Search engine optimization (SEO) is a must for online content. Without it, your content simply won’t show up in Google search result pages (SERPs) and organic traffic to your website will be massively limited. That’s why you need a comprehensive understanding of how your content is currently performing, what is working, and—most importantly—what isn’t. You can then make a plan for optimizing your site as a whole and start ranking higher and driving more traffic.
How do you do this? With a content audit, of course! In this blog, we’ll cover exactly what a content audit is, how to perform one on your site, and the benefits you’ll see from doing so. Let’s jump in!
What is a content audit?
A content audit is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the process of evaluating and assessing all existing content assets based on their quality, relevance, performance, and alignment with marketing goals and target audience.
In essence, you are looking at all content produced to date and seeing how well each aspect is performing relative to your goals and objectives — and then looking for opportunities to improve.
For instance, you might find some landing pages are highly informative and engaging but few users are following the link you put at the bottom to get in touch. In this case, it is a fairly simple fix to add a call to action and start converting users into customers.
A content audit is the process of evaluating and assessing all existing content assets based on their quality, relevance, performance, and alignment with marketing goals and target audience.
In other cases, you might see that a range of articles are not receiving any clicks because they aren’t relevant to your target audience. Having this information allows you to refine your approach and start producing content that really connects with your audience.
And there is the true value of a content audit — it gives you the data you need to start producing the best content possible.
What is an SEO content audit?
This might seem like a needless distinction but there is a difference. An SEO content audit is exactly the same as a standard content audit but with an SEO focus.
This means focusing on the pages that you would expect to rank on Google — things like landing pages, service pages, product pages, and blog posts — rather than all of your content. Looking at these pages, you can then assess their keyword performance, their use of meta description and tags, and how they are structured.
Once you have determined how your pages are performing, you can again identify areas that could be improved and take steps to drive more organic traffic to your pages through keyword optimization, restructuring, internal linking, and so on.
Why is a content audit useful?
The main benefit of conducting a content audit is that it provides the data needed to determine how well your content is performing and where opportunities for improvement lie.
But the benefits don’t stop there! With a comprehensive content audit you can:
- Determine the types of content your audience are most interested in
- Identify opportunities for content repurposing
- Find your best and worst-performing pieces of content
- Determine which content should be used in marketing materials, such as newsletters and social media posts
With all of these insights under your belt, you are far better positioned to streamline and optimize your content, ensuring that everything you produce is in line with a deliberate and purposeful strategy.
Additionally, the data you generate from your audit gives you a baseline against which you can measure how new pieces of content perform. In this way, you can continually refine and revise your approach to ensure that each new piece of content is having the biggest impact possible.
Content audit tools
Now that you have an understanding of what exactly a content audit is and why it is beneficial, let’s look at some of the tools you can use to conduct your own audit.
SEMRush is a keyword research tool, available for free or for a paid subscription. It allows you to find keywords for a given topic, identify frequently asked questions, and perform competitor analysis.
Importantly for conducting a content audit, SEMRush has an organic research function that shows you what keywords your website is ranking for, how highly it is ranking, and if any pages aren’t ranking. With this data, you can determine which pages are performing well and why, as well as those that could be improved.
You are also able to see what your competitors are ranking for. This allows you to identify keywords you might be able to outperform your competitors on, or ones that they are not currently ranking for and that you can exploit.
GA4 Google Analytics
GA4 is the newest iteration of Google Analytics. This tool allows you to see how much traffic your site is getting, where this traffic is coming from, and how users interact with your pages.
With this data, you can see how pages perform, whether you should be tailoring your content to a specific market, and if users are interacting with your pages in the ways you are intending. You can then optimize your content to achieve the outcomes you are looking for.
It is important to note that GA4 produces reports based on samples of your site’s data — it does not use exact data. This means that you might see different results with different audit tools, so it is important to keep this in mind when using GA4.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool that lets you check keyword visibility, mobile performance, and URL indexability. With this tool, you can see if your pages are indexed and what keywords they are visible for.
You can also see how well your site performs on mobile — an incredibly important metric for today’s customers — and whether it needs optimizing for mobile users.
Additionally, Google Search Console can be connected to GA4 to give you more SEO insights.
Screaming Frog is what is described as an “SEO Spider” — in other words, it crawls your website and compiles a list of all indexable and non-indexable URLs. You can then cross-reference this with your SEMRush data to gain a better understanding of how each of your pages performs.
This tool provides a plethora of useful data that you can use to optimize your currently indexed pages, determine which pages you want to be indexed, and identify areas of opportunity.
How to conduct your own content audit
So, we’ve spoken about what a content audit is, the benefits of performing one, and the tools available to do so. Now, let’s look at exactly how you would go about performing your own content audit.
Set your goals and objectives
Before you start, it’s important to determine exactly what you are hoping to achieve with your audit. There is no sense in collecting pages upon pages of data if you don’t know what you’re going to do with it.
Set a clear list of objectives for your content, whether that be to optimize existing pages, identify keyword opportunities, outrank your competitors, or all of the above. Once you have this in place, you can be intentional about how you use the data your audit generates and zero in on exactly what is relevant to achieving your objectives.
At this stage, it is also useful to create a list of content issues to identify. If you know what you’re looking for — i.e. duplicate content, poor keyword optimization, lack of metadata, etc. — it makes it far easier to identify those issues when they arise during your audit.
Create an inventory of all your content
This is exactly what it sounds like. Before you start analyzing data, you need to know exactly what you’re working with.
The easiest way to do this is to use Screaming Frog to crawl your site. Once the tool has been through your site, you can export the data to a spreadsheet and see all of the content that you currently have available.
Having all of this information in a central location makes it far easier to analyze it when the time comes and move step by step through each page on your site to ensure it is performing optimally.
Pull and analyze your data
Now comes the real work in your content audit. You need to take the data you have generated through your audit and analyze it to determine what needs to be done to optimize your site.
You want to look for:
- Content that is underperforming
- Duplicate content
- Poorly optimized pages
- Top-performing content
- Missing content
- Outdated content
Once you have a comprehensive overview of all of your content and have analyzed the data you have pulled, you can move to the final step.
Create an action list to improve your content
This is the whole point of your content audit. Once you’ve determined what you’d like to achieve with your content, have it all centralized in one place, and have analyzed the data, you can start optimizing your content to achieve your objectives.
First, prioritize which issues you are going to address first. Some content issues will be relatively easy to resolve and have a high impact on your SEO. If you knock these out first, you can make big strides in your content’s performance quickly.
Once the easy bits are out of the way, prioritize which issues you want to tackle next and create a list of action points. With a clear plan in place, you can methodically move through your site and ensure that every piece of content is optimized and performing to its full potential.
Content audits from Scribly
Scribly can help you analyze and evaluate the quality, relevance, and performance of your existing content to decide what to improve and what to remove.
Whether you’ve been creating content without a clear marketing plan in place or you just want to see how valuable your existing content is, performing a content audit is a great way to understand what value your existing content is adding and what might need a little TLC to really benefit your business.
Our content audit analyzes and evaluates the quality, relevance, and performance of your existing content, including on-site copy and blog articles. This process looks at:
- What pages are — and more importantly — aren’t ranking in search engine result pages
- What keywords these pages rank for, how highly they rank, and the relevancy of these keywords
- How much organic traffic these pages are driving
- Which pages need to be optimized for improved performance
- Which pages should be removed
- If there are any duplicate content or canonicalization errors
- The quality of the meta data and alt text
We can then make strategic recommendations about which pages should be removed or optimized, and how to optimize them.
Ready to build your company’s future on a foundation of great content? Get in touch today.