You can’t plan great content if you don’t know what is and isn’t working with your current content. That’s why all good content marketing initiatives include a regular content audit.
A content audit is the process of systematically reviewing all of the content on your site – from blog posts to webpages. A content audit reveals the strengths and weaknesses of your current content. You can use these insights to pinpoint areas for growth and development, as well as to guide your future content strategy campaigns.
Many content teams find annual content audits beneficial to inform content creation for the year ahead. As we head into Q2, an audit of the content you created in 2020 is an excellent place to focus your content marketing efforts.
Why perform a content audit?
Content audits allow you to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your content and answer questions that will guide your future content creation:
- Which content has performed best for you?
- What can you learn from your strongest content and use to enhance your weakest content?
- Which content needs to be updated?
- Which content could you repurpose?
How to perform a content audit: define your metrics
You should always kick-off a content audit by defining your metrics. Here are some ideas:
Traffic is one of the most important metrics for measuring how well your content is performing. How many people are coming to your site? How is your content being found (via backlinks, social media, or Google?). Is traffic increasing or decreasing to different pages over time?
- Bounce rates
The bounce rate refers to the percentage of site visits where people view one page before leaving your website. The important thing to note is that bounce rates can suggest a number of things about your site or your content. Beyond content quality, there may be a mismatch between your keywords and your content – meaning people arriving from the search engines don’t find the content they expected to on your site. In addition, poor user experience and page categorization can also cause your bounce rates to spike.
From the number of comments and social shares to your average number of pages per session, engagement is an efficient way to measure how well your content resonates with your audience. Engagement can also distinguish how valuable your audience finds your content vs how well your SEO strategy is performing (i.e. how many people are finding your site).
- Return visitors
As Databox notes, return visitors refer to anyone who visits your website more than once, based on the data recorded via Google’s tracking snippet. Return visitors typically have higher engagement — for example, they tend to view more pages per sessions for higher durations. This suggests either a loyal customer or someone moving closer to a conversion.
Collect and organize your content
In order to analyze your content effectively, your content needs to be well organized and ready for review. Define which content channels and formats you’ll be analyzing, collect the relevant URLS, and organize them into a spreadsheet.
Next, consider how you’ll categorize and organize each item on the page. Alongside the URL, you may add:
- The author’s name
- The title
- The date
- The content format (such as a whitepaper or a blog post)
- The performance metrics (such as traffic, backlinks, or social shares)
- Also include a section for action items – how does the current content need to be improved?
You also don’t need to undertake this step manually. Tools like SEMrush can automatically organize and audit your content based on your sitemap data.
Screenshot from SEMrush & Search Engine Journal
Update your current content
Depending on your metrics, your content updates may look entirely different to another brand, but there are several tried-and-tested ways you can update and enhance your current content.
- Review and update your internal and external links — are you linking out to high-performing sites and pages?
- Look for ways to repurpose your high-performing content — could you turn a video into an infographic? Could you extend a blog post into an eBook?
- Check for readability — is your text broken-up with bullet points? Do you use rich-text formatting (bold and italics)? Do you make use of shorter paragraphs for greater readability on mobile?
- SEO — how well are your current keywords performing?
- Are there any errors in your content that need to be fixed? Are their factual or spelling errors? Do any dates need to be updated?
- Is there any content missing? What is your audience interested in that you haven’t yet covered?
Enhance your content campaigns with a content audit
A content audit is an effective way to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of your current content. As one of the best tools for informing future content creation, an annual content audit is a great foundation for any of your content campaigns.