As your company has grown, so has your content. Having great content is important to educate your customers on the products/services you are offering and provide them with other relevant and interesting information. While it is necessary to continue adding content to your website, if left unchecked, you will begin to collect a large bank of content that isn’t aligned with your business goals.
That’s where the content audit process comes in. Auditing your content is an extremely important step before you can create a content strategy that is effective. Before you can determine how you will leverage your content you first need to find out what content you have and if it is any good.
During this process, you’ll need to look through all of the content your company has. This includes blogs, images, audio, presentations, ebooks and any other content your customers have access to. While a content audit can take quite a bit of time, it is very beneficial and the hard work will pay off. In this blog we’ll dive into why a content audit is necessary, and tips on how to make this process a success.
Why Should You Do A Content Audit?
So you’ve been told that completing a content audit is a lot of work, so why should you do it? Well, there’s a wealth of benefits that come from taking a comprehensive look at your content. For starters, it will help you identify any issues with your site including broken links and website performance problems.
In addition, a thorough content audit will help improve your site’s usability and navigation. Often through a content audit poor navigation is noticed and then can be improved upon so that the most valuable content is easily found by you customers.
Another benefit of this process is improving your SEO. By discovering missing meta descriptions, gaps in your website content, and making your content as a whole more relevant, you can improve your organic SEO rankings. Lastly, a detailed content audit can help uncover missing content that should be created to fill the holes in your sales funnel.
Content Audit Best Practices
While undergoing a content audit it is essential to ask yourself these key questions:
- Is This Content Providing Value?
As most content marketers know, content that provides value to your customers is king. If the piece of content you are reading is not adding any value, that is a sign it shouldn’t be on your site. Other questions to ask include: Will your target marketing be interested in the content? Will they find it useful? If the answer is no to both of these, than you should either improve that content or remove it.
- Is the Content Aesthetically Pleasing?
First impressions are important. People are more likely to stay on your site and continue reading through your content if it is organized in a meaningful way and if looks pretty. Do you have large blocks of text with no images or bolding of headers or important lines? If this is the case, you should style out your content to make it more visually pleasing and easy to read.
- Is The Content Digestible?
It is essential to have content that is easily digestible. Not only in how the content looks, but also in terms of the actual words written. Would your target market understand the content? Does the content dive too deep into the nitty gritty? Understand your target audience and write for them. If the content isn’t digestible than you will need to create a gameplan to upgrade it.
- Is The Content Internally Linking to Other Relevant Content?
If you don’t have any internal linking within your content, then you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Not only does internal linking help strengthen your company’s SEO efforts, it also gives your readers additional relevant content to read. But remember, you should only be linking to other pertinent content.
For example, if you want to internally link your blog post on the newest health food trends, you wouldn’t link out to another blog you have about tips on how to keep your house clean. While this may seem like a no brainer, you’d be surprised to see how many people link out to other content that simply isn’t compatible.
- Does the Content Fit with Your Product Offering/Service?
This fundamental rule is one of the most important things to be aware of. Having content on your site that doesn’t fit with the services or products you offer is not a best practice. In addition, if the content you are reading doesn’t align with your company’s goals or strategies than it is time to remove it.
It may be content that is from long ago that you’ve forgotten about, or it might be content from before your newly pivoted strategy. Wherever the content is from, if it doesn’t fit with your company than it shouldn’t be on your website.
- Is There Duplicate Content?
One thing that is seen quite a bit on websites that aren’t closely monitored is duplicate content. Duplicate content is extremely harmful in terms of SEO rankings. When Google is crawling your site and sees that there is duplicate content on multiple pages, it will ding your site and that will be reflected negatively in your rankings on the Search Engine Results Page.
There are many tools online that will help you to find the duplicate content on your website. This is one of the first things you should look for during the content audit, as it greatly affects your website’s SEO status.
- What Is Content Missing?
Another question to ask yourself as you are going through the content is if there is anything missing. Discovering areas of content that are lacking is one of the main benefits of a content audit. Are there any pages that aren’t quite providing your customers with what they are looking for?
It could be a page titled ‘Content Marketing Best Practices’, but in fact the page doesn’t even explain these best practices. By undergoing a website content audit, you’ll unearth the gaps in your content and can then form a strategy to fill the gaps.
Taking Your Content Audit One Step Further
One way to go above and beyond in your site audit is to research what your competitors are doing. Keeping a pulse on the competitive landscape can help you establish additional content your site needs.
For example, one of your competitors has multiple blog posts about a certain subject pertaining to your industry and you don’t have any content about that subject at all. This is a sign you need to start writing and add information about that topic to your website.
Once you’ve gone through all of your content, what is the next step? There are four main steps to take once the entire content library has been read through and evaluated.
- Delete It: If a piece of content can’t be fixed, is not relevant or is outdated, it should be deleted. But, if there is a way to repurpose it and make it relevant, than that is recommended. Although it is favored to have more content on your website, having unrelated or poor quality content will hurt more than help.
- Improve It: This is usually the category where the majority of your content will fall under. Your content is good, but could be better. This could mean adding 2,000 more words or just adding 500 words depending on the original shape the content was in. By updating this content, you are helping boost not only the user experience on site but also improving SEO rankings. One tool that is excellent for this step is called MarketMuse. This tool allows you to input your content and add the title and focus topic and it will compare your content to other content on the web of similar topics. It will call out additional keywords that aren’t included in your content that are relevant to the search query. That way you can include those keywords which will help support SEO. Additionally, MarketMuse will show your content score compared to the average content score and best content score of content of that same topic. It is important to push the content score above the average and ideally above the best score.
- Keep It: If the content is perfect as it, no need to touch it. You can keep it the same and continue to utilize it in your marketing efforts. This is the easiest step to take and if a majority of your content is preserved than kudos to you! That means you already have strong content on your site and it will only get better from there. Don’t worry if you can’t keep all of your content as is. It doesn’t mean your content is bad, it only means you need to improve it a bit. With the constantly changing world of marketing it is important to periodically audit your content because something that was relevant a year ago may not be relevant for your brand today. Of course, your core service content will most likely not change that much, but if you have old offers on your site or other content that is not relevant anymore it is important to change or remove that from your site.
- Create It: Creating new content comes into play when you’ve seen clear gaps that need to be filled. Whether it is a topic that you haven’t touched on, but is hyper relevant to your industry, or you’ve noticed your competitor has extensive content on a particular subject that you don’t have, there are always opportunities to create engaging, high-quality content. When creating this new content, make sure you ask yourself the key questions from above to ensure the new content is qualified enough to be on your post content audit website.
It is important to note that the content audit process will not happen overnight. If you have a large site with a lot of content, you should have the expectation that it could take awhile depending on how many people are working on it. Before beginning the content audit process meet with your team members and map out a strategy in order to complete it. Work in phases to complete this project and make sure everyone is aligned with the goals and timeline. Additionally, as mentioned above, there are two steps to this process.
The first step is to take a content inventory and evaluate it. This will take awhile depending on how much content you have. It is important to be organized in this step so you know which content is okay to keep and which content needs to be edited. The second step is to delete, improve, or create new content based on the recommendations made during the content evaluation.
By having an organized process during the evaluation it will make the second step much easier. Although the content audit process will take a lot of time and effort, the effort is worth it. Investing in the content audit process will help your company succeed in many ways and it ensures you are staying on top of your growing collection of content.