Everything You Need to Know About Conducting a Content Audit
Over time, your website or blog can accumulate thousands of words of content. Eventually, you may lose track of the content you have, where it’s located, or even its purpose. The best way to get back on track is to conduct a content audit. In this article, we will cover:
- What is a content audit?
- The purpose of performing content audits
- Why is a content audit useful?
- The different types of content audits
- How to conduct a content audit
- Getting help with your content audit
Keep reading if you want to ensure your content remains an asset for your company.
What Is the Main Purpose of a Content Audit?
The main purpose of a content audit is to inventory and catalog your content. Then, you can analyze it with specific goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) in mind. Ultimately, through conducting a content audit you should be able to determine whether you are reaching those goals or not.
What Are the Benefits of a Content Audit?
Why is a content audit useful? When you understand your current content, you are better able to make adjustments and develop an ongoing content plan that works for you. Some benefits include:
We’ve answered the question, “what is a content audit?” but how does it impact your bottom line? There are a few ways in which a content audit can save you money.
You will avoid wasting time creating content that duplicates what you already have, avoid content issues that lead to search engine penalties, and improve the performance of your organic content. That last item will help you save money on paid content marketing options.
After a content audit, you will have a clear picture of your current assets. This will allow you to create a solid content plan and assign content creation tasks with purpose.
Is your content consistent? Are you using up-to-date logos and other visual assets? Do you focus on current features and benefits? Have you updated company information across all of your content assets?
Your content audit might reveal that you have incorrect product names referenced on several pages or pick up on other inconsistencies. By identifying these you will be able to create a cohesive brand and message with your content across the board.
Discovering Content that Can Be Repurposed
Your content audit may uncover assets that have the potential to add value but need to be improved. A list article could be updated with new information, for example. Other content could be improved with new visuals or by being converted into video content.
Finding Out What Is and Isn’t Working
Content audits often uncover patterns that give you a clear picture of strategies that are not working.
Imagine that you’ve created a series of whitepapers designed for low-funnel prospects and existing customers. However, you discover that downloads are almost nonexistent. Now, you know there is a problem with that content or the landing pages preceding it, and can begin to create a plan to address the issue.
Discovering Ways to Improve Engagement
You can use the auditing process to examine many factors, including engagement metrics. For content that scores low, you can determine methods for improving it, such as adding an option to leave comments or social share buttons.
Identifying How to Improve SEO Results
Have primary target keywords ready for your content audit. You can use these to test search engine results page (SERP) outcomes. Upon finding pages that aren’t ranking, you can then focus your optimization efforts.
Types of Content to Include in Your Audit
Your content audit might include:
- Blog posts
- Product pages
- Policy pages
- Web courses
- PDF documents
You can audit any type of content depending on your goals.
The Different Types of Content Audits
You can perform several different audits depending on what you are interested in learning:
Full Content Audit
This investigation is a full, site-wide audit of the entirety of your content including all written content from your home page to your blogs, including all graphics and video content.
Partial Content Audit
Generally, a partial content audit is performed on a specific type of content. For example, you might analyze all of your landing pages or blog posts.
It may take more time and resources than you have to conduct a full audit. If so, consider auditing a content sample. Here, auditors collect a representative sample of your content and analyze it.
SEO Content Audit
This type of audit is specifically for evaluating content’s search engine performance.
Other Types of Content Audit
There are other audits you can conduct such as a quantitative analysis which simply creates a report listing all of your content without any further assessment. And a qualitative analysis which takes your existing content and evaluates it against an established standard.
How to Run a Content Audit
That’s a lot of information to absorb, I know. But now you should be ready to dig into conducting your content audit by following the process laid out below.
You want to begin with setting your goals as content audits are a goal-driven process. Your goals will influence the information you seek and the content you analyze.
How to Set Goals
Start with your overall company goals. Then, drill down into your sales and marketing objectives. Where are you falling short, and where are you exceeding expectations? What are your upcoming goals, and what do you want the content to do in relation to your business plans?
Collate and Categorize
You then have to find your content to audit it. Grab your sitemaps, content lists, and other documentation. From there, create a document with the information needed to access all of the content that is up for auditing.
This step is where each piece of content is analyzed and information extracted according to your selected audit type. Additionally, you will want to look for missing content as well. Missing content might include missing pages needed to fill in gaps or information missing from existing pages.
The good news is, you don’t have to audit all your content manually. There are tools you can use to support you, including:
These tools and others can help you find content and review it to make the process more streamlined.
I won’t lie, your first audit can be painful if you haven’t kept any record of your content. But, you can prevent that issue from continuing by maintaining a file listing your content assets and updating it regularly.
Fortunately, your audit will leave you with a document to work from in future. Additionally, if you are spending valuable time conducting a content audit, you will want to make sure to update the documentation with any new content you produce.
Finally, you will measure the results based on output, such as reports created by content auditing tools. During this step, you should identify the difference between what your content is doing and what you need it to do.
What Metrics to Track
The metrics you track will depend on your goals and KPIs. Content auditing teams will very commonly record:
- Word count
- Page visits
- Time on page
- Traffic source
- Bounce rate
Including the results you gather in a document with information such as page title and URL is helpful for future reference.
Now it’s time to take the collected data and create a plan of action. Start by setting priorities.
You will want to make any adjustments to content dealing with topics closely aligned with your goals and the content assets most critical to your business. This approach will dictate the order in which you will work through your content to make changes.
At this point, you can determine the specific actions to take. They might include:
- Updating valuable but outdated content
- Eliminating content that is no longer serving you
- Adding content where you have identified gaps
- Fixing content that could be leading to penalties or performance issues
Depending on the amount of work to do, you can create a timeline for making the changes you want and begin with the highest priority.
When Should You Perform a Content Audit
If you have never done a content audit in the past, now is the time to do it. This new approach will allow you to build a reliable database of your content and analyze its performance. You should also audit your content when:
- You make branding changes
- Your business goals shift
- There are indications of poor site performance
- SEO and other analytics indicate you aren’t reaching your audience
- You begin to target new audiences
- You introduce new products or services
Any significant changes or emerging goals could also be a good reason for conducting a content audit.
Who Should Conduct a Content Audit?
Should you conduct your own content audit or hire an external team? Here are some points to consider.
If you prefer, you can conduct your own content audit. There are tools available to help you with the process. If you have the time and resources available to manage this task, it will leave you with some valuable insights.
Of course, many organizations find that this process is best left to professionals. This strategy leaves you more time to focus on mission-critical tasks and ensures the audit is conducted:
- Using the latest tools
- With the advice of experienced auditors
AOU Creative is happy to offer your business a free content audit and consultation. You may schedule the 30-minute audit at your convenience.
Keep Your Content Goal-Focused with the Right Audit
Over time, your organizational goals may change. However, your content doesn’t always evolve with it. That can lead to issues with your website and SEO, and prevent you from reaching your goals.
It’s worthwhile to conduct semi-regular content audits to ensure that your content is working to your advantage, helping you to work smarter not harder, and can help to rid yourself of any content that is no longer serving you.