Doing a regular content audit on your website’s published pages is critical for maintaining your site’s health.
But, this can be a daunting process to take on, especially if you work on a bigger site with an extensive content library. Where do you begin examining and updating it?
Running a proper audit is a detailed process, and it's crucial that you take the right steps when implementing it. This will help you work more efficiently and apply the right changes to the relevant pages.
Get this right, and you will generate more traffic and achieve better results for your website.
In this guide, I provide a complete content audit template that you can follow. Implement these steps and tactics to help your website climb the SERPs.
What is a content audit?
A content audit is a process of analyzing your website’s published content and ensuring it’s properly optimized.
You look into and score certain pre-defined aspects of the content, identifying areas where it needs to be adjusted to better achieve your goals.
These goals could be related to any number of things, including:
- Improving SEO
- Generating brand or product awareness
- Moving prospects down the marketing funnel
For example, in the case of an SEO content audit, you would ensure each page's SEO performance is up to scratch.
If there’s room for improvement, you would make adjustments to the content so it meets specific markers.
Don’t forget to record your progress and updates every step of the way. This way, you have an audit trail to benchmark progress over time.
Why audit your web content?
A lot goes into creating effective website content. Actioning regular content audits ensures your content is always up to date and follows the best practices to generate organic traffic and conversions.
One of the main reasons for conducting an audit is to ensure your site stays SEO-friendly. Search engine algorithms change constantly. So, there’s a good chance that you will need to update older content on your site to continue sending the correct SEO signals.
By analyzing your published pages, you can identify any potential SEO issues.
You’ll also better understand how your site performs in search engines and what possible SEO opportunities you could maximize to help you gain more traffic.
The other major driver for doing a blog content audit is to make sure your web copy is helping your site achieve its conversion goals.
Maybe you’re generating decent traffic, but this traffic isn't converting into customers. What then?
Through the audit process, you can identify visitors' journeys through your site and see where they’re dropping off. This will help you map out areas for better conversion performance.
All websites should run regular content audits. Doing so ensures your copy is always up-to-date, relevant, and ready to win over search engines and customers.
As your website is your most important online asset, running a regular digital content marketing audit is non-negotiable.
How to conduct a content audit
A web content audit involves multiple steps. Approach the exercise intentionally, taking care to cover all of these points.
The last thing you want to do is miss anything and have to repeat the exercise.
To get you started, I have broken down the process of how to perform a content audit into five phases.
Step 1: Define your goals and metrics
The first step in running a content marketing audit is to assess what you want to achieve with your website. This involves diving into your goals and metrics.
Here, you need to start with the end in mind. In other words, understand what you want your website content to accomplish.
Looking through this lens is necessary for investigating and updating the content to achieve these results.
There are three main goals to consider here, which you can apply to each page on your website. Each goal will come with its own metrics and KPIs to monitor.
Goal 1: Improve your SEO results
The most common goal for analyzing web copy is to improve your SEO results.
In this case, the main focus when looking at how to do a website content audit is fixing SEO issues on the site. This can include technical site issues as well as issues in your SEO content writing.
By running through your site with a fine comb, you can boost the chances of each web page ranking for the right keywords. This will help you generate more traffic and get better visibility online.
A complete SEO site audit covers many elements. This includes looking for content duplicates, keyword cannibalization, broken links, missed keyword opportunities, site loading speeds, and more.
It also involves ensuring your existing copy is relevant and high quality to help your website achieve SEO success.
When looking at search engine optimization as the primary goal, track metrics like organic search traffic and the search terms your different pages rank for.
Goal 2: Increase audience engagement
Besides generating traffic, you also want to measure how your visitors interact with your website.
With this in mind, a vital part of the audit process is understanding:
- Which web pages generate engagement
- How this engagement affects your business
- How you can improve positive engagement
One way to focus your analysis could be to make your content more exciting or align better with your audience's interests.
Perhaps you need to restructure articles for better engagement and flow. In this case, read our post on How to Structure a Blog Post for tips on how to do this.
Other approaches could be to optimize page titles to increase clicks and improve your site architecture for logical flow.
Goal 3: Improve conversion rate
Your final goal is to ensure your site is primed to drive conversions.
You might receive decent traffic to your website. But it’s pretty pointless if this traffic isn’t converting to sales, bookings, or inquiries.
As you can see, an audit should uncover ways to increase conversions.
This will involve assessing your content against your sales funnel and ensuring it’s optimized to drive conversions at the right stages.
Step 2: Take inventory of your content library
Once you know what you want to achieve with the content audit of your website, the next step is to take stock of your library.
Your library is an important asset you can utilize to attain business goals.
This step involves locating your assets and analyzing them based on various factors.
When learning how to do a content audit of your website, here are some of the key steps and elements to examine:
Collect your URLs
As a first step, gather all of your page URLs into one place to understand what content you have published.
Create a catalog
Once you have the URLs together, create a catalog based on different categories. Use a spreadsheet to record everything.
Some of the best types of categories could include:
- Content type
- Buyers journey stages
- Content clusters or hubs
- Content formats
- Number of words
- Content author
By cataloging this way, you can better understand the different types of available content. This will help you organize and optimize the assets more efficiently.
The next part of your asset analysis is establishing the different page types. This could include blog posts, landing pages, services pages, etc.
Separate the different page types during your audit. This will make it simpler to assign different goals to each page type - which will help you optimize the pages more easily.
Each page type should have a specific goal and focus on a particular sales funnel stage.
Check all of the page titles. Each title needs to clearly align with the goal of the page.
Make sure the title is both SEO-friendly as well as optimized for engagement.
You must know what you want to achieve for every published page.
Is it there to educate new users?
Or to send people to your booking page?
Perhaps it should get people to purchase a specific product.
Once you have established the purpose of each page, your job is to ensure the page is properly optimized to achieve that purpose.
This could involve adding new CTAs, copy, or images and ensuring the page offers the right user journey.
When doing a content audit, you need to establish the focus keyword of each page. This includes understanding the main keyword the page is currently indexed and ranking for and your ideal target keyword for that page.
You can use a tool like Search Console to see what search terms the page is ranking for. This also reveals potentially valuable keywords with a high number of impressions that you can optimize the page around.
Once you have identified the page's focus keyword, ensure all on-page SEO elements are activated correctly around it.
Ensure each article’s headline matches the page’s purpose and target keyword. Headlines are critical for catching the readers’ eye and must be engaging.
Pay attention to all the page headlines on your site and ensure each one is unique. Otherwise, you may have multiple articles competing for the same keywords.
Your page content is the biggest area to check during a content audit. Your goal here is to ensure the content is:
- Relevant and up-to-date
- High quality
- Covering the user’s search intent
- Offering enough value for the target keyword
Review your website copy and ensure that everything is still valid and valuable. This could involve removing outdated stats and links, updating sections of blog posts, and adding new content when relevant.
While you’re at it, compare your page content to other websites competing for the same keyword.
Your goal should be to provide the most value to the reader, with your page being the most comprehensive resource on the topic.
Get this right, and you have a good chance of outranking the competition.
Meta descriptions are what users see on Google search results pages. These short snippets of text play an incredibly valuable role in your website’s SEO success.
First, make sure your meta description includes your target keyword. This will help search engines better understand and index your page.
Then, make sure the meta description is the optimal length. Otherwise, it might get truncated.
Finally, ensure the meta description offers value to your target audience.
Analyze the pages you're competing against and see how they’ve written their meta descriptions. Yours should be better. It should be compelling and enticing, attracting people to click on your content.
Images can make or break your site. When doing a content audit, check that you’ve been using images correctly.
Your articles should feature visually appealing and relevant images to catch your audience’s eye. Where you can, avoid stock images.
Screenshots or user images (social proof) typically work well to illustrate the points your content makes.
Of course, any images need to be up-to-date. Anything outdated won't help with engagement on your site.
From a technical perspective, images should be properly compressed and sized to help your site load fast. Image sizes being too large is the biggest culprit for hurting page speeds.
Internal and outbound links
Linking is critical to your site’s SEO success. This includes having a strategic inbound and outbound linking strategy in place.
First, ensure all your pages have relevant inbound links pointing toward them. This helps you develop your site architecture and adds authority to all of your pages.
Ideally, pages should be internally linked based on category or topic, which helps you to build content hubs.
You should also utilize outbound links. This shows that your content is well-researched and helps to add more credibility to your content.
Only link to high-authority, credible sources. Importantly, don't link to pages or websites that compete with yours.
Pay attention to the anchor text you use for internal linking. Anchor text is the text that connects one page to the next. The words you use tell search engines what the page you’re pointing to is about.
Therefore, your anchor text should align with that page's target keywords.
Tip: Use Ahrefs to help you monitor incoming and outgoing links, as well as anchor texts.
Search engines place a lot of weight on how fast web pages load. If the page loads too slowly, it’s frustrating for the user. In fact, it takes three seconds for someone to leave if the page doesn’t load fully.
As a result, slow speeds can affect your search rankings and how people engage with your website.
It’s on you to understand the speed at which your pages load and optimize those that don’t meet the mark.
Mobile friendliness is another critical factor for performing a content audit. It goes without saying that all pages should be mobile-friendly and optimized for smaller screens.
Step 3: Collect and analyze the data
A key part of conducting a content audit is understanding your pages and their performance. From there, assess where you need to make changes.
To do this, there are four key questions you should ask:
Is the page more than six months old?
If yes, it will likely need to be updated. Ensure any stats, numbers, or links are relevant and still apply.
Does the page rank in the top three?
If yes, you want to maintain that ranking and push it higher.
If not, look at what other top three ranking pages are doing. Take steps to ensure your content can compete with those front runners.
Does it rank in the top twenty?
Pages that rank in the top twenty have the potential to reach the top spots; they just need an extra push. These are what you should focus most of your effort on optimizing to boost traffic.
Is ranking for this keyword important to you?
Understand what keywords hold the most value for your business and focus on ranking for these keywords.
Step 4: Draw up an action plan
Now you have all the information you need around your website. The next step is to know what to do with this information in your content audit action plan.
This should involve two stages.
Prioritize your actions
Auditing an entire website can take a lot of time and effort. It's essential to lay out which pages need the most attention and which can wait.
Prioritize your pages in terms of how important the page is or how great of an opportunity to update the content is.
Start your audit accordingly.
Create an action plan for each URL
Each URL on your site should have a plan for the audit. This could involve a complete content update and overhaul, or simply leaving the URL as is.
Once you understand how each URL performs, go through them and decide what each page needs.
Step 5: Adjust your content marketing strategy
Once planning is in place, you can fully update and audit your website.
Once you're done, use your findings to adjust your content strategy. Your goal is to ensure your content remains relevant and powerful as you progress.
Learn from any mistakes you pick up, and use your new knowledge to guide future content marketing efforts.
Doing a content audit may be a massive undertaking. So, I recommend breaking it down into manageable steps.
The points above are all relatively straightforward to action. Getting to grips with them will help you understand, evaluate, and update your content efficiently.
Want help identifying content gaps and producing SEO content for your website? Get in touch with the team at Contentellect. We’ll help you create perfectly optimized content that has the best impact on your site and audience.