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How to Do a Content Audit for Your Blog

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How to conduct content audit

To reach your content marketing goals, you might focus entirely on creating new blog posts. However, if this is your approach, even your best content might drop out of your readers’ sight over time. Repurposing and updating your existing posts can be a robust strategy for driving constant traffic and maintaining high conversion rates. How can you keep track of the best-performing content and identify areas of improvement? Regular content audits can help you build a roadmap for blog growth. So, read on to learn how to conduct a content audit and learn how to find the best SEO content audit tools.

What Is a Content Audit?

A content audit is the process of analyzing the content assets on a blog, such as articles or landing pages. Web content audits help you keep an inventory of blog materials and provide insight into which posts to update, repurpose, or remove. The ultimate goal is to reveal the advantages and disadvantages in your content plan and adapt your current strategy to reach your goals more efficiently.

A successful content audit example includes various factors, including:

  • Traffic volume
  • Ranking in the SERP
  • Engagements
  • Social shares
  • Number of links
  • Page authority

Analyzing these factors will allow you to determine how your existing content performs and whether you want to improve, repurpose, delete, or leave that content the way it is.

Why Run Content Audits

Content audits can help solve many content marketing issues. A single audit will only bring short-term value to your website, while recurrent reviews will help ensure your blog provides value and maintains a strong ranking. Here are some of the reasons for regularly revisiting your blog content.

Understand Your Past Performance

A proper content audit will allow you to piece together the bigger picture and understand the strengths and weaknesses of your content marketing strategy. You’ll see which articles and elements turned out to be successful, so you can take full advantage of these pieces of content, and which posts need improvement. 

Get To Know Your Audience

You might find out that a post that was successful right after publication lost its buzz over time or vice versa, an article that was, at first, largely overlooked by your audience may peak later. Understanding what your target audience looks for and how long it takes for your content to start driving traffic will guide your future marketing strategies.

Build Efficient Strategies

Detailed analysis of how your existing content performs will allow you to build a more efficient strategy. If a particular topic or type of content received more attention, it might be worth investing more effort into the development of that type of content. Likewise, you may identify topics and types of content to stay away from if they largely end up unnoticed. You may even encounter gaps in your existing content, such as certain angles to mention or subjects to write about that will make your content more comprehensive.

How to Conduct a Content Audit

A content audit consists of several steps, starting from setting objectives to choosing metrics to gathering and assessing content to making an action plan for future content development. All these actions are likely to have a positive impact on your website’s SEO, but the main goal of a content audit is to analyze and improve the quality of your current blog.

Define Your Objective

There are plenty of reasons why you might conduct a content audit, such as to remove outdated posts, find content to repurpose, discover your best-performing pieces, or guide your current strategy. However, the process can become complicated and time-consuming. For this reason, setting up clear objectives will help reduce the time and effort spent auditing and allow you to focus on what’s important. Here are a few examples:

  • If you want to improve your search rankings, it’s important to discover posts with high SEO potential, as well as those that should be updated or removed from your site, and improve your internal linking. 
  • To boost engagement, you’ll need to find the most captivating topics for your audience and determine which type of content gets more shares, likes, and comments. 
  • If your goal is to increase conversion, make sure to find the pages that provide the best user experience and generate the most leads. In addition, see what kind of content works best at each step of the customer’s journey.

Choose Metrics That Matter

After establishing your goals, it’s time to choose relevant metrics that will help you analyze your content marketing success. 

  • If you want to boost content search rankings, assess your volume of organic traffic, number and quality of backlinks, keywords, and so on. 
  • To improve overall user experience, you’ll need to track pageviews, average visit durations, bounce rates, etc. To analyze engagement on your website, pay attention to likes, shares, comments, mentions, and so on. 
  • To grow sales, make sure to check the number of leads, conversion rates, return on investment, etc. 
  • If you want to discover the most popular topics and create engaging content, analyze user behavior and engagements on your blog.

Gather the Content

With relevant metrics in mind, you can start collecting the content for your audit. 

  1. Choose a timeframe

One of the first questions is how far back your audit will go and how much content you will gather for your review. Define a period that will give you the best understanding of the efficiency of your current content marketing strategy.

  1. Identify types of content

In addition, identify the type of content you’ll audit. If your content goes beyond blog articles, it might make sense to include other materials, such as eBooks, guides, landing pages, product descriptions, etc. You might also assess videos, PDFs, and other shareables, tests, quizzes, and so on. This will give you a broader view of content performance and help identify both gaps and opportunities for growth.

  1. Collect materials

Now, you can start gathering materials within the defined time period. If you have a small blog, you can collect URLs manually and add them to a spreadsheet. There are also a number of online tools that can do this job for you, such as Google Analytics, SEMrush, Screaming Frog, etc. They will gather this information, based on your sitemap, and provide you with a list of URLs with corresponding metrics.

If you don’t have a sitemap yet, use any online tool for sitemap generation, such as My Sitemap Generator, Sure Oak, or the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress. A sitemap will not only bring value to your content audit, but will also help search engines understand your blog structure and discover your most important pages.

  1. Add categories

You can also categorize the content to make the audit faster and easier. For example, categories may include the type and form of content, the author, customer’s journey stage, word number, and so on. This will help keep your content organized. At this stage, you’ll have URLs, categories, and metrics in your spreadsheet. It will also be helpful to collect metadata, such as the title, meta description, etc. for all content pieces to make sure your content audit is focused on SEO.

Analyze Your Data

Now, it’s time to take a critical view of your content. It’s important to examine metrics as a whole to get a clear understanding of your content quality and performance. For instance, your blog post might receive a lot of traffic, but have a low visit duration and high bounce rate. The problem may also be rooted in different elements of your content, so it’s better to analyze as many metrics as possible.

While running an analysis, you can assign additional categories for each piece of content depending on its performance. For example, “Missing Content” for topics you haven’t covered, “Underperforming” or “Best-Performing Content” for articles with the weakest and strongest metrics, respectively, “Outdated Content” for materials you need to update or repurpose, and so on. You can also assign various colors to each category for better visibility of your analysis.

Create an Action Plan

A proper audit will allow you to understand how your content is performing and create an action plan based on your analytics. You can add a column to your spreadsheet and note the action to take for each URL analyzed. Here are a few ideas of actions you may assign to your content: 

  • If you find that some blog posts are underperforming or were published too long ago, you can mark them as “To Be Updated”. Try to understand the reason why such content is not very efficient and how you can fix it. For example, this can include posts with statistics, low-traffic pages, etc. 
  • If certain topics tend to generate no engagement at all, it might make sense to remove them from the website so that they don’t compromise your metrics. Check for seasonal campaigns that might not be relevant anymore, duplicate materials, and so on.
  • If you do remove some pages, make sure to add 301 redirects to avoid “not found” URLs and improve the overall user experience.
  • Well-performing and relevant posts can be marked as “To Keep” or “To Be Repurposed or Reused” if you want to take advantage of the content’s popularity. These are most likely be evergreen posts and guides, case studies, and frequently asked questions.
  • Articles that seem overly complicated might be structured with relevant h2 and h3 tags, bullet lists, paragraphs, and other elements. This will improve readability and might also increase your search rankings.
  • Adding visuals like images, infographics, and videos will entice visitors to stay on your site longer if you have low average visit duration. These elements will also be useful for SEO purposes.
  • Posts that drive good amounts of traffic can bring even more use if you incorporate relevant CTAs that will help you grow conversions.
  • For articles that don’t have good ranking positions in the SERP, you might need to create or optimize metadata, such as titles, meta descriptions, and headers. Adding keywords will make your content more discoverable for both search engines and users.

At this stage, it’s important to align your action plan with the objectives you established for your business and prioritize steps that will bring you the most value with the least effort. For example, creating new long reads or eBooks will require quite a lot of work, while improving your internal linking might only require little effort. 

Also, be sure to let Google know about your content updates through the Google Search Console. Its URL inspection tool will help submit recently updated posts to Google.

Best Content Audit Tools

You can perform a content audit on your own, using a spreadsheet, but dedicated online tools will make auditing much easier and faster. Rather than collecting URLs manually, content audit software will gather all materials automatically and show metrics for analysis. Here are a few tools you might find handy for a content audit:

  • Google Analytics will show which content drives the most traffic, engagement, and conversions, so you can see whether it’s efficient for reaching your business objectives.
  • Google Webmaster Tools can be used for tracking any error pages and fixing technical problems on the site. You’ll also see which queries bring visitors to your site and can use them to drive even more traffic.
  • SEMrush Site Audit is another great tool if you want to find technical issues on your website and improve your search rankings.
  • SEMrush Position Tracking will help you track the rankings for your keywords and discover posts with high SEO potential. By improving these pages, you’ll be able to rank higher in the SERP and attract more traffic.
  • Screaming Frog collects website URLs through its sitemap and runs an SEO audit. You’ll find broken links, server errors, and other technical issues, while evaluating the quality of your content and its SEO optimization. The tool audits 500 links for free, so small websites can get a free audit.

If you are using WordPress, try the MonsterInsights plugin, which allows you to effortlessly connect Google Analytics to your WordPress dashboard and enable all advanced tracking features. Another WordPress plugin is Social Snap, which will help you understand how your audience interacts with your website’s content. The Rank Math plugin will help you optimize your content and track keywords to rank higher in the SERP.

How to Conduct a Content Audit

While your first few audits can take a lot of time and effort, maintaining monthly or quarterly audits is easier, and can be a fantastic way to measure your content efficiency. Audits can also become part of your reporting and help assess your overall business growth. Here is a short summary of content audit goals: set up business objectives, collect URLs of your content and catalog pages into several categories, gather data on metrics, and create an action plan. Have you already conducted a content audit? Share your experience in the comments!