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Illustration showing a long piece of paper with a checklist of blue boxes with yellow checkmarks and text next to each checkbox. There is a magnifying glass over the paper showing a graph. How to do a content audit blog post.

How to Perform a Complete Content Audit


Samantha Scott

Apr 17, 2023

You spend hours crafting and finely tuning your blog posts and other website content, researching and tailoring it to specific channels and target audiences. So understanding how, or if, your hard work is making an impact and meeting your content marketing goals is essential.

If your content program has been up and running for a couple months or more, it might be a good time to conduct a content audit.

Contents

What is a Content Audit?

Man sitting at a desk in front of a laptop, writing notes on a white piece of paper, running a content audit

A content audit is a process to review the content you've created, organizing it and analyzing what is performing well, what is underperforming, and identify any gaps in your topic coverage that need to be filled. A content audit will not only allow you to organize the content you already have, but gives you an opportunity to optimize it as well.

Why is this important? According to Techjury, there are 17 new blog posts created every second - and that's just on Wordpress! Which gives you a little bit of context for just how much content is out there that you are competing with on a constant basis.

Running a content audit will help you find quick wins for making sure your content remains relevant and high-performing on search engines. You'll also be able to identify any deeper issues that need to be addressed when it comes to your broader content marketing strategy.

See also: Optimizing Content for SEO

Content Audit vs Content Inventory

Though an audit of your content might sometimes be referred to as a content inventory, these two exercises are actually a bit different.

  • A content audit focuses on the qualitative elements
  • A content inventory focuses on the quantitative element

You can however include both in one spreadsheet or template to make it easier for your team to work on.

Although a content audit may sound like a dreaded task, it's one of the best exercises for informing content strategy, marketing plans, customer journey and customer experience. All vital elements to ensure your content converts potential customers.

Often marketers over complicate the audit process. In fact, the audit itself is relatively simple once you have the right content audit template to work from. And this doesn't have to be fancy; in fact it could be a simple spreadsheet.  

For a content inventory, which can also be a simple spreadsheet, most of the legwork comes from making sure all the content you've already created gets added. Depending on how long you've been creating content, this can be time-consuming, but once its done, keeping it up-to-date will be simple (as long as you remember to do it 😉).

Once you prioritize a content audit you will be able to extract data-driven insights that inform your future strategy, ensuring your content is effective and reaching the right audience at the right time.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our content creation ideas

How to Perform a Content Audit

This step-by-step guide to conducting your content audit is a great place to start:

1. Define what resources you have to conduct the audit

A content audit is an invaluable tool to oversee all of your content insights and can inform an action list to improve and ultimately convert more leads in the future.

But you need resources to do this. The audit doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing task, you can break it down into specific sections and work on it one stage at a time.

Who Should Conduct the Content Audit?

It's really up to you but the audit will ultimately inform the content marketing strategy so would ideally lie within the content or marketing team.

It is helpful to have other internal stakeholders on board though like website developers who can easily provide you with a sitemap to access all content pages.

2. Generate a list of all your content

If you have a smaller site you can do this manually but it can be very time-consuming. URL profiling tools that help automate some of the process can be your friend here.

Content Audit Tools

Once you have the information either manually or by using one of the above content audit tools, you can start building a content audit spreadsheet. Here is a suggested layout:

Page TitlePage goals / purposeKeywordsPage URLPage-level
Try to include keywords in your headlinesTop-, middle-, or bottom-of-the-funnel content?Number of keywords you're ranking for/top-ranking keyword/targeted keywordshttps://www.example/blog/slug.com3
[...][...][...][...][...]
[...][...][...][...][...]

3. Identify how your content is performing

Close up of different magnification options on a microscope

You will be able to find out this information using the URL profiler information and/or a tracking tool like Google Analytics. This is the meat of any content audit, providing an overall measure of performance.

To find out whether your content is high-quality or low-quality, focus on analytics like bounce rate, time on page, click-through rates and, if you have them set up, goal conversions.

This is a great place to start analyzing what pages could be improved and optimized. Underperforming content will have lower average time on page, higher bounce rates (over 50%) and lower click-through rates.

Add These Columns to Your Spreadsheet:

  • Average time on page
  • Bounce Rate
  • % of organic traffic
  • Click-through rates (CTR)
  • Conversion rates

Combining the previous steps, your content audit spreadsheet could look something like this:

Page TitlePage goals / purposeKeywordsPage URLPage-levelAverage time on pageBounce Rate% of organic trafficClick-through rate (CTR)Conversion rate
Try to include keywords in your headlinesTop-, middle-, or bottom-of-the-funnel content?Number of keywords you're ranking for/top-ranking keyword/targeted keywordshttps://www.example/blog/slug.com32:2532%76%4.5%1.6%
[...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...]
[...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...]

4. Analysis and action

Now this is the important bit. It’s easy to create content, publish and forget about it, especially as many of us already have long to-do lists. But as a marketing professional, once you publish a piece of content, the job is only half done. Now you need to track its performance with regular analysis as a part of you content audit.

This practice gives you greater insights into what long-form content is working that you could convert and repurpose into other content types like social media posts, videos or infographics.

Related: Guide to Repurposing Content

Add a Final Column to Your Spreadsheet: Action

  • Actionkeep, update, delete or re-write

By now you should have a good idea what content is high-performing and what needs to be optimized. 

Start analyzing the metrics and categorize each piece of content using a traffic light system. You will clearly be able to see which content is underperforming, mark these in red for immediate action, orange for content that needs attention but isn’t urgent and green for content that is performing well.

Starting with the red content and work through each item. As you work through each item on the content spreadsheet, give it a label in the action column for what needs to be done. Be as detailed as you can, this way you can delegate the actions to the wider team.

Content helps build a relationship with your target audience and convert them to customers. Remember this as you go through the content optimization process and make sure each piece is set up for success.

Content Audit Spreadsheet Template

Take a look at this content audit spreadsheet template and feel free to use and adjust it to your personal needs:

Page TitlePage goals / purposeKeywordsPage URLPage-levelAverage time on pageBounce Rate% of organic trafficClick-through rate (CTR)Conversion rateAction:
[Try to include keywords in your headlines][Top-, middle-, or bottom-of-the-funnel content][Number of keywords you're ranking for/top-ranking keyword/targeted keywords][https://www.example/blog/slug.com][3][2:25][32%][76%][4.5%][1.6%][keep] / [update] / [delete] / [re-write]
[...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...]
[...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...]

Key Criteria to Consider When Analyzing Your Content

Person looking at a content audit bar graph, analyzing content metrics

As you work through your content audit, think about how a potential customer would run through the content.

  • Does the sitemap make sense?
  • Are the internal links pointing to the best places and using good anchor text?
  • How many external links do you have?

Google Analytics can help here as it can show the most popular paths users take when on your website.

Google will also makes its own mind up about your user experience, they do this by using Core Web Vitals. Although this data won't override relevant content, it is something Google takes into account when crawling your page. Keep an eye on this.

When reading through the content it’s a good idea to ask someone outside of your team to review it. It can always help to have a fresh set of eyes on it and they may pick up inconsistencies that you haven’t spotted. 

Something to look out for as well is making sure the content is up to date in terms of product features and updates. Older content can become dated quickly, and this has the potential to confuse customers as to what you have available, so make sure they have the most recent information about your product or service.

Content Optimization

As we mentioned earlier your content has to compete with millions of new blog posts every day. The best way to signal to Google that your content is the most up to date and relevant to the user is by updating older content with these Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices:

  • Updating/adding new keywords: you can use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or other tools such as AHREFs to find out what keywords are trending and appropriate for your content. Check competitor blogs as well to see if they have relevant information you can include.
  • Updating research: check if you have cited research, facts, or stats in your content. How old is it? Is there more current information that you can add to make the content more relevant?
  • Meta description: if you change keywords and titles you will need to remember to update your headlines and meta descriptions. Tools like a snippet generator, can help you make sure you stay within the recommended character limit.
  • Backlinks: refer to the URL profiler for information on backlinks, which can often drop or become broken. Identify the ones you want to re-instate and start outreach to get them updated.
  • Call-to-action links: make sure your CTAs lead to the correct landing page and are still relevant.

You should also check for duplicate content when running a content audit. Google algorithms will penalize you if you have multiple pages with the same or similar content, and this can affect web traffic. You can either consolidate similar blogs or tag it appropriately to let Google know why you have these pages. Canonical tags are often used to do this.

Content gaps

Now that you have analyzed what you’re going to do with your current content, you can start looking at new content ideas to fill any gaps you discovered during your content audit.

Have a look at your keyword research and base your upcoming list of new blogs on trending keywords that are relevant to your target audience.

If you’re struggling, here's some tips for coming up with ideas for content creation. Remember to add any newly created content to your spreadsheet so this can be reviewed at the next audit.

Content Benchmarking

By conducting your content audit, you can establish benchmarking milestones, metrics, and KPIs for your content. You can use this information month-on-month, year-on-year to compare against and evaluate incremental changes. It’s also a good reference point to see what has (or hasn’t) worked well in terms of your content output.

A content audit is typically focused mainly on blogs and landing pages on your website. But it's important to also think about your overall content marketing strategy and all the content types that are included. You can add social media posts to your content audit spreadsheet and take an in-depth look at how they are performing as well.

Final Thoughts About Content Audits

This is your chance to bring your content back to life but like any content audit process the results are only as good as the information you are inputting, and its important to get this right.

Make a regular content audit part of your content strategy. Content marketing is only ever going to become more competitive and search engines are continually demanding more for the return in organic traffic so use your content insights to create a proactive content marketing strategy.

Curious how Meltwater's suite for marketing professionals can help? Fill out the form below to request a demo!

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