Have you not thought about your website in a while? Or are you just not sure where to start when it comes to optimizing your pages? No worries. We are here to help you revive your website through the power of SEO! And make you fall in love with your website all over again. Because attracting people to your website and business becomes so much easier when you’re having fun. So let’s give your website some well-deserved SEO love and grow your number of visitors!

As you might already know, SEO helps you get more people to your website and grow your business. Having Yoast SEO on your website is a great start, because it takes care of a lot of things for you. However, to really drive some traffic to your website, you need to put in some work on a regular basis. We realize that this isn’t always easy, especially when you’re doing a lot of it yourself. That’s why we have a plan to get your website back on track.

4 phases to get your website back in shape

To get your website into tiptop shape, we’ll go through four phases. In the first phase, we’ll take some time to think about your audience and easy fixes to revive your website. The second phase is all about maintenance and cleaning up. After that, the third and fourth phase will help you make SEO part of your routine.

Phase 1: Thinking

Evaluate what you know about your audience

Before we get to optimizing and writing, let’s take a step back. Take some time to figure out who your audience is. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you need to analyze your audience to get to know them. Don’t base your decisions on assumptions. So find out who your current audience is, who else you want to attract to your website and what they have in common. Don’t just think about your audience in general terms (age, location, interests). Try to understand what drives them to your site. What does your audience want to read, do or buy on your site? Is your content focused on the right people? Has your business or audience changed since you last worked on your website?

Asking these questions will help you get insight into your audience and focus on the important things. Are you creating the right content? Are your call-to-actions aligned with what your audience expects? Are you still targeting the right people? Collect the right information to make these decisions and make it way easier for yourself to improve your site.

Identify your quick wins

Before making any big changes, it’s always wise to look at your Analytics and Google Search Console. Especially if you haven’t done this in a while, it’s a good place to get an idea of how your website is doing. And it will probably give you lots of input for possible improvements. Check out what pages are performing well and think of how you can improve them. Or if there are pages that performed well in the past, but not so much right now, it’s time to give those some extra love.

Use Google Search Console to get an idea of how your pages are doing in the search results. Are your most important pages ranking high enough and for the right keywords? If not, give those pages a proper refresh and focus them on the right keywords. With the Wincher integration in Yoast SEO, you can easily track which keywords are performing well. You can also see how your page has been doing over time. That’ll give you valuable information on which pages can use an update.

Make a list of pages and posts that seem to be easy fixes. By simply updating the content, adding the right internal links and tweaking what else needs to be fixed, you can already start driving more traffic to these pages.

Renew your keyword research

When it’s been a while since you last conducted keyword research or when you have never had the time to properly do this, there’s no time like the present! It’s possible that the search behavior of your audience has changed, or that there are new trends in your field that you should cover. Either way, take some time to do keyword research to find out what words your audience is using. The Semrush integration in Yoast SEO can help you get a quick overview of high-performing keywords in your field.

Phase 2: Maintenance

Do some technical maintenance

Although it might not be your favorite pastime, it’s important not to ignore the technical side of your website. If you haven’t looked at your website in a while, make sure to do these checks first:

Get your site speed up to par

First of all, check how your site’s speed is doing. Because if there’s something site visitors (and search engines) dislike, it’s a page that takes ages to load. You’ll lose them before they even enter your website. Luckily there are tools that can help you figure out whether your pages are loading fast enough. Read all about how to measure site speed and how to get your site to load faster in our blog post on site speed!

Check and fix those 404s

A 404 page is an error page that is shown to site visitors when the page they’re trying to visit doesn’t exist. When your website has been around for a while, chances are that some of your older links don’t work anymore. Although having a few 404s doesn’t hurt your overall rankings, it can become a problem for your SEO if it becomes too much. So make sure to check whether you have any broken links on your website and use a tool like the redirect manager in Yoast SEO to redirect people to another page.

Do some content maintenance

If SEO wasn’t your top priority lately, there’s a big chance that your internal linking needs some love as well. In Yoast SEO Premium, you can find two practical workouts that’ll help you get your internal linking structure back in shape. You can click through these workouts and solve some major problems with just a bit of your time.

With the cornerstone content workout, you’ll be able to choose which articles are your most important ones. The ones you want to rank with. After that, the workout helps you to make sure that your internal linking structure is helping you to rank with exactly those articles. The orphaned content workout will help you detect all your articles that do not have any internal links going to them. Perhaps you can add a few links to that page to make it findable? Or perhaps these should be removed (and redirected) from your site? The workout will help you decide and even suggest a few relevant internal links, to help you solve all of your orphaned content problems. After you’ve cleaned up, there’s room to create new content and improve your existing content!

Phase 3: Planning

The first two phases have probably given you loads of ideas on what to work on. Hopefully, it also got you excited to get started again. But to make sure your newfound love for your website doesn’t burn out too quickly, let’s make a plan. A plan that’s doable.

Figure out how much time you have, per week or month, to spend on SEO. Then plan your SEO tasks for the next couple of months. Be specific on what you’re going to work on, so you don’t have to figure that out at that moment. To stay motivated and quickly make some progress, I would suggest starting with the quick wins you listed during phase 1. Also, try to alternate fun SEO tasks with tasks that are ‘less fun’ for you, so you don’t leave all the boring stuff to the end and eventually forget about it.

Phase 4: Back to your routine

This bring us to the last phase, a phase that will never really end. Because it’s essentially the phase in which you make sure to make SEO part of your routine. It’s an ongoing thing and requires you to check in and optimize regularly. The good news is that all the SEO work that you’re doing is beneficial to your audience and helps you grow your business. So think of it as a necessary investment of your time. The following tasks should become part of your routine:

Checking and tracking

  • checking your 404s
  • assessing your site speed
  • checking your internal linking structure
  • doing keyword research
  • analyzing your performance in Analytics and Google Search Console


  • updating old content
  • writing new content
  • internal linking
  • improving site speed

We’ve created a monthly workout schedule (PDF) that you can use to stay on top of your SEO. Of course, it’s just a guideline so feel free to spend more or less time on the tasks mentioned. But it can help you stay motivated by checking off what you’ve done so far!

Love your site and keep doing SEO

We often joke and say that SEO stands for Seriously Effortful Optimization. And that isn’t untrue. At Yoast, we try our best to build a plugin that automatically takes care of a lot for you. But to really stand out in the search engines, you need to put in the work. And if you do it regularly, it’s not that much of a hassle. But starting over after you’ve neglected your SEO for a while, takes a bit of hard work at first. Just remember that whatever love you put into your site, will result in happy site visitors and search engines! 

Read more: How to measure the success of your content SEO strategy »

SEO love series

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