In this blog, we discuss how you can perform an effective content audit for your website and why it is imperative for continued growth and success in your industry.
What is a content audit?
Running a content audit on a regular basis will help you determine your biggest strengths and weaknesses to ensure your content marketing programmes are bringing in leads and, more importantly, money.
It’s a lot of work to do but it can really make the difference when it comes to creating content that resonates with your target audience and helps your business to grow.
A content audit involves looking at all of the content currently on your website to understand:
Content performance (keyword rankings, traffic, conversions, click-through rates)
Content relevance (does it resonate with your target audience?)
Content value (you might have a blog that performs well but generates no real value for your business) - find out how to create content that generates leads by reading this blog.
Content gap opportunities (you might find that a lot of your content assets only appeal to one or two stages of the buyer journey, making it hard for you to nurture website visitors)
Opportunities to rank for new keywords
How do you perform a content audit?
Start by taking inventory of all the content currently available on your website.
First, create a spreadsheet and compile all the URLs for your website content into it.
If you have a small website, you can do this part of the process manually but if not, you can use crawler software – like Screaming Frog – to generate all of the URLs. You don’t have to crawl every page on your website, only those that have indexable content as this isn’t a technical SEO audit.
Once that’s done, you can copy and paste the results into a spreadsheet. From there, these are the next steps:
1. Sort out your content assets
Now that you know what you have, you need to sort it out. Start by sorting content assets by type (eBook, case study, blog, white paper and so on), buyer journey stage (more on that here), buyer persona and topic (in other words, service area or subject matter). We would recommend creating a spreadsheet with different columns for each of the items above.
This sounds like a lot of work but ultimately it will enable you to understand where gaps are later on and therefore what you should focus on creating after the entire audit.
2. Take a look at the metrics
All of your content has been compiled – now it’s time to look at how it’s been performing. As mentioned earlier, you might have a blog that performs well in terms of website traffic but doesn’t generate any leads for the business. Conversely, you might have content that doesn’t generate a lot of traffic but consistently generates leads.
If you have analytics and keyword tracking set up on your website, you should be able to pull all of this information.
As you go through your content, you’ll want to take note of the following:
Organic traffic: Set a consistent timeframe for all your assets – don’t look at the last 90 days for one asset and then the last year for another)
Overall traffic: Organic traffic, direct traffic, traffic from social channels, referrals, email marketing traffic – you should compile information from all of the traffic sources to understand where most people come from and therefore where to direct your efforts.
That said, you should ensure that all of your content is optimised for search engines so that when your marketing activities end, you still have a steady stream of traffic coming to your web pages.
Click-through rates: Taking note of click-through rates will help you to understand how effective the CTAs in your content are. For assets with low click-through rates, consider changing the CTA text or what’s on offer to be more in line with the content asset.
Average time on page: Don’t spend too much time worrying about average time on page because this can easily be skewed by someone leaving their computer, laptop or mobile device on and on a specific web page. It does give you some idea of how popular a page is, however.
Backlinks: Backlinks are incredibly important in today’s content-filled world. The more backlinks your content has from reputable sources, the better. High-quality backlinks will increase the visibility of your content from a search perspective and your website’s domain authority.
Keyword rankings: Keyword rankings are also incredibly important. You might find that content assets are ranking for keyword terms you didn’t originally optimise the content for. If that’s the case, you should include that keyword term a few times in the copy (no spamming) and expand the content to better relate to that term.
Search volumes: It might be that the keyword you originally optimised a content asset for has really low search volumes and that’s affecting its performance. Looking again with fresh eyes will enable you to identify new keyword opportunities.
Publish dates: If you produced a content asset years ago (more than a year) chances are it’s outdated and there’s something better online. Keeping your content up to date is a great way to keep ahead of the competition (and search engines love fresh content). Isolate the old stuff and work out how to improve it. Unpublish and re-publish!
Internal links: Content audits provide a great opportunity for you to improve your internal linking strategy. Make sure you interlink your content to enable website visitors to find the information they need.
Content that is underperforming should be flagged (we’ll come back to it later) and top-performing content should be earmarked so you know where to focus future efforts.
You should also have an ‘Actions’ column in the spreadsheet. Here you can make note of what you want to do/change in order to improve each asset. For example, you might have an asset that is out of date and needs updating, so you could put “Update content”. Make sure you’re consistent in your tagging as you will be able to filter your spreadsheet.
Doing all of this manually is insane – but if you have analytics and keyword tracking tools set up on your website the process can be expedited.
Want to know how to create great content for your website? Check out this blog!
3. Use your buyer personas to identify gaps
Now that you have compiled your content assets and taken note of their performance, it’s time to work out where the gaps are – and this is where your buyer personas come in handy. If you are unsure of what buyer personas are and how to create them, we have put together an in-depth blog which you can read here.
Some of your content might fall outside of your buyer personas’ pain points and challenges, and it’s usually the content that isn’t performing well.
If you have content leftover that doesn’t fit into any specific personas – you need to ask yourself if it’s actually providing any value to your business. The content you create should always be around the needs of your target audience.
Also, content that is underperforming should be flagged (we’ll come back to it later) and top-performing content should be earmarked so you know where to focus future efforts.
With the gaps identified, you can focus on creating a new content strategy to address the gaps and improve what you have already.
4. Create a new content strategy
Now you want to add an ‘Actions’ column in the spreadsheet. Here you can make note of what you want to do/change in order to improve each asset. For example, you might have an asset that is out of date and needs updating, so you could put “update content”. Make sure you’re consistent in your tagging as you will be able to filter your spreadsheet.
You’ll have to go through each asset one by one. Once you have completed this, you need to create another column to determine the priority of each action. Your most important content assets (or those you feel are the most effective) should be prioritised. Fill the biggest gaps first and then work on the smaller ones later.
With your gaps identified, actions agreed and priorities set, you can work on improving your content and creating a prospect-orientated website.
Running a content audit on a regular basis will help you to determine your biggest strengths and weaknesses, and we would encourage that you do an audit at least every six months to ensure your content marketing programmes are on the money.