If you are one of the digital marketers who are worried about coming up with a quality Website Content Audit, then brace yourself.
Here’s a complete guide on how you to carry out a flawless website content audit to optimize the existing posts, remove unworthy posts, and find the new user intent content ideas.
What is a website content audit?
A website content audit is a process of analyzing all the indexable content present in the inventory of a domain. The performance metrics of each content is individually analyzed to assess strengths and weaknesses.
A content audit has a pivotal role in prioritizing further content marketing strategies.
A proper website content audit will give answers to three critical questions:
- Which content is doing the best?
- Which content requires improvement?
- Which content should be consolidated or killed?
As an SEO, a website content audit helps you to know the patchy areas on a website that needs immediate attention.
Having this insight can lead to positive changes in the organization’s marketing strategies, lead generation, and sales.
Content Audit is the panacea for a website that is finding it hard to gain better rankings on Google. The auditing process also helps these websites to identify the flaws that result in high bounce rate and less dwell time.
However, before we head into step by step process of a content audit, you need to know the expected outcomes of it.
Why Should you do a content audit?
A content audit is primly done to determine:
- Whether the content is ranking for targeted keywords
- Identify high ranking pages of the site and to come up with a blueprint of how to leverage them
- How to overcome the content related penalties caused by a new search engine algorithm update
- Getting ideas for future blog posts
- Find the new content marketing strategies
- Analyzing ways to increase organic traffic
- Finding thin content on the website
- To evaluate opportunities by merging multiple blog posts into a pillar
- To Identify the content that needs to an update
- To find out the content gaps
- To take cognizance of the content that requires some tweaks/corrections
- Find out keywords that failed to rank for a particular content
- To get an in-depth sense of the new client or website acquisition
A content audit is primarily done to determine how website content is performing in organic search and to identify gaps that are pulling back the content from ranking. Here is a definition of a website content audit. :
A content audit is a blueprint to optimize the content present on a website to improve the overall rankings in Search Engine Results Page considering Expertise Authority and Trust as key evaluation factors.
In some cases, the content audit may result in SEOs recommending removal of low-quality content from the site. The reason behind this suggestion is to improve the overall quality of the website in the eyes of search engines.
How to Audit the website content?
An in-depth content audit answers most of your questions such as whether the content offers more than the surface level value to the audience?
Does it have enough images/videos to educate an audience or should you add more to drive them to you? Is the content structure user-friendly?
A content audit answers all these questions. Here’s the complete step by step process of how a website content audit should be done effectively.
Step 1: Define the audit goals
The fundamental step of any task is to define the goals and then focus on to achieve them. Though it’s tricky a process, you have to define the goals clearly.
While doing so, you should know the results you wish to achieve and the benefits you are going to reap after the audit.
The typical goals of a content audit include:
1] Enhancing SEO
- Know the well-performing web pages to make them appear on the first page on SERPs
- Knowing the content that requires tweaks, updates
- Arranging proper internal link flow to other relevant articles in the site
2] Increase organic traffic
- Find the content that has good user-engagement
- Find the content that your users are interested in
- Determine the topics that are popular in your niche right now
3] Increase the conversion rates
- Figure the best content with the highest number of visitors
- Find the best lead generating content
- Define the ways to leverage it to convert visitors into leads
Once you have a properly organized set of goals to achieve, you must make sure they are in line with relevant content metrics. Generally, content metrics fall into four categories of user behavior metrics, engagement metrics, SEO metrics, and sales metrics.
The metrics can then be analyzed to gain useful insights. For instance, you can be sure of the popularity of the topic by analyzing user behavior and engagement metrics. Similarly, if you wish to work on improving your SEO performance, you can focus on organic traffic, keyword rankings, etc. which are a part of SEO metrics.
Step 2: Prepare an inventory for a content audit
After finalizing the goals, it’s important to figure out the type of content you should review. Then you can start collecting the URLs and data to make an inventory to perform the audit.
It may contain all kinds of content such as blog posts, e-books, study material, news, landing pages, product descriptions, or external publications.
You can also add interactive content (tests, game or quiz), PDFs, and video into this inventory for a content audit.
Crawl the indexable URLs
Typically, most site owners begin with Screaming Frog to crawl the website. It is not uncommon that a few good contents may miss the visibility of search engines due to indexing issues.
Hence, its good to rely on a crawler after you do a manual audit of the URLs.
Export the crawled URLs into list mode and prepare a fresh sheet by segregating the duplicate URLs, no-index URLs to produce a comprehensive list.
Step 3: Collect and analyze the data
Some SEO tools will help you to collect and analyze the performance of content based on the metrics. Here are some tools which are quite useful in the content audit:
Google analytics shows which content is getting more traffic, engagement and conversions. It will also show the traffic sources, the behavior of the site content, and the referral channels that can leverage the content strategy.
You can also see the landing pages that achieve marketing and business goals of your website.
This tool helps you to know the rankings of the content for the targeted keywords. Getting to see the position of the content in the SERP will assist in optimizing the content further.
The tool also gives an in-depth understanding of the keywords are currently ranking for a particular page on the search engine. This data can streamline the content updating process for better search rankings.
This tool helps SEOs to trace the user behavior on your web pages. You can understand it by accessing the attributes like usability, performance, and impact. Content Square will let you analyze the areas that require frequent updates.
Apart from these, there are plenty of other tools for a content audit. A few of them are listed below:
- Google Search Console
- Moz Crawl test
- XML Sitemap Generator
- Search metrics
- Majestics & etc.
An SEO professional audits each URL and content using one of these tools.
Step 4: How to optimize the existing content?
The crucial role of a content marketer is to get websites to rank high on organic search. This goal is unachievable without thorough keyword research.
Keyword research helps SEOs to choose potential keywords that can bring targeted traffic to websites. The zeal to find trending and user intent keywords is crucial in the digital market today.
After the content audit, you’ll have the list of articles that aren’t performing well. Now, the onus is on you to improve the content to push them on top of the SERPs.
Take a look at all the possibilities of revamping and optimization of content, such as using the long tail keywords to drive more organic traffic, adding more content, etc. Well, here are a few steps to optimize the existing content:
Complete the article: Probably your content is missing some of the essential points to a specific problem.
- Go through the articles ranking on the first page of SERP for the targeted keywords. Do an in-depth gap analysis of the content that is ranking on the top three positions against that of your’ s. Then add relevant content to make your post more comprehensive.
- Go through Reddit, Quora, and other forums to check related questions asked by the audience. Update the content and address them to refer to your blog post for answers.
- Update the content and add images: Your content may be outdated and it may contain old information. It might be missing the latest information that users are searching for. Do the research and compare with other content to check how outdated it is. Then update it with the latest information, images or videos to present it accurately.
- Polish the content: Tweak your content to make it fascinating and even more appealing. Give an attractive headline, sub-heading, and beautiful images. Enhance the structure of presentation by removing unimportant things. Try to keep it in an interactive way with the audience.
Add case studies: People love real-time data than speculated theories. If you can give them real-time information, then they would love to read about what’s happening around them.
So, try to add case studies (with images) in your content. You can add case studies both in your content as well as in your service pages to prove your potential to the audience.
- Enhance your SEO: Optimize your page by using search analytics in the search console to find the long-term phrases that pull a large audience. Download the full list and add the keywords to your article without breaking the natural voice flow.
- Reuse the content: You can create a new unique piece of content using multiple contents and publish it in various formats such as slides, Info graphs, an e-book, etc.
- Rewrite the content: If there is trending content and it’s not performing well, try to re-write with more relevant data
- Update CTA pages: If there is an outdated banner, then replace them with new banners with some offers.
- Structure your data: The logically structured content helps bots and users to interpret it as good content easily. In fact, well structured ‘how to’ articles have high chances of appearing as ‘Featured snippets’
Step 5: How to remove the unworthy content?
This is a crucial section in the content audit. We witness the performance, metrics, and the user engagement of each content while doing a content audit. It will give a clear picture of the following areas:
1) Content to keep as it is:
Basic informative content, FAQs, and some of the evergreen content will never lose attracting the audience. This type of content requires no further tweaks as they are already performing well. Thus, they should be kept untouched. Typically, they rank well for the targeted keywords in SERPs.
2) Content to update:
There are certain categories people are always interested in, such as data and statistics reports, latest trends, and etc.
Web pages with such content may not perform well for you. In that case, you have to update the content with the latest information, videos, and images.
3) Content to remove:
The content whose quality neither can be increased nor be updated has no value to be kept in the website. The pages containing duplicate content, a completed event, or out of stock products are an example of this kind. You might also have some landing pages created for seasonal sales campaign which have no value after the season. All of these are permanently deleted to increase the quality of the site.
Step 6: Build an effective content marketing strategy
The results you acquire post content audit needs a bit of brainstorming.
If there is anything trending now, like Google News gate algorithm update, can you launch a content marketing strategy to leverage it?
If the metrics are going against the expectation, will you change the content creation method or ready to launch innovative content marketing strategies?
Are you ready to improvise site by adding assets like video testimonials, eBooks, and webinars?
Answering these questions will kickstart the initials process of your next content marketing strategy. This helps you create niche related content using targeted keywords for the targeted audience.
Step 7: Finding ideas for new content
Blog posts are a significant part of a website and it’s crucial to keep them running if you want to acquire the audience and keep them intact.
Writing tons of blog posts without any research is complete trash. Because, these posts are perennial and hence, it should have the proper user intent content.
So, before you begin to write, you have to come up with the content ideas that people love to read. But, how to find such content ideas?
Well, here are some of the ways you can generate ideas.
Monitoring competitor websites
This is one of the important techniques for finding new content ideas. Don’t feel nervous. You are neither stealing nor plagiarizing it.
Keeping a check on competitors blog posts is good. You can grab the knowledge from them to develop new ideas for your blog.
The advantage you get here is, you get the concept to write and as well as an opportunity to create better content than them.
Google search suggestions
If you have a topic to write on, then type-search it in the Google. You get a list of drop-down suggestions from Google when you type a couple of words.
These are the topics people are searching on Google for information. You can create a blog post on each topic suggestion or combine all of them and draft a long-form content.
Online market of each niche witness changing trends every now and then. So, keep a tab on all the trends and events happening around.
Then try to come up with creative ideas to present it through your content and attract the audience to eat.
Ensure that you give factual information about the event you cover in your content. Posting hoax news will build a negative impact on the audience and sometimes, it may invite Google to penalize you.
Creating a high-quality content has never been easy, be it 156-character meta description or 3000-word post.
Your content marketing strategy should be strong enough to quickly audit any asset, and optimize it to boost its ranking in SERP quickly.
Conduct the content audit frequently to assess the weakness of your website. This might lead to a lot of rework, but undoubtedly, every bit of it is worthy.
Do drop in your queries and feedback in the comments section.