A content audit is the foundation of any content marketing strategy. The aim is to run a qualitative analysis of all the content on your website or other sites including your content experience platform and social media channels.
The term “content audit” brings anxiety to a lot of marketers. They see it as an arduous and overwhelming task and question if it is worth the effort. Trust me, it’s worth every minute.
Allow me to go a little off topic to make the case for content audits. I just had a new walk-in closet built and I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to make life easier. I set about getting organized. I categorized all my clothes, accessories and shoes by color and type before putting them into my new closet. A place for everything and everything in its place. This saves me so much time getting dressed, putting away washing and it makes season shifts easier as all items are in the right place. I can simply identify what needs to go away or stay at the end of the season.
A content audit is a marketer’s custom closet. When organized, you enjoy a holistic view of your content. It declutters so you can utilize it, make informed decisions of what needs to be kept, revised or retired. And ultimately, it helps drive revenue by attracting of the right audience and driving conversion. Isn’t that what we all aspire to?
If you are considering a content audit and still questioning the benefits of it, no panic.
Benefits and Purposes of Content Auditing
First let’s look at the definition of content audit. Inbound marketing inventor, HubSpot, defined it as “the process of collecting and analyzing assets on a website, such as landing pages or blog posts. Content audits keep an inventory of a website and provide insight into which content to create, update, re-write, or delete.”
Organizations will run content audits for various reasons from learning what resonates with customers to measuring performance and beyond. SEO expert, BrightEdge, identified three main types of insights that we can examine based on data gathered on our content:
- 1. “How well is your content aligning with what your customers need?” Are you providing your audience with the information they need from the very first stage of the buyer’s journey right to the end?
- 2. “How well is your content attracting the right people?” Is it attracting readers only? Does it generate prospects or buyers? This answer may prompt you to question your marketing strategy and adjust where needed. Maybe you need to change the topics or type of content to attract the preferred audience.
- 3. “Is the content engaging from the title?” Content that has an engaging title will attract more visits and old titles may no longer be appropriate. For example, a 2019 trends article may be useful but won’t be read because people think it is obsolete.
Content strategist, Contently, suggest there are 3 important advantages of running regular content audit strategy:
- 1. Save Money: you can save so much time and money from leveraging existing content rather than creating new one.
- 2. Increase Efficiency: save the clutter, create a place to combine the assets you have and simplify your use strategies. It’s a great way to find different use cases for your content whether to support your salespeople or to identify topics worth expanding on to meet your audience needs.
- 3. Maintain Consistency: Unify your brand guidelines across old and new content. When repurposing old content, you want to make sure that it fits into your most recent brand appearance and messaging.
When and How to Conduct a Content Audit
I understand finding the time to carry out your audit might not be an immediate priority for you. However, there are important indicators that should cause you to consider making it a priority. Allow SEO guru, Neil Patel, to explain the signs that tell you it is time to conduct an audit:
- If your website has been around for a number of years.
- If you have content living there that you can’t remember or aren’t using actively.
- If your team is creating content haphazardly, without a clear plan.
- If you’re struggling to know what to create or post next.
If your content is starting to feel dry and lifeless and you aren’t inspired to make more to support your brand’s marketing strategy.
- 1. Define Your Goals and Metrics
- 2. Take an Inventory of Your Content
- 3. Collect and Analyze Data
- 4. Draw Up an Action Plan
- 5. Adjust Your Content Marketing Strategy
When defining your goals, you want to identify why you are doing the audit. Is to look into what’s working best and what’s not? Make decisions on what to revamp, retire and retain? Improve your SEO performance? Updating branding and layout? Once your objective(s) is/are identified, you can set success metrics for what you aim to achieve. What will success look like in the future?
When collecting your material, you are creating a content inventory that will be the base to your content audit. Gather all the details you need such as URL, content type, author, word count, and date of publish. Then analyze this information. See which ones perform better and which ones do not. Set a fix plan and start executing. Your fix plan may include optimizing for SEO, retitling blogs, discarding or introducing new imagery, facts and stats. This can take place in phases based on the time and amount of content you have.
If you don’t feel confident in these steps, there are many tools that you can leverage for your content audit. Here are a few of our favourites:
- Screaming Frog: a great desktop platform that will give a detailed analysis on your entire website instantly.
- SEOptimizer: a Google Chrome extension that provides a better auditing analysis as it works through web pages one by one. After the website has been audited, you can save the free report in a PDF format, and update strategies and tasks in real time.
- Semrush: analyzes up to 20K pages at once and runs a fast content audit automatically.
- Google Search Console: even though some would argue its value, it is a great free tool that gives a summary of the most important parts of a website: loading speed, HTML markup, broken links, and more.
- Google Search Analytics: Analytics provides data to better understand the behavior of your website visitors. You can view the popularity of your posts while analyzing their stats for pageviews. You can also benefit from metrics such as the average amount of time a visitor spends on your pages. It will also help you learn where you need to make changes.
The Tegrita Way
We don’t believe that a content audit needs to be a daunting mission. Really, once you have all your content gathered and organized in one place (we leverage SmartSheet for our content inventory) and update that sheet regularly, your content audit will be a breeze.
At Tegrita, we update our inventory sheet on a monthly basis (this depends on the amount of content you publish and frequency). However, we only run the content audit exercise twice a year. We are getting much more efficient with it every time we do it so it is far from a chore. We find it informs our strategies going forward, keeps our content relevant, improves our ranking and generates leads.
If it’s your first time, don’t worry. Set a plan. The first time will take the longest especially if you need to gather and catalogue all your assets from scratch. But once you have accomplished this major milestone, the audit will become a cake walk. We have huge amounts of content on our site and have been there. It is never as bad as you fear..
If you want to know more on how we got started or if you need help to streamline your content audit, talk to us, we are happy to help.
About the AuthorMore Content by Manar Asaya