Having a comprehensive content marketing strategy is easier said than done. When people think of achieving their marketing goals, it’s always about putting fresh content out there. However, this type of approach might not be the most calculated decision on your part.
Jumping into content creation without proper thinking will only do more harm than good. Sometimes repurposing or updated old content can do wonders for your content marketing strategy. Consider conducting regular content audits so that your business can identify relevant and trendy topics that you should be talking about.
A link prospecting strategy will bring you a lot of new links, but you need a content audit to make sure your site is primed to benefit fully from those linkbuilding efforts.
What is a Content Audit?
A content audit is a systematic process of analyzing and grouping the content on a website. The main objective of doing a content audit is to figure out the strengths and flaws of your existing content strategy and how you can make changes. The changes will be in line with your new content marketing goals and will outline the content plan that you should go ahead with.
Why Do You Need A Content Audit?
Content audit helps you in figuring out the content gaps that may be there in your content. This will help you to create better content for your audience and the search engine, eventually leading your website to rank better.
There are many reasons to perform a content audit:
• To begin with, a content audit can boost the traffic of your site resulting in a better experience for your audience.
• It helps to filter out the parts of your site that are not correctly optimized and need more work to make it better. For example, you may be adding images to your blog posts as your current content strategy. So what about those that were published before? Through a content audit, you can know which blog posts need images to be added.
• There are additional SEO opportunities you can find out when you run this audit. If you’re having trouble getting your blog posts to rank, this audit may recommend adding keywords to the titles of your posts to help search engines understand the content and purpose of your website. And, the more details search engines know about your website, the more accurately they recommend it to the target audience.
• A content audit SEO can let you update all the outdated content on your web page to improve your readers’ understanding of your website. Let’s say you did not add metadata to some of your web pages, or there may be some broken links on your website. This will all be highlighted when you do a content audit.
(Source: Google Images)
All in all, the main aim of this audit is to help you keep your content always up to date. It also lets you improve your content to boost your SERP ranking by addressing points such as:
• The quality of your present content
• If the content holds any value for your audience
• How is your audience able to find it
• The performance of your content, whether it is getting enough organic traffic or not
And finally, if it is relevant and accurate
Once you have the answers to these concerns, you will be able to put together content that is of excellent quality and help you stick to your content marketing strategy.
What Are Its Benefits?
Now you have an idea about why you would need a content audit. So let’s look at some potential benefits it might offer you.
• When you run a content audit, you will be given data-driven information based on facts rather than mere speculations. This will help you make careful and correct decisions to improve your content.
• It lets you highlight pages that are not SEO optimized. For example, the page may need a better heading structure or metadata.
• You can identify the content gaps and learn about more SEO opportunities to use in your content to improve it.
• Through a content audit, you can create a content inventory that will make it easier to manage your content strategy in years to come.
• You can improve the quality of your overall content to give your readers a better experience and provide them with the information they are looking for.
• It gives your content marketing team a clear direction on which content to work on and how to work on it.
• When planning to redesign your sites, running a content audit will allow you to know which part of your website needs the most work.
The process of content audit can be a difficult one, especially if you are new to it. So make sure you take enough time to figure out the problems in your content and ways how to rectify them. You can either sit with your content management team to work on it or make use of templates (discussed in the coming sections) available online to help you start with the process.
How to Perform a Content Audit?
There are certain easy steps that can help you give a kickstart to your content audit. Here is a content audit checklist that you should consider to perform the audit accurately:
Step 1: Decide What Your Goals and Metric Are
To begin with a content audit, you must first decide what you want from the audit. When you know what you want, you will better understand how to divide your audit.
Deciding your goals beforehand is also important, as auditing content requires a lot of dedication, and setting goals helps you clearly see the results you want to achieve.
• You can think and choose from multiple goals, such as:
• Increasing your brand awareness.
• Optimize SEO for certain parts of your website or your complete web page or website for better SERP ranking.
• Improving content that is outdated and repeated or completely removing them.
• Boosting user engagement and conversions.
• Working towards better organizational website structure.
Once you have listed the goals, you will better know what are the strengths and weaknesses of your content.
Make sure you have at least one objective that will serve as the audit’s driving force before choosing the metrics that will be used to evaluate progress. Doing this will lead to a successful tracking and audit of your content.
After deciding on your goals, match them with the relevant content metrics that are usually divided into four categories.
SEO metrics: This includes keyword rankings, organic traffic, backlinks, and dwell time. So if you want to focus on improving your SEO, you need to consider SEO metrics and work on getting more organic traffic and quality backlinks that will enhance the authority of your website.
User behavior metrics: This is evaluated through bounce rate, page views, and average session duration of your web page.
Engagement metrics: This usually shows the number of shares, likes, comments, mentions, etc., your content gets.
Sales metrics: This includes the ROI, number of leads, and conversion rates on your website.
For example, you should examine user behavior and engagement statistics if you want to figure out what areas are the most popular to develop more content on it.
Once you have decided on everything related to your goals, the next step is to determine the content inventory.
Step 2: Figure out Your Content Inventory
Before you move on to checking your content inventory, you must decide on the content you are going to work on. This can be landing pages, blog posts, educational content, news, etc., tests, games, quizzes, videos, and PDFs can also be taken into consideration.
It is much simpler to evaluate content performance, point out areas for improvement, and carefully update each item when you have all your content all in one place.
To create your content inventory, start by collecting all the URLs of the web pages you want to evaluate.
Use SEMrush’s Content Audit Tool to audit your content based on your sitemap data quickly. You will also receive a list of URLs and their related metrics from the tool. With this, you can also look into a particular blog post or subfolder on your website that needs improvement.
To use SEMrush:
• Go to SEMrush and select “Content Marketing” option on the left column of the page.
• Select “Content Audit”
You will be prompted to enter your domain name. The tool will show you subfolders that you can choose to make changes.
Step 3: Click on “Start Audit”. After which you will get a comprehensive data on the improvements that need to be made along with the URLs.
However, if your website doesn’t already have one, you can create one using a sitemap generator. Use tools like XML-Sitemaps Generators that will create a site map for you in minutes.
• Enter your website URL and hit “Start”
• You’ll soon have a list of sitemaps which you can download or open in an XML file.
When you have a sitemap, it not only helps you audit your content but also makes it simpler for search engines to quickly understand your site structure and identify the key pages on your website.
Make sure to your sitemap to Google Search Console and Google Analytics. Doing this will allow the tool to take into consideration the current data of your website.
Step 4: Catalogue Your Content
The next step after collecting the URL is to catalog your content.
After you have created your inventory using the URLs, it is now time to categorize it on a spreadsheet.
For this step, you need to keep your goals in mind so it is easier for you to track each metric of the content for the audit.
So, if you are doing a SEO content audit, you can focus on metrics such as ROI, the traffic you receive, click-through rate, and so on.
You can use a spreadsheet to divide the content into various categories as listed below:
• The date when the content was published or last modified
• Number of words
• Type of content, whether a blog, landing page, guide, product description, online publication, video media, etc.
• Format of the content, whether it only has the text content, has images and videos or not, and has a call to action or not.
• Name of the author
• Stages of a buyer’s journey, i.e., awareness, consideration, and decision
• Create a content hub where you can include a group of content belonging to a particular subject.
You can also collect metadata for every content to check and update all the metadata of the content in one place.
Finally, create columns with your metrics to collect data for each web page.
Once you bring all the content in one place with the help of a spreadsheet, a successful content inventory will be created. Through this, you can easily monitor the changes that should be made to your content.
If you find it too bothersome to do it all manually, there are tools available that will help you quickly pull together a content inventory, such as Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider Tool.
The tool is free to use if your website contains 500 pages or less.
You will need to enter the URL and start the crawl to get all the details regarding your web page.
(Source: Google Images)
If you don’t want to use these tools, you can look for a content audit template which you can find in HubSpot, and start with your work.
(HubSpot Content Audit Template)
You may also want to add traffic data from Google Analytics to each page so you can analyze content performance alongside technical SEO metrics.
When considering a content audit template we all know that it can make it easier for you to address the problems according to the issues already mentioned in the template.
However, you should also remember that each piece of content is different. And the issues mentioned in the template may sometimes be relevant to your content, and sometimes it may not.
There may be many other data points and statistics that may not be included in the template.
For example, if you are focusing on improving your blog posts, you need to focus on whether each blog post has metadata, whether images are included, if infographics are used, the right keywords are included, and so on.
While some tools may provide you with information on this issue, some might not. Therefore, you can use these templates to get an idea of how to begin with the spreadsheet and do it yourself.
You’ll be able to stay organized and comply with the requirements of your content audit when you add the correct categories to the spreadsheet.
You should also remember that while it may be tempting to remove specific categories to save time, some categories may give you important insights to analyze the content.
Also, removing certain categories can lead to incorrect analysis. So try to work on as many categories as possible to get more accurate information.
Step 5: Make A List Of Content Problems
After creating your inventory, you should list all the content problems you see and want to focus on. Have a look at all of your content to see how it is performing. You can look for specific things such as:
Content that has duplicate or repeated data
When reading a blog, if you come across the same sentences, you will not really like it and will look for an alternative blog that doesn’t have duplicated or repeated content. The same goes for search engines.
(Source: Google Images)
Search engines like when websites can provide their users with fresh content. If it finds too much duplicate content on different web pages of your site, it can reduce your ranking. So, it’s better to either rework those pages or completely remove them.
Content that is outdated
Users don’t like to come across outdated content. They want to get information about what is relevant in the present times. While users can ignore your outdated content, search engines can do the same, making it important for you to keep updating your blogs regularly.
The topic around which you may have created your content may be the latest a few years back. But since there are many things constantly being added and changed, it is possible that you may have missed out on a few topics that will be important presently.
You can use Ahrefs “Content Gap” under “Site Explorer”. Enter your competitor’s domain and compare your content to theirs. The tool will give you suggestions on how you can improve your content.
Check the content gaps by analyzing what is missing in your content and the target market you may not have addressed or the topics you didn’t cover. Look at all your content and fill the gap to make your content more relevant.
Check if the content contains targeted keywords according to your product and industry so you are listed higher on SERP.
See if you have metadata for all pages on your website. When you create the spreadsheet, you can easily find out which pages you have missed to add metadata or metadata that is repeated so you can change and update.
Data on the image
Analyze your image data to see if they are relevant to the content and have an alt tag and descriptive title. This will make it easier for you to know if the images are SEO optimized and easily accessible.
You cannot simply write 100 words and expect your content to rank higher than your competitors. So, make sure that all your posts and pages have enough work count so you can optimize them for SEO.
You can use tools such as Article Insights to compare your word count with your competitors and edit your content accordingly.
Keep track of everything by creating a note next to each asset about why it needs improving. You can also color-code your spreadsheet based on the type of optimization required.
However, this is only helpful if one asset has a single problem. If one asset has multiple problems, color coding won’t be feasible.
(Source: Google Images)
Step 6: Prioritize the Issues
Now is the moment to prioritize the content-related problems you have found. There are two ways in which you can work.
• Either work on the problem starting from the first number to the last.
• Group similar optimization problems and work on them at a time. What does it mean? Let’s say you need to add images to your blog post. Group all the web pages together and work on adding the images. Similarly, if there are keywords to be added. Group the web pages that require adding keywords and work on them.
• Categorize the problems with a high SEO impact and focus on them.
• You can also begin with the easiest issues first and then work your way up to the most difficult ones.
If you are having difficulty in manually doing it, you can use Ubersuggest to do the work for you. You just need to run an SEO audit, and the tool will provide you with details about the problems and how SEO is being affected.
Simply enter the URL of your website and the tool will come up with the issues on your website which you can view and work on.
Step 7: Create an Action Plan
You’ve created your content inventory, know what issues have come up, and have prioritized it accordingly. So, now it’s time to get on with the actual work by creating an action plan.
Start by creating another column on your spreadsheet named “Action to be taken.” This will help you mention what you plan to do with your content, whether you want to keep it as it is, delete it, change it completely, restructure it, or include additional information.
(Source: Google Images)
After you’ve mentioned the action in front of each issue, work on it on a priority basis. Again, here, think about your goals and what may be most important for you. This will help you know the issue you want to take action on first.
You can take these considerations into account:
• Deleting usually takes less time and is easy to do.
• Updating content may take some time as you will have to figure out the content gaps before working on them.
• And finally, changing the entire content may take a reasonable amount of time and concentration to produce better and high-quality content.
To make the work easier, you can add one more column on your spreadsheet where you can highlight the most priority and most urgent issues that need to be addressed.
You may find it helpful to add a priority column to your spreadsheet to keep track of what’s most urgent.
At this step, you can also develop a new content strategy based on the latest topics you are working on and the posts that can improve the visibility and ranking of your website.
URL Actions You Can Take
URL actions is a directive that will include all the things that must be included in that page. This is along the lines of Website Quality Audit but with different classifications.
Let’s delve a little deeper into the classifications of URL actions.
This classification is for pages that have been posted less than six months ago. You leave such pages as it is. This is because it still hasn’t quite taken off but might be still relevant for attracting traffic. You don’t want to get rid of a page that was recently published.
If you have posts and URLs that are older than six months and generate good traffic then leave these pages as is. The visits per year should be greater than 100, which means that the post is relevant and up to date.
The relevancy of the process is to get rid of pages that are underperforming and not up to the mark. You have to get rid of pages that are not working to attract any sort of engagement or web traffic. Only get rid of pages that are dragging the website down.
Now let’s look at a category of irrelevant posts, which generate no traffic, and have no trace back to the pillars. Such pages must be redirected because they don’t add any value to the website. These pages are just bogging down and negatively affecting the performance of your website.
Many content audits will suggest you take down your URL by a 404 page. However, we suggest that you do a 301 redirect if the page has keywords and existing links. Even Google support mentions that 301 redirects are the right way to rename or delete URLs.
(Source: Google Images)
By choosing to redirect, you can provide an additional field where the updated information is available. So, you’re essentially not losing the traffic like in a 404 page but just redirecting it.
If you have a group of pages that serve no value to search engines but have value to website visitors, then the best option is to block that section from being crawled. You need to manually move such pages into the archive section of the website so that they are not crawled by the search engines.
Let’s take an example of a news publishing company like BBC.com. BBC.com will have content on their website which will date back to the early days of the internet. This old content is relevant but is not generating enough traffic or engagement, therefore affecting the performance of the website. Deleting such content is not a smart choice. So what do you do?
Then you group such pages by an URL structure (i.e. /archives/). Shift the content to new physical folders and voila, your content is practically invisible to search engines. This works well on large, publishing sites that have a lot of old content. This classification of URL action is not for a new e-commerce site or local businesses.
It’s best to zip it all into an archive section and block it from search engines. If a person wants to access these old files, then it’s possible from the archive folder in the navigation or footer section of the website, but not through a search engine.
When the post is losing traffic and also the keyword rankings are sliding (5 – 30) but it has a high potential to rank we want to refresh the content. This means making small updates like page title, meta description, meta title, headings, internal links, and media.
If the page is mapping to pillar pages, the content is deep enough, targeted properly then refreshing the URL is the best option. You are not losing the essence of the website, just making significant changes that will make sure to get the traffic and engagement levels back!
Some changes you can look into are making the title more clickbaity, rectifying the title tags, making the keywords more prominent, and updating the right media for the content. These changes will make all the difference instead of rewriting the whole thing.
If the post is losing traffic and keyword rankings are sliding (5 – 30), has high potential to rank with the current topic but is not deep enough, outdated, and needs improvement. Then in such a scenario, we want to rewrite the content.
For example, if you have a page on your website that has the top 10 mobile phones in 2019. The audience in 2020 is not going to be searching for top mobile phones from 2019. You want to give information that is updated with the current changes in the industry and also the search patterns of the target audience.
(Source: Google Images)
As a business owner, you will want your website to have the updates and relevant content. So, if your website has outdated content that is not relevant anymore, you will lose out on a potential audience. Rewriting content gives you a better chance of grabbing more traffic and also delivering quality content.
When multiple posts are covering the same topic, we will want to “merge” them into 1 page that’s the authority on that topic. This will reduce the content redundancy and also avoid any repetitions across the website.
Merging content will make it easier for visitors to glance at the content in one place rather than opening several web pages on the same topic. Now, the question that comes to mind is how to merge content?
An easy to way handle the merging of pages is to 301 redirect it, we can classify them differently for understanding. So, you’re pushing all the content into a single pillar page and cleaning up the remaining pages. This will keep your website clean and also widen the scope for making the content deeper than it is right now.
Target with Links
Many times the content is updated, relevant, and new but just doesn’t attract rank in search engines. This can happen if the page has broken links or no inbound links. If the content of the website is great, but the page is failing to rank, then you can target the page with links. You start targeted links to this page through a successful link building campaign.
Step 8: Take Steps to Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy
A content audit should not be focused just for a week or months but should be used as a long-term marketing strategy.
You should make a note to review your content marketing strategy every year to make sure all the strategies being used are according to your business goals. This is also important because what worked yesterday may not work today. So, you need to keep up with the changes.
On the other hand, if you belong to a dynamic industry that keeps changing regularly, it is best to set up review periods every month or quarter.
This can be done to discuss new and effective ways to connect with your audience and encourage them to engage with your content.
Regular adjustments should be made to stay on track with the trends. For this, content audits should be run multiple times a year to see if the changes are favorable for your business or if you need to change your strategies.
Building a Content Report
After you’ve gone through each of these steps to painfully analyze and come up with solutions, you need to show your working to the client. You should be able to display the content report in such a way that it is easy to read for a common man.
When it comes to the building stage of an SEO campaign, it’s crucial to show the client what you are working on. These are drastic changes that you will be making for the betterment of the site, so there needs to be complete transparency to the client you are catering to.
The complex spreadsheets and the huge lists will not make sense to a normal person. You cannot send these spreadsheets through and expect them to understand it. If you don’t want to babysit the client, guiding them through each detail, then creating a content report is the best option.
Here are some suggestions that will go into making our content report or content deck.
• A brief overview or index so that the client knows what is in the deck.
• What did you do? This section should explain the things you did in layman’s terms.
• What did we learn? In this section, you should explain the hub and spoke model that you’re using. And then give them an overlook into which are the pillar topics that you have identified for the client’s website. These points let the client know that you have a strategy in place.
• Analyzing the results. In this section, you can include in brief about the URL actions and what decisions you are suggesting. This will serve as a guideline for the client to understand your decision pattern.
• What did we find? In this, you can give like a summary of the pages that you feel need a rewrite, merge, or archive. You can just include the number of pages that you found were fitting the category of the URL actions. You can even include the link for the full content audit.
• What is next for content? In this, we will enlist the next steps that the client has to undertake to make the suggested changes. And also you should be willing to provide some detailed information over call or conference. The follow-up call is important because the client can get overwhelmed with the amount of information that you gave it. Additionally, you should also mention what is the next task at hand for you and the date of completion for the same.
Next steps after a Content audit
A content audit is not a one-time done deal. The results of the Content audit are actionable. You should be willing to make all the changes that we suggested in the URL actions part. Whether it is advancing your content marketing strategy. The suggestions that are mentioned need to be pushed out into production so that they can take effect.
The suggestions need to be taken into action and implemented as soon as possible. The rewrites and merging of content are quick SEO tricks that will save you time.
After you’re finished with the content audit and the proper reporting for it, you should send it across to your client. Write a concise email that has links to the deck and content audit file. Enlist the next steps that you will be targeting to complete. Also, include any important deadlines that you are working for.
Now’s the perfect time to use our guest post service to get some amazing links pointing to your newly optimized content.
To Sum Up
Content auditing doesn’t have to be so difficult. It might be a time-consuming process, but if done right can do wonders for your content marketing strategy. Make sure you take care of the above steps so that you can have a hassle-free time doing a content audit!
How many months is a page considered to be suitable for a content audit?
While it is recommended to conduct a content audit once a year, certain may require more frequent audits.
• If it is awareness content such as blog posts, you need to run the audit every six months.
• Consideration content is something that you use to guide the audience to the product and services you are offering. This must always be up-to-date as it has a major role in conversions. Therefore, the right time to run a content audit for this type of content is every 3 to 6 months.
• When it comes to conversion content that is mainly for e-commerce websites, the audit should be done every quarter.
• Finally, retention content that includes content guides, tips, and information related to future products being released on your website should be audited annually.
What should a basic content audit template include?
A basic content audit template should have the following categories:
• Name of the web page• Title of the content
• Type of Content
• Format of the Content
• Content Lengths
• Word Count
• Number of pages
• Last date of modification
• Funnel stage
• Page traffic
What content audit tools can you use?
Some of the common audit tools to use are:
Google Search Console: This tool lets you easily track and evaluate your site and search data. Additionally, using GSC, you can also track specific URLs for informative data.
Google Analytics: With the help of this tool, you can plan your audit and know more about your visitors and their behaviors on your site.
Google Sheets: Google Sheets is an alternative to a spreadsheet where you can easily organize your content audit information.
Ahrefs: With Ahrefs, you can easily check the SEO performance of your site. By adding the details manually or importing from Google Search Console, you can make use of the data to run a site audit.
SEMrush: SEMrush gives a customized audit report that shows where improvements can be made on your site.
Screaming Frog: It is a website crawler that gathers URLs from a sitemap and creates a list for SEO audit.
Last Updated on February 13, 2024 by Gaby