When was the last time you conducted a content audit? If you’re not sure of the date, or if you’re scratching your head wondering what a content audit is and how to perform one, you’re not alone. Many businesses simply throw their blog posts up and watch their analytics. It’s definitely time to take a step back from content creation and take a closer look at what’s going on with your content marketing efforts.
In a nutshell, performing a content audit involves taking a critical look at all the content that you’ve posted on your website, and create an honest analysis of the weaknesses and strengths of the content so that you can update past content and create a viable plan for moving forward. After completing a content audit, you should be able to answer:
- Which SEO keywords have worked best for my site?
- Which posts are doing the best on my site?
- Which topics are most popular with my audience?
- Which posts are past their prime?
- Which posts generate the most conversions?
You’ll want to schedule some time on your calendar to take care of your content audit. It may be worth it to break your audit into a few sessions if you’ve never done one or if you haven’t done one in a while.
Content Audit 101 : What are your content assets?
This may merit it’s own time stretch if you haven’t already created a content inventory especially if you have a lot of content on your website. For this step, you’ll want to create a spreadsheet for your content. Each post or page (asset) gets its own entry. You’ll want to be sure you note:
- Title of the post or page
- Action for the page (keep, update, etc. We’ll get to this in a moment)
- The type of content (post, page, image, video, etc.)
- The SEO title, if you’ve created one
- The URL
- SEO keyword, if you’ve used one
- Each metric you want to track (page views, shares, conversions, comments, inbound links, bounce rate, etc.)
- Anything else you’ll find useful in identifying trends and answering your questions when performing your audit.
There are a few tools that can help you do this (Screaming Frog, Content Analysis Tool (CAT)), but you’ll want to go back through to ensure that none of your content was missed in the inventory. You’ll also probably find things you don’t want to track or audit. Take some time to clean up your spreadsheet if you used one of these tools. The nice thing is that once you’ve created the initial inventory, in the future, you will just need to add new posts and pages to the already-existent spreadsheet.
Collect your analytics data.
Once you’ve got your spreadsheet, you’ll want to collect your initial analytics data. Google Analytics is a good place to start for that, but you’ll also want to check out SocialCount, MOZ, SEMRush, and anything that’s relevant to your industry’s analytics. Add your analytics data to your spreadsheet.
Look at the information you have.
Your next step will be to decide which of the following actions you will take with each piece of content on your website:
- Keep – this is a post that you will keep as is on your site.
- Optimize/update – this is a post that has potential to do well, but it’s not doing as well as it could/should be.
- Remove – the post is either not doing what it needs to, is no longer relevant, or should just disappear.
- Re-purpose/merge – the post isn’t doing what it needs to do, but can be turned into different content, consolidated with other content, or broken up into multiple posts.
Are there gaps in content?
Do you have gaps where you should have content covering a keyword or topic relevant to your business? Make a note of it.
Are there posts that have no internal links?
Make note of these; you’ll want to be sure to create internal links for them. Having posts that link to other posts within your website can help boost your Google score.
Are there pages with abnormally low views (0, 1, or 2 page views)?
You will want to check to see what’s going on there. It might be that it’s no longer relevant or was completely off-target.
Is your content easy to find; is it well-organized?
It can be easy to have tags that point to the same thing with slightly different wording. You might have a typo in a tag. Are drop down menus intuitive?
Which content is likely to draw penalties from search engines?
Low-quality content, too many high-volume short tail keywords, thin content, not enough inbound links and mentions, and content that isn’t mobile-friendly can all cause you to rank lower in search engines. This is often from older content that you haven’t updated in a really long time. It’s good to identify content that isn’t performing well, go in, and determine the reasons for that.
Make the decision about what to do with each page.
Now that you’ve put together a useful spreadsheet, rich with information about your website, it’s time to go through and decide what the best course of action for each page on your website is. Should you keep a piece as it is? Yes – if the post needs no reworking or updating and it’s getting great traffic. Should you purge a page? Yes – if the page is no longer relevant, not getting page views, or is rife with errors and thin content. Most of what you find will be in between these extremes. It will be content you can optimize and/or update and re-post or content you can merge with other content or split apart into multiple posts. Give everything a priority level so you know what’s most important to begin with and what you can wait to update.
Decide how you will proceed with content creation.
The whole point of completing a content audit is to determine how to best move forward. Did you find significant gaps where you should have more content? Did you find trends where there is content that is performing really well? Did you find content that is performing poorly? Did you create a page and then forget about it?
Here’s where you’ll want to create a document of how to proceed. You’ll likely find that a course correction is necessary – sometimes the content we think will convert isn’t always the content that actually drives conversions. Sometimes the content we think will be really great falls flat. By performing a content audit – particularly during times of transition (website revamp, shift in marketing techniques, addition of a new product or service, etc.) – you can maximize both the content you’ve already created and your strategy in moving forward with creating new content.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we can help! Contact us today to learn more about our content audits.