Content marketing often has us thinking that all it takes to reach your goals is to constantly put out new and fresh content without ever looking back to the old one. After we post content, we never think of reusing it or posting it again, let alone doing something to make it better.
As much as 37% of content marketers never check their old content. People simply don't like doing the non-creative, tedious tasks. But then they get stuck with a ton of content that needs updating, deleting, fixing and so on.
Maybe some links stop working and without a proper maintenance, your users will just stumble around, finding all the wrong data.
However, a well-conducted content audit report done regularly can improve your overall content marketing strategy.
An analysis of your content can freshen your website up and give you an idea for some future changes for your content marketing. It can reveal all of your weaknesses and strengths and it can help you adapt all of your old content to your current content goals and activities.
This is an integral step in having a successful website. It's something you absolutely need and should do if you want to have a long-term success.
What Is A Content Audit?
A content audit is simply what it sounds like - a compilation of all the content from your website put together in a list in order to assist in the making of all the future content you might produce.
There are three main steps in a content audit:
- Assessment of your content to see what was popular
- Thinking of ways to improve the content that was not so popular
- Designing a plan to create, implement and publicize your content
There are three main types of content audit you can do:
- Full content inventory: This is a content audit example complete list of every content piece on your website. It includes all of the assets like downloadable files and videos.
- Partial content inventory: This is listing of a subset of the content. What this content audit example really means is that you are reviewing only a part of your content - the last six months or top few levels of the site and so on.
- Content sample: This is a less detailed content audit example of some representative pieces of content from your site.
Content audit can change your perspective of your site, help you fix broken links, help you understand your content marketing strategy better and bring all of the content in line with your current goals.
Content audit report has several parts, some of which we'll touch on later. Having a content audit template can really improve your efficiency and productivity when it comes to building a content audit report and content audit UX.
What Purpose Do They Serve?
A content audit and content audit UX are extremely valuable tools in your content marketing toolbox. It's not just a review of what you did over the years, it's more than that - a source to plan the content for the upcoming year.
A content audit looks at all of the aspects of your website’s content and it weeds out the bad.
- It checks the strategies that were the most successful in attracting viewers
- It checks the content that provoked the most engagement
- It checks the content that was the least effective
- It find the content that is outdated and dull
- It can help you make a decision whether to update or delete the outdated pieces
Content audits are important because they point you in the right direction rather than letting you aimlessly create more of the content that didn't work. It can assist you in creating new and fresh content marketing strategies instead of using the old ones, hoping that they would work.
Most importantly, the audit keeps your content fresh and updated which is extremely important for growing your audience and keeping up with the new SEO updates.
Having a content audit template or a content audit worksheet is extremely important because it makes your job that much easier. Here are the most important parts of your content audit template.
1. Define goals
The first element of your content audit worksheet are your goals. This will define your process and help you stay on track with your content audit UX.
Think about your business goals. What can you do in this content audit to reach them?
Some of the most common goals are:
- Improve engagement - shares, comments, likes etc.
- Increase ranking
- Freshen up content
- See what worked so you can learn
- Remove dull and irrelevant content
- Create a buyer's journey
- Update links
- Increase conversions
Depending on your goal, you'll have to look into different things - bounce rates, conversion rates, links and so on.
Of course, you could have different goals. In every case, it's really important to look at the best and at the worst to make solid conclusions and move forward.
2. Define Metrics
Now that you have defined your goals, you can move on to the next part of the content audit template - metrics.
Here are some content audit metrics that you could use:
- For engagement: shares, comments, likes, mentions
- For SEOc: backlinks, organic traffic, keyword rankings, dwell time, bounce rates
- For conversions: number of leads, number of conversions, ROI
- For UX: views, session duration, bounce rates
3. Take an inventory and place it in your content audit template
This is the most tedious part of the job - creating a content audit worksheet. Before you begin, you should know what kind of content you want to review:
- Internal content - blog posts, pages, downloadables etc.
- External content
- Other types of content: video, pdf, interactive content etc.
Once you decide, you should start collecting the URLs of your content and placing them in your content audit template. The most effective way to do that is to use an online tool - like SEMrush's Content Audit.
You'll be able to quickly audit your content based on the sitemap data and your choice of a section of your domain.
After doing this, you can sort the content by different criteria like:
- Content type
- Number of words
- Date of publication/last modification
- Number of shares/comments/conversions coming from that post
- Links to products
- Author - if you have more than one on your site
- Content format
- Type of topic - evergreen/past trends/case study/research post
- Stage of the buyer's journey
Once you enter all of this data in your content audit template, you'll have a much easier time analyzing it and drawing conclusions.
Taking an inventory of your content can really be a tedious ordeal. It's one part I always dread the most with my content audits.
But it can also be kind of interesting to get a good, objective look at your content which you usually only see up close. With a big website, I imagine it can be a bit overwhelming but it pays off in the end.
4. Personalize the data
This next part is all about digging a little deeper into your content. But, to avoid being overwhelmed with information, narrow your focus to a few specific issues that interest you.
- Functionality - look for broken links, images and videos that are not working or displaying properly etc.
- Readability - check your site's design, amount of white space, aesthetics, formatting and fonts etc.
- Usability - navigation, site structure, mobile-friendliness, accessibility etc.
- Relativity - ask yourself is your content engaging, relevant, up-to-date, does it resonate with the audience, does it get likes, shares or views.
5. Analyzing the data
The process of collecting and analyzing data can be quite tedious and complex. You have to recover the data from many sources then add it manually to your content audit template.
To save time, you could use an audit tool that collects your data according to your goals and metrics. But you have two options:
i. Manually entering data:
This method works best for small sites - it's simple, effective and cheap. The most important part is to enter everything correctly in order to be able to quickly find and check what you need. You can create spreadsheets in Excel, Google Sheets, or find a content audit template online.
ii. Using an online tool:
This method works for big sites which have too many pages to be manually entered. Online tools gather information quickly and provide an access to information. You can use SEMrush Content Audit or a web crawler like Screaming Frog.
When it comes to analyzing your content data, you need to look for issues that concern you - pages with high traffic but also high bounce rate, pages with high ranking potential but low ranking and so on. Then you should analyze all of the different parts of your content to find out where the problem is.
Using the data you collect and your metrics, you can then make assessments of each piece according to your goals. Then, you can do one of the following:
- Keep as is: Evergreen, relevant content, FAQs - no need to update, could be reused.
- Freshen Up: low traffic, low conversion content, pieces about trends and studies with data and statistics - could be updated with fresh information and reused.
- Remove: content about events or activities, duplicate content, about out of stock products etc. - can't be updated and reused.
6. Create an action plan
After you have made the assessment of your content, you can draw up an action plan. It should consist of all of the actions you plan on taking with your content.
For instance, reusing old content or deleting bad content, updating links and CTAs, reposting on social media, updating old content, sending it in an email roundup etc.
There are many actions you should take and to do it in a quick and efficient way, it's best to create a steady workflow.
7. Adjust your strategy
An audit is an important part of your long-term content marketing strategy. When you can see your success and your failures, it can help you develop new and fresh strategies that will appeal to your audiences, bring more traffic and improve conversions.
You should see what works and build more content upon it. Look at your leas successful content and find similar subjects on your competitors’ sites so you can see what worked for them and why the same didn't work for you. Adjust your strategy often - on a weekly or daily basis.
See what is new, what can be done to tweak and improve your content, even if it's just incremental. Algorithms are always changing and you have to keep up with it.
You have to constantly be on top of things. You can't just let your old content get stale and irrelevant - it might be the first piece that someone stumbles upon on your site. What is that person's first impression of your site going to be then? Make sure that your content is always fresh and relevant to your audience.
The Finish Line:
Once you do the content audit once, it will never be as hard again. It's extremely useful to check your old posts and see what worked for you and what didn't.
You should do it several times a year in order to be able to constantly update and improve your content as well as check how your updates worked in comparison with older versions.
Hopefully, this guide will help you in overcoming the initial dread of taking on this huge project and understanding just how important a content audit is.
Tymon Sokołowski is a graduated biology scientist with many passions and interests. His knowledge makes him good at writing about well-being based on scientific explanation. Tymon is a regular contributor at Lucky Assignments.