It’s something most bloggers and online marketers dread. It’s among the most boring and time-consuming of tasks in web content management. It’s something that is often ignored but can be hugely important. What is it? The much-feared, little loved content audit.
As tedious as they may be, website content audits should be a necessary part of your marketing strategy. You should aim for a content audit every year to help you gain consistent insights on the content and marketing of your website. However, the audit needs to be executed properly to make the information it yields useful to the future of your business.
One of the most interesting things about content is blog owners will often post something and then just forget about it. The content might serve its purpose when written, but what does it achieve in the long term? A content audit can help you keep your written words fresh and ensure older posts are still pulling their weight.
A website content audit will involve compiling every piece of content on your website… yes, all of it. You’re looking for the pros and cons of the content and how you can optimize it to help your ongoing marketing strategy. Before conducting your audit, you must define the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you will evaluate and measure.
It’s important to note that you’re not just creating an inventory of content, but rather a collection of your content that can be quantified. If you conduct a well-executed content audit, you will gain insights into the following aspects of your website and/or blog:
- What topics does your audience engage with the most?
- Which pieces of content are performing?
- Which posts are not performing and could be removed?
Perhaps the biggest benefit of a website content audit is it can bolster your strategy for the future. You can learn about where you need to orient your content as you move forward, such as SEO strategy and content marketing. Furthermore, you can better understand what changes you may need to make to achieve your content goals.
Conducting a content audit can be time consuming, which is why many people outsource to a professional. However, if you’re looking to save on spending and have decided to perform your own website content audit, here’s how you do it:
Step 1: Create a list showing all your content
A content audit monitors your whole content output, so you need to have all your content in one place. Depending on the size of your content catalog, that might be easier said than done. You need all URLs for every piece of content placed in a spreadsheet, which is a thankless task for an individual if your blog has thousands of pieces of content.
Luckily, there are tools available that will do the job for you. For example, Screaming Frog will compile your content for you. This tool is available for free and has a premium version. It is worth noting the free version will crawl and include 500 links from your site. The premium version is an essential tool for marketers with larger amounts of content.
Step 2: Categorize the content
Now you have your content list from Screaming Frog or another similar program, you can start working out how your content is performing. The first thing you should look for is content that is not performing well. Below are some important metrics you should add to your spreadsheet to help you decide how content sets are performing:
- Title of content
- Length of title
- Main keyword ranking
- Main keyword search volume
- Average traffic per month
- Average organic search traffic per month
- Bounce rate
- URL rank
- Meta description
- Number of backlinks
- Linking root domains
You can add many more to this list that you deem to be important. For massive websites with large volumes of content, it will be impossible to track some of these metrics across all content. Consider downloading tools that can pull data across the metrics automatically. Larger organizations conducting a content audit may hire a professional programmer to build such a tool.
Step 3: Generate a reader/customer profile
As well as checking your content, it is also worth focusing on the audience you target with your content. Creating an audience profile comes in three actions:
1. Know your readers. This is a basic step for any marketer and your content should be oriented towards what your readers enjoy.
2. Learn about what readers are interested in. You can measure across demographics to discover what types of readers enjoy specific types of content. For example, men in their 20s may love your posts about sports, whereas men in their 60s may prefer to read your posts on building model aircraft.
3. With the information you get from the above analysis, create keywords and topics based on those interests.
Step 4: It’s time for gap analysis
When you reach this step, you should have completed two spreadsheets: the first with your current content URLs and chosen metrics, and a second with information about your audience and content ideas.
Now you reach arguably the most time-consuming part of the content audit, checking which types of content are completely missing. You can compare both spreadsheets to see if keywords/topics match with any content you already have. Once you have checked all keywords/topics, you will probably find there are some keywords/topics you have never covered before.
That’s the gap. You would then create content that fills these gaps and fleshes out your keywords/topics to reach your target.
You can also measure which content is not performing well. It’s up to you to decide how you assess content that is not performing, but some things you could look out for are how many pageviews it attracts, how it ranks in search engines, and how much money it generates. You may be able to make minor tweaks to salvage this underperforming content, or it may be worth discarding it entirely.
Step 5: It’s time to move forward
It’s time to use it to create a content strategy that will plug holes, fix weaknesses, and take you into the future!
Now you have the information above, you know how to conduct a website content audit and make the most from your existing content and the content you create in the future. It’s worth pointing out your content strategy is never 100% and there will always be gaps. That’s why it is advisable to run a content audit each year.