We were all beginners once, and some of us have been blogging for a long time. It is very easy to forget about the old content we have written in the past. Some of it may be good and some of it is pretty bad, but it has probably been so long you can’t remember. This is where a content audit is going to come in. It will help you pinpoint the holes in your content strategy and how you are going to fix them. Throughout this post, I will take you through the importance this type of audit for SEO benefits, as well as how to perform it successfully.
Why Audit Content?
An audit can help in many different ways for any given scenario. Below are some things that you will be able to accomplish:
- How you can effectively escape a Panda penalty
- Help you decide which pages need new copy/editing
- Help find pages that need to be updated to be made more current
- Whether pages that are overlapping in topic need to be combined
- Help you decide which pages should be removed from the site, or may soon need to be removed from the site
- You will be able to prioritize your content based on different metrics such as visits, conversions, page authority, etc.
- May help you find a content gap in your website and may even drive new topic ideas and editorial calendars
- Find which pages are ranking for what keywords
- Determine which pages should be ranking for which keywords
- Find the strongest pages and try to leverage with a great strategy
- Might help you come up with new content marketing opportunities
- If you are auditing a client’s website, it will help you understand the assets/content you have to work with
The above are just a many few advantages of auditing all of your old content. Now, let's talk more about how to perform this audit.
How to Audit:
Performing a content audit can be a lengthy process, especially if you have a lot of pages on your website, but it is definitely worth it when you consider the many benefits you get out of it. Here are some steps to perfoming a great audit.
1. Get a Content Auditing Tool
This first step is to ensure you have a tool that will help you get a feel for the major issues that exist on your site by crawling and giving you information. I use Screaming Frog as my preferred tool, but SEMrush is also a great option. These tools will help you check for some of the major issues that exist on the website such as page title errors, missing alt-text, thin content, and much more.
When it comes to duplicate content within the body of the page, I utilize an extra tool, called Siteliner, to assist in finding these errors. This will tell you the how much of the pages content is duplicate, so you can go in and fix the pages and that are too similar. I find this tool makes it much easier to pinpoint duplicate content within the body of the page.
2. Create an Excel Document
Assuming you do not already have one of these documents setup, now is the time to create an excel document that will house all of the data that you find while analyzing all of the content on your website.
Having this document makes it easier to indicate the quality of content, flag what needs to be fixed and include other page-specific notes. Because we are using an auditing tool, this will be where we will import all of our data.
To make things easier on yourself, make sure you customize your spreadsheet to include only the things that are important to you. This is the time where you will import the data. Because the auditing tool spits out a lot of extra information, you will want to make sure you only import what is relevant.
You can also make a copy of a Google Docs Spreadsheet here, which is a great way to format your own content audit.
It might be good to give your content a grading system to prioritize your pages based on minor to major updates/reworks.
3. Take a close look at every page
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to do this, but if you want an effective content audit, it is very important that you view every page in depth. This helps make your decisions about prioritization and other circumstances that may exist.
When taking a look at the pages, here are some things you may want to check:
- Do spelling errors exist?
- Are the keywords appropriate for the content?
- Does the content need to be refreshed? The opinion may have changed or the industry has changed.
- Could the content be more user-friendly?
- Do you have the correct call-to-action still?
- Does the content need to be rewritten? Maybe it is a good topic, but your writing skills were not that great back then.
- Are all the links still working, or are they returning 404 errors?
- Did someone link to every single keyword, spamming the user?
- Are there any low-hanging fruit opportunities, such as better titles, descriptions, etc.?
- Are your Page Titles & H1s optimized properly?
- Do all of your images have alt-text?
- Do the images/aesthetics need to be refreshed? Are they outdated?
- Might be good to think about resharing them on social.
A content audit is not too difficult to perform, but it does take great organizational skills. You must go through your site page-by-page, and as a result, it can be very time-consuming. However, it will make a huge difference in your SEO and user-experience.
Your website is always an ongoing development, so it important to realize that this project never really comes to a close. There might even be a good opportunity in the future to perform a content audit to further enhance your SEO efforts.