Content Marketing

How to do a Content Audit

how to do a content audit

Updated on June 19, 2019

We all agree that content is important, and maintaining a blog to keep fresh content on your website is a must. But, over time the value of that content can dwindle if the article is outdated. We’ll show you how to do a content audit to ensure you get the maximum benefit from your existing articles.

In a perfect world, you would do a full content audit on an annual basis. If that doesn’t work for you though, then don’t. Auditing some content is better than nothing.

Choose a system that works for you. You can decide to only review content written in the past year or content written over a year ago. Instead, you can choose by category such as only blog articles or only product content.

Create a List of Your Content

Once you decide what content to include in your content audit, list it out in a spreadsheet. There are a few different methods you can use to create your list.

Manually Create List

If you don’t have much content, you can manually create a list. Copy and paste the URL of each page you want to review into a cell in your spreadsheet. This can become tedious so you may want to continue to the next ideas if you have more than a handful of articles.

Use Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog allows you to perform a scan on your website and lists every page (up to 500 for the free account). Once you perform the scan, filter the results to HTML. You can then export your results and use that as your list.

A benefit to this method is when you export the URLs you can also keep the metadata. Your export can include the page title, length in characters and pixels, the meta description and length, and the h1 tag. Exporting this data into your audit spreadsheet to easily review will be beneficial.

Use Your Sitemap

Another method to get a list of your website URLs is to use your sitemap. Your sitemap already contains your indexable URLs, which is likely the exact content you want to audit. If you don’t have one yet, this is a good time to make a sitemap.

Add Metrics

Now that you have your list of content URLs, it’s time to add some metrics.

Metrics will help you determine what content is working and what’s not. It gives you a better idea of what is worth your time to update and what might be worth consolidating with a different similar article.

The metrics you choose to include will depend on your goals for your content.

In most cases, you’ll want to look at traffic. Metrics such as pageviews, unique pageviews, time on page, and bounce rate could be useful. However, if your goals are related to social you may want to monitor engagement metrics such as likes and shares.

Determine the metrics you want to measure, and include them on your spreadsheet for each URL.

Identify Action for Each Page

Finally, review each page and determine the action you need to take.

Look at the page URL and look at the metrics. For each URL you will choose to keep it, update it, merge it, or remove it.

When to “keep it”

If the page looks good, the content is still accurate and up to date, and the metrics you are monitoring look good; then keep it! Don’t fix something that isn’t broken.

When to “update it”

Does the article need an image? What about a video? Is the metadata optimized? Take the time to clean up the article and add the bells and whistles that may have been missed the first time around.

Don’t only add the extra details. Also review the content to make sure the data is still current and accurate.

If the content receives a significant amount of traffic you may want to consider adding a content upgrade. Content upgrades are downloadable assets related to the content such as a spreadsheet or a one-page checklist. The reader receives the asset in exchange for providing their email address.

When to “merge it”

If you have multiple articles that cover a similar topic it may make sense to merge them into one. Merging articles can make sense when one is performing well and the other poor. Review the metrics. If one gets hundreds of pageviews a day and the other gets 10 a month, consider merging the articles.

It can also make sense to merge articles for historical events. Last year having a dedicated page for the event made sense. This year, it may make more sense to merge the content in a page that provides a recap of each year for the annual event.

When you merge articles keep the article that is performing best. The poor performing page will have it’s content relocated to the better performing page and then can be removed. Remember to include a 301 redirect for the old page that sends the traffic to the new merged page.

When to “remove it”

If a piece of content isn’t performing well and isn’t relevant for your target audience, you can remove it. If there’s no benefit to keeping the content, then don’t.

If there is a relevant page on the site you can remove the page and then redirect the URL to the relevant page. If there isn’t a relevant page though you can keep it as a 404 error page. So you don’t lose people completely, include suggested page links or a search field on your 404 error page.

Make Those Edits

Once you finish your spreadsheet you’re left with a nice task list of content edits. Go through and make those changes. This will keep your content current and fresh which will be better both for your users and search engines.

Do you have a tip or trick you like to use on content audits? Please share it in the comments!

About the Author

Jennifer Rogina has been a digital marketing specialist since 2008. During those years she has focused on Pay Per Click Advertising, Search Engine Optimization, and Conversion Rate Optimization.

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