How to perform a content audit
Content audits are a great way to understand your existing content, the purpose it has (or should have) served, being able to highlight areas or topics that may have changed since first being created and to give a direction of creating content going forward.
Marketers have understood the value of creating content and how it would benefit the business. With the many different social platforms available, rather than focusing efforts on creating new content, marketers should invest time in reviewing existing content and having the content repurposed for different mediums.
Content audits can be painstaking and tedious, but with a little guidance and the help of tools, you can make the process a lot easier and manageable.
Create a content inventory
To begin your content audit, you would first need to create a content inventory. A content inventory can simply be a spreadsheet or table with the following columns:
- Type of content (blog, video, podcast)
- Area of the site (product description, main website, blog)
- Date (when was the content created)
- Page URL
- Links — list all the links you find on each URL page
- Ranking (score the content between 1–5 or use a traffic light system of red, yellow, green)
- Identifier to mark what has been updated
The table will help you with mapping out the content on the website. Don’t forget to include footer links and any sub domains in your audit.
Crawl indexable URLs
Your content audit will require a complete crawl of all URLs that are indexable by search engines. Your website administrator will be able to provide a list of all the URLs that are indexable and can be crawled.
Any pages that will not be crawled should be excluded from your audit.
Scoring the content
Every piece of content and every page on your website needs to be reviewed. You can either rank the content by scoring it between 1 and 5 or using the traffic light system of red, yellow, green which is often easier to understand and is quicker when dealing with larger websites.
The content would need to be scored against the following criteria:
- Does it match the brand’s tone of voice?
- Does it meet the customer needs/expectations?
- Has the content got any measurable metrics (likes, shares, comments, links, SEO page ranking, keyword ranking?
Identify any pages that may have content that is no longer relevant or has expired such as competitions or rewards. Your call to action also need to be relevant, you don’t want a user to sign up for something that is outdated.
Once you have scored the content you can then move on to the next stage of your content audit.
Fixing low ranking content
Once you have identified the content that needs attention you can then start with the corrections. Start by looking at the content which is thin and requires more substance.
Then look at the content that has grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. You would also need to take into account the keyword density and ensure that the content is not stuffed with the targeted keyword, making it seem unnatural or out of context.
You may need to create new content or rewrite the copy. Remember to take into account the ranking and SEO value the page has before rewriting the content. Is it easier to rewrite existing content or will a new high-quality piece of content be better for search engine purposes?
Older content can be SEO gold if properly managed. Assess the headings, subheadings, sentence and paragraph lengths. Remember to incorporate the keywords and phrases you are targeting. Don’t forget to include the alt tags, meta titles and descriptions for your older copy.
When carrying out a content audit, it is a good opportunity to look at links that are dead or may be pointing in the wrong place. Check all the internal links within your content to ensure they are still relevant. A link may point to a page, product or website that no longer exists.
You would also need to remove any links to external websites that are not relevant, have a low trust value or are spammy. Don’t forget to look at removing or fixing broken images.
Speak to your webmaster about getting 301 redirects set up for pages that no longer exist.
Content audits should form the basis for your marketing and SEO strategy. Audits have a habit of revealing holes in your content or areas that require improvement. This is especially the case for larger and older sites with many products or links.
By creating a comprehensive inventory of your existing content and cleaning up old lower ranking content, marketers, webmasters and SEO teams are able to see significant improvements to page rankings and website traffic.
Deciding to opt for either new copy or rewrite content ultimately depends on your writing skills, budget and how much time you have. Another priority would be to fix broken internal and external links. The broken links and broken images harm your page ranking.
This post originally appeared on Big Outreach