Content Audits: A Step-by-Step Guide | Content Marketing

Content Audits: A Step-by-Step Guide

Content Audits: A Step-by-Step Guide

Even the best content creators occasionally publish content that fails to perform as expected. Despite your efforts, not every piece of content will be a hit – some may get buried, fail to rank, and contribute little to your overall marketing goals.

Rather than letting these underperforming pages fade into obscurity, you can conduct a content audit to identify problem areas, take corrective action, and use those insights to create stronger content in the future.

What is a Content Audit?

A content audit is the process of systematically reviewing and evaluating all the content published on your website. This often goes hand-in-hand with SEO efforts, as the goal is to ensure your content is optimized for search and is effectively answering queries, and meeting the needs of your target audience.

The content you might audit could include:

  • Web pages
  • Blog posts
  • Product descriptions
  • Videos
  • Whitepapers
  • Slide decks

Performing regular content audits is important because content, like many things, is not immune to the effects of time. Facts change, new best practices emerge, and what was once considered high-quality can become outdated. A content audit helps you keep your site up-to-date and improve search rankings.

How to Conduct a Content Audit

Here’s a step-by-step guide to performing a comprehensive content audit:

1 – Set Your Goals
Before you begin, clearly define what you hope to accomplish through the audit. Some common goals include:

  • Improving SEO performance for specific pages or the entire site
  • Increasing engagement and conversions
  • Removing outdated or redundant content
  • Improving the quality of existing content
  • Restructuring the site’s content organization

Knowing your objectives will ensure the audit stays focused and productive.

2 – Collect and Categorize Your Content
Next, you’ll need to compile an inventory of all the content you want to review. This can be done manually in a spreadsheet, or using a content audit tool like Semrush or Screaming Frog.

For each piece of content, track details like:

  • URL
  • Author
  • Content type (blog post, video, etc.)
  • Content goal (traffic, backlinks, conversions, etc.)
  • Word count
  • Publication date
  • Social shares
  • Comments

Categorizing your content this way will help you easily identify patterns and make data-driven decisions.

3 – Analyze Metrics and Performance
Now it’s time to dive into the data. Review key performance metrics for each piece of content, such as:

  • Organic traffic
  • Bounce rate
  • Time on page
  • Backlinks
  • Conversions
  • New vs. returning visitors
  • Traffic sources

Look for content that is underperforming compared to your goals, as well as any content that is exceeding expectations. Identifying high and low performers will guide your next steps.

You may also want to track additional details like SEO titles, meta descriptions, and any custom UTM parameters used to promote the content.

4 – Take Action and Update Your Content Strategy
With your audit complete, you can now decide what to do with each piece of content:

  • Delete: Remove any outdated, redundant, or low-performing content that doesn’t align with your goals
  • Refresh: Update outdated facts, improve formatting, add new relevant information, etc. to breathe new life into existing content
  • Rewrite: For content that’s fundamentally flawed, consider a complete overhaul to improve quality and performance
  • Reuse: Repurpose successful content into different formats like videos, infographics, or ebooks

Prioritize these actions based on the impact they can have. Deleting underperforming pages is usually quick, while a full rewrite could be a major undertaking.

Finally, use the insights from your audit to inform an updated content strategy. Define how and why your marketing content will be used, and how it aligns with your broader business goals.

Audit Your Content Regularly
Content audits may not be the most glamorous part of marketing, but they’re absolutely essential. What works today may not work tomorrow, and your top-performing content can quickly become outdated.

By regularly conducting content audits, you can keep a pulse on the overall health of your website, identify new opportunities, and make data-driven decisions to improve your content and achieve your marketing goals.

Image credit: gstudioimagen@freepik
Source: Search Engine Journal

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