At Digital Strike, we often partner with companies that express a number of needs. Sometimes, those needs can only be fulfilled by content — but not by necessarily writing it.

Sometimes, the blending of content — or the outright removal of it — is the best solution.

And it can have glorious benefits.

Google BERT Update Changes the Content Game (Again)

To Google, content is still king. But the manner in which you acknowledge your highness is evolving. Google’s recent BERT update, which stresses the need to publish content that uses natural language to more effectively speak to a site visitor’s intent, has changed the game for many online publishers. Prior to this update, the concern was ridding your site of content Google may deem too thin — or, of little value.

Need help with your content strategy? We can help.

No longer do you need — or should you — write as much quality content as possible on every single keyword that pertains to your business, product, or service.

Simply put, it’s not necessary.

Better to have a trimmer and more efficient site that doles out valuable information in fewer pages than to fatten things up with a series of thin pages that cover similar topics.

Old Content Strategy Meets Challenges

Based in Hermann, Mo., Fundraising Brick assists companies and non-profit organizations with the execution of fundraising campaigns by providing bricks and tiles that are engraved with custom messaging to create memorials, walkways, walls, etc.

Two years ago, they approached us with a problem.

Despite their best efforts to fill each page of the site with very topical, high-quality content, performance still lagged. Organic rankings were relegated to the depths of Google and, as a result, a severe lack of leads translated into sluggish sales.

They appeared to be doing everything right, but something was off.

Old School Meets New School

Google has ordered that publishers focus on quality content, and Fundraising Brick was obeying.

So, what was wrong?

Because a mass amount of content had been produced to satiate Google’s demands, the FB site began to sag under the pressure of its own weight, bloated with a stack of pages that made it to the light day, but just sat there, collecting dust from non-visits.

We needed to eliminate that bloat — or at least reduce it through consolidation — so that the site could be ushered into a new era, one that would feature a more streamlined structure.

Need help with your content strategy? We can help.

The solution was a content migration.

In early 2018, we discussed the idea of this migration with FB and expressed the many benefits that could follow. The idea was, we did not want to disparage the content that had already been written; we simply wanted to stress the importance of blending like content into a single page to create more a more logical, valuable, and impactful experience for both Google and the users of the site.

We started by funneling similar pages into categorized silos and suggested the client move content from the weaker pages of each silo to the strongest, based on multiple factors, including number of inbound links, organic ranking, etc.

Each of the pages that had content removed was then 301 redirected to its corresponding parent page to transfer on any existing authority.

As a result of the migration, FB was able to not only condense a number of pages to make the site structure more efficient, but the company also retained a healthy amount of the content it had worked so hard to create years prior.

And, as you might guess, this has paid off handsomely in terms of both traffic and sales.

What The? 

Not unlike many of our clients, FB needed results at a minimal cost. We were able to meet those needs with a content migration that continues to show dividends years later.

Here are the some of the results of the migration:

  • More than 211% increase in organic monthly traffic
  • Record-high number of leads (160) during October 2019 – during their slow season
  • Number of keywords ranked in top three positions of Google increased by 14 times

No content improvements will ever produce immediate results, especially one on the scale of a sitewide migration, but the long-term payoff can be considerable.

Here’s visual evidence of the benefit FB has experienced since the migration got underway in January of 2018.

content-migration-fundraising-brick-2

After a record month in October of 2019, FB has reported that the leads have continued to pour in. We have also begun to revamp the content that was retained in the migration to better meet Google’s post-BERT standards, which has only increased organic rankings and resulted in more leads.

Conclusion

If you, like FB, followed Google’s early content rules by producing scores of high-quality verbiage for your site, you may very well benefit from a migration.

It’s a minimally invasive, potentially very cost-effective way of removing some of the unintended content bloat of your site, and the rewards can be a more enriching visitor experience.

And, as we see, this can result in improved rankings in Google and a chance at more leads and increased sales.


Ryan Faller

Ryan works as a Digital Strategist and spends his time implementing creative solutions for clients to help them meet their marketing objectives. A jack of all trades, Ryan has worked the better part of the last 15 years in the online realm in a number of capacities, from SEO and paid search to content creation and landing page optimization. When not in the office, Ryan enjoys staying active, including exercising and playing sports, working around the house, taking in some live music, trying new restaurants, and enjoying a good craft beer.

Learn more about Ryan Faller