What Is A Content Audit?
Over the years, your business has probably created a massive amount of content. This is a good thing because the content is the fuel for your online marketing strategy. However, if left unchecked, your company can begin to build an unorganized mass of content that is not aligned with best practices and could be missing your business goals.
A content audit is a process of evaluating your existing content and the relationships of your content throughout your website. While this process can be long and tedious, having a formal review of your online content structure is crucial for your ongoing success.
When your business conducts a comprehensive content audit, you will be considering all of your content in a holistic manner. Often it is easy to lose track of different pieces of content, and a content audit will help you answer questions about your overall online presence, like:
- Can you improve technical SEO components of your website like Meta Description, etc.?
- Are there technical issues with existing content that is hurting your SEO?
- Do your blog posts support your silo and money pages?
- Should you increase interlinking to your main silo pages?
- Content audits are very useful tools to help you manage your business website and govern your content.
Below I will review the steps you need to take to complete a content audit so you can create better content for your readers, gain broad consensus on your content, and build a stronger online presence for the long term success of your business.
What Will Your Business Gain From A Content Audit?
Depending on the size of your website you can expect a comprehensive review to take days or even weeks. While this might sound like a lot of time, it is vital that you have an understanding of what content your website has, if it is optimized, and to create awesome content that your customers will love.
You do not want to waste your time by doing a content audit just to do a "content audit". You should have a healthy business goal for an audit.
Some of the goals for conducting a content audit could include:
- Identify specific ways to improve Organic SEO listings.
- Determine content that your audience is most interested in.
- Discover pages with missing Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions.
- Ensure that your silo pages are getting linked to correctly.
- Generate ideas for future content pieces.
Quantify Existing Website Content
The first step to a content audit is to take inventory of all the content that is on your site. There are several tools out there to help you with this step. Tools like Screaming Frog are great, but if you are looking for an easy to use crawler, then you will love the Website Crawler Tool and Google Sitemap Generator from Webmasterworld.com.
This tool is an excellent way to crawl your site and view your content in a holistic manner. The process will take about 20 minutes, depending on the size of your website. Once the tools are done crawling your site, you should export your info to Excel, and the most important information I use is:
- Internal Page URL: This is the URL of each page crawled on your site. You can use this information to understand the hierarchy of your website. Your silo pages should be the primary focus of your links, so make sure your architecture is set up appropriately.
- Status: This is the server status of your pages. Check for any 404 statuses because these can hurt your SEO efforts. If you find any 404 statuses, be sure to redirect these pages.
- Internal Pages That Link Here: You can use this information to make sure that most of your links point to your silo pages. These money-making pages should receive the most links because you want to move people towards conversion on these pages.
- Title Tag Of Page: Check that your Title Tag accurately represents each page.
- Meta Description: While not vital to technical SEO, your Meta Descriptions should be crafted to describe each page in the SERPs.
I usually delete all the unnecessary information only to keep the high columns. Once the columns are set, I highlight my silo pages in green; this helps me keep the most important pages in focus.
The primary purpose of this phase is just to ensure the overall integrity of your website content, i.e. make sure there is no 404 server status and that your pages have completed Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions.
Know Your Keyword For Pages
The next step is to identify the main keywords for each of your silo pages. I usually add this information as a new column on the spreadsheet by using a free Keyword Density tool by SEObook.com. It is vital from a technical SEO perspective that each page on your website is optimized for a specific set of keywords. This approach will help you improve the range of your keywords and how they rank in search engines.
The tool is easy to use, and I usually have to go through this process if I forgot to record keywords as I build out content. This tool is great, but keep in mind that pages must be analyzed individually so it can be time-consuming.
As you can see from my example I did a pretty good job identifying the right keywords and integrating them into my content. Since this page was almost 789 words, I am confident the content will read well, get found by search engines, and help convert my readers.
In a perfect world, you will keep an Excel spreadsheet with the keywords for each page and blog post. This spreadsheet ensures that your blog posts cover a range of keywords. As a result, your business will find greater success and higher rankings since your content is focused on specific topics, keywords, and themes - and you can keep track of each.
However, time is precious, and sometimes you will forget to update the sheet as you build content. This free tool is a great way to backtrack and find the keywords that your blog posts and pages rank for if you forget to keep your master sheet updated.
Keyword Optimized Image Alt-Tags
Along with body text keywords, I always check that my images on silo pages and landing pages are optimized. You can do this by editing each page, but you can also use the same SEObook.com tool for this.
Just click on the “Images” link, and you will see what keywords you have placed for Alt Tags on your pictures.
Review How Relevant Content & CTAs Are In Google Analytics
Finally, it is time to dive into Google Analytics to look at the quality of your page content and Call To Actions. Google Analytics provides vital insight, including:
- Page Visits
- Bounce Rate
- Average Time on Page
Among all the information you have, the above stats are a great place to start if you want to understand how your readers interact with your content. Not only does this information show what information is most popular, but it can also show you the relevancy (Time On Page) and if you should consider improving CTAs (Bounce Rate).
One thing to remember when you are looking at the quality of your content is that not all stats are the same for your business. A good Bounce Rate is usually anything < 40%, but you will see different Bounce Rates depending on the type of content you produce.
Just take that into consideration as your evaluate the quality of your content and don't get caught up on what is "good" and what is "bad," but think about your audience and your content.
Using Your Content Audit For Your Business
After you understand your website architecture, optimization of your content, and how your audience interacts with your content you can develop your website around the needs of your customers. Taking careful inventory of existing content and assessing data for each item can help you make informed decisions and improve your content as you continue to grow.
Even though a content audit can be a long and tedious process, you will be able to make more focused business decisions that will improve your brand, increase qualified traffic, and boost revenue.