When you are finished you should have a spreadsheet of all your content grouped together within a sheet organised by page URLs, existing H1s, meta data and any other relevant information you’d like to keep from the site crawl. It would also be useful to create individual tabs on the spreadsheet to separate content types, for example, you could create a tab for landing pages, a tab for blogs and a tab for all social media posts. This would give the audit structure and better navigation making your content easily accessible. Any cells missing data should be highlighted such as missing meta data or H1s; these can be filled in as you begin to optimise your content further down the line.
What Are Content Audits & Why Are They Important?
Good quality, relevant and helpful content, now more than ever, is key to digital marketing success. The saying ‘Content is King’ wasn’t coined for nothing after all! Great content enables you to reach specific target audiences with the useful information they are searching for. Delivering excellent content is a subtle gesture which shows a willingness to help readers and, as a result, attracts them to your site, assisting rather than interrupting their journey and encouraging them to interact with you.
Whatever the size of your business it is likely that you will have content available. Whether it is already written and on your site or waiting to be uploaded, just being planned or still in the heads of your experienced team. So, what do you do with it all and how do you make the most of it?
Content is a valuable resource and can add value repeatedly and across platforms if it is managed, optimised, repurposed and updated effectively. However, you may find that your content pile feels a little daunting even to think about. With no specific content focus, aim or purpose, the ‘thing’ that’s meant to be ‘king’ can feel overwhelming and unmanageable.
The answer is content audits. Content audits are a hugely valuable part of any content strategy and can help you evaluate your content marketing strategies, giving you the opportunity to organise everything you have on record and help clarify your plans for additional content. In a time where marketing is striving towards a digital future, the importance of a structured content audit for successful content marketing growth has never been so apparent.
So, what should I do with it?
With all the quantitative information in your hands and the right questions asked, you can move to the qualitative side of the audit, where we’ll take an in-depth look at the URLs chosen by you during the quantitative analysis.
After selecting a relevant percentage of content to inform your qualitative content audit, you will provide information to the URLs according to their target persona, shareability, quality, and redundancy. Do include voice and tone notes, as well as comments and suggestions related to conversion and UX possibilities for the page.
Improved User Experience
A quality Content Audit will be responsible for improving the User Experience by determining new CTA’s (Calls-To-Action) for each article, post, or page. Having a better understanding of the audience persona will also allow you to create better internal linking to make sure the reader gets the best information and experience possible without having to leave your website.
Improve Content Performance
Low-performing content and thin pages (the ones with less than 300 words) can be updated or deleted in order to improve the overall performance of the website. Sometimes it’s possible to determine how different pages cannibalize the keywords, in this case, it’s sometimes worth it deleting one of the pages while upgrading the other one.
Identify Content Gaps
Your website talks about how great the product is but it doesn’t mention exactly what it does? Take a look at questions being asked on search engines to make sure you’re actually answering all of them. Identifying content gaps will lead to better internal linking and new pages being featured on the SERP.
Improve Existing and Future Quality
That blog post from 2018 is still performing well? Maybe it’s time to breathe new life into it, with the inclusion of videos, images, graphs, and more information this content can keep a healthy and improved life. And now that you understand exactly what your audience is looking for it’s time to create new content that talks directly to their needs and wants.
What’s worth keeping, reusing, and repurposing?
Open your spreadsheet, take a look at both the qualitative and the quantitative analyses, or, even better, make a pivot table to help you report and analyze the trends. Take a look at the low-performing content and the URLs that you have graded as having low “shareability, quality and redundancy” and consider what is worth keeping, reusing, improving, or deleting.
How do you decide what’s worth keeping or deleting? Take another close look at the URLs, think if there’s something that could be improved, maybe take the E-A-T approach to decide if the content is good and worth living. When you work with enterprise sites, E-A-T principles can guide those updates.
You can also make connections between the content you currently have. See how they connect to each other. Maybe you can implement a ritual offering, where posts with dire performance that touches on the same topics as high-performance ones are deleted. You can transfer some of its content to the high-performance one as a way to repurpose parts of it and upgrade something that was already good.
How do we assemble a team that works?
For a content audit team to succeed, it needs a team manager, Cathy says, and it needs members from all stakeholder groups: IT, marketing, the business lines, and so on. Once the team is in place, the company must commit to auditing the content regularly and properly.
Cathy likens un-inventoried, unaudited content to a library without a catalog. You can’t manage your content – keeping the whole collection fresh, useful, findable, and relevant – if you don’t know what you have.
How often do you audit your content? Who does it? What are the most important things you assess to support your business goals? How much tweaking do you do while auditing? (It seems to me even quick fixes could drag you down to the bottom of a content bog.) Please share what works for you in a comment.
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