How to conduct a content audit

Posted on

Content marketing has been around for a number of years now, so it’s likely that you have a number of years' worth of content sitting on your site. 

Content marketing has changed a lot over that period and it's likely your business has too. 

There is no point keeping thousands of old content pieces on your website if it they are no longer relevant to your business or employ old content marketing techniques. Google is getting smarter and smarter so you don’t want to be penalised for having too much old, irrelevant content on your website.

This is where a content audit can help. A content audit allows you to assess what content is and isn’t working so that you can remove poor performing content, update content that is using old techniques and identify areas where you need more content.

Why do a content audit?

There are lots of reasons to do a content audit - perhaps it’s part of a full website redevelopment or maybe you just feel like you need a spring clean. There’s no “wrong” reason for doing a content audit. If you have ever asked any of these questions in-house or to your agency it’s time to do a content audit:

  • What content do I need to move over to my new website?

  • What content did I produce that is no longer relevant to my audience?

  • What content do I have on the website which is no longer of the required standard?

  • Instead of paying for new content is there any old content that I can re-use or present in a different format?

  • Could my drop in keyword rankings be because of the low quality content I still have on my website?

  • How do I go about deciding what offline content to use on my site and how do I present it?

How to do a content audit

Before you can even begin with a content audit, you need to decide why you are doing it. If you aren’t sure, use the bullet points above as a guide. It’s OK to have more than one goal - if you do make sure that you have the data you need for each goal and that the format you deliver the content audit in will achieve both goals.

Once you have your goal (or goals) you will need to find a way to get all your content in one place. You can do this manually but this can be time consuming and expensive. We suggest using one of the following methods:

Google analytics

Google analytics will have a list of every page that has one page view on your website. So if you go to:

  • Behaviour -> Site Content -> All pages

contentaudit1.png

  • At the bottom of the page show rows up to 5000

contentaudit5000.png

  • Change the date range for how far back you want to audit  your content

contentaudit2.png

  • Go back to the top of the page and click on export

  • Then choose the format you wish to work with (typically we chose Google sheets or Excel)

contentaudit4.png

Do note that this won’t show any pages with 0 page views, so if you want to remove content that’s never had a page view you will need to cross reference this list with a manual list or using one of the other methods below.

The benefit of using Google Analytics is that you will also have the behaviour metrics in order to analyse if your content pieces are effective.

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider Tool works exactly like a search engine crawler. It will therefore crawl every page and link on your website that is not blocked from search engines. Out of all the options this will give you the most exhaustive list of URL’s of your site.

Website sitemap

If the sitemap on your website has been setup properly then you will have all your web page urls here.

Next, use your analytics tool to include the analytics data for each piece of content on your site.

How to analyse your content

Once you’ve got all your content together you can start determining how you will rate and analyse your content.

You can analyse your content in whatever way you like that makes sense to your goal and your audience. Next, create a spreadsheet and lay out the questions you want to ask of each piece of content. Some good ones to ask are:

  • What’s it about? - What category does it fit into on your site?

  • Is it accurate and up to date? - Does it need any updating or even a total rewrite?

  • Does it support your goals?

  • Are people finding and using the content? - Check analytics to see how many views and clicks this piece of content has

  • Does it fit your tone and brand?

  • Are basic SEO elements in place? - Does it have title tags, metadata, image tags, etc?

  • What content is missing? - Do you identify any gaps in the content that your audience might have questions about?

  • What is the CTA? Where are you encouraging your readers to go next?

What to do next

Once you have your pages together you can start to analyse them. The questions you need to ask are:

  • Which pages need to be removed? - These are the ones that no longer fit with your goals, fit into your user journey, are outdated or ignored by your audience

  • Which pages need to be updated or changed? - Good content with out-of-date stats or information might be worth updating rather than completely eradicating.

  • Which pages need to be optimised more effectively? These are the pages with great content but perhaps not great pageviews

  • What content is missing from your user journeys?

  • What content would be missing if some pages were removed?

  • What content needs re-categorising to fit new user journeys or website architecture?

  • What themes of behaviour can you see through your content? Do you audience prefer particular content types, such as video and graphics, or specific topics?

Through these questions you can analyse the kind of content you have on your site and identify any gaps where new content needs to be created.

If you are auditing your content as part of a new website development you should download our ebook “How content marketing makes building your new website easier.”