7 Step Guide to Conducting a Website Content Audit

“80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes” – Pareto Principle.

In our context, the principle becomes: 80% of the website traffic comes from 20% of your content.

Now, the million-dollar question. Do you know which 20% of your content is responsible for driving organic traffic? If not, it’s high time you give it a thought.

You see, I am not trying to scare you. Your audience not responding to your content probably gives you enough nightmares as it is.

If your CTR (click-through-rates) are more or less the same since last year and your content metrics are either a plateau or spiralling downwards, then this article is for you.

And no, I won’t be giving you a solution to your problem. Rather I’ll advise you on how to identify the problem better.

Website content audit

A website content audit is as simple as auditing the content of your website.

It checks your content’s health, strengths, weaknesses, and performance. And is a perfect tool for getting rid of bad habits of never revisiting your website’s content. Apart from just assessing the content, it helps you gain important insights into creating/refining your content strategy.

With 37% of marketers never conducting a content audit, the grass is greener for those who meticulously plan yearly content audits. You can definitely gain a competitive advantage with it.

Here are 7 actionable steps for conducting a website content audit.

1. Define your audit goals and time-frame

The objective or goal of conducting a website content audit defines the audit process. Your goal can be:

  • Increasing customer engagement
  • Improving SEO
  • Increasing conversion rates

Based on your goals, a content audit identifies your success and failure. It lets you build on your success and rework on failures.

Apart from setting your goals, determine the time-frame for the auditing process. There is no point in auditing 10-year old content that holds no value today.

To gain insightful information, the ideal time range would be to look at content that is up to 1.5 years old.

2. Identify key performance indicators

The next step after defining your audit goals is choosing relevant indicators to track. These indicators are the foundation stones because you measure the performance of your content relative to these indicators.

A few metrics to choose from include:

The key here is to identify content that is meeting these standards and reworking on outliers.

3. Create a spreadsheet of your content inventory

Unsurprisingly, start by creating an inventory of all your website content. A spreadsheet or Google sheet is perfect for documenting content links. With an organized and labeled spreadsheet, create content assets and commence the auditing process.

You have two ways of doing so:

  1. Manually enter all the content with relevant URLs. Use either WordPress dashboard or sitemap as a reference and create a list of content that attracts traffic to the site. This methodology works for small businesses.
  2. If yours is a large website with 100s or 1000s of pages, prefer using crawling tools for identifying all URLs on your existing website.

4. List your inventory assets

After creating the content inventory, it’s now time to define the inventory assets. This is a complete list of non-text assets used in your website – images, PDFs, word documents, videos, GIFs, sketches, etc. You’ll need to audit these assets for their factual accuracy, and also to make sure that none of the links are broken.

Use a content audit template and list all necessary facets. You can create your own template, but creating one from scratch could be a daunting task.

5. Analyze the data

After content asset collection, it’s time to analyze the data. Use a simple and effective approach of:

  1. Keep – your top-performing inventory
  2. Update – content having an above-average performance. (According to a report by Semrush, 51% of companies found updating their old content an efficient strategy.)
  3. Remove – bottom performing content
  4. Consolidate – all similar content pieces into one

6. Come up with an action plan

Congratulations! You’ve successfully assessed your data.

Take one step forward by creating a plan to improve the content strategy. The plans you create should be backed by audit results and insights you have drawn from the analysis. Use these simple tactics to create an action plan for every element of your spreadsheet.

  1. Rewrite – underperforming content
  2. Refresh – update old data like stats or trends
  3. Structure – add relevant H1, H2, H3 to your post
  4. Videos and images – adding relevant videos and images increases SERP results
  5. Internal linking – add internal links to already existing content

7. Create a new content strategy

This content audit would lead to useful insights, which you can implement in your revamped content strategy.

Go back to your drawing board and try re-answering the following questions. This will definitely help you refine your content strategy.

  • Are you creating content that adds value to your audience?
  • Are you using the right content format to achieve this?
  • Have you selected the right channels to distribute this content?
  • Is there a proper editorial calendar?

There you go. That’s should definitely get you started with your website content audit. And hopefully, help you start seeing some positive results in the following months.

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Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Vijay S Paul

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