4 min read

Refreshing Content via Linguistic Reviews

Refreshing Content via Linguistic Reviews

Refreshing content is a great way to get 'quick wins' in terms of updating content of value that is just slightly out of date. It can save on creating too much new content, and makes sure existing information remains relevant.

Easy ways of doing this are just by updating times, dates and events, internal links etc. but another major consideration is language. The use of language is consistently changing and subsequently, so are search terms and relevancy of said phrases. We also need to be aware of the search intent of said content. Whilst words and phrases may seem different, we need to use logic to understand what and why people are searching for said things.

An understanding of current and casual use of language, how people use it, and how people use search terms, can go a long way in making previously underperforming content go a little bit further.


Which Content Should You Refresh?

The fact is a content refresh may not benefit every article on your website. So, it’s better to prioritise those pieces that’ll have the most impact. Typically, that involves:

  1. Revitalising once-successful content that is now experiencing a drop in performance.

  2. Boosting the search engine ranking of high-performing content, for example, moving from position 8 to the top 3.

  3. Enhancing content to target highly relevant topics and keywords that currently have no ranking.

Content decay happens over time to all content so to make sure former high performing content stays on top, a refresh can be valid. Another thing worth considering is repurposing content for other media. Can a blog post become video content or a LinkedIn post etc.? This gives you the opportunity to pivot on messaging or maybe allows for the content to rank again in a different medium

Google also uses a freshness algorithm to determine the most up-to-date information, so refreshing regularly allows content to consistently get in front of people’s eyes.

To best understand what content would fall under these criteria, a content audit is needed.


What to Include In A Content Audit


Essentially, this is where you want to take stock of what content you have in place and see how well it is performing. There are several SEO tools you can use to help you with this depending on your needs. Content teams and SEO teams may differ slightly on what they look at with these audits but largely all of them will want to encompass several key things:

  1. Clearly outline the objectives of your content audit to ensure its success.

  2. Catalogue every piece of content you have.

  3. Arrange your content for easier analysis.

  4. Evaluate the performance and effectiveness of your content.

  5. Develop a strategy based on your analysis to improve your content.

  6. Track the effectiveness of your action plan and adjust as necessary.


Linguistic Reviews and Why They Matter

Moving more into the language theory of it, we can use linguistic reviews sporadically to bring content more in-line with shifts in language and culture. This matters because these shifts then affect search intent, and whilst this may be incredibly hard to numerically gauge, a certain amount of logic and social understanding can be applied (as well as years of Content experience from a skilled content team).


Shifts in Customer Identity


For example, customer identity is central to any B2C business, and how a customer identifies encompasses many different aspects that are constantly shifting and evolving with society. Gender identity is just one area that has seen significant societal shifts, and this has been reflected in marketing and search volume across several industries.

Globally, approximately 2%-3% of people in European countries identify as transgender, gender fluid, or non-binary. 48% of Gen Z consumers and 38% of consumers from other generations prefer brands that avoid gender-specific product classifications.

This trend has influenced retail, prompting clothing and toy manufacturers to adopt more gender-neutral marketing strategies. Numerous fashion brands, including Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Levi’s, and Urban Outfitters, have introduced gender-neutral collections.

Both LEGO and Mattel now market their products with a gender-neutral approach, as 48% of Gen Z report discontinuing purchases from brands that do not align with their values.

Whilst the change in language on site will, undoubtedly, be driven by search volume and traffic, it is worth being aware of these cultural changes to get ahead of how search intent will change over time as well.


Changing Trends and Synonyms in Content


Understanding how trends change can lead to greater clarity on how search intent changes too. If a certain keyword is dropping in searches, it may not be that people have lost interest but that rather that it is referred to in a different manner.

We adapt our language unknowingly, so being aware of those shifts can help us stay on top of emerging trends. Take, for example, interior décor and design. We’ve seen, with our own clients, terms like “beige” drop considerably in traffic where as “cream”, “neutrals” and similar terms have picked up. This would suggest that, whilst people are still searching for the same items, the way they use terminology has changed with “beige” potentially now having slightly less exciting implications for consumers.


Being Aware of the Use of Americanisms in Content


Whatever your views on the glorious leaders of the free world, their use of the English language dominates popular media thus affecting how people use it.

Whilst I’d never recommend using Americanisms, if they have fallen into common usage, they can affect what people are searching for or how they use language, as well as how companies sell their products. We often see the same terms come up time and again in search but with the American spelling or terminology drawing traffic. Being aware of these differences can help you identify what people are looking for, even if they are using the incorrect language.


The Value of Subject Specific Terms in Community Building Content


Communicating with the client for information on subject specific terms and niche jargon can be extremely valuable for refreshing content in line with a better user experience, even if it isn’t necessarily reflected in search volume.

Our work with Shift MS saw us engaged by a multiple sclerosis (MS) charity to develop a content strategy that supports individuals on their MS journey, ensuring they have access to relevant content at every stage. One topic that came up was how to refer to those living with MS. Not only was it important that we used phrases that didn’t create negative connotations for them, but also helped foster a sense of community and belonging and, subsequently, the phrase ‘MSer’ consistently came up.

Although ‘MSer’ didn’t have any real search volume behind it, it is a term used within the MS community to refer to themselves and others, so including it in content was important for community building and still had value within the context of this organisation despite not necessarily driving traffic.

Honchō can help you with auditing, refreshing and creating new content that uses information from all areas of search to tailor an all-around strategy. With content writers that can delve into your target market, and potential interest in your products, our team can lend their skillset to creating the right tone of voice for your customer base whilst responding to their needs.


Looking for help with your contentGet in touch now.


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