Content Audit: An Ultimate Guide for Effective Content Marketing
You might have encountered the term,” content is the king” at least once in your life. We live in a content-first world where content drives conversions. A rock-solid content strategy, coupled with search engine optimization gives a unique voice to your brand. But writing rock-solid content that moves mountains requires a lot of time and effort. Here’s a comprehensive guide to a content audit.
In content marketing, it is always the 80/20 rule. 20% of content brings 80% results. This holds water for every content marketing audit I have done. A handful of articles pull the maximum number of clicks and conversions. When we talk about content marketing, the first thing should be to create and distribute content that often we don’t reuse.
According to a study, most content marketers don’t feel the need to audit, which is strange as it helps improve content marketing strategy.
What is a Content Audit?
It is a process of systematically reviewing all the content on your website. The process allows you to pay special attention to the optimization efforts and see whether you meet your business objectives or not.
If performed adequately, you can find gaps in your content which can be fulfilled to serve your target audience better. Finding your target audience will not only step up your content game but will also help mature your digital strategy following the dynamic industrial trends.
How Should You Create Content That Converts?
Before creating content, you must ask yourself who your audience is? What is your audience looking for? How can you solve their problems? All these questions will help you to write a clear and crisp copy that is as relevant to your audience as possible.
Once you’re done, you’ll be all set to write content copy that can move mountains. Every content marketer has their way of creating and publishing high-quality content, but there are a few things you must ponder before creating a writing piece. The first one is the audience.
Your content should resonate with your audience, so they keep on coming back to you. Seek feedback from your current customers through social media pages, emails, and surveys.
Also, review a case study of industry experts in your niche to understand your customers better. It helps in delivering content that aligns with your customers.
How to Perform a Content Audit — A Step by Step Process
Since content auditing is a time-consuming process, so you need to set clear guidelines right from the start to have successful results in the end. The first step is having clear business goals in your mind. What benefits will a content audit bring? What results do you want to achieve?
Some of the goals are:
Identify where your SEO stands:
- Identify your high ranking web pages and keep them aside from the low ranking ones. Take the help of Google spreadsheets or any other spreadsheet while doing so.
- Understand what content you need to remove or update on your website.
- Check for backlinking and interlinking.
Boost audience engagement
- Find what topics help to solve your audience’s pain points. Make a list of all such topics.
- Analyze your competitor’s content, and it’s performance.
- Resort to community building websites such as Quora and GoodFirms community to find out what sort of content reaches maximum engagement.
- Understand which page offers the best user experience.
- Identify the different types of content that convert throughout the buyer’s journey.
Once you’ve determined your goals, your work is half done. Now, you have a better understanding of the metrics you need to take care of.
2. Consolidate Your Content at One Place
- Use crawling tools like Screaming Frog or URL Profiler to identify all the URLs from your existing websites and download it as.CSV file (or simply export it). These tools, by default catalog every piece of information on your site, including image links, tag pages, and category pages that isn’t relevant to the audit.
- You can also use Microsoft Spreadsheets or Google sheets to run this process manually. Although it will take some time, it is better than using crawling tools as you can only connect the data points you want.
- If you’ve submitted guest posts or infographics, include those links as well.
Whichever process you choose, include the following points:
- Content piece title
- Content piece type (Out of the box or classic)
- Image ALT Tags
- Publish date
- Author name
- Call to Action
- Page Bounce Rate
- Average Time on Page
- Page bounce rate
- Social shares (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram)
It’s common for audit to take days, weeks, and months to complete, depending upon the size of the website and the nature of organizational resources.
Once you’re done cataloging your data, analyze it. You must ensure to get something meaningful out of it. You need to analyze your content metrics to attain a clear picture of its present state.
For example, your web page is gaining good traction, but at the same time, the bounce rate is also high. Well, this either means the visitors didn’t find the content they were looking for or your content offers little to no value.
In this case, you need to assess different points of the content right from the title to the conclusion. If you break your content into different parts and assess them, you can catch hold of the problem and rectify it.
Also, consider different stages of the buyer’s journey. A content that makes people aware of the dynamic trends of the industry attracts more traffic. On the other hand, promotional content generates more sales.
Using the following strategy for assessing content.
a) Keep: Keep what performs well and remains relevant. You can repurpose such content pieces into other forms of content and incorporate into your content marketing strategy.
Examples: Generic and well-researched content, information about your company, FAQs, Industry trends, and tactics.
b) Update: The content audit will show pages that aren’t performing well. Review the content on those pages and find how you can make it useful. You may find relevant content with outdated information which needs to be revised.
Examples: articles with data and statistics, Low traffic, low performing content.
c) Delete: If you know some content pieces aren’t performing well, or update will take a lot of your time and efforts, delete it. You may also have created some promotional articles and landing pages in the wake of seasonal marketing campaigns that are no longer required, consider removing them as well.
Examples: duplicate content, campaign-specific content, out of stock product information.
3. Integrate Online and Offline Touchpoints
Industry experts have time and again reiterated to keep your online and offline content elements separated from one another. But, you can miss a crucial opportunity of you don’t cross-promote your products or services on different platforms.
Key questions to jot down:
- Is your website social sharing ready?
- Are you cross-linking between different social media channels?
- Do you have a strong digital presence?
Actions and measures:
- Ensure that social media channels are directly accessible from your website and can easily catch the user’s eye. Ensure to use the right social media links.
- Review links that point to your website on your social channels. Are they embedded in their respective social media icons? Are they working? Do they point to the right pages?
- Check organic, direct, referral, and social traffic through Google Analytics to see whether your content marketing efforts are on the right track.
- Review how online and offline content is connected. For example, check whether the hashtag used in a social media post is used in a TV advertisement; its performance on each platform, respectively. Also, check whether your target audience well perceives the cross-promotional activities.
In 2017, Marketing land found URLs overtook hashtags in Super Bowl ads:
Now you know most of the things about your content. But unless you don’t have a unique product and services, you’re not going to be a show stopper. For everything else, there are competitors.
The content you put out will always be tried, tested, and connected to what your competitors are putting out in some way or the other.
Conducting an audit of your competitor is pretty much similar to assessing your own information. Here are a few additional factors to consider:
Here’s how to find a few metrics in Moz as an example:
As you can see, I’ve evaluated domain authority, inbound links, external linking domains, and the unique keywords on which a company like Goodfirms ranks.
By vetting these metrics, you can find what works for your competitor might also work for you. The websites that link to them might even link to you if you approach with a powerful piece of content or an out of the box guest post idea.
Importance of a Content Audit
Today, almost everyone turns to the search engine to find answers and solutions. Hence, to remain relevant to your niche, you need to carry frequent content audits. We all know the importance of ranking on the first page of the search engine. Content auditing helps you reach there.
Here are the top reasons to go for a content audit and develop a kickass content marketing strategy.
1. You can revitalize your content
By bringing in fresh ideas that align with your brand, you ensure that the content that is going on all your marketing collaterals is relevant and up to date. This helps in ranking your brand organically and helps top the search engine results page.
As we know, search engines always favor fresh and relevant over dull and dormant content, so you have to ace up your content creation process.
2. It helps boost SEO.
By religiously using Google search console and other keyword research tools, you’ll be able to spot new potential keywords that increase your visibility. Create content by employing a mixture of high and low volume keywords to leverage on organic ranking potential.
A content audit helps you analyze your website thoroughly leaving no room for duplicate & poor-quality articles, and malicious and broken links. Hence, it improves your on-page as well as off-page SEO efforts.
3. You can refresh and update your sitemaps.
Search engine crawlers go through your website regularly to crawl vital information. But it may take a week before their next visit depending upon your website’s settings.
When you’ve made necessary changes to your website, you help search engines to identify significant changes immediately.
4. Boost revenue.
Software and media companies largely depend on content marketing. If done correctly, any company can climb up the success ladder without having to break the bank. However, the utmost important thing here is ensuring that your content aligns with your customer’s and becomes their voice.
You need to create content that pinpoints your target audience’s woes and resolves them. Auditing will help you figure out which goals are left out, allowing you to include them in your content marketing strategy, which eventually boosts overall strategy.
A content audit will make sure you stay on the top of your content marketing strategy and bear fruitful results. It allows you to track different metrics and content performances, make decisions that are powered by data and statistics, and help you to take your content game a notch higher.
By carefully indexing your data, assessing it, and rectifying your mistakes, you’ll make informed decisions that will help reduce costs, improve efficiency, and grow your brand. Also remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here.
A content audit takes many routes, shapes, approaches, scopes, and leads you to exciting destinations. Take time to study this process. Learn about the process by doing it, and start your audit. You’ll have a fool-proof guide to kick start content auditing in 2020.