Doing A Content Audit
To me, a content audit is like deep cleaning your house, whether it's just one room or the whole damn thing. Inventorying what you've published lets you do several things:
- You can see if there's old, outdated content that's no longer relevant
- You have "thin," or incomplete content that could be fleshed out into a more complete article or page
- You identify great content that needs updating with the most recent facts, events, etc.
- You discover meta data that could be re-optimized - maybe titles and descriptions are too long, not long enough or aren't good click through rate (CTR) candidates
- You find URLs with similar content that could be consolidated into one comprehensive article or page
- You find exact duplicate content, which isn't great for user experience (UX), and you're sure Google is ignoring these pages for ranking purposes
- You find gaps in your content that represent new content writing and publishing opportunities you previously overlooked
Plus anything else you can think of.
How To Start A Content Audit
You have to begin someplace to wrap your arms around the project. If you have a really small site, this is easy to do - you can manally review all of your pages and posts to see what needs fixing.
However, what's usually the case is that you have a fairly large number of URLs that would take forever checking manually one by one. If so, you need to use some SEO software that does this audit for you. While there are a lot of good website audit tools out there, just off the top of my head I can recommend Screaming Frog Crawler, SEO Powersuite Website Auditor and Moz. Screaming Frog and SEO Powersuite have limited, free versions you can use, but Moz does not.
If you have Google Analytics installed, you can also use the data from different dashboards to do an audit. I'll address that in a minute.
Using a web crawler tool, let it complete the run and either review the results on the screen or in reports. With a large, legacy site, you'll want to export the data because you'll need to refer back to it time and time again.
Look for on-page issues (strictly related to content):
- Title tags - missing, duplicate, too long, too short
- Meta description tags - missing, duplicate, too long, too short
- Alt text tags - missing
- H1 tags - missing, duplicate
- H2 tags - missing, duplicate
- 404 error code - pages that aren't available and need to be resolved
Once you have this list together, you can prioritize which URLs are the most important to re-optimize. You may need to do keyword research for pages before you re-write tags and content.
Remember I said you can use Google Analytics to do your content audit? Here's how:
In GA, down the left hand nav scheme, Behavior ---> Site Content ---> All Pages
If your site has been around for ages, you may have thousands of pages. If this discourages you, set a date range in the upper right hand corner of GA for a manageable date that'll give you some easier numbers to work with.
So, what data should you look at to help you audit your content? The content audit should be done to improve your site's pages and posts for higher rankings in search results, more visitors and pageviews, plus a longer time on each page and the site overall.
You should also decide if you're just going to tackle blog posts, or static pages as well.
Anyways, sort on Pageviews or Unique Pageviews columns to give you the least amount of views to the greatest amount. Typically, you're going to concentrate on the pages that aren't getting as many pageviews, but should.
Google Analytics typically captures blog post categories and tags, so ignore those and limit your analysis to permanent URLs for pages and posts.
If your product and service pages are at the bottom, I'd prioritize these for re-writing, because these are the ones that make you money.
If you discover your important blog posts, such as the ones that are "evergreen" content aren't getting a lot of traffic, consider re-writing them to stand out more.
Now that you have a list, break down what each URL needs in a spreadsheet. Develop a workflow process, then apply it.
At the end of this audit, you'll have a good list of content improvements you can apply to get better rankings in search results, as well as more conversion opportunities.
Want to know more about SEO and content audits, keyword research and on-page optimization? Take a class with Invenio SEO. We come onsite to you!
Until we meet again, stay safely between the ditches!
All the very best to you,
Screenshot courtesy of author