A Guide to Website Content Audit: What is a content audit and why do you need one?
Do you feel like your marketing campaigns are stuck in a rut? Do you need to find topics that will really resonate with your audience but don’t know where to start?
Content auditing is the answer. ✅
Content auditing is primarily a process of systematically evaluating all of the content on your website, and determining which pieces work best for what you are trying to accomplish.
This article will cover how to go about this process, as well as why it’s important and how it can help move from being an average marketer to one who stands out among their peers.
A little disclaimer before we proceed: Keep in mind that you should include social media and email content into this audit if you’re writing a content strategy.
So, let’s dive into:
- What is a website content audit and why should you do it
- How to conduct a content audit
- Content audit checklist
- Tools for conducting an effective content audit
Google Analytics will help you assess the quality of your content and find optimization opportunities | @nathanareboucas
What is content auditing and why should you do it?
Content auditing is the process of reviewing your content and editorial calendar to identify what’s not working (or what could work better) in order to increase the effectiveness of content marketing efforts.
While this is typically done for website content, we are well deep into 2021 and you should most definitely include social media and email content in this analysis.
After having read this, you’ll probably start wondering why on Earth would you engage in this long, usually overwhelming process. Well here’s a very simple answer:
If you don’t do it, you’ll keep on producing content that doesn’t bring you any closer to achieving your goals.
This translates to: you’ll keep on wasting valuable resources.
Removing content that doesn’t work, or optimizing one that could perform better is as important as adding new content.
This is why you need to do a content audit. It will allow you to:
- Get a clear overview of all your content;
- Figure out how it relates to one another;
- Understand how does it help achieve overall content strategy goals that directly impact business goals;
- Find optimization opportunities;
- Repurpose old content to better fit your niche and current business goals;
- Delete outdated information and refresh it with new, relevant ones;
- Save time with creating new content;
- Make sure the content you produce/d is tailored to the needs of your buyer persona/s.
In the end – Google, your audience, and your content creation team will love you for it!
How to conduct a content audit of your website?
Content audit analysis consists of a few stages:
- Creating content inventory
- Determining goals/objectives of your analysis
- Performing content audit analysis
Content Audit Framework: Inventory, objectives, audit and optimization | @Tamara Biljman
#1 Creating content inventory
The first step of a proper content audit is to make a content inventory spreadsheet- aka, a catalog of all content.
This is a quantitative analysis and its main purpose is to answer the questions:
- What content do I have?
- What does this content include?
- Is it optimized for search engines?
It’s the first layer of very in-depth analysis, and the best part of it is that you don’t need any analytical tools to create it!
You can see all of the data in your CMS or even directly on your website (in this case use the free SEO Quake extension for meta tags and keywords).
As for storing all this data – an Excel sheet will do just fine, as it will allow you to easily manipulate the data you input.
Here’s how I like to organize my website content inventory:
- H1 Title
- Link [so you could have a clear overview of your slugs]
- Type of the content (cornerstone, supporting)
- Content format (blog post, infographic, lead magnet, guide, etc)
- What cornerstone does it support
- What hub does it belong to
- Number of visuals
- Types of visuals
- Alt-text of images
- Target keyword
- Original publish date
- Date of an update
If you take a look at my content audit template, you’ll notice that there are four sheets:
- 1️⃣ The first one is the content inventory;
- 2️⃣ The second one is dedicated to content objectives;
- 3️⃣ The third one is all about the quality of the published content (aka the content audit template);
- 4️⃣ The fourth one is dedicated to content optimization.
But, before you move on to filling out the second and the third sheet, let’s talk about why you’re doing the content audit.
#2 Determining goals/objectives of the content audit
We already discussed numerous benefits of conducting this analysis. But now it’s time to determine the direction of it.
While the data you collect won’t change a lot, the way you interpret this data and make a decision about the following steps will change significantly depending on the objective your content’s supposed to achieve.
Among the most important reasons for conducting a content audit is to determine your goals and objectives in regards to the website’s content.
Here are some things you might want to consider:
- Do you need more traffic?
- Does your website lack authority and trustworthiness factors?
- Is there too much duplicate content on your website?
- Should you improve your interlinking?
- Should you restructure your hubs?
- Are you using the full potential of your articles to promote your services, products, lead magnets, offers?
- Is your content relevant and updated?
- Are there any backlinking opportunities?
In the end, this will help you classify your content into few categories:
- Completely remove
- Leave as is
Having low-quality posts will only hurt its rankings on search engines such as Google or Bing.
And that means fewer opportunities for increasing traffic via organic channels!
But, then again, you don’t want to waste time optimizing something that’s already performing great!
#3 Performing a content audit
Arash Asli said: “Content audits are about as popular as colonoscopies but they’re just as necessary to health – in this case, the health of your content marketing strategy.”
But, the truth is that content inventory is much worse! If you’re creating a new one, and you have tons of content, you’ll probably drop a tear or two (or cry an entire river).
The good news is that you’ll do this once! And then you’ll simply update it with each new content piece.
Once you’ve done it – content audit, the qualitative analysis of your content, will be super easy.
Since this type of analysis is all about the quality of your content you’ll want to start digging through your data.
This is exactly why you should be clear about the objective of your analysis!
Without it, you’ll just get lost in all that data and you won’t be able to determine which one is a vanity metric, and which one will help you sky-rocket your business.
Content audit checklist
The way I see it, there are three sets of metrics you want to check out:
- User experience metrics
- Conversion metrics
- Pure SEO
Metrics about user experience will help you understand if your readers like your content and whether it will help you assess the quality in the context of users and find optimization opportunities.
This is why these metrics should include:
- The number of words in your content
- Reading level (you can use software like Hemingway, Grammarly, or any free reading score tool)
- Scroll depth (Google Analytics)
- Average time spent on the page (Google Analytics)
- Bounce rate (Google Analytics; high bounce rate is considered to be normal. But, if you think about what bounce rate stands for, you’ll realize that if this metric is high, it can be an indicator that you didn’t intrigue your readers enough to continue exploring your other content. Or you didn’t offer them enough opportunities to do so!)
The process of content auditing is time-consuming – but it will save you an immense amount of time down the road. | @icons8
The next level of metrics is “conversion” ones. If you’re running any kind of online business, you’ll want to make sure you did everything you can to avoid mistakes that are killing conversions. And you’ll find that information in your data:
- Click-through-rate [CTR] (Are your readers clicking on call-to-action buttons? Are they downloading the lead magnets? Do your articles help lead them to different landing pages with offers? Are they subscribing to your newsletter?)
- Engagement (Are they sharing your content on social media or via email? Are they sharing the tweetable parts of your article? Are they leaving comments?)
All of the previous data is directly impacting the third set of data, and this is a part of pure SEO content audit:
- Content score (use MarketMuse or a similar app to compare your content against competition)
- Primary keyword rankings (use Ubersuggest or any other SEO platform to track your keywords)
- Do-Follow and No-Follow Backlinks (use Ubersuggest or any other SEO platform, like aHrefs or Semrush to track your keywords)
- Internal linking (determining internal links per article will help you determine whether you’re using the promotional potential of your articles or not)
- SERP intent
- Slug length and quality
- Broken links (you can use a free version of Screaming Frog for this)
Google Analytics will help you understand if your readers like your content | @edhoradic
Tools for conducting an effective content audit
I already mentioned these content audit tools, but just in case you scrolled directly here, here’s a list of my all-time-favorite tools that help me perform an effective content audit:
- MarketMuse: for content score + competition comparison (I also use it for question research and optimization of existing content)
- Ubersuggest: data on the number of dofollow and nofollow links to your article, keyword research, keyword tracking, SEO health of your website
- SEO Quake: a free extension that allows you to see meta tags of any page you activate it on + used keywords and the number of times they’ve been used. It also offers a page SEO audit and an overview of internal and external links
- Google Analytics or Google Data Studio: in-depth data on each article
- Excel or Google Sheets: the results of all your analysis and optimization outline in one place
- CSM: for speeding up the process of creating a content inventory.
- Screaming Frog: a small desktop application you can install locally on your PC, Mac, or Linux machine. It crawls a websites’ links, images, CSS, etc from an SEO perspective. It basically tells you what a search spider would see when it crawls a website.
Some Final Thoughts
At the end of the day, yes, content is king (or queen 👸)! But ask yourself: do you want your content to be Queen Elisabeth or do you want it to be Queen Pauline. Ever heard of her? That’s what I thought.
You see, the content you publish on your blog or website is the backbone of your digital marketing strategy. It can be a powerful tool to help convert more leads into customers, but it can also send them running away from you.
This is why the content audit is so important!
If for some reason you still have tons of questions or you’re not sure how to assess the quality and effectiveness of your content, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll do my best to help you out.
Do you want to learn in-demand digital skills, and connect with our experienced female mentors? We want to hear from you!
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Have you enjoyed this post? Leave a comment below and share your experience with us! For more tips about Content Audit, check out Tamara’s website Walkindsky Explores. See you there! 🙌
After a couple of years focusing on the art in the function of propaganda and two masters in Art History and Cultural Policy and Management (UNESCO) – I became an inbound, omnichannel obsessed content strategist. After years of working in digital marketing agencies for some of the biggest eCommerce clients, I decided to start helping online businesses on my own. My goal? Giving content a higher purpose.