Content may be king, but not all content marketers are reaping the rewards.
Only 39% of marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. That’s according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2019 benchmarking survey. Meanwhile, 65% of the most successful content marketers do have a documented strategy.
That means 61% of marketers are producing content on the fly. This may work for startups and small businesses, but it can get out of hand quickly.
Without a documented content strategy, you run the risk of overloading your website with unoptimized, untargeted content.
This content doesn’t necessarily harm you. But it doesn’t help much either. If you have broken links, SEO errors or duplicate content on your website, however, these things could affect your search rankings.
It’s time to document your content strategy. But before you do that, you need to do a content audit.
If you want to learn why and how to audit your website’s content, follow the guide below.
- 1 What’s Your SEO Score?
- 2 Why Is Your Website’s Content Important?
- 3 What is a Website Content Audit?
- 4 Why Should You Audit Your Website’s Online Content?
- 5 Steps to Take Before a Content Audit
- 6 How to Audit Your Website’s Content
- 7 Ongoing Content Audits and SEO Optimization
What’s Your SEO Score?
Enter a web page address and the keyword or search term you’re trying to rank for.
Why Is Your Website’s Content Important?
Content is a necessary tool for businesses that want to show up in organic search results. But not all online content is crawlable or indexable by search engines.
Nonetheless, all content serves a purpose. It’s crucial for converting and retaining the attention of website visitors.
Typically, people go to websites to view content, whether they are looking up the definition to a word or checking out the pricing information for their next new car. B2B buyers browse content to learn how to do new things, discover data, or learn about products and services.
What is content?
If you have a website, it’s probably already loaded with content. Ultimately, website content is just information presented to an audience through different types of online media. A blog post is a type of content, but so is a video.
Here is a list of content types you may have on your website:
- Blog posts and articles
- Case studies
- Interactive content (games)
- Audio files
- Online courses and quizzes
- Slide presentations
Different types of content are good for different stages of the buyer’s journey. For example, 73% of B2B marketers in North America agree that blog posts and articles are the best types of content for the awareness stage. Your audit will help you identify gaps in your marketing funnel, so you can plan content accordingly.
Like many businesses, you may not have a list or spreadsheet of all the content on your website. This would be your content inventory. Taking an inventory will be one of the steps you take before your content audit.
What is a Website Content Audit?
A website content audit is a thorough process of documenting and analyzing all the content on your website. Done manually, it can be a long process. But you can also use a content audit tool or a website audit template to make the process easier.
One of the most important elements of a content audit is an SEO check or SEO audit. This is a process of methodically checking to make sure every SEO attribute on your pages is present and optimized.
During the audit process, you may find content on your site that you want to improve or remove. You may also find gaps in your content. This can help you document your content strategy moving forward.
Why Should You Audit Your Website’s Online Content?
Most businesses do a content audit when they’re about to redesign their website or change content management systems (CMS). But you can audit your content at any time. A good practice is to keep a running list of all the content you put on your website, so you can save time when you audit it later.
Most businesses try to follow best practices when uploading content. But people always make mistakes.
As your business grows, you may learn about new content and SEO practices that you weren’t implementing when you first started. The SEO landscape is also dynamic. Google changes its algorithms regularly, which can affect the content you’ve already posted.
It could be that you need to adapt some of your pages to optimize them. But there are plenty of other reasons to do a content audit.
If you’ve been posting content for years, you may find pieces that you forgot about that can be rejuvenated. You may find duplicate content or discover relationships between pieces of content that warrant a new linking strategy.
About 60% of B2B content sits unused after it’s posted. An audit might help you rescue those pages that have never seen any visitors.
Steps to Take Before a Content Audit
Don’t start your audit before taking preliminary steps.
For example, there’s a difference between doing a content inventory and doing a content audit. An inventory is a documented list of all the content on your website. An audit is an analysis of that content.
Here’s what you should do to get set up for an audit:
Document Your Goals for the Audit
You may need a complete audit of the content on your website. Then again, you may have a specific goal in mind, such as identifying broken links or duplicate web pages.
Before starting your audit, document your goals. This will save you and your team from wasting time on tasks that don’t help you reach your goals.
Do a Technical SEO Audit of Your Website
There are plenty of programs available that can crawl your website to find technical SEO errors. They analyze on-page attributes like meta tags and other elements, like broken links, no-index pages, and duplicate content.
Here is a list of SEO items you should be looking for on a page:
- Can be indexed
- Page title
- Meta description
- Image alt tags
- Headers and sub-headers
- Broken links
- Page metrics (visits, shares, comments)
Having this information will help you identify your most problematic pages. If you’re only auditing for SEO purposes, this may be the only step you need. But you should still consider auditing your content for relevancy, good writing, and up-to-date information.
Identify Types Content to be Audited
Determine which types of content you want to be audited. Maybe you only want to do an audit of your blog content, or perhaps you’re concerned about broken images and dead links.
Whatever you choose, make sure to document what is to be audited so your team doesn’t waste time looking through content that isn’t on your list.
Conduct an Inventory of Content to be Audited
Doing a content inventory can be a daunting task. This is especially true for businesses that have been doing content marketing for years. There are software and cloud-based tools that can help you do an audit automatically.
Of course, you can always just use your website’s CMS and a spreadsheet. Your CMS may allow you to export a list of pages, blog posts, or media files to help in this process. Once you have those lists, you can create columns documenting all the information you’re auditing.
For example, if you’re auditing your blog, you may have a column for the page title, URL, and SEO attributes. You may have separate spreadsheets for your media library, which would contain the file names of all your videos, images, graphics, and GIFs.
How to Audit Your Website’s Content
Now begins the hard part.
Once you have your inventory, follow these audit steps to get a better idea of the state of your content:
Check Each Page for Quality and Performance
One of the most important parts of an audit is reading your text content. This may be time-consuming, depending on how much content you have. But it’s a necessary step to determine if the content you wrote years ago is aligning with the standards you have today.
You’ll also need to read your content to determine if it is structured correctly.
Most businesses accomplish this by skimming. However, you can also create a checklist for your team to use while reading content.
Ask specific questions about each piece of content on your website. For example, you may ask:
- What is this piece about?
- Does the piece deliver value regarding its subject matter?
- Is the piece accurate and up-to-date?
- Is the piece free of errors?
- Does it support our goals?
- Does it support the reader’s goals?
- Is the content organized logically?
- Are people finding and engaging with the content?
Any piece of content that isn’t up to standards should be flagged. You can document this in your content audit spreadsheet. Leave a note explaining why a piece of content is lacking and what can be done to fix it.
Page performance is important from an SEO standpoint, but it’s integral for the user experience. If your web pages are loading slowly, you need to take steps to make them faster. Otherwise, you risk losing ranking status and earning the ire of your website visitors.
If you didn’t do so during your technical audit, check the load speeds of all your web pages. Pages that don’t have compressed images may load slowly, for example. If your entire website is slow, you may need to sign up for a new hosting package or acquire more server resources.
Analyze Your Data
Once you’ve gone through all the requisite pages on your site, you should have a heap of data. In addition to your SEO data, you should have information about key marketing metrics and how they relate to each piece of content.
- Page views
- Organic traffic
- Unique visitors
- Time spent on page
- Social engagement (shares and comments)
- Backlinks generated
- Page rank (for specific keywords)
- Conversion rate
- Leads generated
- Content ROI
Pages that are low-performing by these metrics are those that should be improved. You may also find pages that are irrelevant and redundant. These might be ready for the chopping block.
It’s in this data that the true value of your content audit presents itself. That’s because this is the information you can use to take specific actions.
For example, let’s say one of your web pages is receiving a large volume of organic traffic. That’s great! But if none of that traffic is converting, the page isn’t doing its job, is it?
You know it’s not an SEO issue because your page is ranking and bringing in traffic. That means your conversion rate is low.
If visitors are finding the page but are not spending much time on it, you may need to update or expand upon the content. If they aren’t converting, you could need a new call-to-action or a new offer.
Other metrics, like backlinks, can indicate which content is high-performing. If one of your pages is earning a huge share of backlinks, analyze it.
Is it a long-form piece of content? Did you use more infographics and images? What makes this content special and what differentiates it from your other content?
Try to duplicate its success on other pages.
Create a Plan of Action for Improving Your Content
Once you’ve done your analysis, you should be able to create a plan of action. Don’t try to tackle all your content updates at once. Instead, break them up into small projects that can be completed over time.
Create a content calendar for updating your audited content. Try to sync it with your current content calendar. If you don’t have the resources to handle it, consider reducing the amount of new content you’re producing to focus on improving your audit, only temporarily.
You may have found content during your audit that you just don’t want on your website anymore. There’s nothing wrong with that. But be careful when removing content completely.
If you have other pages linking to that content, removing it will create broken links on your site. If you have inbound links coming to that page, removing it will eradicate those inbound links, which can hurt your SEO.
If possible, consider updating or repurposing content that you don’t want anymore. For example, a blog post about the hottest business trends of 2005 can be updated to, “Here’s How Much Business Has Changed Since 2005.”
Ongoing Content Audits and SEO Optimization
When learning how to audit the content on their websites, most businesses realize that they’ve been missing a step in their content strategy. It may be a minor SEO issue, for example. But no matter how minor, everything you post to your website effects how you rank in search and how visitors interact with your site.
Try to keep a running inventory of all the content on your website. Schedule regular content audits for your team. This will help you avoid painful auditing processes and ensure your content is always fresh and up-to-date.