However, although fresh, reliable content is crucial for any website, there is an essential area of content marketing that often gets ignored: content auditing.
Auditing your content means following and assessing all the material you’ve created through the years to update what’s usable and discard what’s unnecessary.
In this article, we’ll explain what a content audit is and how to perform one on your website.
What is a Content Audit?
A content audit is a general assessment of the content of your website whose purpose is to identify its strengths and weaknesses.
The process involves using a few selected Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to evaluate how each indexed URL in your domain is performing and then using that information to create or update the website’s content strategy.
When used rationally, content audits can give you an insight into how well your site is performing. Some of the questions a content audit can help you answer include:
- What pages are performing best?
- Which topics attract more traffic?
- Which pages are dead weight?
- What content am I missing?
An audit will show you where to focus your efforts and help you improve your lead generation, sales, as well as attract more organic traffic.
How to Do a Content Audit
Step 1: Define Your Goals and Metrics
To be successful, a content audit needs a clear goal. Otherwise, you’ll end up crawling dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of pages without having nothing to show for it in the end.
Focus your attention on a few critical metrics which relate to your current marketing goals. Do you want to measure conversion data, bounce rate, or social shares?
Limiting yourself to a few metrics will allow you to get conclusive results. Plus, you can also do audits every few months using the same metrics to get a clearer picture of how your content strategy is working in real-time.
Step 2: Make an Inventory of Your Content
Now you know where you’re going, the first step is compiling a list of the indexed URLs you want to analyze. This list can be made manually, if your site is small, or using software like Screaming Frog if you have a big website.
Once you have a list, you can use a spreadsheet to organize and sort your URLs by different categories. Some of the criteria you might be interested in include:
- Title of Content – The name of the page header
- Category – Whether it’s listed on the page or given by you during the audit to ease cataloging.
- Number of Words
- Content Format – Is it text only? Are there images present? Does it have a call to action?
- Date of Last Modification
- Content-Type – Blog post, product description, infographic, landing page, etc.
Don’t forget to collect your URLs’ metadata, as this will make it simpler to modify them later.
Step 3: Collect and Analyze Your Data
Once your data is neatly listed and categorized, all that is left is to analyze it and see how well your site is performing.
Take your time to review the metrics of each URL one by one. Just because you have an article on X topic doesn’t mean that page is worth keeping.
Content that isn’t getting traffic or doing anything with it is a drain of resources, so it should be the first to go.
Click each column in your spreadsheet to organize your list by search volume for the main keyword, bounce rate, etc.
Look for trends, like which type of content receives the most visitors or on which pages do visitors stay the longest, and grade your URLs from A (top-performing) to F (poorly-performing) accordingly.
Step 4: Create an Action Plan
Duplicate your inventory spreadsheet and use it to draw up your action plan. Add a column for action at the very beginning. Here’s where you’ll write what you’re going to do with each URL.
Some of the labels you could use include:
- Keep: For posts that are performing well and don’t need any updates.
- Create: Use this for any content gap you have identified.
- Merge: You don’t need to have 2 or 3 pages dealing with the same topic. It’s better to merge them together than to divide your traffic.
- Update: For content that is underperforming but is worth keeping.
- Delete: Content which is underperforming and doesn’t fit with your content strategy is a drain of resources. You’re better off without it.
You can also add a priority column and assign a numerical value to each action (1-10) if your page is too big or you need to make a lot of changes.
This action will allow you to focus on making the changes that are most urgently needed and leave the rest for later.
Step 5: Adjust Your Content Marketing Strategy
While you work on making necessary changes, you must keep thinking about your long-term marketing goals.
Having a fresh picture of your site’s strengths and weaknesses in your mind will help you choose a strategy that will appeal to your targeted audience, increase conversion rates, and improve the quality of your content.
What works today might not work tomorrow, and that’s why you need to keep an eye on any algorithm changes or search trends which could affect your site.
Performing content audits a few times a year is a great way to see which tweaks are necessary to keep traffic flowing into your site.
Content audits can help you understand better how your content influences the amount of traffic you get as well as identify where there is room for improvement.
But the best thing about content audits, besides their effectiveness, is that few domain owners and content marketers use them. Which means this could be the secret that helps you take off from your competitors.
A content audit is a great way to make sure that the foundation of your website, your content, is robust and doing its job, offering quality writing that engages the reader and answers their queries in a concise, fluff-free manner.
So, what are you waiting for then? Audit your content today to see what’s the best way to move forward!