Content marketing is incomplete without a content audit.
You might be creating stellar content that is engaging your target audience. However, creating all of this content isn’t enough if you don’t know how to optimize it well.
And without optimization, even the most well-written content may not resonate well with your readers. Worse still, it may not even reach that many people.
This, in turn, would mean that all that budget that you’re pumping into content marketing may not bring you results (or sub-optimal results).
That’s where a content audit comes into the picture.
It’s the one way through which you can strengthen your content strategy and take it to the next level.
So, let’s dive in.
What’s a Content Audit?
Before we get into the depths of a content audit, it’s important to understand what it’s all about. In a nutshell, a content audit is a process through which you analyze all the content on your website.
This is done so that you can identify gaps in your content and improve it. Additionally, it can help keep your content fresh so that it remains relevant and helpful for your audience at all times.
Some of the other things that a content audit can help you achieve are:
- Helps understand how your content is performing.
- Aids in the discovery of content that’s performing the best.
- Helps identify outdated content.
- Paves way for repurposing content.
- Helps develop a more cohesive content strategy.
- Lets you find new content ideas.
And if that’s not enough, a content audit also has SEO advantages as you can optimize your website’s SEO when you audit your content. This can be done by addressing your target keywords well in your content, among other things.
Now that you know what a content audit is and its importance, let’s take a look at when you should be conducting one.
When Should You Conduct a Content Audit?
One of the most important questions that might arise in your brain might be – when should I conduct my content audit?
In simple words, the answer would be – as regularly as possible.
However, this is pretty vague, right?
The reason for this is that the definition of regular would vary with each website.
To help you figure out the frequency of conducting a content audit, here’s a list of questions that you can answer. Based on these, you can decide on the content audit frequency:
- Total volume of content that’s published on your website and blog
- Frequency of publishing content on your blog or website
- Size of your content marketing and SEO teams
- Marketing budget
- The overall goals of your content audit
Typically, if you’ve got a large volume of content (daily posts) being published on your website or blog each week, it’d help to conduct a content audit monthly or quarterly.
However, if you’re publishing a few posts per week (1-2 posts) then it would make sense to conduct audits less frequently – about once in six months.
Similarly, if your team is big enough, you can afford to conduct regular content audits. Smaller teams may need to spread out the content audits over a longer period so that you can balance your content flow and audits.
Additionally, a content audit would require some spending from your marketing budget, so it’s important to understand if it fits into your budget.
Finally, your goals would be equally important in identifying if you need a content audit or not. If your goal is to keep your content updated and relevant to your audience, you’d need frequent audits.
If your goal is to improve your SEO, even a six-month frequency would work well. The reason here is that you’d need to give newly published content enough time to start ranking before you can assess its performance.
And now, onto the next important question.
How Much Time Does a Content Audit Take?
You’d naturally want to know the time that a content audit would take before deciding on its frequency. However, this, too, is affected by numerous factors.
And one of the most important factors here would be your content publishing frequency, which, in turn, affects your content volume.
A higher content volume would mean that you’d take a longer time auditing the content. In such a case, your content audit could last for a couple of months. A smaller content volume would mean shorter audits.
The extent and purpose of the content audit affect its duration as well. If your goal is to comprehensively analyze and update your content, then your audit could take longer.
However, if the goal is to improve its SEO regularly, an audit may not take too long as you’d be doing it fairly frequently. Updating each content piece may not take a long time too.
Additionally, you’ve got numerous content audit tools that can help spot SEO issues. These tools can speed up the entire audit process as well.
But that’s not all.
The CMS (Content Marketing System) you use affects the audit duration as well. In some CMS, you might have to spend longer updating your content as it may require some level of coding as well.
How Can You Conduct a Content Audit?
Now that you’ve got a good idea about what’s a content audit, how frequently you should be doing it, and how long it’d take, let’s get to the process itself.
It’s time to understand how you can run a content audit to improve your content’s performance and boost your ROI.
Here’s the complete process that you should be following to audit your content.
1. Start with Defining Your Goals
Like any other marketing tactic, it’s important to first define the goals of your content audit. In fact, as mentioned above, these goals can affect the frequency of your content audit and even its duration.
If you’re like most marketers, your prime goal of a content audit would be to improve the performance of your content so that it can drive more traffic to your website. You may also want to make the content more engaging for your audience.
Here are some of the most common content audit goals you might have:
- Boost Your SEO: SEO can play a major role in helping you grow your brand awareness and also drive greater traffic to your website.
With improved SEO, your rankings would improve in the SERPs. This, in turn, would drive greater traffic and help in boosting your brand awareness too. For such an audit, you could use a content audit tool like Semrush, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, etc.
Image via Ahrefs
- Increase Time Spent on Site: Your content may be driving enough traffic to your website but it may not be holding the audience’s attention for long. This would call for improving your content such that it can engage your readers better.
You can achieve this by making it more relevant to them. For this, you’d have to employ tools like Google Analytics to understand the metrics of each page on your website.
- Drive More Conversions: The end goal of any content marketing campaign is to drive your revenues by increasing your conversion rate.
This would require you to track content metrics that are related to driving conversions. Some of these metrics would be the number of downloads, product inquiries, traffic driven to product pages, etc.
Once you’ve decided on your content audit’s goal, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
2. Identify Your Content Inventory
The next thing that you need to do is identify the content that you’ll be auditing. It’s not necessary to audit all your content during each content audit. Instead, you’d have to come up with a list of URLs that you’d be auditing.
Typically, the content that you gather would be in the form of blog posts, web pages, product descriptions, etc.
There’s no real limit on the number of pages that you can audit. However, if you’re just starting out, it’s recommended that you start with a few pages.
You can create a spreadsheet of all the URLs that you plan to audit.
And how can you find all of the content that’s on your website?
You could head to your sitemap as it holds all the URLs of your website. Alternatively, you could leverage tools like Semrush and Screaming Frog to help you find all the URLs of your website. From these, you can pick out a few.
For instance, note how we’ve got an XML sitemap that contains all the posts published on the website.
3. Divide it Into Categories
Identifying your content isn’t enough. You also need to categorize it well before you can start auditing it.
Once you’ve got all your content assets on a spreadsheet, you can start sorting them out based on the below criteria:
- Type of Content: Blog post, web page, product page, landing page, etc.
- Stage of Buyer’s Journey: Funnel stages (awareness, consideration, decision)
Image via DigitalNuisance
- Content Length: The length of the content in words.
- Content Format: Text, text plus images, infographics, videos, includes CTA/not
- Date of Modification/Publication: When was the content piece published or last updated.
But why should you divide your content into different categories in the first place?
The reason behind this is simple — by categorizing your content, you’ll be better placed to optimize it.
When you’re adding URLs to this list, you should also consider adding some other related data such as:
- Page titles
- Date of publishing/modification
- Target keyword
- Number of words
- Stage in buyer’s journey
- Type of content
- Meta descriptions and titles
4. Analyze Your Content
The next thing you need to do is to start analyzing each URL from this list. Based on your goals, you might have to use different tools for this process.
Let’s take a look at the process that you should follow for each.
If your goal is to drive more engagement through your content and increase the time spent by visitors on your website, you’d have to leverage Google Analytics. This would help you figure out how much time visitors spend on the particular page you’re analyzing.
If the time spent by them is low, you need to understand the causes behind it.
Ask yourself the following questions to understand find the cause:
- Is your content missing something that your audience is interested in?
- Is your content satisfying the search intent?
- Have you updated your content to reflect recent changes? If yes, has that optimization worked in your favor/against it?
- Is the bounce rate high?
- Is the exit rate high?
However, if the time spent by visitors on the page is satisfactory, you may not need to update it.
For instance, note how Google Analytics shows the engagement metrics for this page.
Image via Google Analytics
If you’re looking at the SEO aspect and want to drive your brand awareness and increase traffic to your website, you could leverage tools like Semrush, Screaming Frog, and Google Search Console.
The idea here would be to see your URL’s rankings in the SERPs to figure out if it’s ranking at the top.
Some of the questions you should ask during this analysis would be:
- How much traffic is the URL getting?
- What’s the ranking in the SERPs?
- Which keywords is the URL ranking for?
- How much time has elapsed since the content was published?
- Is the content optimized for each keyword well?
- Has the ranking improved since the last update?
If your content is already ranking at the top of the SERPs, you may not need to update it.
Similarly, if it’s optimized well for each keyword and its rankings are improving, you may not need to update it.
Finally, if very little time has passed since the content was published, you need to wait before you update it.
But why should you only check your organic traffic metrics?
The reason is that SEO is the most effective content marketing tactic according to nearly 75% of marketers.
Image via Semrush
If your goal is to drive more conversions for your website, it’s essential to understand if the URL you’re analyzing is currently working well in achieving that goal.
When you’re analyzing this data, you can ask yourself the below questions:
- What’s your current conversion rate?
- How much traffic is the page driving to your product pages?
- How many conversions are you getting through the traffic that comes to the page?
- What’s the ROI of the content you’re analyzing?
Based on the answers to these questions, you can determine which content deserves greater attention. Accordingly, you can arrange the URLs in your sheet according to the priority.
5. Decide What to Do with the Content
After you’ve analyzed your URLs, you’ll have a fair idea of where each of them stands. It’s based on this analysis that you’ll have to determine the action that you’ll take for them.
In your sheet, you can assign action items to each URL. The main actions that you’ll be performing are:
Keep unchanged: This is the content that’s currently performing well and you don’t need to make any changes to it.
Update: This is the content that has become outdated and needs to be updated to make it relevant for your audience. You can replace old statistics, incorporate new information, delete old information, and even increase the word count.
Improve SEO: This content needs improvement in SEO terms. You can achieve that by improving the keyword density, adding more internal links, incorporating side keywords, building more links, etc.
Rewrite or delete: The content is of low quality and doesn’t add any value to your website. You can choose to rewrite it and increase its offerings. Alternatively, you can choose to delete it.
Repurpose: You could repurpose content that’s performing well by creating different types of content using it. For instance, you could create a video or infographic from a blog post. It’s possible to leverage the same content for email campaigns as well.
Optimize: This is the content that needs to be optimized for a variety of factors. These include internal linking, relevance, call-to-actions (CTAs), adding links to product pages, shortening forms, etc.
By assigning action items to each of the URLs, you’ll be better placed to understand and track the actions. It’s especially helpful when you’ve to audit a lot of content.
6. Come Up with An Action Plan
Now that you’ve assigned action items to each URL in the website content audit list, you need to start charting out an action plan.
This is important as there are numerous actions that need to be taken and there may be many content pieces that would need to be looked at.
A dedicated action plan would thus help you identify the workflow that your team needs to follow to improve your content.
Here are the steps you can follow.
It’s important to go back to your drawing board and take a look at your goals. Do you want to increase your traffic? Boost your engagement? Or, perhaps, grow your conversion rate?
You must take a look at these goals because you’d need to work on your content depending on these goals.
Every step that you take must align with this ultimate goal. As a result, every action you take must be relevant to this goal.
For instance, if you want to boost your traffic, the actions you should be prioritizing first should be the ones related to optimizing your post for SEO. This is because this would help drive greater organic traffic to your website.
Other actions, like the ones related to increasing your engagement and conversions, would need to be given a lower priority.
After this first level of classification, you can move to the next level of prioritization. This could be done based on the amount of effort required to achieve the goals.
You could give maximum priority to those posts that require minimal effort.
For example, if you just need to add a few links or change the CTAs, you’ll likely need very little time to work on those posts. And if making these changes would help you achieve your goal, it makes sense to do them first.
On the contrary, if you need to spend a lot more time optimizing your content, you should give it a lower priority as that would take more time to help you reach your results.
You could create a priority column in your sheet and assign a priority to each action item. This would make it easier to identify which URLs need to be taken up first.
Note how we’ve arranged all the posts based on their priority and also scheduled each one accordingly. We’ve also mentioned the search volume, keyword, and CPC, among other things. These played an important role in deciding the priority as well.
Create Action Items for Each URL
After you’ve prioritized your action items, you need to come up with a separate action plan for every URL. This way, your team will know exactly what needs to be done for each content piece.
Here are some actions that you can assign to your content pieces.
1. Repurpose the Content
You can change the format of the content to another one to make the most out of it. This should be done to content pieces that are already performing well in one format.
2. Rewriting Your Content
You should consider refurbishing your content completely if it hasn’t been driving enough traffic or engagement. You could write a more detailed piece that provides practical tips, examples, and gives value to your readers.
3. Increase Word Count
Writing more in-depth content pieces can help in improving your SEO. Additionally, if all the content is valuable, it can also play a major role in driving the engagement of the post.
4. Incorporate Multimedia
You could add images and videos to your content to help improve the value it provides. Additionally, it can make your content more engaging for the readers.
And if that’s not enough, videos also help drive traffic to your website. In fact, 86% of marketers say that videos have increased traffic to their websites.
5. Improve Your CTAs
If your goal is to drive more conversions, you need to work on the CTAs. They can help increase the click-through rate (CTR) and drive greater traffic to your product pages or landing pages. This, in turn, can help grow your conversion rates.
6. Work on Keywords
If the goal is to improve the SEO of your website, you might need to increase your keyword density.
Alternatively, you might be required to add more sidewords to increase your chances of ranking for more keywords. You could also add schema markup to your pages to increase the chances of ranking for rich results.
7. Structure Your Content Better
You should also work on your content structure by adding H2s and H3s. This would improve the overall experience of reading your content.
8. Improve Your Internal Linking Structure
If you want to keep visitors on your website for longer, you’ve got to use internal linking well.
Adding relevant internal links to your content can reduce your bounce rate and increase the average time spent on your website.
Effective internal linking also has SEO advantages as it speeds up new content discovery on your website.
9. Add 301 Redirects
If you’re intending to remove a particular page from your website, it’s essential to ensure that it doesn’t impact your SEO negatively.
That’s why you should add a 301 redirect to it. This redirects all the traffic from that page and avoids a situation where your visitors would have to encounter 404 errors.
1. What does a content audit do?
The content audit process is a method through which you analyze the content on your website in a bid to improve it. This, in turn, would pave the way to reaching your end goals with ease.
2. What is a content strategy audit?
A content strategy audit works on the principle of improving your overall content strategy to help drive better results. In this, you essentially analyze your content strategy and its performance. Based on that you identify gaps in it and optimize it to improve your results.
3. What should be included in a content audit?
Some of the posts things you should include in your content audit are:
- Blog posts
- Infographics and images
- Website content
- Landing pages
- Product pages
4. Why should you do a content audit?
It’s important to do a content audit regularly to understand how well your content is performing. This can help you identify if your content needs to be optimized to improve its performance or not. The routine optimization will help in improving your traffic, engagement, and conversions.
5. Which tool is the best fit for doing a content audit?
Some of the best tools for doing a content audit are:
- Screaming Frog
6. How do you automate content audit?
Here are the steps that you can take to automate your content audit:
- Crawl your website to take complete stock of your content
- Integrate Google Analytics data
- Run backlink audits through Semrush
7. How does content audit increase organic traffic?
Through a content audit, you can identify how well your content is currently performing. Based on this analysis, you can figure out what steps need to be taken to improve its rankings in the SERPs. This, in turn, would help you drive greater organic traffic to your website.
8. Why is content audit important?
A content audit is important as it helps you identify top-performing and underperforming content on your website. Armed with this knowledge, you can optimize underperforming content and grow your traffic, engagement, and conversions.
Content audit is an essential component of any content marketing strategy. It helps you discover the effectiveness of your content and gives you the opportunity to improve it.
However, to ensure that your content audit is on point, it’s essential that you first set solid goals for it. You can then identify all your content assets and divide them up into various categories.
Post that, you can analyze each content piece and assign a specific action item to it.
Based on your goals, you can assign a priority order to each of these actions and accordingly start working on improving your content.
Do you have any questions about content audits? Ask them in the comments section.