Content auditing is an essential process that should be carried out regularly. This will improve your website’s overall performance and encourage a positive user experience. Because content auditing is a lengthy and technical procedure, it’s common for people to forget certain areas or incorrectly carry out specific actions.
If you wish to conduct a content audit, but need some guidance, be sure to check out this article and discover why content audits are important and how you can avoid common mistakes.
What is a Content Audit?
A content audit is a systematic process that involves assessing the performance of specific assets on a website, including blog pages, landing pages, and product/service pages. This provides you with a bird's-eye view of your content, allowing you to pinpoint which areas are helping you reach your content strategy objectives and which areas require some improvement.
You may wonder, ‘When should I conduct a content audit?’ Well, there are actually various scenarios where a content audit is required, such as:
As part of an annual assessment of your website’s performance
When redesigning your website
During the creation of a new content strategy or revising your existing one
When successful content plummets
4 Key Components of a Content Audit:
Listed below are the four major features which combine to create a content audit. When implemented together, these four components can help you unveil how you can improve your website’s performance:
Review of Content Inventory: What content do you have on your website?
Data Analysis: What do your website’s metrics tell you about your content’s performance?
Gap Analysis: Is your content helping you reach your business goals?
Competitive Analysis: What do your competitors do well?
The Benefits of Auditing Content
When done right, a content audit can present various benefits that will undoubtedly encourage your website to thrive. To illustrate the importance of this strategic process, we have shortlisted the greatest benefits that a content audit can present:
Helps You Eliminate Dead Weight on Your Website
When you produce a constant stream of content, it can be easy for underperforming pieces to fall between the gaps and go unnoticed. While these may not be obvious to spot, they present a significant burden to your site’s performance.
Removing underperforming pages from your website is called content pruning and is an essential part of auditing. Effective ways of content pruning include deleting low-performing or outdated blog posts, combining like-content, removing poor-quality pages, and removing or replacing irrelevant links.
Unveils Content Gaps
A content audit can identify opportunities to create new content, called content gaps. These are missing areas within your content and across your site’s pages that lack information relevant to your audience. For instance, certain content may lack in SEO keywords and certain pages may be missing important information needed to facilitate your customers' buyer journey.
Maximises Your Website’s Potential
The overall effect of completing a content audit includes how it will uplift your website’s potential. Auditing will help you remove low-quality and tap into content gaps which will improve the overall quality and SEO performance of your content and strengthen the structure of your website, making it easy for audiences to discover and navigate across.
Improves Your Content Strategy
A content audit will paint a clear picture of your website’s performance and make informed refinements to your strategy based on the data you collect during the auditing process. This will enable you to understand which goals within your content strategy have been met, and which areas require further attention.
9 Common Mistakes People Make When Conducting a Content Audit
1. Not Setting a Clear Goal and Scope
When conducting a content audit, you need to have a clearly defined goal and scope. A direct goal will encourage you to focus on specific content and relevant data points, and determine whether your findings sufficiently achieve the goal you have set.
Besides your goal, a scope is also integral to successfully auditing content. This component determines the depth of your audit.
Your scope is primarily moulded around the purpose of your content audit. For example, if your primary purpose is to improve the SEO quality on your site, you may choose audit related content elements, such as titles, keywords, meta descriptions, images, and so forth.
2. Only Focusing On One Area
While the purpose of your content audit may concern a specific area within your website, such as your SEO materials, it is common for people to forget about other contributing components that affect your site’s quality.
It’s essential to look at the bigger picture and weigh out which additional areas may be dragging down your content. This will help you conduct a thorough content audit, ensuring you distribute your attention across every important aspect of your site.
3. Ignoring Customer Testimonials
Your website’s performance heavily depends on user experience. If customers/audiences cannot navigate across your platform or understand content, your site will remain in the dark. Taking the time to review customer testimonials will enable you to see how your website caters to visitors, and which areas are letting your site down.
Common elements that impact user experience include:
Accessibility — Is your website compatible with different devices?
Functionality — Do your site’s features work well (such as checkout)?
Structure & Navigation — Is your site ordered appropriately and are visitors able to easily navigate across it?
Customisation — Can visitors customise areas (such as search results) to suit their preferences and needs?
Information — Do you provide enough information to your visitors (such as FAQs)?
4. Not Consulting With Stakeholders
If you are auditing content on behalf of a client, it’s important to consult with them to understand what their content requirements are.
If your client is an established company, you may liaise with stakeholders within marketing teams or product/service teams to pinpoint their specific goals and needs. You can additionally collaborate with stakeholders to refine or develop a content strategy once you have completed a content audit.
5. Not Updating Outdated Content
Having outdated content on your site presents several issues. It’s important to ensure you revise old content during your audit and update them accordingly, here’s why:
Improves SEO: Trending keywords are constantly shifting. By revising old content you can replace keywords that no longer benefit you and get your content ranking higher.
Relevance to the Reader: The topics you write about may be trending and relevant at the time, but can soon die out. Adjusting your content to reflect the current interests of your readers, will improve your site’s relevance and increase audience engagement
Credibility: By updating the information in your content, your site will instantly become more credible. Elements such as facts and figures are often subject to change, so it’s essential to frequently check them.
6. Forgetting to Replace Missing Content
Content auditing always involves some cleaning up. However, many people forget that the areas they let go of need to be replaced to prevent a site from looking empty.
Be sure to treat the action of removing areas as an opportunity to add new, better content. For smaller details, such as dead links and keywords, remember to find suitable replacements so your content remains optimised.
7. Having a Poor Website Structure
If your website structure is messy, you will probably struggle to categorise your content and create an organised inventory. This will subsequently slow down your content auditing process and cause unwanted confusion. Poor website structure will also negatively impact user experience and cause visitors to get frustrated and leave your site. This will affect important factors such as SERP ranking, sales, and even your brand’s reputation.
When improving your website’s structure, ensure you create a cohesive and clear layout with backlinks that naturally send visitors to your homepage, so users don’t get lost reading your content.
8. Forgetting to Categorise Content Data
If you fail to categorise your findings, you may mix-up or confuse important data. To stay on top of your data, create an audit spreadsheet and segment them in their respective categories. Common categories include:
Content type (such as blog post, category description, product description, etc)
9. Not Using Auditing Tools
Everyone needs a little help now and then, especially when completing a content audit. Because this task is a lengthy and in-depth process, it's easy to miss out on important elements or record incorrect data — after all, we are human! Luckily there’s an abundance of purpose-made auditing tools available.
Semrush is an all-in-one online marketing tool platform that has various features designed to ease the process of content auditing. Here are some handy ways Semrush can help you audit content:
Build action plans
Run automated audits
Receive helpful recommendations
Set tasks and track process
Surfer SEO is an AI software that’s ideal for copywriters looking to produce keyword-rich SEO content. This platform features an audit add-on that's specifically designed to boost the SERP rankings of your content. With this nifty add-on, you can do the following:
Unveil SEO errors
Refine old content
Improve content structure
With the help of the tools mentioned in this article, you can effectively audit your content without the hassle of doing any heavy legwork, and minimal risk of human error.
While auditing tools can support you during this process, a large fraction of this task depends on your actions and competency so it’s still important to remain vigilant of the common mistakes detailed above, to ensure you successfully audit your content.