How to Do a Content Audit (5-Step Guide + Template)
How to Do a Content Audit (5-Step Guide + Template) – New update 2024
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Behavioral metrics are just what they sound like. These metrics give you an in-depth look at how a visitor behaves on or engages with your website.
Page views: Tracking which web pages are viewed, how many times they are viewed, how long they are viewed, and by how many unique visitors provides direct evidence of what information your users are interested in.
Scroll rate: Tracking how far down the page your site visitor scrolls help you understand if they are seeing the most important information on the page. It also helps you understand if they like your content piece or if they feel it’s not answering their questions. You may collect many page views, but if they are abandoning your content without scrolling, your content may not be serving its purpose.
Bounce rate: Google Analytics automatically calculates the bounce rate of your entire domain as well as individual pages. Then, you can use this information to identify poor-performing pages (where the bounce rate should be low) and figure out how to lower your bounce rate with the strategies below.
Be aware that certain pages may have a high bounce rate AND deliver a great user experience — think of someone searching for a company address and finding it quickly on the site’s contact page. Informational websites tend to have higher bounce rates than ecommerce sites because users seeking answers tend to leave after they find what they want.
Conversions: Conversion rates are an important measure because they help you know whether you’re getting the right traffic to your site. If your traffic numbers are high, but your conversions (sign-ups, leads, sales, etc.) are low, it may be a sign that you’re not getting the right people to your site.
Target persona: Use buyer personas to understand the customer experience from your audience’s perspective. Remember, each marketing persona represents a segment of real people that requires tailored messaging for their specific needs.
Pain point: While researching and creating your customer personas, you’ll inevitably not only learn about their wants and needs but also about their challenges and frustrations.
Understanding the unique pain points of each persona is essential for creating messaging that resonates.
Journey maps: Customer journey maps include three main experience stages:
- Awareness: During the awareness stage, a prospect first realizes they have a problem or an opportunity. However, they don’t fully understand the issue and may not be able to name it or identify the cause.
Search engines, like Google, are often the first place people turn to when they become aware of a new problem or opportunity. Individuals tend to perform broad, general searches to understand their situation.
- Consideration: The consideration stage is when prospects understand their problem and are actively researching brands and solutions. This is when webinars, white papers, social media, and videos can help move them through their journey.
- Decision: They dig deeper into your brand and compare you against competitors on elements like pricing, features, benefits, case studies, reviews, and ROI. Competitor comparisons and online tools (ROI or TCO calculators) can be highly effective. Or if retail: coupons, and incentives.
It’s critical to structure your content and message accordingly to push them over the finish line to make a final decision.
- Retention: Given that it costs far more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones, retention stage experiences are critically important. If you have problems with these types of experiences, your churn rate will increase, and your marketing ROI will fall. Essentially, you’ll be running in circles.
You can often improve digital customer experience if you update old information. For example, you can educate your audience about the benefits and use cases for your product or service and solve common problems. Refreshing aging content also builds trust and credibility around your brand’s expertise.
Although it may be time consuming, it’s important to customize content to audience personas in each stage of their journey, whether creating something new or repurposing old site content.
These metrics are important for helping search engines (specifically Google) understand the quality of your content and rank it accordingly.
Word count: The overall comprehensiveness of your content helps Google determine what the piece of content is about. The longer the piece, the easier it is for the search engine to interpret the information and rank it appropriately in the SERP. The content should be as thorough as possible to answer the searcher’s query.
Last updated: When all else is equal, Google tends to place higher importance on content that is the most current. Therefore, updating your old content can be crucial to your SERP placement.
Spelling and grammar: If your site contains multiple spelling and/or grammatical errors, people will be less likely to trust your company. Your content audit should be thorough enough to catch these instances.
Readability: Your content should be easy to read. If your content is not easily digestible, your customers will take one look, then move on. This leads to a higher bounce rate, which then negatively affects your SEO ranking.
Citations: Brand mentions from trustworthy websites are critical to your SEO efforts. In fact, backlinks are one of the top ranking factors search engines use because they establish credibility and trustworthiness.
Google Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness (E-A-T): Google uses the concept of E-A-T to ensure its search results are accurate, truthful, and useful to searchers. If you integrate Google’s E-A-T standards into your content, then you’ll have better ranking success in the SERPs.
Step 3: Organize your content audit template
Think about which content you’d like to audit. Specify the type of content on each page you’re auditing. Consider the parts of the content you’d like to focus on. You can create an audit spreadsheet in Google Sheets or Excel. Include columns for basic content information, SEO data, analytics, and finally, content strategy.
Step 4: Gather data for your content audit
There is a great deal of data that needs to be examined. Luckily, there are comprehensive website content audit tools as well as analytics tools at your disposal to make the process more efficient:
Screaming Frog (word count, segmentation):
Screaming Frog allows you to customize the data you pull so you only analyze exactly what you need. The tool can crawl important assets like word count and headings as well as metadata, such as page title tags and meta descriptions. It can also pull SEO audit data like average time on page, backlinks authority scores and internal links.
Google Analytics (traffic and conversions):
Understand your site and app users to check the performance of your marketing, content, products, and more.
Google Search Console (impressions):
See which queries bring users to your site. Analyze your site’s impressions, clicks, and position in Google Search.
Ahrefs or Semrush (backlinks and rankings):
Find opportunities to strengthen your backlink profile and boost your site rankings.
ContentKing (real-time auditing)
Customize what you want to see, and how you want to get alerts. Track everything in one place, and never worry about stale data.
Step 5: Assess content and make recommendations
Now it’s time to analyze your content based on your goals you outlined and the metrics you collected. Make an “Action” column to determine the next steps for each piece of content on your site. Keep Google’s advice in mind while you evaluate your content:
The helpful content update rewards content that gives visitors a satisfying experience, while demoting content that doesn’t meet a visitor’s expectations. Publish satisfying, people-first content, while also utilizing SEO best practices to bring searchers additional value.
Here are several questions to help you evaluate your content’s usefulness:
- Would your target audience find this content helpful if they came directly to your website?
- Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge?
- Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
- Will users leave your site feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
- Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
Remove and redirect
Do you have unhelpful or thin content on your site that could impact rankings and user experience? If you discover low-quality pages that don’t target keywords or provide little value to your audience, then remove them.
That said, be careful when removing too many pages that are part of an important topic cluster. Even though individual pages don’t get organic traffic, they may provide valuable context to Google through internal links. If you think it’s possible to improve page quality and optimize old content for unique search terms, then take that route instead.
On the other hand, if improving content might cannibalize traffic from other pages, then you should remove the low-quality fluff pages and redirect them to the most relevant page or implement a 410 code.
Use this label to identify content that performs well or is well executed but needs improvement. Add these URLs to a new blog content audit worksheet and note the type of improvement you recommend.
Do you have overlapping content? Consolidating those pieces can give your existing content a boost while reducing redundancies.
Does it need copy additions, updates, quality, or voice improvements? The copy is solid, but does it need better SEO optimization, calls to action, or internal linking? Is the format ideal?
Plan your attack. Knock out the more uncomplicated updates first and prioritize the remaining updates based on strategic value.
Leave it alone
Is the content performing well? Does the information appear complete and up to date? Is engagement high? And is it properly optimized for both SEO and conversions? If yes, no further action is needed! Leave it as is and move on.
Content audit next steps
Your site content audit is done. Now what?
Do a content gap analysis
Competitive gap analysis allows you to see where your content falls short compared to your competitors. This kind of insight helps you develop a content strategy that nurtures your leads throughout the buyer’s journey. It also ensures they go to your site for their needs at different stages — not your competitors’ sites.
Alternatively, a gap analysis can help determine where your competitors are not ranking and leverage that gap in your content.
For example, imagine you work for an insurance company, and you discover your biggest online competitor doesn’t talk about liability insurance in their content. Although it’s one of their offerings, they don’t have any educational content about the topic. They discuss every other type of insurance on their blog, except liability anywhere.
When you identify a gap in your competitor’s content, you open the door to new opportunities for you to seize a new share of voice in the SERPs.
Update your content calendar
- Revise the types of content you plan to publish.
- Select the topics and categories your content will cover over a given time period.
- Map your content to the buying stages of your audience. Different types of content are more effective depending on where they are used in the customer journey.
- Set deadlines for tasks involved in creating content
- Select the proper content distribution channels.
After you complete your web content audit, you can begin to build out a more intentional content strategy. Build a plan that replicates your high-performance content, fills content gaps, expands into new territory, and delights your audience.
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