Content is a crucial part of SEO that has been helping businesses gaining more visibility, ranks, and traffic. However, content is not only useful for marketers but also for customers/users.
Through great quality content, they get great quality knowledge that improves their buying decisions.
Thousands of marketers all over the world have been using the content as their primary channel of marketing and content has never disappointed them.
However, the life of the content is short (in most of the cases), the information which is great for now will not be great in the future.
Data, information, advice, and process keep changing with time and so does the demand for content.
This is why content needs to be refreshed from time to time so that its value doesn’t go down. Nobody wants to read the old information about some topic because the information is not valuable anymore.
To learn how to audit content, I am going to show you some great tips through which you can lift up the quality of your content and generate more traffic.
But first, you need to know why you are auditing the content, what are the reasons?
Why Am I Auditing the Content?
You can conduct a content audit for several reasons but most businesses do it for two main reasons.
One big reason to do a content audit is the SEO benefits like finding loopholes in on page content, checking the word count, image optimization, etc. By conducting the content audit you can also rethink about the keyword optimization, which can bring huge SEO ranking benefit.
Content Marketing Benefits
The other advantageous reason to perform the content audit is the content marketing benefits that are important for online business growth.
By using the content audit you can check whether the content length is good, the information is timely and many other factors.
This will make sure that your content marketing efforts are bringing good results.
How to Audit Content
The content audit is not a rapid task that you start in the morning and finish by evening (especially if you have tons of content on your website).
Thus, you have to prepare yourself, get the resources and execute the plan well to bring out the best of your content audit.
Go through the following points step by step to perform an awesome content audit.
Step 1. Create a spreadsheet and Enter All the URLs
Creating a spreadsheet of the content URLs is very important. The spreadsheet allows you to manage all the URLs at one place with higher accuracy.
To create the spreadsheet you can use the tool like Google Docs Sheet and manually enter the URLs of each post, page or article.
Another way you can do it is via Screaming Frog tool, this awesome tool can get you the URLs (Up to 500 with free version).
You just have to enter your homepage URL the tool will come up with all pages, articles, and posts. After that, you can export all the URLs into a CSV file for further use.
Now you should enter all the imported URLs into a Google spreadsheet that you created. Here, you need to name other columns to manage all the actions, suggestions and information.
You can name columns one by one like URLs, titles, primary keywords, other keywords, content quality, etc.
Naming all the columns and filling data will help you see where you should start. One by one you can work on each URL and perform a successful content audit.
If you want to save time or not interested in creating your Google sheet for content audit then you can also these pre-made content audit templates that are provided for free.
This easy to use tool permits you to make a content list straight away in the WordPress dashboard’s edit screen. From there you can set some conditions like
- Which kind of content you want to audit.
- Whom you want to give permission to audit.
- After how many months the plugin should mark the content outdated.
- When and whom you want to notify for the content audit.
As you can see there are many options provided by this tool that you can use to quickly audit the content.
However, you should use this tool as a quick fix, if you want to audit the content thoroughly, then the spreadsheet method is the best.
Step 2. Gather Additional Data and Load it on the Spreadsheet
Now is the time to fill the columns you created in the previous step. Here you need different data sets and for that, you require tools such as WordPress CMS, Screaming Frog, Google Analytics, etc.
Additional data with Screaming Frog
Here, you can again use Screaming Frog tool to collect some additional data such as page title, Meta title & its length, Meta description and its length, Meta keywords, H1, H2, images ALT and more.
Additional data with Google Analytics
At this point, you still require some other data that Screaming Frog tool can’t provide you such as bounce rate, page visits, average time on page, page score, goal conversion.
So, you will have to use the Google Analytics tool to get all these metrics data. For that, simply go to Google Analytics dashboard and check Acquisition, Behaviour and Audience tab on the left pane.
There you will have to expand the corresponding tabs to grab the additional data.
Additional data with Google Search Console
Google Search Console can also provide you some valuable extra data set that is useful for a successful content audit.
By the help of this tool, you can grab information like CTR for a page, the average number of clicks, impressions, and rank.
Additional data with WordPress CMS or other CMS that you use
Your WordPress content management system can also provide some valuable data you need for a content audit.
From the CMS, you can grab the data like the word count of each post, content type, call to actions, tags, author, number of comments, last date of update and some others
When you get all the additional data from different tools, upload it to their corresponding columns within the spreadsheet.
Step 3. Analyze the Data and take action
The third step of the content audit is analyzing the data you collected from different sources. This step is the most important step because based on your analysis you will have to take actions for content.
To go forward, you can set some basic actions like remove, improve, keep and merge. These four major actions will help you filter the pages.
You can mark the poor pages that don’t add value to your website for removal.
Note: You need to make sure that the page you marked for removal is just not valuable in any manner. If you accidentally mark a page that is valuable and remove it then you will regret the decision later.
Next, you can analyze the pages and mark them for improvisation, here you can categorize the improvisation levels like C, B, A.
- Use the letter C for improvisations for fields like Image Alt tags, H1, H2, Meta Title & Descriptions, etc.
- Use the letter B for improvisations for fields like Average duration, bounce rate, keywords, etc.
- Use the letter A for improvisations for fields like word count, content length, call to actions, overall quality of content, etc.
You can also use your own ideas to categorize the actions, the goal to make the content audit procedure as simple as possible so that you can save time, efforts and get the maximum out of the audit.
Next major action you can define as “keep” where you don’t have to do much.
When you check a piece of content and find it perfect based on all the additional data collected, you keep it as it is.
The final action you can define as “merge”, this action would be useful when you find a page or an article not useful alone but you think it will be useful when merged with another page or article.
How to optimize existing articles or posts
The next big question that bothers the marketers is ‘how to optimize the existing content’ or ‘how to improvise an article’.
When you see a post not doing well or doesn’t meet up the standards you have set up, it is the time to improvise it. But how can you do it? Here are some simple steps you can follow:
Check the word count
These days, most of the articles that get a higher rank on Google are longer articles constructed of 2000 or more words.
So, if you see that the word count of your article is lower than 1000 words then you must increase the word count and take it close to 2000 words.
Check for Readability
Stuffing words into the articles should not be the goal. The goal should be to increase the word count without affecting the readability.
If you see that your articles are hard to read then users will discard reading it. You can use the Hemingway app to improve the readability of your articles.
Set a target audience
Setting up a target audience would always help you write better content, without a target audience you are just roaming in your hot air balloon without knowing the destination.
When you know your target audience you can write according to their mindset and interest.
Provide authentic and fresh information
With tons of information available on the internet who would want to read your article if you provide the same old data? Nobody, right.
This is why it is important that you provide authentic but fresh information that your audience will enjoy reading.
Add images and videos
The digital age of today mostly relies on visuals for getting knowledge and information. People remember more of what they see compared to what they read.
Therefore, you should take advantage of this fact. You should add more relevant images and videos into your content to make it more engaging and attractive.
Provide links to other resources
How a user would trust the information you are providing if you haven’t cited the original resource? He wouldn’t. So, you should add links to the original resources of the information.
That way you can gain more trust of the users and they would eagerly want to read your content. You can find more info on that here.
How to find new ideas for content
Finding new content ideas can be a daunting task considering the fact that everyone is writing new content every day about several different topics. But you don’t have to worry.
You can prevail over this dilemma by utilizing some interesting ways of finding the new topics for content
Google Search Suggestions
With Google itself, you can find many different ideas about content. All you have to do is search a query on Google and DON’T HIT ENTER.
As you can see the screenshot, when you search a query Google shows you some suggestions and based on these suggestions you can find new topic ideas.
Article topic generator
Using an article topic generator is also a great idea when you want to produce different topics for one subject.
KWfinder has a great keyword research tool that produces several topics upon entering the article’s topic.
Stay updated with the latest news
This is a very simple method of finding article ideas. All you need to do is refresh your knowledge by reading news, listening to podcasts and watching industry videos.
By doing this, you will get tons of new ideas to write about.
Auditing the content is an essential part of content marketing and it should be done precisely and thoroughly to get the best results.
So, we hope this post was helpful and gave you new ideas on how to audit the content.
Wynn is a full-time SEO senior consultant from Digitalm – Singapore based digital marketing company. With 8 years of experience in SEO and digital marketing, she dedicates her time outside work in content writing.