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A Simple Guide to Perform a Comprehensive Content Audit

No matter why you have a website, it needs to be filled with great content.

Without good content, you might as well not have a website at all.

But how exactly do you know when you have good content?

You might read through a piece of content and think it’s perfectly fine, but there’s a more reliable way of figuring it out.

If you’re wondering if your content is performing well, there’s a good chance it’s time for a content audit to check for sure.

By following the right steps, knowing what to look for, and what you’re hoping to get out of your content audit, you can look forward to creating a better website.

What Is a Content Audit?

At some point, every website will need a content audit.

A content audit gives you the opportunity to review closely all of the content on your website and evaluate how it’s working for you and your current goals.

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This helps show you:

  • What content is good.
  • What needs to be improved.
  • What should just be tossed away.
  • What your content goals for the future should look like.

There are also some types of websites that are more in need of content audits than others.

If you have a relatively new website where all of your content is still fresh, you won’t really be in need of a content audit for a while.

Older sites have a lot more to gain from having a content audit done, as well as websites that have a large amount of content.

This makes websites like a news site a great contender for audits. The size of a website will also affect how often a content audit is necessary.

What Is the Purpose of Content Audits?

There’s no one exact reason why you should go through a content audit.

Content is known for being a great digital marketing investment because it will continue to work for you long into the future, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require some upkeep from time to time.

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What worked for your website at one point might not anymore, so it only makes sense to go back and review it.

Improve Organic Ranking

If you aren’t ranking highly, it could be a problem with your content.

Some of the content you have might not be SEO-friendly, and although it might be valuable content to have, there’s no way for it to rank highly.

If the content you have is already good, optimizing it to be more SEO-friendly can be a simple change that makes a big difference in your rankings.

Revitalize Older Content

Even the best content gets old at some point.

After a while, you might end up missing out on important keywords, having content with broken links, outdated information, among other issues.

If older content isn’t performing well, that doesn’t mean it can’t serve a new purpose for your website.

Giving new life to some of your older content can give you the same effect as having something totally brand new, without requiring you to put in the amount of work that an entirely new piece of content would need.

Get Rid of Irrelevant Content

Not everything you’ve ever posted will be relevant forever.

Some content that’s great at the moment only benefits you for a short while.

While you might find older content on your website that can be updated to be more useful, sometimes it has just become irrelevant.

When this is the case, you don’t have to keep it if it’s only taking up space.

Eliminate Similar & Duplicate Content

In addition to unimportant pages, you can also find duplicate content to get rid of during a content audit.

Duplicate content can often occur by accident and wasn’t created to try and cheat the system, but regardless of why you have it, you can be penalized by search engines for it.

If you do find that you have extremely similar or duplicate content, but you can’t get rid of it, you can fix the problem by canonicalizing your preferred URL.

Plan for the Future

When you go through the content you currently have, you might end up seeing some gaps that need to be filled.

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When you realize you’re missing out on important information and topics your audience needs, this is the time to make up for that.

You’ll be able to realize what’s lacking in your website to create more useful content in the future.

How to Perform a Content Audit

A content audit at first glance might seem likely simply reading through your website’s content, but there’s much more to it than that.

For an effective content audit, you’ll need to rely heavily on online tools to get the data you need.

So, before you get started with a content audit, it’s important to know exactly what you’ll need to be doing beforehand.

1. Know Your Reason

If you’re going through the effort of performing a content audit, you’re not doing it for nothing.

There must be some goal that’s driving you to do this.

Maybe you want to improve your SEO so you can earn higher rankings, or you want to create content that brings in more qualified leads.

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Not everyone will have the same reason for having a content audit, although many of the reasons might seem similar, so what you’ll want to look for might vary.

2. Use Screaming Frog to Index Your URLs

One tool that you should always use during an audit is Screaming Frog.

This tool will allow you to create an inventory of the content you have on your website by gathering URLs from your sitemap.

If you have fewer than 500 pages to audit, you can even get away with using the free version.

This is one of the easiest ways of getting all of your content together to begin your content audit.

3. Incorporate Google Analytics Data

After you’ve made an inventory of your website’s content, you’ll need to see how it’s performing.

For this, Google Analytics can give you all the information you need.

This can give you valuable insights as to how people feel about your content, such as how long they stick around for it and how many pages they’re viewing per session.

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4. Examine Your Findings

The data you get from Google Analytics will make it easier for you to figure out what your next move will be.

After reviewing your findings, it might be clear what’s holding your content down.

The solution may not be obvious, but by looking closely at what your data tells you and researching, you can figure it out with a little bit of effort.

For example, if you have one great, high-quality piece of content that doesn’t get many views, it might just need to be updated slightly and reshared.

5. Make a Plan

Finally, you should figure out what the necessary changes will be and how you’ll go about making them.

If you have a long list of changes that need to be implemented, consider which ones are a priority and which ones can be fixed over time.

Planning for the future might include not just the changes to be made on existing content, but the arrangements for creating new content in the future.

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Finals Thoughts

Content audits might seem intimidating, but they are key to making sure all of the content on your website is working for you and not against you.

Performing a content audit doesn’t mean that you’ve been making huge mistakes with your content.

Such an audit is simply maintenance that even websites with the best content need to do.

Getting into this can seem overwhelming, but with the right help, an audit will leave you feeling more confident in your content and will help guide your next steps.

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