The perfect content audit – how and why?
A well-performed content audit is a great way to boost your website. But how do you do it in a practical way, and what should you think about to really get something out of it?
In this article, I’ll show you how to a content audit, step-by-step. It really is something that can make a huge difference for your content, both from a user and search engine point of view.
By Stefan Nordström
- Freelancing digital marketing consultant
- 8 years of in-house and freelance experience
- Expertise: SEO, copywriting, newsletters, conversion optimization, digital strategy
- LinkedIn | Mail | Instagram
Why a content audit?
A content audit is a systematic way to get an overall grip on your website content. It’s easy to only see what you recently posted and forget about the content that already exists on your website.
A content audit helps you in several ways. Some of them are:
- Achieving your business goals/digital KPI’s
- Keeping your content fresh and updated
- Keeping your content correct
Most importantly, you learn what your success factors are (and vice versa). When you see all your blog posts and other content pieces in one document, it’s usually easy to spot what’s working and what’s not from a different perspective. Also, I noticed that I simply became better at writing and creating content over time. Many of my older articles were simply not as good as the newer ones.
Content audit in 5 easy steps
Here are my 5 steps to performing a successful content audit. A content audit can be done with or without help from tools. Tools can make it easier, but for now I do most of it manually. You can find all the useful data in free platforms like WordPress, Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
1. List your content assets
If you’re doing your content audit in an Excel diagram (which is the usual method), start by putting the categories you’re looking to evaluate as columns.
I suggest using these:
- Word count
- Category or categories
- Meta title
- Meta description
- H1 (main header)
- Publishing date
This might also be applicable:
- Google SERP ranking for main keyword
- Images and image alt tag(s)
- Traffic (unique visitors)
- Conversion rate
- SEO score from Yoast SEO
- Writing score from Yoast SEO
When you have all this in place, it’s good to create a subjective value system as well. My suggestion is to simply put a value between 1 and 3 or 1 and 5 for every page. This helps to identify the pages that are most in need of improvement. Another way is to put something like “Keep”, “Update” or “Delete” to immediately know the action for the page.
The easiest way to get your content assets in an Excel diagram is to export them from Google Analytics. My suggestion is to export the 50 or 100 most popular pages, depending on how many you have. If there are keywords you really want to rank for missing among the pages, I’d recommend adding them to your content audit.
Also, remember that this method can miss out on some lacking content. Why? Well, lacking content doesn’t get that many visitors, so it might be missing from the top 50 or top 100 pages. So, if you have a lot of pages it might be good to do an audit of some of the least visited pages too. It might even be good to start from the other direction by analyzing your least visited pages.
2. Analyze them
It’s time for analysis. In this stage of the content audit it’s time to see which actions are needed. Some pages might be in need of an update or revision, while others might actually be better off deleted. Mark all the pages with the appropriate action. If you want to make it easy for yourself, categorize the different actions by color.
When you see a content score next to all of them, it’s so much easier to make priorities and see what to do. Also, you’ll always to know what to do next.
3. It’s time for action
The final step is getting started on the actions that you decided on. I would recommend starting out with the lowest-rated pieces to get rid of your most lacking content. But what can the actions be? Well, anything from updating images and expanding the text to fixing meta descriptions and broken links.
Look for patterns and list actions. Once you start looking there’s a lot to do, and don’t be afraid to list as many actions as you can in the content audit. Then you’ll know exactly what to do when you return to it! My first content audit resulted in hundreds of actions, which really shows just how important it is to do one.
Evaluation and analysis is a part that sometime gets lost or underprioritized in the race to create fresh content. That’s a mistake! Make sure to get back to your content audit a few months later and see what has changed.
If you’re aiming for higher SERP positions on Google or more traffic, evaluate the change in the pages that you updated. I’d recommend evaluating the changes three months or so after implementation, or at least every year. Also, don’t forget to write down when you implemented the changes.
5. Do it all over again!
Content work is never final, so the only way to stay on top is to start all over again and do another content audit. Improve the content, but also improve your audit method. I can promise you that this will do wonders. And it’s also the perfect way to remind yourself that improving your existing content is just as important as creating new content.
Do you need help with a content audit or something else in digital marketing?
Are you looking for someone to help you out with a content audit? Or maybe you need help with other digital things like copywriting or SEO? I’m a freelancing content expert that has helped many companies grow through creating digital content. Do you want to get in touch? Please add me on LinkedIn or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.