While 82% of businesses will use content marketing in 2021 as part of their overall marketing strategy, only half of them feel their efforts have been successful. Why?
This problem could be attributed to brands focusing too much on creating new content and not assessing what they have published. A content audit is a way for brands to fix this problem.
A content audit can be like giving life to your entire content strategy. This helps you evaluate your current content and make improvements to improve its performance. You can also use the information to discover insights that will help guide your future strategy. Content audits answer important questions like:
- What content performs best? What can I do to optimize it?
- What content is performing poorly? What can I do to fix it?
- Are there any pages on my site that are no longer necessary or relevant?
- Which topics resonate most with my audience and what are their favorite?
- What are the gaps and new opportunities in my content?
A content audit can help you identify the root cause of your problems. Even if your content strategy is working, a content audit can help you improve it and make your future strategies more effective.
A content audit is a great idea at any time.
This post will walk you through the steps of performing a content audit. It will optimize your content and help to drive a future strategy that produces even greater results.
Let's get started.
- Content audits improve the performance of existing content, and allow data-informed strategies to create new content.
- A content audit starts with a comprehensive content inventory.
- Screaming Frog and SEMRush are content audit tools that can automate processes and give advanced insights.
- Each asset and each content category should be rated using a predetermined rating system.
- Without a clearly defined action plan, no content audit can be complete. This plan should include periodic progress evaluations.
Why content audits are important for brands
Let's start with the basics: What exactly is a content audit and how can you use it to improve your business? Why is it important to include them in your strategy?
Content audits are data-driven evaluations of all content on your site. To help you understand the performance of your content, they use qualitative KPIs (key Performance Indicators). These insights will help you make informed decisions about your content and future marketing activities. They make your content strategy more strategic by providing a comprehensive view of all your content libraries.
This is crucial. Why? You can increase traffic, leads and conversions by simply updating your content. HubSpot for instance, doubled leads generated by historical optimization and increased organic search views of old posts by 106%.
You run the risk of creating content that isn't helping you achieve your bigger goals, such as subscriptions, conversions and sales, if you don't conduct content audits.
It is not worth the risk. Although content audits require time and resources, the ROI they deliver when done correctly is well worth it.
This guide will help you complete a content audit.
Setting goals for your content audit is an important step in any strategic initiative. Although most companies have the same goals, such as increasing organic traffic or generating new content ideas, brands will have different priorities depending on their brand and the time of their audit.
If your website isn’t performing well, then consolidating webpages and eliminating irrelevant content might be your top priority. Your top priority may be to identify the most relevant topics to your audience if you are launching a blog. You might want to keep identifying gaps and new opportunities if you have done content audits before.
You may also want to achieve the following goals during your content audit:
- Optimize SEO performance
- Convert more subscribers or increase conversion rates
- Increase content sharing
- Increase SERP rankings for specific topics
- Refresh existing/evergreen content
- Get a better understanding of all your content libraries
Whatever your goals may be, the first thing you should do is to identify which are most important for your brand. Prioritize them and then start. You won't be able to evaluate whether your content audit was successful if you don't establish goals.
The next step after defining your goals is to determine how you will measure them. This is usually done using the SMART goal approach.
Source: Image Source
You'll be more accountable if you set goals and define metrics. This will allow you to measure how effective your content audit was.
Let's take an example as an example. If my primary goal is to generate ideas for future content, then I could make it a SMART goal.
Original goal: To generate new ideas for future content
SMART goal: Create 10 blog titles under each of the 3 primary topics, to be published in the next 6 months.
Now I know exactly what my goal is, and how to determine if I have reached it.
Take stock of all your content
A content inventory is often confused with a content audit. Although taking inventory is only one aspect of an audit, it is the most important. Your content audit is incomplete if you don't have a complete picture of your content inventory.
Two steps are generally required to take inventory of your content:
Make a spreadsheet listing all content assets
This applies to all content. This includes webpages, blog articles and newsletters. Videos, ebooks, PDFs, and downloadable content. This can be done manually but it is worth looking into tools like Screaming Frog, which can crawl your site and collect content for you.
Here's an overview of how it works.
Once you have everything collected, you should put it all in one master spreadsheet. I recommend either an Excel Worksheet (or a Google Sheet). This will make it easy to add columns as you do your data analysis.
Your content can be categorized
Next, you need to categorize the content in a way that is valuable to your audience. You don't have to categorize your content by author name if it is all published under the same author. It's best to categorize blog content that has multiple authors so that you can determine who is doing well.
You may also wish to categorize content types (e.g. You might also want to categorize by content type (e.g. blog content, videos or webpages), so you can sort and analyse each category using their own data points (more details soon) and/or compare the performance metrics of each category.
Use content auditing tools
The content audit tools improve your audit by automating steps and using technology for insights that are difficult (or very time-consuming) to discover manually.
Screaming Frog is a useful tool for crawling websites and gathering content. We have already covered it. These are just three of the other tools I recommend.
SEMRush Content Audit Tool
The Content Audit Tool by SEMRush allows you to review your entire website and select sections. This tool can be linked to your Google Analytics account and allows you to update, merge or remove content.
Google Analytics is free. It provides tons of information about organic traffic and user demographics. I highly recommend you use Google Analytics immediately if you don't already.
Here are some tips to help you get started.
HubSpot's Website Grader grades your website based on key metrics like SEO, mobile optimization, and traffic. This is a great place for understanding how visitors navigate your website and why they are experiencing certain difficulties.
This is a detailed guide on how to use this tool.
Analyze your data
Your priorities will determine which data points to focus on. However, it is a good rule of thumb that you should analyze as many data points as possible. Although data analysis may seem daunting, it is essential for gaining real value from your audit.
Here are some tips to make it as easy as possible.
Each data point should be added to your master spreadsheet.
Each data point that you are analyzing should have its own column in your spreadsheet. These data points are worth considering:
- Date last updated
- Page views
- Average time per page
- Word count
- Social shares
- Content condition (outdated, evergreen, etc)
- Image/visual count
- Mobile friendliness
Make sure you have a uniform rating system for each asset and assign a grade to it
There is no single way to do it, but consistency is the key.
You may not be able to rate all content categories the same. For example, blog posts may be given a high score for visual content that includes 3 or more visuals. Videos are visual content. They don't require that score. It may be difficult to keep your content consistent across categories, but you should try.
Common methods of grading content are to use a 1-5 scale, or assign A-F letter grades. The metrics that determine the grade can be set.
It takes time and dedication to grade each asset in each category. You can get insights in several ways:
- To give an asset an overall grade, average its scores across all data points.
- Compare each category's scores and average them. Ex: Are your blog posts better than your videos? Which topic is getting more traffic? Are some authors more successful than others?
- You can make individual notes and comments for each asset to ensure you don't forget them as you make updates
Your action plan
A simple way to incorporate action planning into your content audit is to assign a clear action for each asset in your spreadsheet.
Take, for example:
- Keep it as it is
- Remove – Incorrect or out of date. Website needs to be removed
- Update – Content that is outdated, poorly SEO'd, or for other reasons must be updated.
However, in most cases, planning action isn't that easy. It's important to assign actions to each asset. Marketing and management teams should also look at audit results to gain greater insight and develop future strategies. These strategies could include:
- Creating more content around a topic or type of content
- Ideas for new SEO titles
- To gain deeper insight into a specific topic, you might plan to do additional research.
- Add new activities to your marketing plan
- Larger changes to the website structure or UX
Keep your eyes open
It is important to keep your audit accountable long after it is completed. This will allow you to get the best value out of your content audit. A strategy meeting, like the one in the previous section, is a great way to start. It is a good idea also to assign deadlines and team members to each action item, and to schedule regular check-ins to evaluate your progress.
The most important thing is to include content audits in your content marketing strategy. Over time, Google ranking factors, SEO standards and marketing trends change. Statistics and data change. A content audit every year ensures that your content does not become outdated or go out of date. You can also get the best ROI possible on existing content.
Jumpstart your content strategy today
Marketing Insider Group's Content Builder Services includes a content audit. Our team also includes SEO writers and SEO experts who can provide you with optimized content ready to publish every week for a year or more. ).
You can save time and money by outsourcing your content creation and auditing. This will allow you to concentrate on your core business. To learn more about MIG and how it can help you reach your content marketing goals, schedule a consultation with me.
Marketing Insider Group's first post was entitled The A to Z Guide to Conducting a Content Audit.
By: Michael Brenner
Title: The A to Z Guide to Doing a Content Audit
Sourced From: marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/the-a-to-z-guide-to-doing-a-content-audit/
Published Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2021 11:00:10 +0000