that the visitors know their desired information is available.

                                            If the Bounce Rate is fine, see how much on-site conversions this traffic is driving (for example, visitor to email subscriber conversion, clicks on internal links, etc.)

                                            The pages that are driving search traffic are your biggest assets. Always use content upgrades, lead magnets, internal links, and CTA to convert them into something more meaningful for your business.

                                            Pages ranking for lots of keywords

                                            If you find pages that are ranking for lots of keywords and have a decent CTR, but aren’t retaining the traffic or routing it to the other pages on your site, then these are definitely pages ripe for a content refresh.

                                            Chances are you need to add more content to the page and/or target the keywords better.

                                            pages ranking for lots of keywords

                                            The easiest way to do this is by analyzing your closest search competitors.

                                            See how they’ve structured their content and what’s their main value proposition.

                                            Structure your content on their model and try to offer something valuable to your visitors so that they stick on your site.

                                            5 ways to perform an effective content refresh

                                            Okay, so now you know what content refreshing is, why it’s important and you’ve (hopefully) identified your target pages. 

                                            Now starts the actual refreshing.

                                            When it comes to actually refreshing your content, you’ve got five types of things you can do to boost it.

                                            1. Expand your content
                                            2. Update your content
                                            3. Optimise or re-optimise
                                            4. Merge it
                                            5. Promote / build some links

                                            Let’s look at these in more detail.

                                            #1 Expand your content

                                            Expanding your content is the most common way of refreshing a post. 

                                            Sometimes you just need to write something longer and more in depth.

                                            There’s lots of data to suggest that content needs to be longer in order to rank highly. 

                                            In fact, if this Backlinko study is to be believed, the average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words.

                                            google position

                                            Longer content also tends to attract more backlinks and generate more social share.

                                            And it makes sense.

                                            Content that is more in-depth generally offers more value to the readers as a result of which more people link to it.

                                            Your starting point for expanding content is keyword research.

                                            You need to know if your content is or isn’t optimized for any of the keywords that are going to drive traffic to your site.

                                            By performing keyword research, you’ll be able to see what gaps are in your content you can fill in.

                                            However, avoid just expanding content for the sake of it. Be critical and ask yourself: 

                                            Should I expand this post?

                                            Are there questions about this topic that I haven’t answered?

                                            Is my resource giving comprehensive information to the readers?

                                            An easy way to find this is by looking at the “People also ask” section of SERPs for your target keyword.

                                            In this section, Google lists the most common questions people have about a topic.

                                            Quickly go through the list and see if there are any angles or topics that you can add to your content to make it more valuable.

                                            Maybe your original post lacked context or needed some supporting info to make it more relevant, or perhaps missed out a topic completely.

                                            Either way, be sure to do a quality check on your content before diving in and expanding it.

                                            Another aspect of expanding your content is to add things that make it more impactful and credible.

                                            For example, if you’ve shared a strategy or tips about achieving something, why not share a couple of real-life examples with it to give the readers more value?

                                            Similarly, if you’ve made a claim or shared an opinion in your content, why not back it up with solid research or scientific data evidence so that your arguments become heavier.

                                            These things make your content more effective and leave an impact on your readers.

                                            #2 Update your content

                                            Google likes fresh content for some searches and sometimes information can become outdated.

                                            Moz Fresh Score

                                            Here’s the type of posts you should look out for and consider updating:

                                            • Posts that mentions of dates
                                            • Posts with lots of screenshots (especially of software tools as these get updated and re-skinned)
                                            • Outdated information
                                            • Topics that have since changed

                                            You want your content to be as accurate as possible for both users and Google. 

                                            It’s quite common that over time information in content can become outdated.

                                            Here’s a quick list of things you can change, add, or remove from outdated posts:

                                            • Remove any content that is no longer relevant.
                                            • Update any outdated content.
                                            • Replace outdated data with up to date ones
                                            • Update screenshots if things have changed
                                            • Add any new best practices that have emerged (things in SEO change fast)
                                            • Check and update internal links
                                            • Potentially update CTAs

                                            #3 Optimize or re-optimize

                                            Sometimes content drops off because it could be better optimised. 

                                            On-page SEO plays a big part in how your content is performing, so make sure to check the following for the best rankings:

                                            • Ensure the title tag includes the main keyword.
                                            • Use a H1 that also includes the main keywords.
                                            • Add a meta description.
                                            • Use variations of your main keyword in subheadings.
                                            • Add keywords to the URL (but keep it short)
                                            • Optimise images – compress them and add relevant alt text.
                                            • Check on technical issues like page load speed
                                            • Make sure your site uses a responsive design that’s easily accessible from mobile devices as well.
                                            • Add more internal links to your content wherever they make sense.

                                            Another easy way to improve your ranking is to look for the keywords that you’re already ranking for in search results on Page 2 and 3.

                                            You can find them in Google Search Console.

                                            You’ll be surprised to see that your content might not even be optimized for some of the keywords you’re ranking for.

                                            Filter them out and naturally include them in your content where they make sense.

                                            #4 Merge Similar Content

                                            So you’ve been blogging for a while and now your website is full of content.

                                            Chances are though, there will be some duplicate or overlapping topics going on.

                                            If this is the case, consider merging multiple blog posts together.

                                            Having one strong resource on a topic that covers it in-depth is better than a handful of articles that all include roughly the same information.

                                            If you’ve done your keyword research, you should have a list of related keywords, so should be able to plan out what keywords can be grouped together in a single post. You can then scale this by using content templates.

                                            The end goal here is to have a few high-quality articles on your site vs lots of mediocre ones.

                                            #5 Promote it / Build some links

                                            Sometimes, a new round of promotion and link building is all that’s required.

                                            If you are looking to perform a content refresh on old content, chances are you have published lots of new content since them. 

                                            This is a great opportunity to build internal links to it.

                                            A quick site search will show you lots of internal link opportunities. Just head to Google and search:

                                            site:URL KEYWORD

                                            (example content marketing)

                                            Switch out KEYWORD to the main topic of the post you want to build links to. 

                                            Google will show you the pages on your site it thinks are related. 

                                            These make great targets to go add internal links from.

                                            Don’t forget you can also re-promote old content to your email list of on social media as if it was new content and even consider driving paid traffic to it.

                                            For higher competition keywords, you might need to build some new (and more powerful) links to it like via methods like guest posts or running some broken link building.

                                            Don’t forget, the type of site you want to improve will dictate the type of links you need to build to it. 

                                            A local lead gen site needs local links, whereas a more recognized branded site could use unlinked brand mentions whilst an affiliate site might be better off with white hat outreach.

                                            Consider this before blindly going out and building any links you can.

                                            Sidenote: 8 tools to help improve your content

                                            Updating your content can be hard work.

                                            Thankfully, there are some useful tools out three to make your life a bit easier.

                                            Here’s a brief list of free and paid tools you can use to help improve your content:

                                            1. Google Analytics [FREE] – see how many people are visiting your site + other metrics
                                            2. Google Search Console [FREE] – see how your site is performing in search engines
                                            3. Ahrefs [PAID] – use this for keyword research and for spying on competitors
                                            4. Clearscope [PAID] – an AI tool to get the most out of content
                                            5. Frase [PAID] – a cheaper AI tool for analysing content.
                                            6. Headline Analyzer [FREE] – see how you can improve your headline/page titles
                                            7. AnswerthePublic [FREE] – use this to find question-related keywords
                                            8. Buzzsumo [PAID] – find what content is working well in your niche.


                                            Refreshing pages doesn’t have to be a chore or seen as a step back. 

                                            Sometimes, refreshing old content will have a more positive effect on your traffic than creating more content. 

                                            Afterall, 80% of your traffic is likely to come from 20% of your content.

                                            Remember: SEO is not a one time task.

                                            It’s an ongoing process.

                                            To get the most from a content refresh, get in the habit of performing one on your site ever 3 – 6 months.

                                            There’s always room for improvement, you just have to look in the right places.


                                            About Jake

                                            Jake is a marketer, writer and spreadsheet wrangler who runs Sheets For Marketers. He’s a fan of dogs, SEO, and pizza. Sometimes at the same time.