Smart Content Auditing in 5 Easy Steps

Dec 17, 2021 by
Smart Content Auditing in 5 Easy Steps

Content auditing is not something that most of us enjoy doing. Although it’s common wisdom that it can sometimes be necessary to “kill your darlings” in order to make something worthwhile, the actual act is often painful and a good audit often means getting rid of (or at least drastically updating) a lot of content that might not be performing.

But content that’s left to fester can become outdated, irrelevant or even potentially damaging. Best practice demands that we return to our old copy periodically to keep everything fresh. But how to get started? Let’s start at the beginning.

What is a content audit?

A content audit involves going through all of the content on your site, deciding what needs to go and what needs to be changed and also using KPIs to assess where time and resources should be spent going forward. It’s all about using analytical data and good old fashioned insight to figure out what content is performing, what topics people are engaging with and what posts might have spent a little too long in the sun as it were.

It’s a regular and necessary process that will help you understand visitor behaviour on your site. You might decide it’s time for an audit for one of several reasons. Perhaps you’re tightening up your SEO and identifying weak spots? Or perhaps you’re interested in the metrics from a content marketing angle – how are visitors responding to your content?

How to perform a content audit

Regardless, there is a right way and a wrong way to audit your content. By following the steps below, you’ll always be left with a tighter and more relevant website.

1. Identify your goals and your content – There is always going to be a fundamental goal underpinning any major content audit. Do you want to remove all redundant content, determine the effectiveness of your SEO or figure out what content you wish to migrate over to a new content management platform? Once your goals are sorted, you’ll need to do an inventory of your content and figure out whether you want to edit a part of it or everything.

2. Choose your tools – There are dozens of online tools available that can take a lot of the tedious manual work out of the auditing process. Google Analytics is the obvious choice here but there are dozens of other pieces of software, many of which are free.

3. List your content and identify your issues – List all of your content in one place (such as a spreadsheet) or use one of the aforementioned tools to do it for you. This list should include links to the content, metadata, descriptions, word counts and more info. Once you have all of your content laid out in front of you, it should be easy to spot where the problems are. Are you getting a lot of duplicate content? Or maybe you don’t have enough evergreen content on your site? Is there metadata for all of your pages and what pages don’t have a large enough word count to be properly SEO optimised? When all of the figures are in one place, it’s a lot easier to spot the gaps.

4. Plug the gaps – Some content issues will be easy to address. Adding metadata, for example, or deleting duplicate content. Others are a little more insidious and will take a lot more work to correct. Topics you might not have addressed yet, for example, or markets you might not be targeting properly. Then there’s outdated content that is still relevant enough to remain but will need to be knocked into shape. Start with the quick fixes and work your way up to the big jobs.

5. Schedule the next audit – A content audit is not something you should be doing once a year, its’ something you should be doing every few months. And better still, the more often you do it, the easier and less tedious it will be.