Content Audits – A How-To Guide

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By Adrian Cruce

If you have a website that hosts a whole range of content, then it is important that you are aware of what content is most effective when it comes to engaging with your audience and which forms of content are beneficial to your overall internet presence. One of the best ways to assess how effective your content is and how to create traffic boosting content is to have a content audit carried out.

A content audit is a very powerful tool that many marketers and content creators use to gather the information they need to create the best content for a website. However, this isn’t just a tool that professional marketers can use; you can run a content audit yourself if you don’t have the resources to hire a company to do it for you.

By running a content audit, you can learn what is good and what needs changing on your website and can improve the quality and ranking of your content. It is especially crucial if you are running a business website, as a better performing website will drive more traffic and potentially lead to an increase in revenue. This type of qualitative inventory is the key to providing your website with a sense of direction, as it will tell you with what content your audience enjoys and what it doesn’t. However, carrying out a content audit can be daunting if you haven’t done one before.

Here is this helpful how-to guide that provides you with everything you need to know to carry out a successful content audit.

Create a List of Content

In order to assess how effective and beneficial your content is, you need to list every piece of content that features on your website. This is the data collection part of your audit, as you will take note of every item on a spreadsheet that is clearly labeled with the website URL. It is important that you make this spreadsheet organized and tidy so that you can clearly see all the data and interpret it later. You should label each piece of content with the title of the post and how many times it features.

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While this does seem like a lengthy process, you will soon start to see patterns emerging.  You can use Screaming Frog to help you generate this list if you don’t want to do it manually. Their free version can crawl up to 500 links on a site, but after this, you will need to pay to use their premium version.

Categorize Content Performance

Once you know what content you have and where to find it all, you should start to categorize your content and retrieve engagement metrics from it. This will give you the information on how each piece of content is performing and whether it is content you should remove or continue to use on your site. To do this, you should add additional subheadings to your spreadsheet, including the ranking for any keywords, search volume for the main keyword, visits, social media shares, and inbound links.

This will soon highlight which pieces of content are underperforming and are, therefore, a weakness in the overall strength of your website. Content that your audience isn’t interested in is of no benefit to your online presence and thus should be removed and replaced with more effective content. Simply put, if it doesn’t drive traffic or increase engagement, then get rid!   

Create a Target Customer Profile

It is important that you have a good idea of who your target customer is so that you can create content with them in mind. It is essential that you focus all your content on your target audience, whether you are trying to improve your SEO, social media marketing, or content marketing techniques. It can sometimes be difficult to work out who exactly your target audience is, but it enables you to create traffic-driving content for your website. Once you know who they are, you can determine what it is they are interested in. Do not underestimate how important it is to know the demographics (gender, age, etc.) of your target audience when creating content.

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Conduct Gap Analysis

Once you know what content you do have, it will become more obvious what content you need in order to create a more successful website. You need to look at your current content and its engagement metrics alongside your customer profile and use both resources to help you create the right content. You will start to see what content is missing and how you can tailor it to fit the interests and attract the attention of your target audience. You should also consider what content you have now that isn’t getting any engagement or creating traffic. You may find a pattern occurring where a specific type of content isn’t performing well. For example, your target audience may prefer blog posts to infographics, which will indicate what form your content should follow in the future.

Establish New Content Strategy

The last step in your content audit is to establish a new strategy for the content that you will create in the future. You should annotate your spreadsheet with labels such as leave, create, and improve, so that you know what your content strategy is going forward. This should provide you with a clear direction for your website and content. Now if you are doing this content audit yourself, you may then decide to go to a professional marketer or content creator to write the content based on your findings, or you may decide to do it yourself based on the information you have gathered. Either way, you will now have an action plan to work from on how to improve your website and content performance.

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While no collection of content is ever perfect, regularly carrying out an audit means you can ensure that your website is relevant and working to its full potential. This will constantly improve the results of your content marketing and online presence.