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How to identify and improve underperforming content

Content is arguably the most important thing for successful SEO work. Acting as a sort of support, content is what drives traffic, conversions and better metrics on your site.

But what happens when you start to notice once successful pages or pieces of content starting to drop? Underperforming content is the biggest challenge for SEOs. The time and effort put into content creation can feel never-ending and when your content just isn’t working for you, it can be disheartening.

Fear not, fixing lacklustre content is more straightforward than you think. Here are Modo25’s tips on identifying underperforming content and how to fix it without starting from scratch.  Identifying underperforming SEO content

What is underperforming content?

Underperforming content could be pieces of editorial or landing pages that used to perform well and now don’t. For example, you may have had a great lead generation blog post but lately, it’s been dipping off in terms of traffic.

Don’t confuse underperforming content with content that never even performed in the first place. Did you know that over 90% of content on Google gets no traffic? Quite simply, that’s because there is such an overwhelming amount of content produced every second that it would be impossible for everything you create to be a smash hit.

So, identifying underperforming content is easy. Did it used to generate good traffic and now it doesn’t? Did it use to get good engagement and now it doesn’t? Did it used to lead to conversions of your site and now it doesn’t? That’s underperforming content.

Content that never peaked in the first place doesn’t qualify as underperforming content – at least, not if we’re going to be strict about it. Content that struggled to perform the first-time round can always be revised using SEO best practice techniques to try and turn things around. But we’ll save that conversation for another time.


Why your content is suddenly performing poorly  

As with anything, there could be several reasons your content has started slipping in terms of metrics. Here are some common causes:

  • You haven’t included any backlinks
  • Your content has been duplicated elsewhere on your site
  • An algorithm update has knocked your content down in SERPs
  • Your content is tailored too heavily to a season or event
  • There are outdated facts and information in your writing
  • Your content doesn’t match user intent

Tips on how to fix underperforming contentHow to fix underperforming content

Luckily for us, fixing these problems is usually relatively easy. But first, you will need to identify what the problem is.


Check everything is working in Google Search Console

Head over to Google Search Console to use the URL Inspection tool. This will be able to tell you the status of your page including any errors that could be affecting performance including crawlability and mobile-friendliness.


Run some essential JavaScript checks

Don’t worry if you’re not a JavaScript expert, you only need a basic understanding for this one. Sometimes, your content may be underperforming as a result of HTML issues. By running a JavaScript check, you will be able to see if your content is visible and if Google is able to read any internal links and the general accessibility of the page.


Research and update with relevant keywords

Sometimes, content can begin to underperform because it simply can’t compete. If you’ve written a great article and a more authoritative site produces something similar, they will get the top positions in search results. There’s nothing we can really do about that besides continuing to work on brand awareness through other SEO work.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t claw it back to the top spot. Do a bit of keyword research and find some semantically similar terms that you can swap out in your content. This is a fairly quick fix and means you won’t need to do a complete rewrite. Instead, you can swap out your old keywords for your new ones and watch the traffic come rolling back in.

If you really don’t want to change your keywords because they are perfectly on brand, dig a little deeper into why your content in underperforming. What is it about these other pieces that are pushing you down in SERPs? Maybe your content is too thin and isn’t compelling enough. Or you aren’t satisfying or meeting the user’s search intent. Either way, whip out some critical thinking skills and get into the mind of your ideal reader to better understand how to improve underperforming content.


So, there you have it. Some of Modo25’s top tips for identifying and improving underperforming content.  Are you looking for support with your digital and content marketing? Email us at to find out how we can support you.

Morgan Mitchell - Modo25
Morgan Mitchell
Morgan Mitchell - Modo25
Morgan Mitchell

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