A content audit is a qualitative assessment of all the content on your website with the goal of improving your SEO and content marketing efforts (these two concepts go hand in hand). Content audits can be very time-consuming, depending on the size of your site. This is why it might be intimidating even to start one. However, doing a content audit is vital to your website’s success, and it’s a task you should tackle in the near future.
In this article, you will learn what a content audit needs to contain and how to create one. Let’s get started.
What Data Does a Content Audit Contain?
A content audit typically contains a variety of information and analysis related to your existing content assets. The specific details included in a content audit can vary depending on your goals and the complexity of your content strategy, but here are the key elements that are commonly included:
- Content Audience and Personas: Identify the target audience and personas for each piece of content.
- Content Inventory: A list of all your content assets, including URLs, titles, descriptions, and content types (e.g., blog post, product page, video, infographic).
- SEO Metrics:
- Content Keywords: The primary and secondary keywords associated with each piece of content. It also needs keyword search volume and competition data.
- Metadata: Information about each piece of content, such as publication date, author, and any relevant categories or tags.
- Performance Metrics: Data on how each piece of content is performing, including metrics like page views, unique visitors, bounce rate, time on page, and conversion rates (if applicable). Also, add data on social shares, comments, and engagement metrics.
- Content Backlinks and Internal Links: List any external websites linking to the content. Also, identify internal links to and from the content within your website.
- Content Quality Assessment: Subjective assessment of content quality, considering factors such as readability, relevance, accuracy, and the presence of grammatical errors. You can also add content assessment scores if using a content evaluation framework.
- Content Lifecycle Stage: Categorize each content asset into stages of its lifecycle, such as “Evergreen,” “Needs Updating,” “Outdated,” or “Redundant.”
A content audit report typically compiles all this information into a structured document or spreadsheet. This report serves as a valuable resource for making data-driven decisions to optimize your content strategy, improve user experience, and achieve your content marketing goals.
How to Create a Content Audit
A content audit is a step-by-step process that you should conduct regularly. There are plenty of methods, and you can approach each website differently. Also, there is no wrong way to do it. But you do need to define your goals (e.g. the specific SEO factors you want to improve) before starting the project. Here is an overview of the steps you can take to perform a content audit:
- Define Your Goals and Objectives. Determine the purpose of your content audit. Are you looking to improve SEO, user experience, content quality, or all of the above? Establish specific goals and objectives for the audit, such as increasing organic traffic, reducing bounce rates, or improving conversion rates.
- Create the Content Inventory. In order to evaluate your website content, first, you need to create a comprehensive list of all the content assets on your website, including blog posts, articles, landing pages, product pages, videos, infographics, etc. A good tool to generate all your site’s URLs is ScreamingFrog, but you can also use a sitemap generator or enter your content manually. Once you have the URLs, add them to a spreadsheet or to content audit templates (you can find plenty online). Organize this list based on key details like URL, publication date, author, word count, and content type. Make sure to eliminate any duplicates and double-check for redirects.
- Include Audit Data. Besides URLs, include data you think is relevant to the goals of your audit and add it to different columns. If you want to dive deeper into SEO, you may include meta-description, target keyword, page headings used, inbound links and many more. Factors related to content marketing include word count, type of content (such as blog post or landing page), categories, author, content owner, number of social shares, and others.
- Use Tools to Extract Metrics. Get the SEO metrics and other data from valuable tools like Google Analytics (like page bounce rate, average time on page, etc.), social metrics plugins and marketing automation applications. If your site is based on a CMS, you may also be able to extract audit data from it.
How to Use a Content Audit
Now, it’s time for the actionable part. Here’s how to interpret and use a content audit:
- Analyze the Content. Once you’ve gathered all your data into the inventory, it’s time to assess the content. What are the most visited pages? What pages convert the most? Are the pages well organized? Are the main keywords inserted throughout the content? How are you rating your content? It’s important that you understand your content first before you begin putting the information to use.
- Content Goals and Objectives: Define the purpose and goals of each piece of content. Also, indicate whether the content aligns with your overall content strategy and business objectives.
- Identify Top-Performing Content. Sort your content by performance metrics to identify your top-performing pieces. These are the ones you want to preserve and potentially optimize further. Analyze the keywords each piece of content is ranking for and identify opportunities to improve keyword targeting and SEO optimization.
- Identify Low-Performing Content. Highlight content that isn’t performing well. This can include pages with low traffic, high bounce rates, or outdated information.
- Content Gap Analysis. Identify topics or keywords that your content doesn’t cover but are relevant to your audience and industry. These gaps represent content opportunities.
- Make Decisions. Create a plan of action based on your assessment/audit. To help you take action later on, create a column where you can include terms such as “Leave” (no changes needed), “Merge” (to merge two pages with similar content) and “Improve” (to improve the pages that are underperforming).
- Take Action. For example, if you’ve listed the page bounce rate of your URLs, take a look at the pages with the lowest bounce rate. Find the reason why these pages are doing better than others and try to make others like these. Another way you can benefit from audit data is to check out the conversion rate of your pages. Consider promoting your pages with the highest conversion rates on social media. Additionally, if you’ve been assigning scores to the content on different pages, consider improving or removing the lowest-rated ones.
- Monitor and Measure Progress. Continuously monitor the impact of your content improvements on performance metrics. Adjust your strategy as needed based on ongoing data and feedback.
Don’t forget that you are conducting a content audit for your site’s benefit, so do it the way it will help you. Shed light on the problems you want to solve. The process does seem tedious and “unattractive,” but in the end, you’ll have a much better understanding of your website. By conducting a content audit, you’ll hopefully get into the mindset of monitoring, evaluating and refining your content on a regular basis in order to improve your content marketing.
If you seek help with your content marketing efforts, Bright Pink Agency is here to help. We provide SEO, social media and content marketing services for all types of businesses, and we specialize in marketing for franchises. We will help you reach your online goals more efficiently, and we have the expertise to back up our claims. Call us today to get started.