The term, “content audit” sounds rather intimidating doesn’t it? After all, hearing that you have been chosen by the friendly folks over at the IRS would send shivers down your spine.
Should you then, as a website owner, fear a website content audit?
Perhaps, before even answering this, we should just tell you what a website content audit is. Website Content Auditing is the process of evaluating your website’s existing content in order to determine whether it is delivering the results you expect of it.
It is therefore more than an inventory. An inventory asks, “What is there?” The Audit asks, “What is there and what is it doing?” If you think about it, your content is your website. The better your content the better your website should perform in terms of getting shares and conversions.
Still not convinced that you should take the time to perform a content audit? Here is a short list of advantages that will come your way if you do a decent content audit:
- • Identify which pages are successful and why.
- • Determine which pages are not doing their job.
- • Quantify how much duplicate content you have. Duplicates water down overall impact.
- • See what is missing.
- • Help you to determine whether your website’s technical aspects and the content are up to standard.
- • Evaluate what should be done with current content: Update or remove?
Content audits can make your website a well-oiled machine, which is why it should be clear that any site can benefit from a well-planned audit.
What do you want?
A young guy was hiking through the country to “find himself.” He asked an old timer sitting under an acorn tree, Can you tell me where I am? The old man responded with, Tell me where you want to go?
“It doesn’t matter. I’m just hiking.”
“In that case,” said the old man, “it doesn’t matter where you are.”
To determine how you go about collecting the data, it is important to know what you want. Generally an audit can be used to determine or improve:
- • Traffic or Visits
- • Converting visitors into clients
- • Content evaluation: Update, remove, re-use, and figure out what’s lacking.
Spread it out
Spreadsheets will make your job easier. Create a spreadsheet that will help you to identify all the relevant information. This will include:
- • Page URL – Self explanatory
- • Page Title
- • Meta Description
- • Type of Content
- • Content Action: Leave, Re-work, Update, Remove
- • Number of Visits
- • Number of Shares
- • Number of Conversions
This list can be expanded forever and ever and ever and then some to your preference. Determining beforehand what you want to do with the information is very important.
Use the right tool
People in the website world know that a Website Content Audit is important. They also know that it can be a lot of work. This means that they have come up with various tools to facilitate the process.
There are different ways to automatically gather all the URL’s from a website. Screaming Frog is a free crawler that can do this for you. Guess what? It returns the information you required in the form of a spreadsheet. It is very comprehensive and user-friendly and is considered one of the must-have tools for any SEO.
Another tool that is very popular and useful: urlprofiler. This tool will automatically gather the most important, user defined, data for each URL.
Know the Language
You will greatly benefit by understanding the main SEO-related terms that the Frog and urlprofiler will scream at you! You do not have to become a Google Certified Professional, but having a good understanding of what the data represents will boost your ability to correctly interpret the overall situation. Primarily, you want to focus on meta titles, meta descriptions and h1s to ensure they are relevant and unique for every page.
Does your content rule?
Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but in internet marketingland they say Content is King. If that’s the case, does your content rule? I mean, is it really, really good? I’m not talking about optimization for keywords. If that’s the primary focus of your content, then it probably does not rule and may in fact be quite awful to read. Your goal should be to create very unique content that is very, very interesting and appealing to your visitors. Make sure your content is never redundant, never boring and most certainly never search engine spam. A little optimization is fine, but you are writing for people, not robots. Never be afraid to delete a terrible blog post, never hesitate to take 5 or 6 generic “The Benefits of . . .” articles and combine them into one super article with some actual substance. Do whatever you can to make your content stronger.
Once you know what you have, you will be able to better compare your website against your competitors. Where are they beating you? What can you do about it?
You do not have to be an IRS agent to see that this can be a big and time consuming project. Neither do you have to be a rocket surgeon to see that it will be worth it. Like they say, “What your website will be tomorrow, will be determined by what you do today and tonight.”