Any marketing campaign should include a digital content audit as a strategy. Whether your company’s site is slim or stuffed with content, an audit helps you take inventory of the information you’re sharing with customers and potential customers. It lets you know what content is working and not, and what steps you need to take to improve your content strategy.
Conducting a periodic content audit makes good SEO sense because it shows you where you’re missing optimization elements. Sometimes, content that used to work well for search is outdated and needs a bit of an overhaul. A content audit reveals exactly where you should be making updates. With a content audit, you gain valuable insight into areas of your website that might be overlapping and should be consolidated.
Taking a full inventory of all your indexable website content lets you evaluate the value you bring to the consumer. It allows you to analyze key performance metrics to determine where improvements are necessary. While time consuming, conducting a content audit is rewarding for your business and its marketing efforts.
A Content Audit Helps Define Marketing Purpose
Before you begin a content audit, it’s important you gather all of your business’ stakeholders to discuss the goals for your audit. There can be more than 1 reason to conduct a content audit, but a united overall purpose and agreed-upon expectations for follow-up should be put down in writing before the process begins.
If you’re not sure where to jump off when defining your goals, consider these good reasons to conduct a content audit:
- Bouncing back after a content-related search engine penalty
- Identifying important content to keep in a website redesign
- Improving copywriting quality
- Making sure web pages are properly optimized for SEO (alt tags, title tags, meta descriptions)
- Updating content to be more current or technologically correct
- Consolidating overlapping page content (web content and blog posts)
- Removing outdated or incorrect information
- Prioritizing the addition or deletion of content
- Identifying gap opportunities (your marketing efforts and what consumers are asking for)
- Improving content to rank for current keywords (including long-tail keywords)
- Identifying content that’s ranking for certain keywords
- Pinpointing the strongest performing pages on a site (to share on social media channels)
Note that improving the perceived quality and trust of a website, and optimizing ranking signals, should be the overlying primary reason that businesses conduct a content audit.
Conducting Your Content Audit
After you’ve defined your goals, it’s time to get started with the audit. If your website is content heavy, the whole tactic may feel daunting. Just take the time to audit 20 pages to start, then. Begin with your top-performing 20 pages and get through those. You’ll be glad you did and the rest of your website will seem simple after the initial effort (and you’ll likely be more motivated after you see improvements in traffic and engagement).
A good content audit begins with a content inventory, which generally utilizes a spreadsheet (or series of spreadsheets) to catalog the entire range of content for a website. Having all content-related data documented on a spreadsheet helps you stay organized so you can properly address required changes. You’d be surprised at how many good intentions for content audits go horribly wrong in terms of SEO, for instance when URLs with good externals links are incorrectly removed.
The process for conducting a content audit can be divided into 3 phases:
Here are the main steps in conducting a content audit:
1. Create content inventory. Within Google Analytics, find the ALL PAGES section beneath Behavior/Site Content. Export your top 20 pages and their data. This will include some performance metrics, such as Time on Page, Bounce Rate, Exit Rate
2. Create additional columns of data. Depending on the scope of your project, you might collect data including: metadata, H1 text, links in and links out, word count, page rank, social shares. Content Insight provides a free trial that scans up to 250 pages of your site. (Read all content, check keywords, check alt tags, and evaluate internal links).
3. Load all information collected into Google Drive. You want you multiple stakeholders to be able to view and edit the document.
4. Review your findings and summarize action steps. Begin to assign tasks based on the information collected and analyzed. Take note of the key pieces of information and presumed steps that will lead to SEO improvements. Focus on high bounce rate pages.
Content analysis shouldn’t stop here. Continue to monitor your content frequently so you can make adjustments to it and overall strategy as dictated by your website’s performance. If you need help during any step of your content creation and evaluation process, contact Galileo Tech Media.