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How to Run a Content Audit

Michael SilvermanWritten by Michael Silverman
Aug 17, 2016 2:00:00 PM

A content audit assesses your site's content, your users, and opportunities for growth. It helps your team understand the inner workings of the website, and provides a blueprint for future content initiatives. A content audit helps you develop a content strategy report that provides a roadmap for future content initiatives.

Content Audit

Why are content audits important?

A content audit is an assessment of the overall health of your site, from a content and SEO perspective. A content audit shows you what pages are performing well, what pages need enhancements, and identifies gaps and holes that you can fill with new content assets.

How to conduct a content audit:

  • Each page on your site is evaluated and scored based on page performance and overall site and business goals.
  • Then, analyze keywords and HTML tags to ensure pages are set up in accordance with SEO best practices.

Mission critical pages will be the immediate focus (normally these pages include services, products, and about pages but can change based on each site and its goals).

What does a content audit include?

Personas

How does the content on your site serve your target audience? If you have personas established already, you can judge your existing content against their wants and needs. If it doesn’t match up, that helps you decide what content can be removed and what new assets need to be created.

Stakeholder interviews

Depending on your personas, at this point, it may make sense to do another round of stakeholder interviews. If you don’t have any personas, this is the best place to start. Speaking to internal stakeholders helps learn about their individual needs and shapes the personas for your target audiences.

Content inventory

A content inventory is a list of all of the content on your site. Unlike a content audit, a content inventory simply lists out all of the site content. This is often considered the first step of a full content audit.

Gap analysis

A gap analysis analyzes the gaps in your content, not only what your site may be missing in terms of content but also comparing the actual performance with the potential or desired performance. If your website is not making the best use of your content, it may be performing below its potential. By analyzing this, we can identify new solutions for maximizing existing content as well as determining what content needs to be created to fill in informational or buyer journey gaps.

Competitive analysis

A competitive analysis identifies your competitors and evaluates their content and website strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to your own site. Oftentimes, competitive analysis is done as part of an overall marketing strategy so you may already have this information completed that you can refer to. If not, or if the competitive analysis is old or outdated, it may make sense to complete a new competitive analysis during your content audit.

SEO analysis

An SEO analysis attempts to understand the way a search engine, like Google, sees your site. During the SEO analysis, you review things like keywords, title tags, meta descriptions, URL structure, 301 redirects, 404 errors, and more to ensure your site is optimized to rank well in search engines.

What is considered content in a content audit?

Content is not just blog posts or other marketing materials. Content audits not only analyze the content on your website, but can take a look at offsite content as well to ensure your brand messaging, voice, and tone are consistent across every part of your brand.

Onsite content reviewed in a content audit includes:

  • Homepage
  • Landing pages
  • Category pages
  • Product descriptions
  • Blog
  • Error pages
  • Etc.

Offsite content reviewed in a content audit includes:

  • Emails
  • Social media
  • Sales collateral
  • Ebooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Etc.

Where do I start?

There are a lot of parts to a content audit and it can be hard to know where to start.

1. First, I’d recommend reviewing existing information to establish benchmarks for your content audit. Start by analyzing:

  • Analytics accounts
  • Existing stakeholder interviews
  • Existing personas and audience information
  • Existing SEO research and target keywords
  • Overall website and business goals

2. Then, move into your content inventory by gathering all of the URLs on your site. You can use a tool like Screaming Frog to crawl your site and export the URLs into an excel sheet that you can add to.

3. Analyze your content:

  • Rank your content with a score or by designating if you can keep as-is, remove, improve, or consolidate. (I like to color-code the spreadsheet so it can be easily reviewed at a glance.)
  • Include notes that explain the ranking of each piece of content.

4. Analyze the content from an SEO perspective, including making notes on the focus keywords, title tags, and meta descriptions for each page.

5. Fill in the gaps:

  • After reviewing your content, what are you missing?
  • Determine any new pages, keywords, or content assets that are a priority to create.

6. Begin a content strategy:

  • Summarize your findings from the content audit into a content strategy document that explains what your plan is for updating and improving existing content, why you made the decision to remove certain pages, and the plan for creating new content moving forward.

Topics: Marketing

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