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Your Ultimate Guide to Conducting a Content Audit for Your Brand

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The digital marketing world has taken the world by storm. Content marketing is a very important aspect of digital marketing. With content marketing comes a commitment to quality and constant optimization. Hence, this is where a thorough content audit comes into play.

In this article, we’re going to look at what a content audit means, why is it important, a step-wise guide on how to do a content audit, templates and checklists, etc. 

What is a content audit?

You’re probably wondering what a content audit is. It is the first step to making your content better. A content audit, by definition, is analyzing and cataloguing data to optimize performance.

This can also improve your rankings, hence, lead to increased conversions. 

What is the purpose of a content audit? 

A content audit is a review of all the content that lives on your website. It needs to be optimized time and again. You need to be aware of content formats, different types and optimize the quality in order to meet the goals. If you’re wondering what the purpose of a content audit is, read on –

  • To evaluate the quality and effectiveness of each content piece that is live on your website. You need to have an understanding as to which content piece is working for the brand and which ones are not. Accordingly, you can keep them live, delete them or archive them for future use. This will help you immensely in your content marketing strategy.
  • To save your content in a catalogue manner in your company’s content bank for future use and updating purposes so that you don’t scurry around at the last minute. This is very important for offline content. 
  • Repurposing content can save you precious time. With the help of a content audit, you will be able to track repurposed content and also update old content with ease.

We recommend IIDE’s Online Content Marketing and Strategy for essential tips on content marketing and strategy. 

Why is Content Audit Useful and Important? 

A content audit helps create a structured content bank that can be edited, deleted, reorganized, optimized, reused, and made from scratch. In today’s digital age, a content audit is very important.

  • Identifying website issues – As and when you perform a content audit and content assets, you will recognize bugs and issues such as broken links. UI/UX content audits and website content audits are crucial for overall customer experience and site accessibility. It will increase the number of visitors and conversions too. In a recent study, it was noticed that Gen Zers are quick to bounce from a website if it takes time to load. Hence, content audits are very important.

  • Content Quality Check – Is your content too long? Too short? Low in quality? Is it SEO-rich? How would you know? It is important to conduct an SEO content audit, website content audit, and social media content audit. Google’s website crawlers or spiders crawl the website to check the content that is repetitive, short, of little value, and can share a penalty with you for poor content. Check out the Top Benefits of SEO.

  • Helps Identify Content Gaps – Content gaps are when your website may lack the information that your consumer or target audience is seeking.  By understanding these gaps, you can accordingly revamp and formulate new content to meet these gaps.

  • Optimize Website Structure – Do you feel your content is already optimized? That’s great! However, it won’t help if it isn’t structured well on the website. If a user cannot navigate your website with ease, the sole purpose of having good content is lost. It needs to be accessible to be effective. Hence, website structure is very important and content audits are important for this.
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6 Essential Steps to do a Content Audit For Your Business

Read on for 6 steps that are essential for a good content audit – 

1. Determine your Goals

First and foremost, you need to have your goals clear. From there, it is easier to break down your content audit into categories. The main goal is to have engaging content, include all the information a potential customer looks for, to increase the conversion rate. Some common content audit goals are – 

  • SEO optimization for better ranking
  • Identifying best performing content and repurposing it
  • Get rid of obsolete information that does not serve any purpose
  • Updating content strategy with new trends
  • Increased ROI
  • Increase in conversions

2. Gather Your Content

Which content should you be auditing? There’s tons of content on your website and you probably don’t know where to start. Blog posts, product descriptions, banner content, news articles, etc. The first step is to gather the content for the audit.

Collect the URLs of the web pages you wish to audit. You can create a content audit spreadsheet if you’re doing it manually.

You can use free content audit tools as well. Some popular online content audit tools include SEMrush content audit, Screaming Frog, and HubSpot.These tools will do the job once you upload the sitemap. A content audit sitemap is a file that has your website’s information and the URLs to your pages. 

3. Categorize Content 

It is important to categorize your content after gathering it. You could use some of the tools available online as well. Categorizing will help to keep your content as organized as possible, hence ensuring you don’t miss out on any content piece. Some categories include –

  • Content-Type
  • Author
  • Publishing Date
  • Content Format
  • Metadata (Meta Titles, Descriptions)

Your content audit spreadsheet must have URLs, categories, metadata, and metric data of your content. You could upload this on a sitemap if you’re using a tool. 

4. Analyze Content Issues

Another important aspect is metrics. Many content audit tools can pull these out for you. This helps to analyze your content. The key metrics include – 

  • Website Traffic – Website traffic is an indicator of your content performance. The quality, type, distribution, and strategy matter when it comes to content. If the website traffic is high, you’ll know if your content marketing efforts are paying off. 
  • Bounce Rate – The goal is to create content that is so engaging that it makes users explore your website and spend time on it and eventually convert. Your website content needs to entertain or inform the end-user very well. If your bounce rate is high (above 60%) then it is an indicator that visitors are going back to the search engine results to look for other options as they did not find what they were looking for. 
  • Conversions – Driving sales is the end goal for most businesses. Engaging, user-friendly content will most definitely lead to conversions. Analyze which content strategy works best for you and accordingly incorporate it for future use as well. 
  • Traffic Source – Where do visitors enter your website from? If maximum users are entering from search engines, then your SEO game is strong!
  • Average Time Spent – If for example, your blog post is 4,000 words and the average time spent is as low as 20 seconds, then there is an issue with the content piece. Optimize your content by understanding what is it that users are looking for. 
  • New vs. Returning Customers – Is your content getting bookmarked by users for future reference? Or is it gaining attention from new users? The goal is to aim for returning users.
  • Engagement – Likes, comments, shares are a great way of measuring engagement and can help you understand what kind of content is working.  
  • Pages Per Session –  The more pages the visitor views on your website the better. It means that they find it interesting.

5. Audit Your Content

Add some columns to your existing spreadsheet and give a score for each evaluator. Most people rate it out of 10 or good, okay, needs improvement, etc. 

Include a notes column as well. Mark errors, valuable insights, questions, etc. Insights, proof, and recommendation is also a good way of presenting your data for the audit. 

6. Present Your Insights and Findings 

Present your findings to your team in a way that is easy to understand. Instead of presenting a sheet, we recommend a presentation with data that is easy to consume. Include the following –

  • Goals
  • Which pages were audited
  • Evaluators that were looked into

Insights from the Synthesis should be followed by proof and recommended action points.

Content Audit Reporting – How to make one?

Ideally, a content audit report should be in the form of a presentation with all the findings. It is for future reference and to present to the managerial team of any company. The contents of a content audit report should include-

Goals/ Objective of the Content Audit 

The goals of the content audit need to be included in the report

Data Collection 

Outline how you went about collecting data 

Analysis 

After gathering all the data, what was the analysis carried out? Which areas needed improvisation and which ones were removed? Mention these areas.

Strategy 

By keeping the metrics and the analysis in mind, strategize for best results and take action.

Findings and Learnings

List out the learnings after acting on your strategy.

Content Best Practices 

Mention the best practices to follow for the future. You could also share case study examples here.

Avoid using spreadsheets for presentation purposes, instead, prepare a deck. 

Must-Use Free & Paid Content Audit Tools

Which tool is best for a content audit? There are many tools available – both free content audit tools and paid content audit tools. Let’s have a look at some of the best content audit tools – 

1. Google Analytics

Content Audit - Types of Digital Marketing Tools

Google Analytics is free of cost and has some of the best features to offer. About 60% of the world’s website users use it. You can easily identify what content is working for you, what content needs improvisation, and also gauge website traffic trends. 

Additional reports like behavioural flow reports, site search reports are crucial to content marketing strategies. Learn Google Analytics to get started. 

2. Google Search Console

Content Audit - Digital marketing tools - Google Search Console

It is a common and preferred content audit tool by marketers. It measures your website’s performance and traffic and finds issues that need fixing. It has no cost attached to it.

3. SEMRush

Content Audit Tools

SEMrush content audit is one of the best and is created for in-depth website content analysis. It is a favourite amongst SEO experts and content creators as it tells you how a page is performing and identifies issues that potentially reduce Google rankings. 

It has a free trial post which you need to sign up for their Pro ($120 / month)  Guru ($230 / month)  and Business ($450 / month) plans. 

4. Site Analyzer

Content Audit Tools - Site Analyzer

It is a comprehensive content audit and SEO tool. It has a free trial period of 14 days and then its paid plans range from $28 – $330 a month. Apart from content and SEO audit, it also has a competitor analysis tool.

5. Screaming Frog

Content Audit Tools - Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is one of the best content audit tools. It crawls the website to do an audit and generates a report with SEO insights and other problems to be fixed. It gives comprehensive data and many businesses, companies, entrepreneurs, and content creators use this. 

The free version lets you crawl 500 URLs. It also gives Google Analytics data like bounce rate, sessions, etc. 

If you’re looking for more digital marketing tools, check out Top 34 digital marketing tools in 2021. You can also refer to this matrix to understand if the alignment of your goals and the performance of your blogs are going hand-in-hand. 

Content Audit Image

Content Audit Template & Checklist 

Here’s a content audit template example you can take inspiration from and create your own: 

Content Audit Template

(Source)

Here is a website content audit checklist that’ll come in handy when you’re executing it –

  • Title – The title of a blog post or social media post needs to be short, attention-grabbing, and catchy. They also need to incorporate target keywords. For it to be displayed on Google’s pages, it should not be more than 50-60 characters. 
  • URL – An ideal URL is short and a user should understand what the web page is about by just looking at the URL. Avoid long, descriptive ones.
  • Meta Description – When you search for something on a search engine, the short description after the search result page titles is the Meta Description. It summarizes what the web page is about in 1-2 lines. It needs to have relevant keywords and also should add value.
  • Keywords – Keywords are words or phrases that are related to what your content is about. Just as the name suggests, they are the key to ranking on search engines. They help crawlers understand if your content is of good quality.
  • Links – Reliable links are very important for content. Linking out to low-quality pages will hurt your SEO ranking, user experience, and overall credibility. Paying attention to links o your page is very important. These include –

Internal Links – Ensure that the content links to other internal pages in a strategic manner for better search rankings.

Outbound Links – Link out to good quality sites that add value

Broken Links – Check if any links on your website are broken – basically stating the 404 not found error.  Eliminate these links.

  • Comprehensiveness – Ensure that your content has a wide range and has all the information that a user is looking for, For example for a blog post, a word count of 2000 will boost your SEO ranking and also give your audience all the answers. 
  • Images – Your images need to be of high quality. Your web page should have images and not just text. They need to have image alt tags for SEO purposes as well. Good quality images are extremely important.
  • Readability – Your content needs to be readable. Don’t make it too complicated or technical. Break large chunks of content with images. Make sure it is readable and passes a verified readability test.
  • Relevancy – Ensure that your content is relevant and make use of relevant keywords. Delete obsolete pages.
  • Backlinks Quality Check – Ensure that your backlinks are from good sources with credibility. Backlinks are links that direct traffic to your website from other web pages.
  • CTA – Calls-to-action are very important to include at the end of your web pages to increase conversions
  • Duplicate Content – Eliminate any kind of duplicate content as these pages can compete with each other for rankings.
  • Accuracy of Facts – Make sure any claims you make on your website are correct and all statistics are from reliable sources.
  • Author – Ensure all contributorS and author bios are updated.
  • Responsiveness – Make sure your pages are mobile-friendly as more than 50% of users access websites through their mobile phones.

We hope this content audit template/checklist helps you. Before we wrap, here are some common questions answered. 

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FAQs 

Q. What does a content audit do?

A content audit is analyzing and cataloguing data and analyzing data to optimize performance on a website, social media, etc. It helps in improving the overall content marketing strategy. 

Q. What is included in a content audit?

Content audits keep track of all your content including social media posts, web pages, blog posts, descriptions, metadata, and provide in-depth analysis to improve your content for higher conversion rates.

Q. How do you organize content audits?

You can follow the steps below to organize content audits –

  • Identify your content audits goals
  • Make an inventory of the data
  • Gather and analyze all the content  
  • Take action 
  • Adjust your content marketing strategy according to findings

Q. What is a UX content audit?

A UX content audit is user experience-driven. It is essentially enhancing the whole experience of a visitor right from entering the site to the last stage of the purchase by improving content marketing strategies.

Q. How long does a content audit take?

A content audit can take a few days for a small website to a couple of months for a big website. It really depends on the scope of work. 

What do you learn from a content audit? A lot! It is all about paying attention to detail for the best customer experience. An increased ROI and conversion rate comes with constant learning and analysis. Give us a content audit example that you found interesting.  

If you want to learn more about digital marketing check out this 3-month online digital marketing course or this comprehensive 11-month MBA-level postgraduate digital marketing course that’ll give you an edge in this competitive field.

You could also do our short online courses to expand your knowledge in specific areas of digital marketing. 

We hope that you enjoyed reading our blog! Tell us in the comments section below. 

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]

Aditya Shastri

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