A content audit is the foundation of content strategy and it governs content marketing. It’s the practice of evaluating elements and information assets of a content. This methodical auditing process enables the webmasters to publish relevant and correct web content.
With Google’s major algorithm updates recently it has become mandatory for every webmaster to put more emphasis on presenting high quality web content to their audience. Or else Google penalizes those who don’t devote enough time in producing valuable web materials. This activity has taken a toll over the last couple of years and webmasters must take this into account for effective web content management.
Google Panda’s updates make things more complicated and hence high quality content becomes paramount. According to Panda’s recent updates- it would reward high-quality websites and belittle the presence of low content-quality sites in Google’s organic search engine results or SERP.
Following are the criteria depending on which Google Panda diminishes websites:
- Thin or weak content structure
- Duplicate or copied content from other sites
- Low-quality pages that lack in-depth information
- Lack of authority or trustworthiness
- Content farming process or a massive low – quality pages gathered from other websites
- Low-quality user-generated content
- Content mismatching search query – Pages that make a false promise to the audience on search results but provide irrelevant contents leading to disappointment to the viewers.
Therefore, the entire scenario has given rise to the concept of a content audit.
Content Audit: A must for an effective Content Marketing
A content audit is a content review process of scrutinizing all contents on a website and assessing those to identify their relative strengths and flaws for further prioritization. The content analysis steps include qualitative assessment and evaluation based on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Content audit for the website is necessarily a qualitative analysis of all the content on a site or social media presences.
Similarly, a web content also must go through the quantitative analysis to rank higher in SERP. Content inventory handles the process of quantitative analysis of a website. A content inventory is essential while doing a content audit because the process creates a log of all the content on your site- typically that include texts, documents, images and applications.
With Content inventory process you start with a website review, the system logs the records on a website for your reference and makes it convenient for you to perform a content audit. Further, this process of evaluation enables webmasters to take stock of onsite contents/content on print and decide for fruitful content solutions.
Why should you use content audit
Content marketing plays a huge role in the brand promotion and developing business recognition. A business shares relevant contents in the form of (texts, images or visuals) to its audience through various media- print (marketing collaterals), social media or website to tell them about the company, the products and services, It also offers other essential information that might benefit the readers too. Developing a content marketing strategy is quite critical because presenting valuable contents to the audience is a necessity.
Develop an effective content strategy and take your business to the next level.
A content audit provides an answer to the question – if the content is of any good or not.
Derek Slater states that with content audit you can find answers to the following five questions:
- What content does the website already has?
- Who is making this content?
- How people find the content?
- How is the content performing in a search engine?
- Is the content current or an outdated document?
A content audit has become an integral part of content marketing. There are specific best practices which you need to follow if you want to rank in search results. By investing a little time, you can produce perfect and accurate materials for digital and print media.
Let’s delve into the purpose of a content audit that affects your SEO:
- Find out ways how to escape a search engine ranking filter or penalty
- Discover those contents that need editing to enhance the quality
- Review those contents that require updates
- Consolidate those contents that have overlapping topics
- Removing materials that are no more relevant to the site
- Determine the following content gap opportunities:
a) Content ranking for which particular keywords.
b) Which page adds to the strength of a domain and what should you do to leverage them.
How to conduct an audit
There are some services and tools to conduct a content audit. Additionally different medium requires separate treatment. Several content marketing experts suggest about two types of auditing processes – a full content audit and partial audit.
As the names imply, a full content audit is a comprehensive evaluation of a web content whereas partial review focuses primarily on a subcategory of the site. Moreover, there are content sampling that examines samples of content. You may select any method according to your requirement.
It’s quite natural for you to look for content audit best practices. Here’s a detailed website content audit checklist which you may refer to and conduct content audit efficiently.
Checklist 1: Deciding on the following audit goals and essential metrics before beginning the audit process
- Determine web pages with high SEO potentials
- Infer what kind of content update you require to make it more valuable
- Assess and optimize internal content linking
- Find out the most engaging types of content for the audience
- Identify those topics that are sure to interest your visitors
- Figure out what kind of content generates more engagement amongst your audience
- Discover the best lead generation content
- After determining goals correlate with relevant content metrics
Checklist 2: Creating an inventory of all published contents
Before starting with the audit process, it’s essential to collect URLs and data. Decide what kind of content you would like to review – the list can be huge: landing pages, internal content, blog posts, product descriptions, educational materials. Here’s the checklist for completing the evaluation process efficiently.
- Gather URLs of those contents that you want to assess. You can use website analytics to audit your content. Additionally, it would provide you with the list of important web pages.
- List the names of the content with the help of an online tool or a spreadsheet to sort them by different criteria.
- Create the content audit worksheet based on the following categories:
- Stages of a buyer’s journey
- Type of post- blog/product description/ landing page
- Format of the post- text/images/videos present
- Word count
- Publication dates and/or last modification dates
An example of HubSpot content audit process and the content audit worksheet.
Checklist 3: Collecting and assessing all Data
Data collection is a tedious process and requires extensive research. Hence you need to use content audit tool to collect data based on your goals and metrics automatically. One of the best and most used tools that help in effective audit process is SEMrush. Using this tool you can find data of social signals from Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn, backlinks, as well as user signals – for e,g average session duration and bounce rate. Finally, using each of your collected data and metrics, start to assess each piece of content according to your goals- which ones to keep, ones to update and ones to remove.
Checklist 4: Presentation of the summary and reporting
After completion of all the above steps, write a report and present a summary of the entire process. Include details of your content audit criteria etc. Create recommendations for the contents of internal audit report and summarize your findings.
A content marketer today needs to understand the importance of content audit. Every business owner must have an in-depth idea of the major aspects of auditing and evaluation. He must consider the process for immediate use to streamline his content marketing strategy. The old websites that have extensive content structure require pruning. With this fruitful content marketing strategy, these websites can develop value and weight.