How to Run a Website Content Audit
Trends come and go.
New, improved methods come to light.
Things change, and you need to keep up.
Not just to stay relevant, but to keep Google happy.
If you haven’t done a content audit on your website in a while (or ever), now is the time!
It takes a bit of time, but it’s worth it.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is A Content Audit?
A content audit is the process of listing and evaluating the content on your website.
By doing so, you’ll see which content is performing well, which isn’t, and know what steps to take to fix the issues.
It’s not a quick process, to be honest!
But it’s something that needs to be done if you want to improve your site’s performance.
Note: Technically, a content audit and an SEO audit are different things. A content audit includes an SEO audit, or you can do an SEO audit on its own.
Why Should You Do One?
Doing a comprehensive content audit of your website shows you:
- What’s working
- What’s not
- Where the gaps are
- What you’re behind on
This is the best way to find and improve content that isn’t performing well.
It also helps you to identify what you’re missing, topics you haven’t covered, and trends that you’re behind on.
From there, you’re in the best position to create an effective content and SEO strategy.
And you can expect a boost in your organic traffic if you fill in the gaps and fix the issues.
How Long Does A Content Audit Take?
This depends on the site.
If it’s been around for a good few years and has a ton of pages on it, a comprehensive content audit can take a while… Weeks to months.
If you’re doing it yourself, you’re likely to be doing it in between your other work.
So expect it to take a while.
Otherwise, you can get someone to do it for you, but that’s likely to cost a bit.
How To Run A Content Audit
So let’s get into the details of how to run a content audit on your website.
1. Set A Goal
Nailing down your purpose for the content audit is the best route to success.
So what are the results you’re hoping to achieve?
Do you want to:
- Improve your SEO? (you can run just an SEO audit if this is your goal)
- Get more traffic?
- Put a content strategy in place?
- Improve audience engagement?
- Boost conversion rate?
- Analyse data?
Your goal will determine what you look for when doing your content audit.
It also helps you to decide what the best tools would be to assist in your content audit.
2. Collect & Catalogue Your Info
It’s important that you decide what exactly you’re going to analyse first.
If you’re doing this for the first time, it’s a good idea to analyse everything.
But depending on your goals, you may choose to only analyse:
- Blog content
- News posts
- Product reviews
- Sales pages
- Website content
- Any other type of content
Once you’ve decided, it’s important to collect the URLs of these pages and catalogue them.
A spreadsheet is the best way to do this.
Here’s what you should cover, courtesy of Semrush:
I recommend considering a couple more metrics, depending on your goal.
- Number of views
- Target keyword
- Visual data
You can find content audit templates online if you don’t want to start from scratch!
As you can imagine, this step takes time.
You can use a sitemap generator (quick Google search will show up many options) to help speed this up.
3. Analyse Your Data
Your completed spreadsheet will give you the chance to analyse what’s working and what isn’t.
Depending on your goal, you may want to consider using extra tools for analysis:
- Google Analytics: Track traffic, engagement, conversion rates, and more.
- Semrush Position Tracking: Track how you’re ranking for target keywords.
- Contentsquare: Analyse customer behaviour and follow the customer journey.
4. List Potential Issues
Identify issues that need to be fixed.
Again depending on your goal, these could be:
- Duplicated content: Repetitive content is a waste of space. It splits your traffic rather than sending it all to one page, and search engines prefer fresh content.
- Old/irrelevant content: Search engines don’t like outdated content and neither do readers. Stay up to date.
- Poorly-performing pages: Pages that aren’t getting any traffic or mankind any sales should either be deleted or revamped.
- Content gaps: What topics haven’t you covered? Is there something missing that could link one topic to another? You can get creative here.
- Broken links: Broken links and backlinks interfere with the user experience. These need to be fixed ASAP.
- SEO data: Consider your keywords, meta descriptions, title tags, image ALT text, and so on. If you’re only doing an SEO audit, this is what you’ll focus on.
- Optimal word count: This is part of SEO. Are your posts too long? Do readers skip out halfway? Check if you need to up or down the word count.
- Evergreen content: Identify which of your content could be evergreen content. This is valuable content that keeps you relevant.
5. Create a Fix-It Plan
Decide (based on your overall goal) which of the issues need to be fixed first.
If SEO is your main priority, then it makes sense to get that done first.
On the other hand, if engagement is your aim, you may want to focus more on evergreen content and content gaps.
Create a plan based on your data and your priorities.
- Prioritise issues.
- Decide how to fix them.
- Start moving through your spreadsheet and fixing.
a. Delete/Combine Poorly-Performing Pages
If you have a page that’s getting no traffic, you have two choices.
One, you can delete it.
Even if it has backlinks, it’s evident that nobody’s clicking on them.
Perhaps the content is old, maybe it’s really poorly optimised.
Whatever the reason, if nobody is landing on it, you can delete it guilt-free.
You can combine this page with another on your site that’s similar and performs well.
If the content is still relevant but just isn’t a great post, you can merge two posts together to create a more comprehensive one.
Keep in mind that these two posts need to be on basically the same topic or two things that can come together harmoniously.
b. Get Your SEO Right
SEO can make a big difference to your traffic.
Make sure every page has a meta description, title tags, image ALT text, and enough keywords scattered throughout the text.
Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is my go-to for on-page SEO and readability.
This work can be quite fiddly, and you may need to make tweaks to your text to get it right.
c. Update Data Where Necessary
It’s essential to make sure that the data you present in your posts is accurate and up to date.
In some cases, you may have to rewrite content to be relevant for today.
If an article has the potential to be excellent evergreen content, make the necessary changes.
You may also want to update your word count.
Research suggests that posts of 3,000+ words get 3 times more traffic, 3.5 times more backlinks, and 4 times more shares than shorter content.
Flesh out some of your shorter articles if you can.
Include new information, more detailed explanations, or combine it with another one to bolster the word count and the value.
Also, update your CTAs if they aren’t converting well.
d. Double-Check Formatting
Technically this is part of SEO.
But even if you aren’t focusing specifically on SEO, good formatting is imperative.
It allows readers to skim (which they like).
It makes search engines happy.
And it gives you a better chance of ranking for Featured Snippets.
Make sure every post has:
- H1 headings
- Appropriate H2 and H3 headings
- Short paragraphs (4 lines max)
- Bullet points where appropriate
- Images (with ALT text)
e. Add Visual Content
Visual content does wonders for traffic.
Adding images throughout your posts helps to catch interest.
It also helps to have visual data in the form of graphs, infographics and the like, instead of just pictures.
Not only are these great for engagement, but they’re also easily shareable.
Video content is particularly engaging.
Recent research shows that videos not only increase traffic, but they keep people on the page for longer.
My favourite tools for visual content:
- Canva (social posts, visual data)
- Vidyard (on-screen & screen-share videos)
- Doodly (whiteboard videos)
- Toonly (animated videos)
f. Let Google Know
Submit your updated pages to Google’s index using the URL Inspection tool on Google Search Console.
This gets everything into motion so you can start reaping the rewards of your hard work straight away.
The idea of doing a content audit can be intimidating…
Especially if you’ve got a chunky website that’s never been audited before!
But I can promise that the effort is worth it.
You can boost your traffic by 30% or more just by optimising your website this way.
And once it’s done, you’ll have a much more in-depth understanding of your own content.
It’s the perfect foundation for building the ideal content strategy too.
Have you done a content audit before?
What are your go-to tools?
Let me know in the comments below!