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 to even 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.
A content audit is a step-by-step process, one 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:
- Create the Content Inventory (quantitative assessment). In order to evaluate your content, first you need to make a list of it. 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). Make sure to eliminate any duplicates and double check for redirects. In addition, consider moving file types (PDF, Audio, Video, etc.) to separate tabs so you can focus on HTML content first.
- Include Audit Data. Besides URLs, include data you think is relevant to the goals of your audit and add it to different columns. For starters, you can include navigation title, page name, content hierarchy and your comments. You can get this data from ScreamingFrog.
- Add More Audit Data. 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 other.
- Use Tools to Extract Data. 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 be able to extract audit data from it, as well.
- 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.
- 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 for 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.
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.