We’ve all encountered a blog that’s outdated, stale, or completely unrelated. More often than not, you abandon the site and quickly search for something more recent and relevant. That’s the thing about the digital world. People have access to tons of information, and they only want what is fresh and matches their interests. To avoid this scenario from occurring on your website, you should perform a content audit ASAP.
How can a content audit help me?
Good business practices demand that businesses review content periodically. It’s a way for brands to assess all their content and evaluate the relative strengths or weaknesses of each one. By measuring and analyzing the KPIs that matter the most, you can gather meaningful insights about individual posts and further your marketing activities.
A content audit can help in the following ways:
- Posts can remain current, relevant, and fresh.
- You can rejuvenate posts that aren’t doing as well as you expected, so that they align better with your target audience.
- It helps you rank on the first page of SERPs.
- You can analyze your website for poor-quality articles, broken links, ill-performing keywords, etc.
- You’ll be able to identify money-leaking gaps and work towards maintaining a consistent ROI.
Ok, you’ve got me convinced. I need to do an audit pronto.
Your checklist for a successful website content audit
If you are looking for ways to evaluate and optimize your company’s content program, you will need to blend your creativity with killer content, marketing best practices, and effective SEO techniques.
But to get you on the high road to success, you’ll need to start by conducting a content audit. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you headed in the right direction:
1. Define your goals and identify your KPIs
You need to begin by clearly describing what you want to achieve. Since every business is unique, each will need to conduct a content audit with a different perspective. Often goals are centered around:
A content audit is aimed at analyzing how the target audience is responding to content. Engagement metrics usually include likes, shares, comments, mentions, page visits, average session duration, etc. Information from these KPIs can help brands devise better content marketing strategies by identifying topics that generate the most interest and social engagement. Moreover, it allows them to channel their marketing efforts towards content that entices greater responses.
Improving SEO results
An SEO content audit identifies various SEO factors that can help improve rankings in search results. Metrics such as keywords, images, alt text, backlinks, page views, dwell time, bounce rate, etc. are important. By recognizing aspects that are negatively influencing your website’s SEO, you can significantly improve organic rank.
Boost conversion rates
Depending upon the stage of the consumer buying journey, you need content that can offer the best UX and generate the most leads. You will need to consider tracking metrics such as traffic sources, new visitors, return visitors, interactions per visit, etc.
2. Collect the data
When it comes to content, there’s a whole boatload full of things that you can review, like blog posts, product descriptions, landing pages, external publications, video, PDF, interactive content, etc. In this blog, we’ll focus on the textual content you publish on your site.
Here are the steps to follow to start taking inventory:
Build a sitemap
A sitemap is simply a list of URLs that describe a website’s sections and pages. With the help of a sitemap generator tool, you can easily create one. Sitemaps not only facilitate content auditing but also allow search engines to crawl through your website.
Enter or import all the URLs into an Excel or Google Docs spreadsheet. You could enter it manually, but tools like SEMrush Content Audit, Screaming Frog, Google Analytics, DYNO Mapper, etc. can automate the task.
You will also need to create categories that allow content to be compared to others. Mention information such as:
- Content type- blog post, manual, product description, landing page, etc.
- Content format- text only, images present, videos, with/without CTA
- Targeted at what stage of the buyer’s journey- awareness, consideration, or decision
- Number of words
- Date of publication or last modification
- Gather and analyze the right metrics
You will need to create additional columns to enter specific data. But remember that data collection is a lengthy process that needs to be continuously done. Using multiple tools can help you gather crucial data essential for a content audit. Therefore, you need to carefully consider which tools will provide the right metrics and facilitate the evaluation.
3. Assessing the content
Once you’ve got the latest scoop on all your content, you’ll be able to identify what’s working and what isn’t. By examining your content metrics as a whole, you’ll know what content is driving home the revenue.
For instance, a web page that is attracting a lot of traffic but shows a high bounce rate or low session duration could be an indication that the topic is interesting, but viewers may not be able to find what they are looking for. But a complete assessment could identify exactly why consumers are abandoning the site, whether it’s due to slow loading times, irrelevant content, absence of CTA, etc.
More importantly, running regular audits will allow you to rectify outdated or inaccurate information. This will help to protect your brand’s reputation in the long run.
Your assessment of each content will result in the following strategies:
Some types of content are evergreen, such as generic content, information about the company, FAQs, and industry trends. Any content that is performing well and remains relevant to the target audience can be a constant in your content marketing strategy. At times, it can be repurposed into other forms of content.
Sometimes, a piece shows a significant amount of potential. But in order to remain current or align with the audience, it may need to be updated with relevant statistics or tweaked to harness the right amount of engagement.
Unfortunately, there will be times when content will need to be pulled down. Spending time and resources will not make it any better, or the content may no longer be relevant to your marketing campaign. This happens if there are duplicate content, promotional articles and landing pages, out-of-stock product information, campaign-specific content, etc.
4. Devise a plan
No matter what the verdict of an audit is, you’ll need to organize a plan of action. Again, a content audit tool can help make sense of it all. But depending upon your goals, you should prioritize what needs to be accomplished first. Moreover, decide what resources will be required and whether your efforts will bring the expected results.
To achieve the best outcome, your website content audit workflow should focus on each URL individually. You may consider:
- Refreshing data with current statistics, new product details, or the latest incidents
- Reusing content
- Restructure content making it easier to consume, with proper headings (H2 and H3) and bullet points
- Tweak content with more appealing examples, images, format, etc.
- Optimize metadata utilizing appropriate keywords
- Expand short content into a more detailed, in-depth one
- Introducing newer forms of content, e.g., e-book, infographics, or slides
- Use more visual content such as infographics, images, or videos
- Update CTAs with relevant offers so that you can reactivate your content marketing funnel and improve conversion rates
- Optimize internal links by linking articles that will guide consumers through each stage of the customer buying journey.
5. Modify your content marketing strategy
The whole purpose of auditing your website’s content is to align it with your long-term marketing strategies. Tracking the success and failure of each piece can help you understand what part of your approach needs to be rectified.
It will give you a heads up on what needs to be adjusted to meet your content marketing strategy’s objectives. More importantly, it will present you with opportunities to reach, interact, and engage with your audience in innovative ways. So as you identify content that appeals to consumers, you can also adjust assets to enhance organic reach and higher conversion rates.
Nothing stands still in the digital world. Ideas and trends get replaced with newer, more innovative ones. Besides, what works today may not work tomorrow. So doing an audit once and checking it off your to-do list is not the way to move forward.
To ensure that your website’s content remains current, you’ll need to consistently perform an audit almost every three to six months. This will give you adequate time to respond and adapt to shifts in users’ behavior or needs. Moreover, you can make adjustments to your content strategy based on the results regularly, if not at least once a year.
And like other aspiring businesses, you should consider expanding your auditing practices to include other marketing channels as well. Incorporating social media and email to your audit can help you achieve more comprehensive results.
So are you ready to audit your website’s content?