Everything about online business and its performance revolves around how their web and digital assets are placed. Among the most crucial factors that define your online entity and connect you with the users, content takes the front row. Your marketing initiatives, presentation element, media conduct, and brand value, everything takes an evident shape with the help of the right content.
If you miss on to create and manage your content well, it can prove futile for your website performance, health and reputation, all at once.
One thing that can save you from going bad with content is Content Audit.
A well-defined and finely executed content audit can help you with valuable insights and a great plan of action to validate and optimize your content. To help you effectively communicate with your audience, get on top of the search results, and most importantly to keep your reputation alive.
So, how do you start with a Content Audit? You have a lot to plan and research and a heap of activities to cover. The best way of doing it is knowing why you are doing this, in the first place. Then answering questions like what are the goals of your audit, what would you like to measure, and how do you utilize it to improve and optimize your content?
Talking About The Goals, These Are Some Of The Factors That Could Be A Part Of Your Audit Consideration:
- What is your primary audit goal – SEO, Content Marketing, or Digital Branding
- Locate gaps in content as per the quality standards
- The content structure and flow optimization
- Discover the ways to improve the organic performance
- Spot the content pieces that have performed well in the past campaigns
- Check out which topics performed well with your audiences
- SEO updates and validations
- Generate content marketing ideas
- Abandon content that is outdated, obsolete and redundant
- Detect pages with a certain impression, conversion, or bounce rates
Also, before you get on with your content audit program, you should be knowing if you have enough resources and arrangements done to help you smoothly take over the tasks and carry them through right. Look into the fact that, would you be able to effectively and accurately execute the tasks. Whether or not you require tools (for inspection, analysis or reporting) for content audit or you would be able to do these manually. Also, you need to decide, to what extent or degree are you going to perform a content audit. As it involves its own time and cost.
Once you have all these answers with you, you will have the clarity of purpose and direction. Best, if you got it all down in easy referable points. This will help you be in better control of the process and keep a track of entire tasks and events.
Now, with everything in place you should take over to the actual execution. Let’s talk about how to do this most effectively referring to this step-by-step Content Audit guide:
Step 1: Create A Detailed Spreadsheet Of Content Assets
The best way to get started with your content audit plan is by creating an asset sheet comprehensively mentioning everything in detail.
For this, you can take the help of a crawling tool like Screaming Frog or URL Profiler. These will fetch all the details about the website related to the Content and SEO profile of the site. These tools automatically crawl your links and prepare a data sheet and you get a CSV file for it just tapping the ‘Export’ button. If you have a vast website that can’t avail of the free access to such tools, you can get it done manually with the ever-favorite MS Excel. Here, you can take template help from MaadMob or GoInflow.
This will be of help with taking over the later auditing roles as it would get you to work in an arranged and streamlined manner with every asset detail appointed and placed right.
Step 2: Gather Asset Data
Now, it is time to list out different data variables that would help you determine and assess the content based on different parameters like quality, viability, and wholeness. Now, here the data points you gather completely depend on the scope and range of audit you need to perform.
In A General Scenario A Business Goes With An SEO Data Points List Comprising Of The Following Points:
Images and Alt Text
Date Updated Last
Average Time on Page
Page Conversion Value
Page Bounce Rate
Page Entries and Exits
The Content Marketing Data Points List Contains These Metrics:
Assigned Tags or Categories
Type of Content (blogs, landing pages, infographics, project cases, news, etc.)
Content Status/Condition (obsolete, erroneous, updated, perpetual, recurring)
Topic Types (general, opinion-based, technical, research-oriented, data-driven)
Engagements (likes, comments, social shares, subscriptions)
Call-To-Actions and Communication Events
Sales Funnel Stage
Now, as you have these data points in place and your sheet is holding them right in a properly laid format, you are all set to do the job of data lifting. Now, this is the most grueling and time-taking part of the audit. Here you need to pick up the concerning data extracting the details referring to performance charts, using data mining tools, performing derivation exercises, doing some number crunching, and making inferences, to reach accessible figures and details to be placed against data points.
While you plan to extract these details and scores, you can do it using a combination of tools. Like you can take help from Screaming Frog to generate Page Title Tags and Descriptions.
To get the performance data, you have Google Analytics delivering you everything from page views, bounce rate, avg. time on page, new users, returning users, and other traffic and activity details. You can export all the data to your spreadsheet just by clicking the ‘export’ button.
With Shared Count, you get the details on how your social posts performed. As you get the numbers on how many time a social post is shared and the related metric to keep you a track of the performance in the social media.
Another tool, Act-On allows you the details of the conversion data by page.
There is a lot of help you can get with these tools and platforms to prepare your sheet.
Step 3: Analyze Your Data
As you are done with data gathering, data collation, and formatting, you are good to go with data analysis. While you get started with your analysis, you should always design your execution plan and time slots looking at your requirements. As every website analysis have its own set of requirements depending on the size and scope of audit coverage.
Now, as you have your functional plan prepared and all the data in place, you should start acting upon the analysis part. To begin with, go on assigning performance score to the numbers/results/outputs – rating them on a scale of A-F, where ‘A’ should have been assigned to the best results on the track and ‘F’ to something that completely fails to deliver.
For example, if you see a bounce rate of a page crossing the acceptable ratio and it is worsening by time, you should assign it a ‘D’ or ‘E’ grade depending on your criteria of good and bad performance and how it compares with the overall global standards or averages of performance.
If you find something totally out of order and is failing to perform at even the reserve margins, assign it an ‘F’ score.
The best-performing assets that are doing great in all aspects and measures, should be assigned ‘A’ grade.
Now, that you gave assigned the scores to your content assets, you should add a column ‘Action’ on your sheet. These ‘Actions’ should act as directives to what you are going to do with those links, content, pages, or posts.
Keep/Prioritize (A and B grade assets)
Update/Fix (C and D grade assets)
Remove/Trash (E and F grade assets)
Consolidate (The data that is not sizable or attributable enough to be analyzed)
*It makes sense combining the meager or dwarf assets with bigger value assets to make them traceable and measurable.
Step 4: Preparing Action Notes
Based on the modular analysis and the observations you hold now for your data assets, you should consider preparing notes for detailed/specific actions. This gets you the clarity of how to treat different assets based on their specific value traits and performance goals. And you get more power and a better direction to utilize them to their best capabilities to get favorable results.
Taking examples from observations:
Video Blog Shows Higher User Engagement
If you see your video blog getting more user visits and engagements and the metric says your visitors stay double the time on your video content than the text content, you should choose to go more with video blog posts in the future.
Action: You can plan and allocate more resources to work on video creation and promotion. Shift more of your efforts towards video blogging with the ongoing strategic support of text blogs.
Certain Topics Get More Attention
There are a few article topics, may be related to some information, narration type, or title orientation that receive better hits. Like something about a hot technology or some formula tip. You can find it outgoing a bit deep into the metric and doing some comparisons and calculations.
Action: Here, you may like to write more about such blogs in the future. Mark these blogs and replicate them with new topics to cover maximum ground.
Decent Reach. Lesser Conversions
You have a page on your site that registers a high user reach and good engagement in terms of time-on-page and return visits. But this page is not good at conversions and the rate of acquisition per user visit is very low. Analyzing it further, you are falling short of the right conversion strategy and marketing funnel.
Action: With this, you should be working more on reaching out to a more immediate audience who are more likely to convert. And should consider placing the CTAs and events right while optimizing marketing communication.
On Comprehensive Lines, You May Prepare The Following Action Notes:
- Rewrite or revise the pages that have scored lower than a ‘C’ in the analysis.
- Concentrate more on promoting pages that reveal higher conversion on social media.
- Commit to creating and publishing more of video content as it engages better than text content.
- Eliminate pages that have grown less important because of obsolete content.
- Cover topic ideas and communication modes that are fetching higher response.
Step 5: Taking it Further
Good if you have come this far. You have most of the auditing tasks covered. But, this keeps you restrained to comparison and analysis that is confined to your site.
To go beyond this, you need to take a look at competitor’s websites and service platforms. Conducting an audit on the client website similar to yours can give you a new perspective to look into the content. This can help you to work on new content ideas, explore better content marketing tactics, and implement better practices to engage audiences on your site.
Also, you can check out the social media activities of the competitor directly through the profiles and posts or entering into the post URLs using the services from BuzzSumo. Here, you will get a detailed breakdown of the performance segregated across different engagement factors.
Here, you can even get to see what all sites are linked to them and what all guest blogging sites and user forums they are present on. Skyscraper Technique on Banklinko can get you the list of URLs that form the backlinks of these sites.
With these activities, you get a perspective beyond your performance zone and you get to add to the range and facet of a content audit.
Content Audit is not a standalone off-base activity. It is an integral departmental process that is built on regular focused efforts to make content deliver. At its core, it is about keeping up with good content, checking on its credibility, validating its performance across timelines, competitions, platforms, and trends, and keeping it valuable and progressive all the way, to assures optimum results with content.
There’s no one-plan-fits-all approach to Content Audit. It may take different routes, ideas, practices, scopes to get you there. It is something that needs to be followed with a proper plan that well approves of your purpose and entity, as it decides how well you communicate, engage, and convert with your content – that is virtually at the base of everything you do, appoint, and propose as a business.