It’s quite possible nothing good follows the word audit. But hear us out—we may be able to convince you of one instance where it’s a good thing. At least, it can produce good information about your website, resulting in an action plan that gives you a clear idea for your content marketing and makes your site more SEO-attractive. And all of that can result in more traffic to your site, new lead generations, and, hopefully, more customers. In a nutshell: a content audit is something you perform on your own website to make it the best it can be. And best is the superlative form of the adjective good. See? Audit=good.
So, what is a content audit, anyway?
It’s the process by which you compile, assess, and analyze all content on your website in order to organize and prioritize your future marketing efforts. So if you have a lot of content on your website, an audit helps you see which content is still resonating, which content needs to be updated, and which content can be deleted. In doing this, you’re taking a look at your site and making sure it still aligns with your business goals and model. Because, let’s face it, things change, especially in the digital world (quite an understatement, right?). But what can’t be overstated is how important content audits are for growing organic traffic, boosting SEO ratings, and expanding reach.
So—ready to dive in? Let’s go!
Step One: Determine Goals
The first step is kind of a preliminary one. As you start to think about the content audit, the best way to wrap your mind around it is to think about why you’re doing it. What are your goals? What do you hope to achieve for your site (and your business) with the audit?
- Simply clean up the site by condensing, updating, and removing content
- Get a potentially higher SEO ranking by cleaning up internal links
- Increase lead generation by seeing which type of content attracts more traffic
- Convert more leads to customers by determining which pages get the most visits
Your goal may be something completely different (share it with us, please!), but what matters is that you have a clear goal in mind so you know how to implement the information you get from the audit.
Step Two: Gather and Organize
You’ll need to compile all your content into one spreadsheet to get a big-picture view of your site. It’s more time-consuming than difficult (maybe something you can pass off to an intern?), but it’s a crucial step. You simply can’t perform the audit without it.
Your spreadsheet should, at least, contain this information:
- Page URL (must-have)
- Publish date
- Page views
- Traffic statistics for the length of time you’re measuring (i.e., the last twelve months)
- Bounce rate
- Percentage of how much traffic is coming from search engines
- Total comments
- Total shares
This information gives you an idea of how your content is performing. If you’d rather not create a spreadsheet from scratch, you can use this template from Co-Schedule. You can also use a web crawler service that filters through your site and gathers the data for you, although you might rather spend your time than your money if you have a relatively small website (as opposed to one with thousands upon thousands of pages).
Step Three: Analyze and Assess
Now that you know what’s on your site, you’re ready to analyze all that data and each piece of your content’s performance.
It’s time to see how you can use this data to reach your goals. Depending on what they are, you’ll want to ask several questions about the content. This is putting your content under the microscope, so to speak, to assess its qualities. Here’s a list of questions you may wish to consider as you scrutinize your content:
- Is it still relevant?
- If it’s outdated, can it be updated or revised?
- Is it engaging?
- Has it been liked, shared, commented on?
- Does it resonate with your (current) target audience?
- Are there broken links in it?
Step Four: Keep, Update, or Scrap
Now it’s time to put your content into three “bins”: Keep It, Update It, or Scrap It.
Evergreen content is almost always a keeper because it always resonates with your target audience and is still relevant to your business model and goals. You could dust it off a bit if there are old links or polish it up with a few new images or videos. You should also keep content that’s performed exceptionally well (likes, shares, etc.) to showcase your expertise, as long as it’s still relevant to your business. Keep your FAQs, but consider updating them based on any new services or products you’re offering.
Content that is no longer relevant should be updated based on new trends, data, and statistics. You can also revise content that didn’t perform particularly well and give it a shine in three ways: 1) with content that’s new and more engaging, 2) with current and more effective research, and 3) by adding media, such as video, that will engage more readers. You can also repurpose content. If you’ve written an article that isn’t getting much traffic, change it out for an infographic. If you did a showcase on a product, do a video on how to use it. Combine blog series articles into a free e-book or expand on them for an e-course.
Get rid of any content you can’t reuse, repurpose, or update. It’s just clogging up your site. Examples would be content that features a discontinued product or service, a recap of a seminar or event that has long-since passed, or content that is duplicated.
Step Five: Move Forward
You’re done! Now it’s time for a plan of action. Schedule time to work on updating posts that can be refreshed, and come up with a new content-marketing strategy, generating new content ideas based on the types of content that performed well according to the statistics found in the audit.
Remember, content audits only work if you do them right and if you do them thoroughly—and if you use the data you came up with. If you get into the habit of doing content audits every six months or so, the task may become less daunting. Agree or disagree? What is your opinion: to audit or not to audit? Let us know!