Content Audit 101: What It Is and Why You Need It

Do you know how to perform a content audit? If you’ve never heard of one, don’t panic. Content audits are beneficial for establishing the quality and effectiveness of your content. They’re also powerful tools for plotting the future of your copywriting to improve your client’s business.

Keep reading to learn what a content audit is and what it can do for you.

What is a content audit?

A content audit systematically reviews all available content on a website. Conducting a content audit allows you to assess your copywriting and establish areas where your content can expand and improve.

Most website owners will conduct a content audit to track the success of their current strategies and content. They might also use a content audit when planning an overhaul of their website. Regular audits let website owners track their progress and reach more of their target market.

Why does a content audit matter?

Content audits matter because they can boost a website’s traffic by highlighting clear areas for improvement. A content audit shows you where your website lacks proper search engine optimisation, allowing you to add meta descriptions, title tags, or anything else that can improve your SEO.

Beyond SEO, content audits also highlight areas within your written content that you can adjust to boost traffic and elevate the experience of your site for your customers. Editing the headers of your content to include semantic keywords, for example, gives Google a better idea of what your content is about. These changes increase your overall rankings and bring more people to your site.

A content audit can also show you what parts of your site already work well. You can use this to your advantage by leveraging the pages and areas that are already successful and boosting them as much as possible in your marketing.

Where do I start with a content audit?

Getting each step of your content audit right is crucial to ensuring you change and improve your business in the future. Here’s a basic breakdown of the steps for a successful content audit:

  • Gather your data

  • Organise the data

  • Analyse the data

  • Modify your content

  • Rinse and repeat

So, how do you break this down as a step-by-step process?

Gather your data

You need all the relevant information from your website to perform an effective content audit. Make sure you include the following:

  • Landing pages

  • Product descriptions

  • Videos

  • Blog posts

  • Whitepapers

  • Slide decks

Gather your site’s full array of content to conduct a thorough audit that produces valuable data you can use to make fundamental changes. It sounds daunting, but free tools, like Google Analytics, can crawl your site for you and gather all the data. Once you have it, it’s time to organise.

Organise your data

Organisation is essential for conducting an effective content audit. Categorising your content keeps everything in order and highlights issues that occur repeatedly. For example, suppose you find an entire batch of product descriptions without keyword optimisation. In that case, fixing them all at once is more straightforward than going back repeatedly as you progress through the audit.

Maintaining order in your content can also help break the content audit process into more manageable parts. The auditing process can be time-consuming and stressful, and the best way to do a good job is to keep a clear head. Consider including these factors in your content categorisation to make auditing easier:

  • URL

  • H1

  • Meta Title

  • Meta Description

  • Content Format

  • Content Purpose

  • Customer Journey Stage

  • Focus Keyword

  • Internal links

  • Outbound links

The next step of your audit is much easier if you have thoroughly organised the data with this info in place.

Analyse your data

Once you have all your data clearly laid out, it’s easy to go through and highlight content that’s underperforming and lacking in best SEO practices. You can also note any outdated content that you can divert some time towards updating and modernising with any new information or SEO tactics.

It’s also important to remember the positives in your work when auditing. Just as they show underperforming aspects of your content, audits also make it easy to notice areas that are doing well. You can prioritise these areas and see if you can push them to perform further.

Modify your content

Once you’ve combed through your content and planned how to improve it, it’s time to get to work. You might prefer to break this section into smaller components to complete each day. If you lose focus or become overwhelmed, take a break and return to the project later. Maintaining the same standard of quality and detail throughout a change as significant as a content audit is challenging, so making it manageable for you is critical.

Rinse and repeat

The last stage of your content audit is not letting too much time pass before you do it again. You can use your organised audit to monitor and update your progress as you go. This approach is beneficial if you’re working with a group, as you can see when work is complete and how the changes have affected the content. 

Content audits seem intimidating - and it’s understandable given that they take a long time to complete. Despite their challenge, however, it is easy to break them down into smaller pieces and get through them one bit at a time. You get out what you put in with a content audit, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right and fully understand what you want to achieve.

FAQs

Here are a few frequently asked questions about content audits.

What is the purpose of a content audit?

The purpose of a content audit is to catalogue the content on your website and analyse the quality of its performance. Content audits allow businesses to optimise the weaker parts of their sites and highlight the more substantial pieces that already perform well.

When should I do a content audit?

You can perform a content audit at any point in the life of your website, but the best time to do it is if you have noticed a plateau in your content’s performance. It’s imperative to do a content audit if you know you have content that should perform well already; it’s possible that the SEO for the pages needs updating and improving.

What are the steps in a content audit?

As highlighted above, the core steps of a content audit are: gathering data, organising data, analysing it, and editing it to improve the website’s overall rankings. However, a core component of successful auditing is outlining your goals before you begin.

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