This is part two of our content audit miniseries. You can read the first installment here: Why you should conduct a content audit

Start with detailed examination of your content

A content audit is the perfect opportunity to look under the hood of your website and examine its marketing prowess. Performing a content audit can yield many benefits for a business, as long as it’s undertaken correctly.

To perform a basic content audit, you’ll need four key tools: Screaming Frog SEO Spider, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and a spreadsheet.

1 Generate a list of your content

This isn’t as complicated as it may seem. There are plenty of great tools to help you, but Screaming Frog is probably the best one out there. We recommend that you give their software a download. Simply enter the domain that you’re going to audit and let the program do the rest.

Before exporting, you’ll want to hit the filter drop-down menu and click HTML. This will eradicate the CSS, Javascript, image files, and leave you with a list of webpages. Export the data and insert into Excel or Google Sheets – whatever your preference. There will be an abundance of columns and data.

This is a great time to check in on your content that’s indexed vs non-indexed. You can filter this by status code or indexability. For the purposes of this content audit, well be looking at 200 code content that’s being indexed.

Delete the columns so that you’re left with Title, Title Length, Meta Description, Meta Description Length, H1, Word Count, Inlinks, and Outlinks. Youll need to manually add a further column for backlinks. This additional information can easily be obtained from a variety of tools including SEMRush, SEO Spyglass, or Moz.

2. Add in your Google Analytics metrics…

To give more context to the content audit, you’ll need to pull in some metrics from Google Analytics. Head to… Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages and export the data. Remember to choose a specific time period. This could be the length of time your blog has been running or specific dates.

The five metrics you’ll want to add to your spreadsheet are:
  • Pageviews
  • Average Time on Page
  • Bounce Rate
  • Page Value
  • Entrance

3. Add in your Google Search Console Data…

Set your required date range (make sure it matches your Google Analytics date range!) and navigate to Performance – Pages – and then export. This will give you the Click Through Rate and Impressions data that you’ll need to analyze. Add this information into your spreadsheet.

4. Add some category columns

To help support your content audit, you’ll need to categorize your data. We recommend adding three additional columns to your spreadsheet: Topic, Type, and Action. The reason for adding these is detailed below.

5. Start measuring.

Okay, you’ve got your bulging spreadsheet that’s ripe and ready for harvesting. But where do you begin? Firstly, let’s take a brief look over the information and give you a heads up as to what you’re looking for in each column.
  • Meta Title – How is this performing in the SERP? Does this still relate to the content? Does it convey your brand voice? Will updating it affect any rankings?
  • Title length – Do a quick sweep of your title tag length. Ensure they’re suitable for the Google recommended length (60-70 characters)
  • Meta description – Is this inspiring click through? Is it the correct length of 160 characters?
  • H1 – For blogs, this is usually the title of your post
  • Pageviews – The more views, the higher the chance of engagement, shares, conversions, and backlinks
  • Time on page – If you have a long-form blog post and the average time on page is 20 seconds, this shows that something is wrong.
  • Page value – Useful for eCommerce websites or if a value has been set in contact form submissions or newsletter signups.
  • Click-through rate – This metric will show you how many clicks your URL got from the search results.
  • Impressions – This is how many times your URL was seen in the SERP but not clicked.
  • Backlinks – Do people deem your content valuable enough to link to it?
  • Inlinks – Are you pointing to this post enough across your domain?
  • Topic – What is the content about? How .does this fit in with your brand?
  • Type – Long form? Short form? Listicle? Whitepaper? Video? You get the idea.
  • Action – What are you going to do with this content? More on this below!

With your spreadsheet filled out, you can start auditing your content. But where to start? Here are a few pointers to get you started in the right direction:

  • Start by distinguishing the articles that are performing the best. Identifying what works will make finding what doesn’t a lot easier.
  • Think about which topics or themes the top performing content has. What is their common thread? How can you replicate these for further success down the line?
  • If a post has a high number of impressions but low CTR, then there’s a good chance that your meta tags are not compelling enough and need a refresh.
  • Content that isn’t on the first page won’t generate much search traffic. So look for areas that can be optimized to help get these posts there.
  • If you have content languishing on the outer reaches of your blog (and we all do) then decide what you can do with it. What is the purpose of this content? Is it still relevant? Does this content need to be removed, redirected, or consolidated? Did it perform well in the past or on social media? How can you further optimize to gain organic visibility?

6. Taking action and next steps…

Once you’ve analyzed your content, it’s time to make some tough decisions. You must decide what to do with your content. There are four possible options for you to choose — keep, modify, repurpose, abort.

Keep

No changes need to be made, content is performing to or above expectations. This content is kicking ass; ranking high for its target keywords, generating traffic, contributing to leads and revenue. You know, the things your content is expected to.

Modify

Some on-page optimization needs to be undertaken. These articles are getting some traffic from your social channels or newsletter and likely have a lot of pageviews but not a lot of organic love. This tells us a couple of things. People are interested in these articles and like what you have to say, but may not be optimized for the search engines. So what you need to do is rework your on-page optimization plan. Re-examine your keyword targets, update your meta tags, look to add more internal links from relevant pages, make sure your headers and content have those target keywords in them.

Repurpose

Identifying content to be repurposed requires an understanding of what makes good content. Be cutthroat. These pieces aren’t getting much search visibility, traffic, or social shares. These may be outdated, too short, poorly written. You will need to decide if these posts can be saved. Could this content be used better elsewhere? Can it be re-written or consolidated with other pieces?

Abort

This content is not performing and it’s not salvageable. Identifying these is a bit more straightforward than the repurpose content, as it will be quite evident that they no longer serve their purpose. These ones can have quite a few different looks; off-brand, long-passed marketing campaigns, outdated practices, or even products/services you no longer offer. Not only do these posts jeopardize your organic search performance and marketing efforts, but they can damage your brand reputation. These should be removed from public viewing and redirected.

And that’s it!

You should be left with a clear view of both what’s working well in your content marketing strategy and where improvements can be made. Remember that this is not a one-and-done job. You should be revisiting this every 4-6 months.
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