Have you lost track of everything you have created for your website? It is all too easy to do, even if you are trying your hardest.

But the fact is that the material you have previously made is just as important as anything you will create in the future, if not more so. Just a minor tweak might result in thousands of dollars more in income. 

How is your website’s content performing? What about that blog post you wrote two months ago? What happened two years ago? Do you even remember what you posted?

That is why a content audit of existing pages is required. If you are not making use of this kind of organization for your business or website, you should seriously consider taking the time and effort to perform a content audit to help your search engine optimization. 

This approach is valuable to any content strategy, as a content audit spreadsheet provides an excellent resource for planning your blog posts and a great way to work out what you are missing. 

Content audit data also helps you to organize all of your analytics so you can more easily check over your older content assets in the knowledge of which bits of your content inventory are the highest-performing posts on your site.

How frequently do you do content audits as a marketer? How do you monitor the performance of your content? Do you make use of these stats to help you better manage future campaigns?

In this article, we are going to discuss the content audit process. Exploring why a website content audit should be a central part of your content marketing strategy going forward, as well as explaining how to use content audit tools to optimize your existing content and fix up outdated content.

What is a Content Audit?

A content audit is the process of compiling a list of your website’s content assets and comparing them to a set of criteria.

It is a method of keeping track of the material you have developed, recognizing which assets need to be improved, and determining what subjects should be addressed next.

A content audit can be as simple or as in-depth as you like. You may audit your entire site, just your blog, or even a specific blog category. They can all provide value and information. However,  we would generally recommend taking the time to conduct a thorough audit of all of your content. The time you invest in your content audit now will pay dividends afterward.

What is the Purpose of a Content Audit?

Conducting a content audit for your website may increase traffic and enhance the reader experience.

To begin, content audits assist you in identifying portions of your website that are not adequately optimized for search engine rank. 

For example, you may already be adding meta descriptions to your blog entries as part of your current content strategy, but if this has not always been the case, a content audit may help you identify which items need to be modified.

Content audits can also assist you in identifying fresh SEO chances for your website. 

For example, adding keywords to your site’s headlines provides search engines with additional information about what your web page is about, enabling them to recommend you to more relevant search users and potentially increasing organic traffic to your page.

Search engines will be able to propose your web pages to browsers more precisely if they have as much knowledge about the material on your website as possible.

Running an audit allows you to change the material on your website in order to increase reader understanding. 

For example, you may be unaware that the links on one of your product pages are broken, but a content audit will remind you to fix those links.

The Benefits of Performing Content Audits

There are many benefits to performing content audits on your website content. 

From helping you to ensure that all your old posts are providing value and keeping your content up to date to ensuring that your future content creation has a template and a standard to match up to, it is very valuable to audit your content fully on a regular basis. 

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest advantages you can gain when you conduct content audits as a regular part of your content strategy.

Finding Out Which Content Needs To Be Updated

A content audit not only shows you whether your material is functioning in general, but it also provides you with specific recommendations for areas where you may improve.

For example, you may discover previously unknown broken links, keyword possibilities, missing metadata, and other issues that may be readily addressed to improve the usability and search visibility of your material.

Informing Your Future Content Strategy

Regular reports generated by your content management tools should help you keep on track with your content marketing plan, but audits allow you to obtain a bigger picture view and work out where you might want to make changes, as well as dive down and fix a specific problem or optimize for a specific objective.

A content audit produces a great deal of valuable data and can easily be used to enhance SEO, uncover strengths and shortcomings, find new topics to pursue, better understand your audience, and identify chances to repurpose, expand, or otherwise adjust your content management strategy.

Focus Your Brand Development

Every piece of material you present to your audience connects with them in some way. You need to be communicating that you are up-to-date, careful, and good at what you do. 

Your industry, goods and services, and brand are all continually evolving and changing, and you have to stay ahead of the competition if you want to succeed.

Content audits can help you maintain consistency in style and tone, information accuracy, and a clean online presence. You can use brand comparisons to stay up with rivals and industry developments.

Regular content audits could help guarantee that every interaction with your material is a good one that conveys authenticity, knowledge, and trust. Audits help you know what is working so that you can repeat it.

Keep Your Content Library Up To Date

Thorough content audits are used to establish and manage your company’s content collection. And a shared content library is a treasure trove.

As a result of having access to the content team’s content, other departments can quickly and easily recycle and reuse it for their own materials, saving time and improving content quality for everything from one-pagers and slide decks to sales enablement pieces and new blog posts.

Furthermore, if the content team has access to data points around sales, product marketing, branding, and public relations content (both internal and external), they can more easily identify essential themes to weave throughout their work, critical subjects to address, and valuable context for departmental communications.

Another operational advantage of a content library is that it facilitates the onboarding of new team members. This enables your team to grow in order to support your business as you scale up over time.

Optimize Your Content so it Performs Perfectly

Even if you have a tiny firm with very little content, a content audit might be beneficial. It can help you optimize the material you already have so that it works optimally. And material that works is effective at bringing in organic traffic and sales leads. 

Optimized content is a lead generator. It generates three times the number of leads as traditional marketing while costing 62% less to maintain.

It can also persuade prospects that your brand is reliable. After reading a piece of instructional information from a company, 64% of customers believed the brand is trustworthy. 

Research shows that consumers are 131% more inclined to purchase from a brand that provides effective content.

How to Perform a Content Audit

Once you have found a content audit template you like, it is time to get started on planning out your full content audit for your entire website. 

Here, we are going to go step by step through a process for completing a successful content audit that you can then use to optimize your content. So, here is a content audit checklist to help you complete a thorough content audit.

Step 1: The Objectives of Your SEO Content Audit

A content audit can be a time-consuming and laborious task. It is critical to start with well-defined goals for measuring how successful your audit is.

The first step is to consider your company’s objectives. What advantages might a content audit provide? What outcomes do you want to achieve?

Do you wish to boost your search engine rankings? Updating your content to be properly optimized may have a huge impact on your SEO performance rankings and organic visitors.

Trying to rank better for a page that already appears in search results is significantly easier. As a result, you could generate more organic traffic faster while spending less money.

You might also concentrate some time on page analytics. Improving your content might entice people to stay longer and share it with their friends. 

You may use tools like Google Analytics’ Engagement Report to examine on-site engagement and detect patterns.

You may observe, for example, that certain pages have greater engagement than others. Alternatively, you may notice that interaction on specific content pieces has decreased.

Examine social media views, comments, and shares as well. It can help you identify content styles and themes that generate momentum.

Finally, you could aim to develop more conversions from website visitors with your content. 

To improve your website’s conversion rate, you should consider whether your content offers a good user experience to visitors and whether it is properly optimized for conversion. 

Conversion optimization is one of the most important sales metrics!

Step 2: Fully Inventory All Your Content Assets

Determine the type of material you will evaluate before compiling a list of URLs and metrics. After that, it is time to start taking inventory. Collect URLs for all of the web pages you wish to audit.

If your website is a small one with few pages, you could begin by manually adding all links.

If you have a huge amount of material, you can manage it with content inventory tools. If your website lacks a sitemap, utilize a sitemap generator tool to build one in order to fully enable these online tools.

A sitemap is valuable not only for a content audit but also because it helps search engines to properly understand your website structure and identify all pages you believe are relevant.

After you have gathered all of your URLs, arrange them using a spreadsheet such as a Google Sheets document. Making this easily shareable also helps your team in keeping track of them if you have a team to help you out!

It is also a good idea to collect metadata for each piece of content. This will assist you in identifying possible difficulties and resolving them all in a single document. 

Put all of the data you have gathered from your existing articles into your content audit spreadsheet.

Step 3: Data Collection and Analysis

Data collecting is a difficult and time-consuming task. In most cases, you have to gather data from numerous sources and manually enter it into your spreadsheet.

If you wish to collect more data, there are several analytics tools that might help with a content audit. Let’s take a look at a few of the most useful audit tools for analyzing all the data you need.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is an audit tool that can provide valuable data on traffic, on-site activity, and even conversions. It will assist you in estimating the efficacy of your content and identifying the top-performing pages.

Navigate to Reports > Engagement > Pages and Screens in your Google Analytics account.

You can search for any page and examine crucial analytics such as engagement rate, views, and conversions.

If your blog is in a different folder, you may refine your search by typing /blog/. Finally, using the button in the upper right corner, you can download all of your data as a PDF or CSV file. 

You may now begin filling out your content audit template.

Position Tracking

The easiest option to track your ranking for the relevant keywords is to create a report in an audit tool known as Position Tracking.

You may then identify upward and downward trends in metrics and user behavior and, if necessary, take action. 

For example, if you see that specific target keywords are dropping in popularity, you may want to update or rework your material to keep your content relevant to the focus keywords that are trending upwards.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console may also be used to track SEO data. It describes how users are crawled, indexed, and served your website.

Google Search Console does not require regular monitoring and will notify you through email if there are any difficulties with your website.

It can additionally be used to track search impressions and CTR. Open the “Search results” report, for example, and look for a specific query or URL. Google Console should give you a great deal of traffic data on this, which can prove very helpful for your SEO content audit.

Once you have gathered all the data using your various content inventory tool choices, it is time to analyze that data and work out what the data points you have gathered up in your content audit templates actually mean. 

You are looking for patterns and meaning in your collection of data points. Do blog posts on certain topics perform better than others? Is word count important to your users? Can you see patterns in meta descriptions, internal links, or landing pages that perform particularly well or particularly poorly? 

Finding these patterns in your data points is one of the most important parts of performing a site audit.

Add some columns to your content audit template. You are now going to divide your content into four categories.

The first category in your content audit template should be material that is just fine as it is. Stuff that works well, like landing pages or a blog post that provides valuable information that users keep visiting.

Secondly, your very best pages might want to go in a category for repurposing. This is for your very best blog posts that you might want to use as the top of a funnel, adding internal links to direct users to other pages on your site. 

Alternatively, you could use the structure as a template, basing new landing pages or another blog post on the structure of your most successful page.

The third category of site audit results is for pages that need to be updated. They might need a longer word count to encourage more time on page, a focus keyword to better match search intent or meta description updates. This is for pages that are salvageable but need some work in order to make them actually add to your SEO metrics meaningfully.

The fourth and final category is for pages that are not adding to your SEO metrics in any way at all. If updating them would be more effort than they are worth, just add them to a fourth category of pages that should just be deleted.

Step 4: Make a Plan

Create a plan to increase performance after reviewing your material. Your action plan should be based on your objectives and the findings of your audit.

Refer back to the goals you established in Step 1 before creating an action plan for each URL.

Every investment in your content strategy should be tied to one of your current business goals. 

For example, if the purpose of your SEO audit is to increase ROI with content, you should concentrate on boosting conversion rates on your ecommerce sites. If you want more organic search traffic, think about your on-page SEO and title tags.

Following that, prioritize your steps based on how feasible your company goals are in relation to the work necessary. Create an action plan for each piece of material after you have prioritized it. You may want to create a new column to define the action you will do for each item.

Step 5: Adjust Your Content Marketing Strategy to Fit the Data

When conducting a website content audit, keep your long-term content strategy in mind as you work on your marketing materials.

If you keep track of your biggest successes and mistakes, you can adjust your strategy as needed to appeal to your target demographic and provide greater results. If your industry evolves regularly, you should schedule more frequent reviews. 

Keep up with these developments and come up with new methods to connect and engage your audiences.

You can continue to use your favorite SEO tools to work on your content, but your audit can help you identify pages that need updating and areas of the market that you should be focusing your future content and marketing strategy on.

Use your content audit checklist as a guide for future work. Yes, it takes time to put that content audit template together, but the data you have gathered here can help you to ensure that your page’s meta description serves your objectives as well as possible without needing to stuff the word count with keywords and risk search engine penalties.

What Data Should You Include in your Content Audit Template?

Because content audits can serve an endless variety of objectives, there are no set lists of data points to gather. Below is a list of material categories to consider including in your content audit.

Remember that this is not an exhaustive list, and some data points may fall into more than one category.

Informational Content

All objective facts about the material being audited are provided through informational data. Some of it will have to be extracted manually, but there are website plugins and programs that can do it for you. 

This includes data like summaries, titles, meta descriptions, word count, keywords, and other informative data about your website and its pages. This category forms the majority of what you will be studying with tools like Google Analytics in your website content audit.

Qualitative Content

Qualitative data is acquired manually, which might take some time. However, in an ever-changing environment, it is vital to retain content quality, brand consistency, and reputation. 

This website content audit category includes things like tone, language, readability, images, broken links, and position relative to competing pages, as well as other on-page SEO data. 

This information is very important to the content audit process, but it can be much harder to track than the more objective informational content categories.

Quantitative Content

The figures provide a single source of truth and enable you to define quantifiable targets that can be tracked using content marketing KPIs. They are also essential for performing site health and performance audits.

Depending on what you are monitoring and how much material you are auditing at any given time, you can get some of this information from Google Analytics and Google Console, while others will require specialized content audit tools such as Ahrefs or Screaming Frog. 

This category includes a lot of off-page SEO metrics that require content audit tools to detect, like keyword rankings, inbound links, organic pageviews, linking sites, and visitor bounce rates. 

You may have to use a few different content audit tools to gather all of the relevant data points in these categories.

Top Tips for a Website Content SEO Audit

While even a fairly rough content audit should help you to optimize your content and gain more traffic, particularly with the help of content quality tools and content writing tools, performing your SEO audit as well as possible will help you to ensure that you are getting the best possible results out from all of that effort you will be putting in. 

Here are our top tips for ensuring that your content audit goes as smoothly as possible.

Do Not Confuse Content Audits with Regular Reporting

Regular reporting should not be replaced by content audits. With the exception of those required to fix a specific problem, audits are normally extensive and undertaken periodically or even yearly. 

A content audit is a lot of work, and regular reporting is a smaller task that can keep you going effectively in between larger high-effort content audit projects.

Regular reporting is required to ensure that your content is meeting KPIs and detecting long-term tendencies. Getting to know your metrics and content categories can also help you choose criteria for future audits.

Choose the Right Pages

In general, you should always choose pages for the content audit based on their value to the aims of your website.

However, it is also crucial to evaluate pages that have not been updated in a long time or pages where performance is declining. You may, however, choose to update material before its metrics begin to drop.

For example, if you have multiple high-performing, evergreen pages, you may wish to examine and update them on a regular basis. 

Conducting frequent content audits is the best approach to keep all of your material relevant and up to date. The results of such audits should then be used to update pages that require attention.