Content audits may sound daunting, but they don’t have to be. A lot of the work is straightforward, requires minimal effort, and can be done by someone without a wealth of experience in a short amount of time. The benefits of a content audit are clear, like reinforcing your understanding of a website’s goals, identifying opportunities for SEO improvement, and fixing errors such as broken links, which are detrimental to readers.
Conducting a content audit can help you save money because you won’t need to keep producing new content that doesn’t meet your goals or create duplicates that otherwise would be competing with each other for ranking power.
What is a Content Audit?
A content audit is a formal process of reviewing the content on a website to identify gaps, duplications, and opportunities for improvement in the existing content.
Content Audits help you to:
- Identify problems with the site’s content, including outdated or poor quality content and broken links.
- Prioritize efforts to improve website content based on how it contributes to the business goals.
- Develop a plan of action for fixing problems identified during a content audit.
Below is the guide that will help you audit any piece of content on a website. You can use this process for an entire website or just a single page.
The perfect Content Audit process.
Define the Goals
Before starting on a content audit, it’s essential to define the goals before the process. It will help you identify areas where there’s room for improvement and give you something to aim for when conducting the website content audit.
A web content audit will help you identify:
- Missing keywords: Are there any keywords related to your website that aren’t included in the site’s content for SEO?
- Ineffective titles – To be creative, do you have headlines or meta descriptions that could be more effective by including keywords?
- Poorly written content – Are there places where your writing can be improved? Are there areas where you can make the copy easier to read and understand?
- Underdeveloped topics/categories – Is there any additional information needed on the site? Are you addressing all of the topics and categories that are important to the business and the users?
- Overly emphasized topics/categories – What is essential to the business may not be necessary to the customers. Look for ways that you can de-emphasize specific issues and emphasize others.
- Duplicate content -Is there any duplicate content on the website? If so, how can it be rewritten to be unique and valuable?
Create a spreadsheet
It is vital to create a spreadsheet that will act as your database. This document will contain all of the data you collect during the process which will require while updating the content. It is crucial to organize all content to follow a standard format to ensure consistency and comparison.
You can also use ready-made templates like Content Audit & KWM Template by GoInflow.com or Content audit template by Wordstream. Just make a copy of it and use it as needed. Take time to plan out your spreadsheet, so it is most effective for your content audit process.
List your content
List all the content in the spreadsheet-like a “Title” column and a “URL” column for each piece of content. You can also create a “Page Type” column to indicate whether each page is a Homepage, Category Page, or something else. In addition, also include an “Action” column that separates pages into two categories:
- Target pages – Pages that are intended as end-user destinations (i.e., category pages)
- Non-target pages – Pages that exist for internal site navigation or other non-end user activity.
Categorize the content
Once you’ve listed the spreadsheet structure, you can now begin to populate it by copy-pasting the data from the website. Remember, for blog posts; it’s worth including the date the post was published or last updated. Older posts are key areas that can be updated with new information – something that the search engines love!
If your site is small, you can do this manually, however, if it is large, it will take forever. To solve this problem, you can use the Screaming Frog tool for SEO content audit.
Another important category is “Metrics”. The easiest way to include this category is to use Google Analytics, a free service offered by Google. This program will give you a breakdown of the traffic that visits your website, including data on keywords, browsers, and other information that can be useful in determining how visitors interact with your site.
After doing all the above steps your spreadsheet should have URLs, categories, metadata (if applicable), and metric data.
With the information collected and added to the spreadsheet, you should better understand what content works well and what does not. The analysis will give you information about the target audience’s behavior on the site. You would also be able to see where the users spend most of their time, which pages are most visited, which content is most popular among users, etc.
You will also start identifying where content gaps exist and where new content might be needed. Based on all of this information, you will be able to find out how to improve the structure and content of your website.
Once your analysis is complete, you’ll get an idea of all materials you need to build a new, improved site and exactly where you want to focus your efforts during your site restructuring process.
Below are the things you can fix:
- Check for broken links. Fix any broken links so, the visitors don’t get frustrated when they click on them.
- Check the categories and move any that aren’t relevant to the top level of the site. This will help search engines better categorize the content for future searchers.
- Move recent blog posts to the top so users can see them first. Don’t forget to update the RSS feed at this time as well.
- Now it’s time to fix up some of the copy on the web pages. Check for grammatical errors and make sure the text is clear and concise. Evaluate the effectiveness of your content to see if it’s meeting the needs of the visitors and achieving the goals. This is not only helpful for improving what you have but can also help with identifying new topics to cover on the site.
- If you find any broken links in the text (for example, if you refer to an image by name but don’t have the image on the page anymore), fix it immediately.
- Now’s also a good time to look at the images and make sure they’re optimized for search engines (and not just for display). In particular, the blog post images, in particular, should be “alt-texted” with keywords to increase their SEO value.
Here are a few action steps that you need to consider:
- Update – Update outdated information.
- Delete – Delete any outdated pages you no longer need or use.
- Consolidate – Combine similar pages to cut down on excess content.
- Prioritize – Decide what needs more attention than others and prioritize them during the site redesign process.
- Decide – Make decisions about what stays and what goes by using these criteria: usefulness, readability, accessibility, and authority.
Conducting a regular SEO content audit
There are many reasons why you should conduct a regular web content audit of your website. A routine audit will help you to:
- Keep track of existing content on your site, which might be lost or changed as you add or delete web pages. Make sure that the site’s content is consistent with its goals and easy to read, find and understand.
- Find opportunities to improve the organization and presentation of existing content to be more effective for readers.
- Keep up with changes in the industry, so the website doesn’t fall behind the competition by not having the latest information available about the business or industry.
Summing it up
A content audit is a part of the solution, but just one piece of the puzzle. And it doesn’t have to be painful or overly complicated, either. You should remember, there is no single solution that fits all. Website content audits can take any shape at any time. It all depends on the needs and the goals. However, there are a few common steps that you can hopefully apply to your efforts. And if you’re not happy with the results of a content audit? Don’t be afraid to try a different approach—there is always room for improvement.
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