Content decay can be one of the worst enemies of B2B technology marketers. Vendors need to stay ahead of the trends and pain points of their audience to develop content that addresses their ever-evolving needs. In this fast-paced environment, it’s easy to set and forget content hoping that their effectiveness remains the same.
In reality, changes in algorithms, search preferences and product positioning can negatively impact the visibility of resources and blogs, leading to a decline in organic traffic and rankings. This phenomenon is called content decay.
What Causes Content Decay?
Many factors contribute to content decay, including:
- Outdated Information: Search engines prioritise fresh and topical content. Over time, content is likely to become outdated, losing its relevance to both search engines and users. The position of your company on a certain issue could also change as your offering evolves, and this could cause a disconnect between the content visitors land on, and the rest of the information on the website.
- Algorithm Updates: The way search engines work is not set in stone. Their evolution helps improve search results but can wreak havoc on your content if it doesn’t align with the latest changes.
- Keyword Popularity: The volume of searches fluctuates over time. Content developed by piggybacking on trending issues or buzzwords can experience sharp decreases in visibility and traffic if your audience is no longer interested in the topic.
- Competition: Over time new companies will enter the market and develop content that addresses the same topics as yours. This new content is likely to be developed based on the latest SEO best practices and could be favoured by search engines.
- Search Behavioural Changes: As awareness of topics shift, users will change the terms they search for, the reason they search for, and the way in which they search for content. If you don’t track how user behaviour changes, content risks becoming obsolete.
How to Identify Content Decay
Several red flags can help identify content decay:
- Monitor Performance: Taking an analytical view of your content can help spot signs of decay. These include a decrease in organic traffic, keyword rankings, and engagement rates.
- Content Review: A regular content marketing audit can help ensure that only high quality content is present on your platforms. Outdated information, irrelevant terms and broken links can harm SEO performance. Content audits are also useful in identifying content keyword gaps and opportunities to drive new traffic to the website.
- User Feedback: Asking clients and partners for feedback on the usefulness of the marketing resources can ensure that no opportunity is left unturned, and that awkward situations are addressed promptly.
How to Tackle Content Decay
Content decay can be addressed by refreshing, optimising, or removing content. Some helpful strategies are:
- Content Update: Refresh information that is no longer relevant. This proactive activity signals to the search engines that the content estate is regularly maintained. You can also consider repurposing the content in different formats to extend its shelf life and expand its uses, e.g. turning an e-book into a blog, or visualising a data-led article with an infographic.
- Content Optimisation: Rewrite keywords or metadata that is no longer aligned with algorithms’ or your audience’s preferences. Link building – creating backlinks from authoritative third-party websites – and sharing the article on social media can also help maximise the value of the content.
- Content Retirement: If the content is beyond salvation, removing it from the website can help optimise your resources and ensure that no harm can be caused in the long term.
The end of the year is the perfect moment for B2B technology marketing teams to review how content performed over the long period, identify possible content decay and define a plan for optimising their content marketing portfolio by aligning it with the latest best practices.