Having a well-crafted content strategy is crucial to achieving your organization’s goals; but without an effective content audit, much of that careful planning can fall flat.
Contrary to popular belief, content audits are more than just checking for spelling mistakes, typos, and outdated references. They are essential for making sure your existing website and online marketing efforts are optimized for search engine visibility. An effective and comprehensive content audit can help you:
- Identify areas that need improvement
- Provide insights into what works best and
- Lay down a roadmap going forward
So if you want to maximize your digital presence, it’s time to get serious about content auditing. In this blog post, I’ll dive into how a comprehensive approach to content auditing can help boost your site’s SEO performance. I’ll also highlight why marketers should prioritize regular content audits if they’re looking to stay competitive in their niche.
But first, let’s refresh our knowledge of content audits.
What is a Content Audit?
A content audit is a process of systematically reviewing and analyzing the content on a website or other digital platform. Its primary goal is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the site’s existing content and identify areas for improvement. As such, this process typically includes:
- Evaluating the relevance, quality, and performance of each piece of content
- Identifying opportunities for consolidation or deletion
That said, this data-driven approach can be a valuable tool for improving your site’s user experience, increasing search engine visibility, and ensuring that your content aligns with your business goals.
Why Should You Do a Content Audit?
You probably asked yourself this question a lot of times. Auditing your site’s content takes time and dedicated manpower, adding to your business costs. So why should you bother with it? To help you make up your mind, we’ve listed down some of the most compelling reasons why you should do a content audit:
1. It Helps You Identify Content That Needs Improvement
You might think that your site’s content is already of high quality. But as they say, there’s always room for improvement.
Auditing your content after a few months or years of its publication enables you to look at it with a fresh set of eyes. This helps you evaluate them more objectively and see which needs revision or total rewrite.
2. It Allows You to Update Old Content
Every single day, new things are invented, and new discoveries are made. These changes need to be reflected in your content.
That information you said about iPhone 12 being the latest iPhone model might be true a few years ago, but today, that’s already old news. If you don’t update that, your readers may doubt the veracity of the other things you’ve written down. Besides, for certain types of queries, Google prefers to rank pages that offer “fresh content”.
In short, updating your content not only helps you maintain your reader’s trust but that of search engines too.
3. Content Auditing Helps You Identify and Repurpose Irrelevant Content
Our content strategies tend to change over time. As such, it’s inevitable that some of your content will become irrelevant at some point. Content auditing can help you identify and replace those contents.
4. It Gives You an Insight Into What Your Audience Likes and Dislikes
By looking at various metrics, such as page views, comments, and shares, you can quickly identify which pieces of content are most popular right now and which ones may be falling behind. It helps you determine what topics your audience enjoys and wants more of. This information will come in handy when you’re formulating your next content strategy.
5. It Provides a Chance to Fix Internal and External SEO Issues
Doing a content audit also involves reviewing and evaluating your site’s internal and external links. This helps you determine which links are worth keeping and which ones are harming your SEO. It also helps you optimize your anchor texts and avoid keyword cannibalization.
6. It Frees Up Your Site’s Crawl Budget for More Relevant Content
A crawl budget is the maximum number of pages that search engines will visit and index on your site. With millions of sites around the world, it would be virtually impossible for search engines to crawl and index all their pages. Thus, many search engines set a maximum crawl budget for each site.
By removing irrelevant and poorly written content, you’ll free up your site’s crawl budget for better, more relevant content.
7. Regular Content Audits Help Improve Your Content Strategy Over Time
Each round of content audit helps you remove irrelevant and non-performing content. If you do this regularly, your site’s overall content will inevitably improve over time.
How to Do a Content Audit
Now that you know what it can do for your site, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do a content audit:
1. Identify Your Audit Goals
As I said, a content audit takes time and effort. So, you can’t just wing it.
When doing a content audit, it’s essential to have clearly-defined goals. It helps you determine which data to look for and analyze to maximize every minute spent on the audit.
What kind of content issues do you want to focus on? Which aspect of your content do you want to fix first? The answers to these questions will help you determine your goals for the audit.
With that information, you can plan and execute your audit more effectively.
2. Generate Content Inventory Data
After identifying your business goals, you can use them to identify which data you need to generate. You can use various paid and free SEO tools to automate this step in the process.
In general, you’ll need the following data to conduct a content audit:
- Content URL
- Organic traffic
- Referring URLs
- Internal links
- External links
- Redirecting links
- Date published
- Date last modified
Depending on your goals, you may also generate data on Metadescriptions, Titles, and even the keywords a particular content is ranking for.
3. Prepare Your Data
You are now ready to start gathering your content into a single area for analysis. If you’re new to tech content marketing, you may audit your whole website at once. Most content marketers, however, already have extensive material on their websites. Sorting through all of your stuff at once may be a bad idea.
You can start by arranging all content data you’ve generated in a Content Inventory Database. It doesn’t have to be a sophisticated database. A simple spreadsheet should suffice. This database will serve as your blueprint for the audit.
4. Analyze Your Content Data
Now that you have a blueprint for your audit, you can start analyzing your content data. This is the most important part of the audit process, so be sure to take your time with it.
Like generating your content data, you can also use SEO tools to automate some parts of this process, like identifying redirecting links or sorting low-traffic content. But eventually, you’ll need to evaluate your content individually to determine what you need to improve on.
To make the process more efficient, you can also use your blueprint to categorize your content into the following:
- Irrelevant content: Published pieces that are not anymore in line with your current content strategy
- Underperforming content: Those that are not getting enough traffic or are not producing your intended results.
- Outdated content: These are the contents that need to be updated with fresh information.
When analyzing your content individually, you can also add a remark for each content detailing your recommended actions and any improvements necessary.
5. Act on Your Data
After analyzing your material, you will need to devise a strategy to enhance it. Your objectives, as well as the inferences and observations from your research, should serve as the foundation for your action plan.
Some of the things you can do based on your data are:
- Reuse, rewrite, expand, or refresh your content
- Update your CTAs (call to action statements)
- Add videos
- Add images
- Optimize metadata
- Optimize internal links
- Fix redirecting links
How Often Should You Do a Content Audit?
Content audits are a critical step in measuring the effectiveness of your content strategy. However, these audits shouldn’t be done too frequently, as they can be both time-consuming and costly.
A good rule of thumb is to do them at least once every six months. At this rate, you will have enough data to track changes in your web analytics and discover opportunities for improvement.
Additionally, it’s important to note that if you’re experiencing a period of accelerated growth or strategic change within your organization, then it could be beneficial to perform a content audit sooner than six months apart – even monthly if needed.
Are Content Audits Worth The Effort?
Regularly evaluating your content can help you create a strategy to maximize user engagement and develop cohesive messages that further your brand’s identity. Plus, content audits give you an opportunity to remove outdated or irrelevant information. This helps promote trust between you and your customers.
To put it simply, a reliable content audit process can help your website reach its full potential online. Considering all these and the vast impact a content audit can have on your website, I’d say it is definitely worth the effort.