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How to Do a Content Audit … and Why You Should

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So you’re redoing your website, launching a blog, or refining your marketing message and you want to make sure your online content is up to snuff. Great idea! But you probably already have some content on your website—how do you determine what content you have and what needs to be updated or created? That’s where a content audit comes in. A content audit should be the first step in your content strategy, because you can’t know what you need until you know what you have.

What is a content audit? Doing a content audit essentially consists of taking an in-depth inventory of your existing website pages, media, and resources and performing a qualitative evaluation of each piece.

Why do a content audit? A content audit is useful for several reasons:

  • It takes inventory of existing web pages in preparation for building a new website
  • It gives you a starting point from which to launch your content strategy
  • It helps you determine whether your current content meets your standards for quality and relevance
  • It helps you ensure your content is performing well for traffic, search rank and conversions
  • It enables you to weed out sub-standard content
  • It gives you a clear idea of the content gaps that need to be filled

So how do you do a content audit? Start by creating a spreadsheet with headings for everything you want to record and measure, for example:

  • Page URL
  • Navigation title (e.g., About | History)
  • Content type (webpage, blog post, event, video, infographic, etc.)
  • Date last updated
  • Author/Owner
  • Google Analytics statistics (traffic, bounce rate, popularity, conversions, etc.)
  • Keywords and Metadata 
  • Inbound and Outbound Links
  • Target audience/Buyer journey stage
  • Social shares
  • Action to be taken (delete, update, consolidate, keep as-is, etc.)

Systematically go through your website and populate the spreadsheet with all of your pages. You can easily automate this process by using a crawl tool such as Screaming Frog or use your website's sitemap to easily find all pages. 

Once you have this spreadsheet, evaluate each piece of content individually. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this page still important and relevant?
  • Is it up to date and accurate?
  • Is the content visually engaging and professional-looking?
  • Is it logically organized and easily scanned by readers?
  • Does it have a consistent voice in line with your brand identity?
  • Does it have calls to action and links to related content?
  • Are SEO elements in place? Does it have descriptive, well-written titles, metadata, headings and image tags that are optimized for search? Does it contain keywords and key phrases used in context, and no evidence of keyword stuffing?
  • Is it performing well? Does Google Analytics show that people are visiting the page and staying to read the content?

After you’ve covered the basics, take your evaluation to the next level by looking at the quality and purpose of each piece of content.

  • Is it essential?
    Does it tell your customers something they really need or want to know?
  • Is it strategic?
    Will it help you reach your business goals?
  • Is it balanced?
    Does it serve the needs of both your customers and your business?
  • Is it targeted?
    Have you identified the persona this piece of content is for?

It’s sometimes helpful to create a number scale for each of these items—rate each piece of content in each of these four categories, and average for an overall score. Once you’ve scored every page of content, you’ll not only have a better idea which pages need to be eliminated, which need to be updated, and which need to be created, you’ll be better equipped to create quality content going forward.