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Many content marketers get so caught up in brainstorming new ideas and creating new articles that they forget about the valuable content they've already produced. But truthfully, your existing body of work has just as much value as anything new that you produce.
Why, you ask?
Well, by auditing and optimizing your existing content, you can often achieve a significant increase in traffic, engagement, and return on investment (ROI). So don't discount the value of your existing work — you can leverage it to drive even more value for your business.
But how, exactly, do you go about auditing your content?
Just like any other marketing effort, auditing your content requires careful planning and execution. In this article, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about content audits, including what they are, why they're important, and how to conduct them.
So, let's get started!
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What is a content audit?
A content audit is an analysis of your website's existing content, a comprehensive assessment of both the quantity and quality of your content, in addition to how well it aligns with your current business goals. For example, if your current objective is to increase website traffic from organic search, you would want to analyze how well your existing content is optimized for relevant keywords.
What are the benefits of conducting a content audit?
A website content audit can be a lengthy process, taking anywhere from several hours to several months to complete, depending on the size and scope of your website. But, the benefits of a content audit greatly outweigh the costs.
Some of the key benefits of conducting a content audit include:
- Improved website performance. One of the main goals of a content audit is to improve your website’s overall performance. By taking a close look at your existing content, you can identify areas where your website is falling short and make the necessary changes to improve its overall effectiveness.
- Valuable tool for decision-making. After completing a content audit, you will have a comprehensive understanding of your website's strengths and weaknesses. With this information, you’ll make educated decisions about where to allocate your resources going forward.
- Keep your online presence polished and accurate. The way you present your content says a lot about your brand. You want to be seen as current, professional, and competent. That means keeping up with emerging trends and developments in your field to ensure your position as an industry leader. But, without proper auditing, it's easy for out-of-date or off-base content to get mixed in with the rest. Regular content audits are essential to refining your website and upholding your reputation. They will help identify obsolete elements that need updating or replacing and discard irrelevant content that no longer serves a purpose.
- A comprehensive review of content library. By conducting a regular content audit, you can create and maintain a centralized repository of your company's content. This "content library" can be an invaluable resource for other departments within your organization. For example, if the sales team has access to the content library, they can easily recycle and repurpose existing material for their own needs — saving time and resources.
- Maximize your content marketing ROI. By understanding what content is performing well and why, you can invest more time and resources into creating similar content that will resonate with your audience. Likewise, if you identify underperforming content, you can make adjustments to improve its effectiveness.
A content audit is a powerful tool you can use to improve your website, content marketing strategy, and overall online presence.
How do you conduct a content audit?
For a wide range of reasons, you may be considering a content audit. Maybe you aren't getting the results you want from your current content strategy. Perhaps your website is due for a redesign, and you want to ensure that your content will work well with your brand's new voice. Or maybe you simply want to assess what kind of content you have and where it stands against your marketing goals.
Whatever the reason, you’ll want to take these six steps to ensure your content audit is thorough and effective::
Step #1: Define your goals
A content audit can review a virtually limitless number of objectives and metrics. But if you want your content audit to be productive and not turn into a meaningless exercise, you'll need to focus on a few specific goals.
Defining your goals upfront will guide you in determining which content is worth keeping and where you should focus your energies moving forward.
Some commonly pursued content audit goals include:
- Identifying which pieces of content are most popular and generate the most engagement
- Assessing which content is outdated or no longer relevant
- Finding opportunities to improve content marketing ROI
- Analyzing user behavior to determine which content is most effective at driving conversions
Step #2: Choose a content type
After you've determined your goals, you will choose which content you'll be auditing, which will vary depending on your specific objectives.
For example, if you're trying to increase traffic from organic search, you'll want to focus on auditing your blog posts and web pages. But if your goal is to improve your conversion rates, you might want to analyze your email marketing content or landing pages.
Step #3: Compile your data
Now that you know what type of content you want to audit, it's time to start building a queue of all that content in one place.
If you have a small website with fewer than 50 pages, you can probably do this manually. However, if you have a large website with hundreds or even thousands of pages, you'll need to use a tool like Screaming Frog to automatically generate a list of all the pages you need to review.
Step #4: Categorize your content
The next step is to categorize your collected data or URLs. This will help you understand what you have and how it fits into your overall content strategy. You can do this manually using a spreadsheet, or use online task management apps like Wrike or Monday if you want a more streamlined system.
There are many different ways you can categorize your content.
Some common content audit categories include:
- Content type (blog post, video, web page, etc.)
- Format (long-form, listicle, how-to, etc.)
- Published/updated date
- Keyword optimization
- Content length
- Engagement metrics (social shares, comments, etc.)
- Rankings (position in SERPs, traffic from organic search, etc.)
- Action needed (update, delete, etc.)
These are just a few of the content audit categories. Feel free to get creative and add any other metrics that you think will be helpful for your specific goals.
Step #5: Analyze your data
Now that you have your content audit data, you’ll need to analyze it critically. This step will help you understand what's working well and where there's room for improvement. So, take a step back and look at your content metrics holistically to get an idea of where your site's content is currently standing.
For example, your web page might be getting a lot of traffic, but if you have a high bounce rate and low session duration, that means users are interested in your topic but didn't find what they wanted from your content.
On the other hand, maybe you have great engagement metrics but low rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs), which could be a sign that your content needs to be better optimized for search engine visibility.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you analyze your content:
- Make sure you're looking at the right data points. Depending on your goals, you'll want to focus on different metrics. For example, if you're trying to increase traffic from organic search, you'll want to focus on metrics like rankings and traffic from Google.
- Identify content that is missing from your site. This could be content that's relevant to your audience but you haven't covered yet, or it could be content that's missing altogether (like a 404 error page).
- Look for underperforming pieces. Any piece of content that isn't meeting your expectations is a candidate for further analysis. This could be content with low engagement metrics, rankings, or conversion rates.
- Check for outdated content. Outdated content can hurt your website in many ways, from decreased rankings to lost traffic. So, it's vital to identify any content that needs to be updated or replaced.
- See if there are any knockout content pieces. As you look at your data, you might also come across some stellar content, pieces that have outperformed your expectations in some way. Identify these pieces so you can learn from them and replicate their success.
Use these pointers to assess your content thoroughly and make well-informed decisions.
Step #6: Create a list of actions
We’ve come to the final step of your content audit. You have analyzed your posts and know what needs to be changed. Now you can delete, update, re-write, or restructure your posts as needed.
To get started, take a look at your content audit report and start cataloging each piece of content according to what needs to be done with it. Then, set up a section for material that must be updated, a section for content that must be deleted, and so on.
Following this grouping process, you can start creating action items. For each category, devise a plan for how you will address it. Some common instances of website content audit insights and action items include:
While looking at your content audit report, you might notice that one of your landing pages has a low conversion rate. This could be due to several factors, such as poor design or copy that doesn't speak to the needs of your target audience. In this case, your action item might be to redesign the page and test different versions to see what converts best.
2. Social media engagement
If you see that your posts aren't getting a lot of likes, comments, or shares, take that as a sign to step up your social media game. Increase your posting frequency, use different types of content (such as videos or infographics), or make content on current topics that will be relevant to your audience.
But if the logistics of doing all this seem overwhelming, you could outsource the care of your social media accounts to a digital marketing agency. Here, your action item is to vet several potential agencies and select the one that meets your needs.
The best way to find the right digital marketing agency is to create a checklist of questions or criteria you want your partner to meet, just like how agencies create an onboarding checklist when they welcome a new client. Doing this will help you narrow your list of potential agencies and make the most informed decision.
3. Content repurposing
In some cases, you might find that you have content that's not getting much traction. But instead of deleting it, you can repurpose it and give it new life. Say you have a blog post that didn't perform well — you could turn it into an infographic or a video.
You could also take the best parts of several underperforming blog posts and combine them into one super post. Repurposing content takes limitless forms, so get creative and see what you can come up with.
4. Website traffic
You might also discover that your website isn't getting as much traffic as you'd like. If that's the case, you'll need to dig deeper to find out where the traffic is coming from and what's causing the drop-off. Once you know what the problem is, you can take steps to correct it.
For example, if you're not getting much organic traffic from Google, you might need to work on your SEO. But, if you want to focus on driving traffic from other sources, look into email marketing to promote your content. Other ways to increase traffic to your website include:
Run paid ads on social media - If you want to increase the amount of traffic your website gets, you need to make sure your potential customers can see it. Paid social media ads are an effective way to do this. Take, for example, this ad from Charity Water promoting their webpage.
You can also target your ads to specific demographics, interests, or even behaviors, making it easy to get your website in front of the right people.
Use QR codes - QR codes are those black and white squares that look like barcodes. When scanned with a smartphone, they can take the user to a specific website.
You can use QR codes on your printed materials, such as business cards or flyers, to drive traffic to your website. All you need is a dynamic QR code generator and a place to put the code
Employ influencer marketing - By working with influencers, you can benefit from their creativity and reach while also tapping into the trust they have already established with their audiences. This can result in increased referral traffic to your website.
No matter what insights you uncover or what action items you decide on, the important thing is that you use the content audit to improve your website to make it the best it can be.
5. Re-create content
It may happen that a portion of your content is no longer appropriate for its intended audience. When this occurs, you have the option to either recreate it or update it, so it's fresh and meaningful. However, sometimes that can be a challenge when you lack the resources or the time to do it.
In these cases, you can use OpenAI's latest prodigy ChatGPT to generate content on demand. ChatGpt is an open-source AI tool that uses natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to create content as per the prompts you provide. This makes ChatGpt the perfect asset for content recreation tasks.
All you have to do is provide ChatGPT with the instructions it needs to create content. The tools will then generate multiple drafts for you to choose from. A word of caution, though: ChatGPT does have its limits, one of which is the generation of irrelevant responses to queries. So, no matter how pointed your prompts are, there's a chance ChatGPT could miss the mark.
Alternatively, you can also use Writesonic's ChatSonic, which has been designed to beat the limitations of ChatGPT. It is always running, so you don't have to worry about getting "at capacity" prompts, or long result lags. Plus, it is much more reliable as it can generate content from recent events, which might not be available in ChatGPT's limited dataset.
Start content auditing today!
Content audits might seem like a lot of work, but they're essential for any website that wants to maintain a high-quality, engaging, and successful content strategy. By performing regular content audits, you can ensure that your website's content is always up to par and achieving your goals.