If there’s one word that can bring fear into the hearts of business owners (and individuals), it’s “audit.” Each year during tax season, you can find a plethora of advice on how to avoid an audit and what to do if you do get audited.
However, an audit isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, a content audit is actually a great thing. If you can’t remember the last time you did a content audit of your website, you aren’t alone. Most content creators are so consumed with creating new content that they forget to audit their existing content.
However, content needs to be updated regularly to meet search engine optimization standards — and your online marketing goals.
So let’s talk about what a content audit is, how it’s done and how it can help you improve your website and increase traffic and revenue.
What Exactly Is a Website Content Audit?
If you aren’t familiar with content audits, relax — they’re nothing like a tax audit. No one will ask you to produce a receipt for an obscure business expense or question why it appears your quarterly marketing meeting took place at a Maroon 5 concert!
A content audit is just what it sounds like — a systematic, comprehensive audit of all the content pieces that reside on your website that will help you:
- Evaluate what’s working well and what could use some tweaking
- Identify any gaps in your content so you can adjust your process to serve your intended audience better
- Establish the next steps to optimize your content while prioritizing the highest critical needs down to the nice-have-options to address when time permits
A content audit is quite detailed, so it can seem daunting, but the results are worth the effort.
Why Do You Need to Audit Your Content?
Here are a few reasons why it’s essential to audit your content:
Goals: Is your content achieving its intended goals? Are you gaining ROI? You won’t know unless you measure your content’s performance and track it through regular audits.
Staleness: Content can become stale or even outdated over time. But don’t beat yourself up. What was relevant two years ago may not be as relevant today. On a positive note, you may only need to add a little extra to adapt to the times.
Wrong Information: As your content ages, facts and data that once were accurate can become inaccurate. Running an audit through your content regularly will ensure your post’s accuracy and protect your brand’s reputation.
Learn What’s Working: How can you know what type of content or which blog posts are most successful if you never go back to audit all of your content pieces? Perhaps pumping out three blog posts a week is just tiring and not actually producing any results. You’ll never know if you don’t go back and do a content audit to see which pieces performed best and which were the worst.
How Do You Perform a Website Content Audit?
A successful audit should include the following steps:
1) Define Your Goals and Metrics
A content audit is a time-consuming process, so it’s important to start with clear, defined objectives. The first step is to consider your business goals. What benefits can you achieve from a content audit? What results do you hope to achieve? Examples include:
- Improve SEO results (e.g., rank in top 10 search results; optimize internal linking)
- Increase audience engagement (e.g., identify the most engaging types of content for your audience)
- Improve conversion rate (e.g., find the content that generates the most leads)
2) Inventory Your Content
Create a comprehensive list of your content. This list should also provide important information about your content, such as its level of optimization and its quality. You’ll need to start your inventory by collecting all the URLs of web pages you want to analyze.
Depending on what you want to learn from a content audit, there are many online tools to help you quickly audit your content based on your sitemap data, and provide a list of URLs and their associated metrics. Examples include:
3) Analyze the Data
After you collect your URLs, use an online tool or a spreadsheet to organize them by different criteria, including:
- Word count
- Content-type (blog post, manual, product description, landing page)
- Buyer’s journey stage (awareness, consideration, decision)
- Author (if you have multiple writers)
- Publication date or last modification
- Call-to-action (CTA)
- Conversion goal (download an ebook, newsletter signup, etc.)
- # of social shares (can be broken down by social network)
- # of conversions
- Bounce rate
- Time spent on page
- # of comments
It’s also helpful to collect metadata (title, meta description, H1) for each piece of content so you can review and update all metadata in one place.
4) Assess Your Content Assets
Next, you’ll want to assess each piece of content according to your goals and assign one of the following statuses using the data you collected and your metrics. Assign one of the following metrics:
Keep content that performs well and remains relevant; you probably don’t need to update it. Consider reusing this content as part of your current content marketing strategy (e.g., evergreen content, success stories, testimonials, FAQs, general information about your business).
Update the web pages that are not performing well. Try to review this content and determine how you can make it more effective. You may also discover content with outdated information that needs to be revised (e.g., blog posts that contain statistics, important articles with outdated information, low-traffic or low-conversion content).
Delete content from your site that would take too much resource to update. (e.g., content related to a particular event or activity, information about out-of-stock products, duplicate content, old or seasonal marketing campaigns).
Create a ‘Status’ column to your content audit spreadsheet to keep track of your action plan.
5) Create an Action Plan
After assessing your content, you need to lay out a plan to improve it. Base your action plan on your goals and the conclusions that you have drawn from your analysis.
Every item in your content plan should align with a business goal. Prioritize your actions according to how achievable your business goals are in line with the effort required.
For example, if you’re looking to improve SEO results, adding a few links to an article requires very little work, but it may deliver great results. Conversely, creating an ebook may require a lot of work, but it may not get good results.
Add a Priority column to your spreadsheet after you’ve weighed the resources required against the expected results.
Once you’ve sorted your priority list, create an action plan for each piece of content.
Develop an Action Plan for Each Piece of Content
Here are some action items to include in your workflow for individual pages:
- Reuse content: Try to combine different pieces of content to create another one or publish it in another format (e-book, infographics, slides, etc.).
- Rewrite content: If you have underperforming blog posts, rewrite them with new examples, tips, and practical details.
- Expand content: Consider adding more detail to your existing articles. According to a SEMrush study, “longreads of 3000+ words get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than articles of average length.”
- Refresh content: Sometimes, you don’t need to rewrite a piece completely; you can simply add relevant information (e.g., new stats and trends or new product details).
- Structure content: A clear and logical structure with relevant H2 and H3 tags can help users and search engines better interpret your content and thus boost your traffic. Additionally, well-structured how-to articles are more likely to rank for Featured Snippets.
- Update CTAs: Replace outdated banners on your blog or other web pages with relevant offers to revive your content marketing funnel and improve conversion rates.
- Incorporate videos: Adding video increases traffic to websites, according to 87% of video marketers surveyed by Wyzowl. What’s more, 81% also said their users spend more time on web pages containing video content.
- Add images: Visuals can make your content more engaging and attract more traffic to your website from Google Images. Incorporating videos and images on a web page increases your chances of appearing in SERP features.
- Optimize metadata: Rewrite titles, meta descriptions, and H1. Use different keywords to make it more natural for users and search engines.
- Optimize internal linking: Adding links pointing to new content in blog posts with related topics can help improve your website organization and decrease the bounce rate. You can also optimize internal linking based on the buyer’s journey. Keep in mind Awareness content should link to Consideration articles, and Consideration articles should link to Decision content, not vice versa.
- Use 301 redirects for web pages removed from your site. This avoids “not found” pages and improves the user experience.
- Utilize Google Search Console to inform Google about your content updates. Search Console’s URL Inspection tool enables you to submit recently updated web pages to Google’s index.
6) Fine-tune Your Content Marketing Strategy
It’s important to keep your long-term marketing strategy in mind when performing a website content audit.
Make note of what works and expand upon it. Identify your least successful content, and check your competitors’ similar successful content to see where and how you could improve yours.
You need to review your content marketing strategy at least once a year to ensure your strategy and tactics still fit your business goals. If your industry changes often, you’d need to set more frequent review periods (e.g., once a month or every quarter). You need to stay up-to-date with these changes and find innovative ways to reach and engage with your audiences.
What works today may not work tomorrow, so routine adjustments should be top-of-mind. Performing content audits twice a year is a great way to see if your adjustments and general focus are working for your business.
Summing It Up
Content audits are a powerful tool for fine-tuning your content marketing and SEO strategies for better website results. A content audit can help you:
- Continuously improve your content
- Stay ahead of the competition
- Increase engagement
- Rank higher in the SERPs for your target keywords
Are you ready to start your content audit? At Jungle Communications, our highly experienced marketing team has the expertise to help you identify best practices and implement initiatives that deliver results. Contact Us — we’re ready to help you grow!