To be frank, content auditing is a painfully time-consuming process. It’s a massive project that you might not have time for if you have other priorities. That said, it is necessary if you are serious about ranking better for your targeted keywords.
You don’t have to undertake the entire audit process alone, as you can always delegate the data gathering functions to someone else in your organization or even outsource the task to an SEO company. You can also choose to audit small sections at a time during your free hours. You might also look into tools that automate some parts of the data gathering process. And of course, you can always count on a SEO agency like SEOValley to do all the hard work for you.
Why do an audit?
Conducting an SEO content audit helps you spot any weaknesses in your website’s optimization strategy. It forces you to catalog word counts, tags, images, and other such elements associated with all of your content assets and compare them to your page rankings. Ultimately, an SEO content audit lets you pinpoint what changes are necessary to improve your website’s organic search performance.
Step 1: List all your content assets in a spreadsheet.
A crawling tool such as Screaming Frog can help you quickly identify all your URLs. You can also manually enter each URL into a spreadsheet as you go. Be sure to leave enough columns for all the data you will gather in the next step. We suggest gathering the SEO data points listed below, but of course you can add, delete, and modify as necessary depending on your goals:
Potential SEO data points to gather:
- Page Title
- Target Keyword
- Page Headings Used
- Meta Description
- Inbound Links
- Image ALT Tags
- Last-Updated Date
- Page Entries and Exits
- Page Visits (measure for at least three months, if possible)
- Average Time on Page
- Page Bounce Rate
- Broken Links
If you are also interested in content marketing apart form SEO, add the following data points to your list:
- Word Count
- Content Type (whether article, blog, infographic, landing page, etc.)
- Condition (evergreen? out-of-date?)
- General Topic
- Tags / Categories
- Content Owner
- Number of Comments and Social Shares
- Desktop and Mobile Accessibility
- Conversion Data
Once key data points have been determined, it’s time to input data. Here are some tips:
- Screaming Frog is a great tool for generating page title tags for the URLs you want to track.
- Use Google Analytics to see page visits, average time, and bounce rates.
- A social metrics plugin can show you how many times a page or post has been shared on social media.
- Use the marketing automation program Act-On to determine conversion data.
Step 2: Give each page content a score.
Once all data gathering tasks are done, go back to your list and assign a score to each page. You can use an “A-to-F” scale, where “A” is given to high-performing pages while “F” is given to those that don’t help your SEO at all.
Step 3: Analyze your data.
It’s time to establish ‘recommended actions’ now that you have all the data you need. There are no rules or formulas here; the key is to look at your data and identify trends that will help your recommended actions. Some questions to ask yourself:
- Do visitors stay longer on blog pages with videos than they do on text-only pages? This might suggest that it’s worth allocating more of your content creation energy to producing or sourcing useful videos.
- Are conversion rates higher for certain text formats, like lists? Then you might want to create more bulleted or numbered posts in the future.
- Are your text posts being shared on social media? If not, why do you think that is? Perhaps, you are reaching the working audience, or perhaps you are creating content on topics no one cares about. Rethink your approach.
- You might also want to look at all the pages with “C” scores and lower. Should you rewrite or remove them altogether?
- Which of your pages have the highest conversions? Perhaps you should create more content pieces similar to them.
Use the data you gathered in your SEO content audit to formulate at least 5 action plans. Set a deadline for each task to ensure that they get done.
And whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of analysis paralysis. Seek the most obvious patterns and work on them first. Keep on regularly tracking your metrics and refreshing your content audit spreadsheet to take note of any shifts and remedy issues before they start to affect your website’s performance.
Think of an SEO content audit as a continuing intelligence gathering tool. By carefully keeping track of your content and assessing their impact on your rankings, you can make better SEO and online marketing decisions in the future.