Find underperforming web pages to improve SEO

Marketing check-listSo often marketers focus on top performing website pages to maximize their return. Obviously giving the best-performing website pages a boost in search engine optimization, page title upgrades and more above-the-fold intrigue, a marketer can greatly improve the traffic and leads generated from their content.

Less common is trying to hunt down and locate underperforming web pages. Often marketers see these underperforming pages is failures and invest their time elsewhere. As the phrase goes, you can’t squeeze blood from a stone. However, hunting down underperforming pages can be very rewarding, as they may provide insights, tips and problems with a website or content strategy.

Best practices for finding underperforming web pages

  • Use Webmaster Tools to spot weak web pages
  • Use Google Analytics to find poor performers
  • Search error logs for issues that effect landing pages of a website

Often times, using the three approaches above, you may find problems that can cause good content to be underserved. These problems may be technical in nature or simply bad design leading to reduced visibility. Or, perhaps, an image folder was accidentally deleted from the web server and what were once great articles and embedded reference images now appear to be a broken mess.

Basic audit check-list: Tips for finding website SEO problems

  • Pages with no traffic – In Google Analytics, select Content > Site Content > Pages than select Pivot. (Google Analytics will sets up a pivot report). Select Medium from the options and sort this report by the organic column (ascending order) to spot pages with zero clicks from organic results. Sometimes by making SEO updates and tweaking headlines for pages you can drive organic traffic to fantastic content that was otherwise undiscovered.
  • Find unhelpful pages – In Google Analytics, select Behavior > Site Content > All pages and then sort by Bounce Rate. This will give you a list of pages that have a high bounce rate, which may be an indicator of poor content design, weak headlines, lack of contextual imagery or a poor above-the-fold experience (among other potential issues). As you browse this list, consider pages with high traffic and high bounce rate as important places to begin your optimization process. Consider improving website copy or improve page titles to make content connect better with visitors.
  • Where are visitors leaving –  Also in Site Content, a navigation item called Exit Pages will reveal the point of abandonment for your website.  Consider improving your top abandonment pages to improve overall website retention. Also consider whether your website needs better calls to action to improve engagement with visitors. By offering a “next step,” your site can help reduce  abandonment.
  • SEO crawl errors – Spot those 404 errors and investigate. Using Google Webmaster Tools, you can spot missing pages in your website. Go to Crawl > Crawl Errors for a list of 404 errors within your site. Sometimes you may find high-trafficked pages that have no content… it happens.
  • Find highly supported or referenced content – Go to Webmaster Tools > Search Traffic > Links to your site.  You may be surprised at the content in your website that generates large incoming links. Do a quick check inside Google Webmaster Tools for Your most linked content. For many websites the most linked page will be the homepage of the website. This is not always the case. Check the top 10 – 50 most linked pages, and ensure that the visitor experience to these web pages is adequate.  Cross check this with their bounce rate as well. If you find pages with large incoming links but a poor user experience, you may have found a diamond in the rough. By improving these highly linked pages, you may be able to dramatically increase the support and shareability of these pages–increasing the number of links, shares and comments. This, in turn, may dramatically improve your website’s SEO ranking or viral lift from social media.
  • More tips: find great landing pages within a website using Google Analytics

Find crawl errors and underperforming website pages to improve SEO



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Ironpaper is a B2B marketing agency and lead generation agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.