Should You Be Doing Regular Content Audits?
As they say, time changes everything which includes the effectiveness of content online. Should you be doing regular content audits to your website to ensure your SEO is up to date? As an experienced website development company with over a decade of experience under our belt, we wanted to discuss the idea of a content audit so that you can decide if doing them regularly might benefit your business.
Content Audit in a Nutshell
The purpose of a content audit as it relates to SEO is to review all of the content on a website. Anything and everything that can be indexed is looked at using analytics to determine the performance levels. From that point you can make informed decisions about what content is doing good, what is doing bad and what is just plain ugly as the content audit should show you:
- Your best ranking pages
- Your worst ranking pages
- The keywords content is ranking for or should be ranking for
From there you can make a lot of decisions such as:
- Which content to remove such as underperforming on now irrelevant pieces
- Which content to edit or update
- Which content to consolidate
- Where gaps in content are related to keywords
- If you are suffering from any search engine penalties or ranking issues
- Which topics your audience prefers
- Generate an ideas list for new content
The end result of all this work should be a net positive effect on your SEO efforts as you are essentially improving the quality of your site which will reflect positively when your site is crawled. Often the biggest improvements occur after removing content that ranks poorly and consolidating overlapping content to help it rank higher.
The Basics of Content Auditing
Much like other types of audits, when you are performing a content audit the process is broken down into stages. You have to first review the entire inventory on hand and audit all of it. Then you analyze the acquired information to draw up a plan of action to make improvements.
- Find your content – You can use crawling tools like Screaming Frog or URL Profiler to help you track down all of the URLs on your website. This can then be converted into a spreadsheet for easy viewing. If you have only a few pages you could do it manually as well. There are also plenty of free content inventory and audit templates floating around the internet you can use to organize your data.
- Input data – There are a lot of possible items to track. Screaming Frog includes many basic points in the crawling tool. You can also use Google Analytics or other paid programs that track this type of data, like Shared Count. Here is a list of useful items to track, but it should ultimately be based on how deep of an audit you are doing: Page Title, Target Keyword, Meta Description, Page Headings Used, Page Visits, Page Entries and Exits, Page Bounce Rate, Average Time on Page, Date Last Updated, Inbound Links, Broken Links, Images and Images ALT Tags. You can also track: Page Headings Used, Word Count, Topic, Author, Tags Used, Content Type, Social Shares, and Number of Comments.
- Score the data – After reviewing all the data points you want to collect and have collected, you should develop your own scoring system. Some people use a 10 point scale. Then you should score your data based on your scale to help you better understand what you have to work with.
- Update the spreadsheet – At this point it can be a good idea to add columns for audit dates and comments. That way you can remember when you last audited your URLs and what actions you took, so on the next audit you can compare notes.
- Analyze the data – Once you are done compiling data you need to determine what to do with it. For example, some content will simply be kept while others need to be removed, updated or consolidated. Plus you should look for any patterns that might exist between data points to help form a model for future content.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that doing regular content audits is a good idea for any site with a decent amount of content that wants or needs good results from that content. This provides you not only the opportunity to prune some of the less useful content from your site, but also to analyze what works and doesn’t work to help optimize your content strategy.
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