How To Conduct Content Audit-A Complete Guide
What’s your content marketing strategy? Have you been creating new content and never returned to it, or do you regularly perform content audits on your site and brush up on your content?
If you are the second one, you are on the right track. Cheers!
But if you are the first one, you are definitely missing out. And the surprising thing is that you are not alone. Most content creators do this unknowingly. They are so focused on making new content that they never think of their previous content.
So today, we’ll discuss how to conduct a content audit on a website. This is a comprehensive guide to content audits, including what they are, why they are important, and how to conduct them. Let’s discuss them one by one.
What is a content audit?
The process of analyzing and assessing a site’s content is termed a “content audit.” Content auditing is a systematic process that helps you find out the strengths and weaknesses of your content strategy and content development. So, you can revise your content strategy for your future content in terms of SEO and marketing. This also gives you insight into which content you should create, rewrite, update, or delete to improve your content performance.
What is the need for content audits on a website?
Content auditing is a good practice because it helps to identify areas for improvement and keep your content up-to-date. When any site’s content is regularly updated, the previous content gets buried deep down and becomes stale, outdated, and sometimes completely irrelevant.
Below are the reasons why you need to perform content audits on your site regularly:
1. Content Goals
There’s a reason behind your content creation. Has your content achieved what it was created for? Is your goal with your content fulfilled? You can’t answer all these until you perform regular content audits on your site. You should keep a check on your content performance to determine whether your strategy is correct.
2. Stale and outdated Content
Over time, your content may become stale or outdated. This is because the things that are relevant now will not be relevant all the time. Therefore, you must update your content regularly to keep it fresh and beautiful.
3. The accuracy of data and facts
As time passes, the data and facts you used earlier in your content may become inaccurate. This may somehow impact your brand’s standing and SERPS ranking as well. Regular audits can help you keep the data accurate and up-to-date and maintain your site’s credibility.
4. Find Out What’s Working
There is no point in creating content aimlessly. Until you conduct a content audit, you can’t determine what type of content or which strategy is working great for you. You should create content, check its performance, and then make changes to your strategy accordingly. This will help you improve your SEO, SERPs ranking, and traffic to your site.
Content auditing can also be done for SEO purposes. You can analyze keywords, image optimization, links, word counts, etc., to figure out the weak SEO elements in your content and optimize them accordingly.
6. Content Marketing status
You can analyze your efforts on current content marketing status by analyzing different factors such as traffic metrics, social shares, etc., and determine how your audience is responding to your content to adjust your future content strategy accordingly.
These are the important reasons why you need to conduct content audits.
How to conduct a content audit on a Website
Now, moving on to the step-wise process of conducting a content audit on your site. These are the major steps you need to follow:
- Set Your Goals
- Create a Content Inventory
- Collect and Analyze Data
- Create your Action Plan
- Adjust Your Content Marketing Strategy
1: Set Your Goals
Content auditing is a lengthy process that requires your patience and time. If you want to make it a success, you need to have a clear objective in mind.
Consider your business goals and the advantages of performing a content audit for your business. Think about how it can be effective for you. Your goal can be improving the website’s SEO, increasing user engagement on your site, or improving the conversion rate.
Following are some tips for conducting the content audit while keeping goals in mind:
#Improve Your SEO Results
To improve your SEO results, you need to do the following things:
- Determine web pages with high SEO potential;
- Figure out the type of content you need to update or delete from your site; and
- Check your internal links and optimize them.
# Improve User Engagement
To improve user engagement, do the following things:
- Determine the type of content that engages the most users;
- Discover the topics your audience is more interested in; and
- Identify the content types that lead to the most social interaction.
#Improve Conversion Rate
To improve the conversion rate, do the following things:
- Determine the pages that offer the best user experience;
- Discover the content that brings the most leads.
Whatever your goal is, to analyze your website, you must know a few content metrics. Here are those-
- SEO metrics: keyword rankings, backlinks, dwell time, organic traffic, etc.;
- User behaviour metrics: Pageviews, bounce rate, average session duration, etc.;
- Engagement metrics: Likes, comments, shares, mentions, etc.;
- Sales metrics: conversion rate, Number of leads, ROI, etc.
Now, after deciding on the goals, align them with the content metrics that are most relevant to them.
For example: If you want to identify the most popular topics to create more similar content, analyze the user behaviour and engagement metrics, or if you want to improve your SEO performance, analyze the backlinks, keywords, and SERP rankings.
2: Create your Content Inventory
A content inventory is a list containing all your website content, including text, documents, images, etc. This list can help you strategize your auditing approach and give you all the details in a concise manner.
The content you want to audit can be the content published on your sites, such as news, blog posts, and any other educational material, or external publications, such as guest posts. Decide what you are going to review, and then start creating the list.
Collect the URLs you want to audit.
To create an inventory, collect the URLs of the pages you want to analyze and create a list.
You can either manually create the list of URLs or use a content audit tool such as Semrush Content Audit. This tool can ease your work, and it is the most effective way to create your content inventory. The tool audits your website’s content on the basis of the data on your site map and generates a list of URLs with their associated metrics. The tools also allow you to analyze a specific website section by customizing the settings. For example, the subfolder /blog.
If you haven’t had a site map, you can easily create one using sitemap generator tools. A sitemap is not only important for a content audit, but it also helps search engines understand your website structure better.
If you want to create a sitemap, you can check out our blog post on creating a sitemap. Also, once you create your site’s sitemap, submit it to the Google Search Console.
Categorize and systematize Your Content.
Once you’ve created a list of URLs, sort them using various criteria and analyze them. For this, you can use either a spreadsheet or an online tool.
You can organize the list by categorizing them in the following ways-
- Type of Content – blog post, product description, landing page;
- Format of Content – text only, with image/video, with/without CTA;
- Date of content publication or last modification;
- Number of words;
- Author – For multi-author website
- Buyer’s journey stage – awareness, consideration, decision.
Also, collect the useful data of each content, such as title, H1, meta description, etc., and add them to the sheet. This will help you check and update them, if necessary, right away.
3: Collection of Data
Data collection is a time-consuming and complex process in which you need to manually collect data from various sources and add it to your list.
However, you can also use content audit tools that automatically collect data per your goals and metrics. The Semrush Content Audit tool is a similar tool.
It analyses the content on your website and gives you a variety of information, including backlinks, metadata, content length, social shares, and content author for every URL.
Also, you can connect your Google Analytics, and Google Search Console accounts with the tool to find additional content details. For example- metrics for each URL, including average session duration, page views, average page time, bounce rate, etc.
If you want to analyze the performance of your content published on a third-party website, such as a guest post, you can use Semrush’s post-tracking tool. The tool can track the keyword ranking, social shares, backlinks, and referral traffic of the content on a daily basis.
You can additionally use different analytical tools that can help in content auditing and gathering a wide range of data, such as Google Analytics, Semrush site audit tool, Semrush position tracking tool, Content square, and Content WRX audit.
Tools for data collection
- Google Analytics- This tool is helpful in determining the best-performing content. It analyses the traffic, engagement, and conversion rates of the content to determine the best. You can also assess the effectiveness of your content in accomplishing your marketing and commercial objectives.
- Semrush site audit tool- It can help you audit your site and identify the technical issues on your site quickly. You can work on the issues, improve your SEO and boost your site’s ranking.
- Semrush Position Tracking Tool- This tool is helpful in tracking the SERP ranking of your targeted keywords. You can determine the content that has good SEO potential. This means the content needs a little attention, and it can easily rank better. You can update the content and boost its ranking.
- Content Square– This tool is useful for analyzing user behaviour on your web pages. You can conduct a customer journey analysis and determine what is and what isn’t working on your page. You can analyze the elements of your page in terms of their performance, impact, and usability in order to identify areas that need updating.
- Content WRX Audit- The tool provides you with information related to the page-level details, such as documents, images, screenshots, and videos, as well as the file type and metadata of each page. You can also sort your results and even export the data for offline analysis.
You can collect all the necessary data and add it to your sheet.
4. Data Interpretation and Assessment
Now, you have to interpret the data you have collected and assess it wisely to decide your next step.
To interpret the data you collected, you need to analyze the data as a whole. This will give you a clear picture of your site’s content. Let us help you with an example of how you can interpret the data.
A web page receiving high traffic may have a low session duration and a high bounce rate. This indicates that users are interested in the topic, but the content does not contain the information they need. In this situation, we have to analyze all the elements of that content and determine the cause of why users are leaving the page. Maybe the content is not relevant to the title; maybe it’s the page loading time or the CTAs.
This is how you interpret the data.
Now, once you’ve understood the data interpretation, you need to assess the data you collected. Analyze your content keeping your goal in mind and assign one of the statuses – keep, update, or delete.
- Keep: After analyzing the data, if you discover that your content is performing well and is up-to-date and relevant, you don’t need to make any changes to it. Also, you can use the content in your existing content marketing strategy. Some evergreen content, details of your business, success stories, and FAQs could be the content you can keep.
- Update: While assessing the data, you might find that some of your web pages are not performing well, and some contain outdated information. Review those contents and think of ways for improvising the content and revise them accordingly. Low traffic and low conversion content, articles with outdated information, and blog posts with statics could be content that needs an update. You can keep them under the “Update” category.
- Delete: If the content you placed under the update section can’t be improvised or the update needs a lot of resources, you can simply delete it. Deleting them would be a much better option. Duplicate content, old campaigns, details of products that you no longer have or sell, or content related to a particular event or activity might be the content you don’t want to keep. Delete all the unnecessary content and clean up your website.
In order to keep track of your action plan, add a new column to your sheet with the name “status” and give each content one of the statuses we discussed above.
You can also use Semrush’s content audit tool for this. This tool automatically organizes your website’s content into different sections for analysis, namely, rewrite or remove, update, quickly review, and poor content.
Rewrite or remove- This includes the articles you published nearly 2 years ago that have been receiving few or no recent views. You can rewrite them completely or remove them.
Update- The previous content and pages that are receiving some recent traffic. These topics have potential and need an update.
Quick review– This contains your recent content that received more than 150 views in the previous month only. These need improvement to rank better on SERPs.
Poor content-These includes short articles containing merely 200 words. These require your attention and quick action.
5: Create an Action Plan
Once you have assessed your content completely, create a plan of action to improve it and boost its ranking. The things you need to keep in mind while creating your action plan are your goals and the results you’ve drawn from your assessment.
Set Your Priorities
Remember, your actions should support your business goals. You must prioritize your actions depending on the efforts needed to improve your content and achieve your goal.
For example- To improve your SEO results, some of your content might need to be properly linked. Adding a few links to your article may require very little work and may bring great results. On the other hand, recreating whole new content may require complete dedication and more work and may bring slow results.
Therefore, you can prioritize the content that needs fewer work actions followed by the content that requires a little more, and after that, more and more. You can add a priority column to your sheet and mark the priority as per the efforts needed to achieve your goals.
# Tips for your Action Plan
After setting the priority for each URL, create a plan for each URL. The following are the action tips you can use to improve your website’s content.
- Reuse your content: You can combine two thin and relevant pieces of content on your site to recreate a more meaningful and in-depth article. Thin content impacts SEO. On the contrary, content that contains detailed information on the topic can have a better impact and can rank higher on SERPs.
- Rewrite and expand your content: You can rewrite your blog post if it isn’t performing well in the SERPs. You can cover the topic in detail and try to add new tips and examples to make it more engaging and readable.
- Expand your content: You can expand your contents that are thin and short, containing fewer details. Try adding more information and covering the topic in detail. According to a study, lengthy content enjoys more traffic than the average length of content.
- Refresh your content: The content that has SEO potential can rank better, even with little attention. You don’t need to rewrite them completely. You can refresh them by adding relevant details, new examples, data, and trends. You can add proper links and optimize them for SEO.
- Structure your content: Structured content ranks better than plain text. You can structure your content by adding H2 and H3 tags that can help search engines, as well as users, understand your content better.
- Update your CTAs: Your web pages may contain some outdated and unnecessary banners that are irrelevant at present. Make sure to replace them with current and relevant offers that can boost your content marketing funnel and increase conversion rates.
- Add images and videos: Content without images and videos seems boring and unattractive to users. Make your content more engaging and attractive by adding images and videos to it. According to a study, content with images and videos gets more traffic. Also, optimize the images and videos for SEO and offer a better user experience.
- Optimize metadata: From an SEO point of view, metadata placement and correctness is very important. Add or rewrite SEO-optimized titles and meta descriptions for your content. Also, use keyword synonyms to make your content more natural and attractive.
- Optimize internal linking: Organize and optimize your site’s internal linking network. Interlink your newer articles with the related articles on your site to improve their crawling. These help search engines understand your content better and also improve user navigation on your site.
- Delete unnecessary content- Delete the content that cannot be rewritten or updated and is irrelevant and unnecessary in the present. Ease your website’s trash.
- 301 redirects- Use 301 redirects for the pages you have deleted from your site. This will improve the user experience on your site by avoiding the “not found” page.
- Update Google-Use the Google search console to inform Google about your content updates. Submit the recently updated pages to Google’s index by visiting the URL inspect tool in the Google search console.
6: Keep your Content Marketing Strategy flexible
Your content marketing strategy should be flexible. The thing that is consistent is your business goal. Whenever performing content audits, keep your goal in mind. Keep track of your content’s successes and failures. This enables you to modify your content strategy and push you in the right direction.
Keep track of what’s working and what’s not. Try to stick with what works best and create more content following a similar strategy.
Analyze your least-performing content and figure out what’s hampering it. Find areas for improvement by examining similar successful content from your competitors and improving it.
You should review your content marketing strategy regularly. This will help make sure that your efforts are going the right way and are still good to serve your business goals. Keep finding fresh tactics that can add value to your content and include it in your strategy.
The solutions or tactics that are working today might not work tomorrow. That’s why your content strategy should be flexible and revised regularly. You must audit your content a few times a year to check whether your adjustments are working for your business or not.
Website creation is one thing, and maintaining it is the other. Anyone can easily create a website, but maintaining a website requires additional effort. Your website should be perfect in every aspect, and content is one of the essential parts of it. Your content should be well-optimized for SEO to achieve a higher ranking.
To rank high on SERPs and remain there, you need to keep a regular check on your content to ensure everything is working great and adding value to your business.
Content auditing is a perfect approach for this. It isn’t a thing you do once, and it’s done; it is something that must be done continuously in order to keep things perfect.
To audit your website content, you can follow the steps discussed above. This is only one process for content auditing, and there can be many different approaches per your needs and goals. We hope this has helped you understand content auditing and its process.