A content audit is not an easy task. This step-by-step guide will help you conduct a content audit in 2018 quickly and easily.
I have seen people posting content and then never looking back at it.
Do you think it is a right practice?
No, it is not.
A right practice always demands to return to your content regularly to ensure that it is fresh, updated, and in line with the current market trends.
As years go by, the content becomes irrelevant, and readers don’t find it useful. The authenticity of the website gradually starts fading.
When the content is not useful, content marketing strategies start losing their effectiveness. And the need for a content audit arises.
Did you know that only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates?
You might be thinking the reason behind this low rate.
Conversions rates tend to be low when businesses don’t focus on understanding customer psychology – what customers want. This is indirectly linked to the effectiveness of website content.
Therefore, it is a good practice to run a regular content audit on your website to know which content is outdated, irrelevant.
What Is Content Audit?
A content audit is a qualitative analysis of a website content to determine which content to keep, which to change/improve, and which to remove.
A content audit will help you analyze your current content performance as well as figure out your future content strategy.
In this post, I will discuss three main agendas:
- Reasons why a content audit is necessary
- Tools that are required to conduct a content audit
- Procedure to perform the audit.
Without wasting time, let us quickly jump on the first one:
Why Do You Need to Conduct A Content Audit in 2018?
The main purpose of conducting a content audit is to find out loopholes in your content deliverables. If you are aware of the issues your content is having, it will be easy for you to rectify them.
With a thorough content audit, you can find out:
- Content that requires editing and improvement
- Content that should be removed
- Content that should be merged to escape similar topics
- Content that should be optimized to improve ranking
- Content having old statistics and information
- Content having 404 errors or broken links
Also, a content audit helps you escape content related penalties.
These are the reasons why a content audit in 2018 is something that you cannot ignore.
In a nutshell,
“A content audit is a qualitative analysis that is performed to enhance the trust of the website by improving its content quality.”
Moving down to the tools that are required to perform a content audit.
What Are the Tools You Should Use for a Content Audit in 2018?
Analyzing content manually on a spreadsheet or paper can be a cumbersome task.
To be very honest, the first time when you perform a content audit, you might feel overwhelming, but thankfully, with the advent of latest technologies, there are many software and tools that are designed to help users with a content audit.
Needless to say, content audit tools can save time and money both!
The next, I’m going to share some popular content audit tools you can use.
1. Screaming Frog
Light, flexible and quick are the features that define Screaming Frog the most.
A desktop program that allows users to analyze website content instantaneously. Though it is a crawling tool, it works more like a complete website auditing tool that provides a lot of important website information.
By using this tool, you can get information like:
- Find out broken links
- Analyze page titles and metadata
- Discover duplicate content
- Audit redirects
- Generate XML sitemaps
- Extract data with XPATH
- Integrate Google analytics
- Review robots and directives
It is simple, free website auditing tool that will perform detailed website analysis taking into account more than 100 key parameters.
You can get a comprehensive website analysis report and recommendations to improve ranking within seconds. You can also save the report in PDF format for future reference.
By using SEOPTIMER, you can get information like:
- Website analysis report
- Actionable recommendations to improve ranking
- Instructions to improve your website content
- Checking and comparing competitor’s sites
- Customized PDF reports
3. SE Ranking
SE Ranking website audit tool performs a comprehensive audit by taking into account over 70 key parameters and provides valuable website information like ranking report, competitor analysis, backlink monitoring, keyword suggestions and more.
By using this tool, you can get information like:
- Website analysis report
- Spotting key glitches
- Actionable recommendations for improving website
- Keyword position tracking
- Competitor analysis
- Backlink monitoring and analysis
These are some easy-to-use content audit tools that will save you tons of time.
In case you have any other content audit tool in the mind, you can use that.
The purpose is to meet the need without any hassle.
How to Do a Content Audit
It’s time to get started with the content audit process. We have divided the entire process into four simple steps.
Step 1: Create a List of Content Inventory
The first step is to create a spreadsheet of all your content inventory. There are two ways to do so; manually and by using software/tools.
By doing manually, you have to compile a list of all URLs’ of your website and then paste them into a spreadsheet.
Yes, it is.
Why not make it simple?
Use online software like Screaming Frog or Sitemap Generator to create a content inventory list.
If you have a small website, you can use Screaming Frog’s free version that crawls up to 500 links; if your website is long enough, then you will require the premium version.
First, you have to download Screaming Frog software to your computer/laptop – whatever you are using.
Once you open the software, it will look like:
Now, you have to enter the website URL for which you want to create a content inventory list and press start button.
In the below image, I have entered our website www.rankingbyseo.com.
Once you press the start button, the software will start crawling URLs as shown in below image.
As I told you above, use free version if you have a small site with pages less than 500 otherwise the software will stop crawling the links once it has reached the limit.
To have a clear idea, please see below image.
Once it’s done, you have to set the filter to HTML and export the results.
If you notice that a few URLs are missing, you can choose other option like sitemap generator.
Enter your website address and other details and click “Generate Sitemap.”
You can download the XML sitemap file in your computer and copy the results in a spreadsheet.
Moving on to Step 2.
Step 2: Categorize Content and Set Metrics
In step 1, you have gathered all the content data that you have, now it’s time to see how it is performing.
In this step, you will identify the content that is under-performing.
For this, you have to create a metrics of 14 parameters. Add one column for each parameter in your spreadsheet.
- 1. Page title
- Length of title
- Page category
- Meta description<
- Keyword ranking
- Search volume for major keywords
- Traffic per month
- Organic search traffic per month
- Bounce rate
- Number of linking root domains
- Average time on page of organic search traffic
- URL rank
- Social Shares
You might be wondering where you will get the value of these parameters from.
Not to worry!
Use tool like Screaming Frog to know the title of the page, length of the title, Meta description, and page category.
Use any keyword research tool to find out keyword ranking, search volume for major keywords.
Use Google Analytics for your website to know parameters like traffic per month, organic search traffic per month, bounce rate and average time on page of organic search traffic.
Use link database tools like Ahrefs, Majestic to find out a number of backlinks, linking root domains and URL rank.
Use any social share count tool like SharesCount to get total social shares of your website.
Now you have all the information related to the content metrics.
Using these tools can save your hours and can give you up-to-date values.
Moving on to Step 3
Step 3: Analyze Content and Find Gap
The third and most important step is to analyze the content and find a content gap.
Do you know what Content Gap is?
Think this gap as a difference between your current content and the content your users are interested in.
To analyze this, you have to create a spreadsheet in which you will add columns narrating information like target audience. Once you identify your target audience, the next, you will analyze the content they are interested in.
By using this information, you can find new topics and keywords and complete the spreadsheet with information like search volume data these keywords have.
So, now you have two spreadsheets, one created in Step 2 and one above.
To find out the content gap, you have to compare both the spreadsheets. Analyze which content topics you are missing; which content is performing good and which is not.
By analyzing both the sheets, you will get to know the gap in your content.
To be honest, there is no particular formula to check whether the content is performing or not. It is totally up to you; for some, 200 visitors per month on a website is good, and for others, it is not.
You can also analyze search ranking and traffic your content is getting to have a clear idea about content performance.
Moving on to last and final step 4.
Step 4: Create a Content Strategy to Fill the Gap
In step 3, you have analyzed content gap, and now it’s time to fill that gap.
For this, you have to create a content strategy by doing a careful inspection of the content.
Start by adding a column “Action” in your spreadsheet. It will be better if you add this column at the beginning of the sheet.
Now you have to analyze each row carefully and mark a label in the action column.
The labels you can mark are – Leave, Improve, Merge, Create and Delete.
- “Leave” means content is performing well; there are no changes required.
- “Improve” means content is not performing well, you have to improve it.
- “Create” means any new content piece that needs to be added.
- “Merge” means merging overlapping or same content topics.
- “Delete” means content that is not required anymore.
Next thing you have to do is, to add another column “Priority” on the sheet. I suggest adding the “Priority” column just next to the “Action” column.
You will assign each action a priority ranging from 1-10, mark 1 for highest priority and 10 for least priority (Don’t assign priority to “Leave”).
If a content piece requires urgent changes or improvement, it will get a high priority.
Finally, you have to sort all the actions based on their priorities and plan the content marketing activities accordingly.
No content is complete and final forever – there will always be some updates required.
Conduct a content audit in 2018 to keep your content fresh and to know what has worked in the past and what to try in the future.
And remember, Content Audit is not a process that should be conducted once in a blue moon, in fact, make a habit of performing it regularly.
No doubt, it is one of the most effective ways to improve results of your content marketing activities.
Trust me, if you have not done a content audit before, do it now, and you will see the difference in your website traffic and conversion rate.
If you have any confusion or query about any of these topics discussed above, feel free to ask me a question in the comment section.