Content is your most potent tool when it comes to increasing your brand awareness online. However, like most tools, it needs the occasional sharpening and upkeep to make sure that it stays effective and relevant with your evolving needs.
Hence, the need for an annual content audit of your website.
A surprising 90% of all online content does not get the coveted traffic from search engines like Google. This translates to precious marketing dollars and effort buried in obscurity.
How does auditing your content help with this problem? Read on to find out.
What is Content Audit and Why Is It Done?
An audit of this nature methodically and systematically analyses all the content of your website with the intent of assessing their value to and effectiveness in achieving your current marketing goals.
If implemented properly, it can help you decide which content to consolidate, redirect, remove, and even improve, leaving you with a significantly improved website that is more aligned to your brand’s current trajectory.
How Do You Perform an Audit of Your Website’s Content?
No two websites are the same as each brand has its own story to tell. As such, each audit process is tailor-made to fit the unique need of every client. Still, there are tried and tested ways to do an effective audit, and you can use them as reference.
Define Clear Goals
Whether you want to improve your SEO rankings, increase lead generation, or improve your conversion rate, it is important to establish your goal right off the bat as your subsequent efforts would depend on it.
Take Stock of All Your Current Content
Track All Your Content Assets with a Spreadsheet
Once you have crawled all the content of your website, upload them into an audit spreadsheet. This will give you a bird’s eye view of which content to include in the audit and which to leave out. Image URLs and dynamic pages containing “?” and can be excluded.
With your final list, you can begin cataloging your content. Segregate product pages from category pages, FAQ pages, utility pages, blog posts, and other categories based on their specific purpose. This list will give you a summary of which content assets contribute to your website’s visibility.
Aside from categorizing all your content, each URL must have critical crawl data included, such as the title, primary keyword, meta description, H1, H2, and word count. This will give you a clearer picture of which search terms you are targeting.
Collect Data Based on Key Metrics
Collecting data is the most complex and lengthy process of a content audit as it usually involves recovering data from many websites and adding them manually to the spreadsheet. With that said, there are audit tools that can automatically collect the data for you based on your marketing goal and the key SEO metrics. Again, you can integrate the Screaming Frog SEO Spider into Google Analytics and Google Search Console for this purpose.
One of the top SEO metrics you can base on when populating your spreadsheet is user engagement. This metric focuses on how many times a user visits a page (pageviews), the rate at which the user leaves the website after viewing a single page (bounce rate), and the average time a user spends on a certain page (average time on page).
Another key metric to consider is keyword research, which can give you a rough idea of your page’s ranking and visibility. You should also include external links when doing an audit. This will help you avoid the common mistake of removing URLs that have high-quality backlinks.
Evaluate Your Content
With your spreadsheet complete, it is time to decide which of them are helping you achieve your marketing goals and which are not. There are six steps you can take based on your assessment. You can keep, optimise, consolidate, remove, repurpose, or update content.
Take Action Based on Your Evaluation
During an audit, it is common to find low-performing pages that could not be repurposed, updated, or be of some use in any other way. These pages can either be removed or redirected, leaving your website more streamlined and packed with high-quality content.
For those pages which can still be of use, take the appropriate action to make them more relevant. You can fix grammatical or spelling errors, updating statistics and other similar information, enhancing the images, replacing broken links, or updating your call-to-actions to fit current trends.
Once you have taken the necessary actions, you have dealt with most of the hard work with your content audit. However, it is far from finished. Document all your activities and take note of key learnings. This will give you a baseline of your performance, help you benchmark against the competition, and put you in the best position to take your brand to the next level.