Content audit guide to level up your website SEO performance and rank better.

Content Audit: The Step-by-Step Guide for 2024

Content audit guide to level up your website SEO performance and rank better.
Tamara Danielyan Tamara Danielyan
Table of Contents

What in the world is a content audit, and why do people need it?

This is a question I would’ve asked a year ago, long before dipping my toes in the world of content writing.

Whether you’re here because you’re me from a year ago or you’re just here as the result of your 3 am web surf, don’t worry, I have all your answers in the palm of my hand. 

Well, technically, on this web page, but you know what I mean.

The thing with content is that it’s usually a never-ending journey. It’s not a task that you finish, submit, and then forget all about.

It needs monitoring, it needs changing and adapting to the needs of the market that change by every second passing by.

This is exactly why the term “content audit” was born. It’s not just another task you have to add to your list. It’s a necessary action you need to take to ensure your website’s performance is top-notch.

So, what exactly is a content audit?

What Is a Content Audit? 

A content audit is essentially a comprehensive review of your website’s content.

It can include the process of analyzing different types of content such as blog posts and landing pages to assess their performance, value as well as overall alignment with your content strategy and long-term business goals.

Once you learn how to perform a content audit, you’ll be able to clearly see which type of content drives the results you want and which doesn’t and then refine your tactics accordingly.

Of course, it does not mean you should completely disregard the content that doesn’t perform well, it just means that there’s room for improvement. In this case, you should try changing your content time and time again until you figure out what your website visitors like.

Moreover, content auditing is crucial if you want to avoid outdated content on your website.

Maybe you changed your viewpoint, or maybe there’s new information that’s missing in your blog. Or maybe you want to completely change the title of your blog because it’s more likely to rank that way. 

Either way, you shouldn’t leave it as is just because it’s already posted. Take the time to go through your posted content to identify any gaps that need to be fixed.

Content Audit Goals: How to Begin?

Now that we’ve learned what a content audit is, let’s discover its main purposes.

Content audits can serve different purposes and lead to different results, depending on your specific needs. Some common goals include:

  • Improving SEO results

A content audit can identify SEO weaknesses in already existing content. By analyzing keywords, meta descriptions, and backlinks, you can optimize pages to rank higher in search engine results, which will ultimately drive more organic traffic to your website.

  • Increasing Engagement

By analyzing metrics such as time spent on the web page and bounce rates you can evaluate how the users interact with your content. Once you audit content and analyze these KPIs you’ll know exactly what content resonates and what needs improvement. So, use these insights to create engaging content that will keep users coming back for more.

  • Identifying Content Gaps

Content audits will also reveal areas where your content strategy lacks. You might find topics that you never covered but your audience is interested in or main keywords you haven’t used but can help you rank. Finding these gaps and filling them will help you provide an even better user experience.

  • Refreshing and Repurposing Content

When you conduct an audit, you might dig up things you completely forgot about, and chances are they will be outdated and underperforming. But you can breathe new life into them by simply updating the information, improving visuals, or repurposing it into different content formats.

Sounds like a content audit will fix all your website issues, right?

Why is Content Audit Important?

So, why is it so important, and what do you learn from a content audit?

First of all, once you use all the insight gathered from the audit to optimize your content for search engines and user engagement, you will definitely attract more organic traffic to your website.

Moreover, users will appreciate informative and relevant content, and now you’ve not only attracted them to your website but also provided them with a better user experience.

Then, if your content serves its purpose and further engages the users, it will likely lead to increased conversion rates.

An actionable content audit will also help you understand whether your content strategy is aligned with your bigger business goals. 

For instance, if you have high organic traffic but low conversion rates, you’ll know that your problem is not ranking or attracting visitors; it’s keeping them and turning them into prospects. Maybe your call-to-actions are not clear enough, or maybe once they visit your site, they bounce right off. Either way, you’ll know where to start digging.

Figuring all this out will also help with your budget allocation dilemmas, as you’ll know exactly what is more likely to bring you high ROIs and what is not worth the effort.

I am in no way, shape, or form declaring that you can’t understand some of these things without conducting a full content audit, but believe me, nothing provides such a crystal clear picture of your content efforts as the content audit does.

Qualitative Content Audit Checklist

As a content audit provides so much data, we can separate it between qualitative and quantitative data types in order not to get confused and overwhelmed.

If you wanna skip this, you can simply download our checklist.

I know it does not sound easy, but stay with me, and let’s go through a simple content audit checklist you can use to find exactly what you’re looking for.

When checking the qualitative results, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the content still relevant to your target audience and industry trends?
  • Is the information accurate and up-to-date?
  • Is the content easy to understand and follow?
  • Does the content provide valuable information to your audience?
  • Does the content keep users engaged and interested?
  • Does the content have a clear CTA that encourages users to take the desired action?

Wasn’t nearly as difficult as it seemed, right?

Just go through these points and you’re all set!

Quantitative Content Audit Checklist

Where are all my math geeks at? This is the moment you waited for.

No answering open-ended questions, just you, me, and some numbers.

As you’ve probably already figured out, quantitative aspects focus on measurable metrics associated with your content. These can include:

  • Organic traffic. How much organic traffic does each piece of content get?
  • Bounce rate. How quickly are users leaving your site after viewing a piece of content?
  • Time on page. How long are users spending on each web page?
  • Backlinks. How many websites link to your content?
  • Conversions. How effectively does each piece of content convert users toward your end goals?

Now, the difficult part is understanding how exactly you should use this data to make it worth the effort.

And to understand that, we need to start from the very beginning and slowly make our way to what happens after the audit.

Should we get started?

Content Audit: The Complete Guide to Better SEO

A website content audit is not just you looking at some metrics from your website and making decisions based on them. Nope, it is so much more than that, and the truth is you can’t just decide to conduct a content audit and go for it.

There are certain steps you have to follow in order for your content audit efforts to be effective and give you the exact results you’re looking for. So, let’s learn how to conduct a content audit and go through these steps one by one, shall we?

Define Your Goals

When you’re just beginning to learn how to do a content audit it’s crucial to start by clearly establishing your goals and what you want to achieve. Having specific goals in your mind and maybe on paper will guide you through the entire process and ensure that you’re gathering all the information you need.

If you want to boost your SEO results and your website’s traffic, your site content audit should be focused on identifying any content that is not optimized for search engines. You’ll have to pay close attention to things like keyword usage, meta titles and descriptions as well as give importance to external and internal links in your content.

In case you want to work on user engagement you will have to evaluate metrics like time on page and bounce rates. By looking at these metrics you’ll understand what works for your audience, what they skip right through and change your strategies according to these results.

If your ultimate goal is to generate leads or sales, content marketing can be a powerful tool for that, which makes conducting a content audit that much more important. An audit with this goal in mind means assessing how well your content is nurturing leads through the sales funnel. You’ll be looking at calls to action (CTAs), landing page effectiveness, conversion rates, and similar factors.

You might also be doing a content audit to figure out how to use the same content in different formats. An audit can help identify content that is ready to take another form. For example, a long comprehensive blog post could be turned into a video or even into a couple of short videos you can share on other platforms. Moreover, using product video production, these articles can be easily made into videos, so you can double your organic reach.

Here’s how we do this at SayNine. We have a blog article about ways to prevent emails from going to spam and we also have an Instagram reel about the same topic. What this does is promote the same content in two different ways and through two different platforms. Not to mention, it saves us time that we would spend coming up with new content ideas all the time.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/C7O10C2sJPv/ 

Once you’ve defined your goals, you can develop specific metrics to track your progress. This will let you measure the success of your content audit and verify whether it’s having a positive impact on your website.

Create a Content Inventory

The next step in a content audit is having a database of everything you already have. This means you have to create a list or, rather, a file of all your content assets. Your content inventory should usually include:

  • URLs: The web addresses of each piece of content you have published already.
  • Content Type Description: Is it a blog post, product page, infographic, etc?
  • Title: The headline of your content.
  • Date Published: When was the content first created?
  • Author: Who wrote the piece of content?
  • Word Count: The total number of words in the content.
  • Keywords: The focus and secondary keywords or phrases targeted in the content.
  • Performance Metrics: These can include page views, organic traffic and conversion rates (also depending on your goals).

If there is any other information you want to include, obviously, you’re free to do so, as this is for your eyes only and is not to be published anywhere, so feel free to add or remove anything you might need.

To create such an inventory and follow the content audit best practices, you can either manually crawl your website or use website analytics tools that offer content reporting features. You can also keep updating the database as you post content so that you don’t have to use complicated tools every time.

Once you have all this inventory in one place, it will be easier to manage everything, find missing pieces, and keep track of your assets.

Categorize Content

Once you have a complete content inventory, it’s time to categorize your content. It is actually as simple as it sounds – you just have to group similar content pieces together.

You can categorize them in different ways depending on your specific needs. Generally, they can be grouped based on the topic they cover, by their type, whether it’s blog posts, articles, infographics, videos, etc., and by their performance – from high to low performing.

Moreover, you can categorize them based on their stage in the buyer journey – awareness stage, consideration stage, or decision stage, depending on how they address a potential customer’s needs.

Categorizing your content allows you to see patterns and identify areas for improvement. For instance, you might find that you have a lot of content at the top of the buyer’s journey but very little at the bottom. This would mean that you need to create more content that actually nurtures leads and drives conversions.

Analyze Your Content Assets

The foundation of a successful content audit lies in thoroughly analyzing your existing content. This involves taking care of everything you’ve published, from conducting a blog audit to analyzing your landing pages, glossaries and case studies.

If you didn’t skip the second step and created a content inventory, congratulations, you’ve already identified your content assets!

Now, once you have all that data, it’s important to thoroughly check how each piece of content is performing over time. Look at metrics like organic traffic, bounce rate, conversion rate, engagement, and time spent on the page. 

Tools like Google Analytics can provide valuable data when it comes to content performance, so make sure to check them out as well.

Here’s what looks like:

As you can see, Google Analytics provides detailed data on how a certain web page is performing including the views per user, average engagement rate, time spent on the page and so much more.

After you’re done analyzing these numbers, the next thing you want to do is evaluate how relevant your content is to your target audience and overall business goals. Does it address the current market needs and the user search intent? Does it align with your general brand message? If not, you might have a small issue.

Last but definitely not least, you have to use the best content analysis tools to assess the overall quality of your content. Is it well-written? Is it both informative and engaging? Are there any grammatical errors, broken links or outdated information? If you fail to identify these things immediately, your content strategy will get you nowhere.

By regularly reviewing your content assets across different platforms, you’ll be able to optimize your strategies, quickly identify issues and solve them.

Use Content Audit Tools

There is absolutely no doubt that content audit is a daunting task, especially if your website has a large volume of content. However, thankfully there are many content audit tools that can help you streamline this whole process.

Well, first of all you can use website crawlers and inventory tools that can automatically scan your website and create an inventory of all the existing content, including URLs, meta tags and descriptions and even internal linking structures. This will save you so much precious time that you can spend doing something more creative.

Of course, we can’t skip our beloved SEO Analytics tools. They can provide lots of valuable insights into your content’s SEO performance. They can analyze keyword usage, identify crawl errors and broken links, and even suggest improvements to optimize your content for better search ranking.

When it comes to SEO one of my all-time favorite tools to use is Ahrefs. I know, I know it’s equity costly but I believe it’s an investment that is absolutely worth it. It can give you anything and any piece of data you might ever need for your SEO strategies.

By using Ahrefs and similar tools you can just enter a domain name and get insights into its top-ranking pages. Here’s what it looks like:

In this screenshot, you can see the top pages of a website sorted by the traffic levels. You can also see their top keywords, volumes as well as their ranking positions.

Why is it important for a content audit?

Because once you know exactly which pages perform well, you’ll figure out what you’re doing right with them. 

Moreover, with Ahrefs you’ll be able to conduct thorough keyword research, which as we know is at the base of any successful content strategy. It also gives you the opportunity to research the competition, analyze your backlink profiles and the list goes on and on.

You can also just use the simplest tools available, including Google Analytics which offers detailed data on how your content is performing in terms of traffic, engagement, and conversions. You can see which pages are attracting users, which ones are leading to the desired actions, and which ones are falling behind and need a little help.

This might seem like an obvious one, but is often overlooked. Use content readability tools. I know how it sounds, but readability tools can easily analyze your content and help you find ways to improve it.

Grammarly is the go-to tool here as it’s super easy to use and you can even add it as an extension on your browser to fix any mistakes on the go.

Here’s a quick look into how it works.

What I did was simply put a text in Grammarly and we can see that it gave me 28 suggestions on how I can improve the correctness, clarity, engagement and delivery of my text. It also gives a grade and here we can see it gave me 81 as the overall score, but once you accept all its suggestions this number will change instantly.

Create an Action Plan 

Now that you have completed your content analysis and have the “diagnosis,” it’s time for some good old action. By creating an action plan, you’ll be able to keep track of everything you have to do, prioritize your tasks based on necessity, allocate your resources, and ensure that all your efforts will be paid off.

As you already have a spreadsheet with all your content inventory, you can use it as the base for your action plan. The good thing is it doesn’t have to be a sophisticated document with descriptive infographics. In fact, you can use a Google spreadsheet to keep all this information and share it seamlessly with your content team if needed.

You can simply leave comments next to your content URLs to remember what their faith is. If you have to rewrite a blog, put “rewrite” next to its URLs, or if you have to delete it just write “remove” and highlight it in red. 

You should also add deadlines next to these comments to make sure not one piece of content is left behind or forgotten about.

You can even create a separate list for your priorities. This will help you and your team establish which tasks need to be completed right away and which ones may take more time to be finalized. 

Here is a quick look into how I would have done this:

As you can see, I created separate columns for the title of the article and some metrics like organic traffic and current ranking. I also added a column for who’s responsible for said article, what’s the status – whether it needs to be removed or rewritten and the deadline for doing so.

Of course, you are free to add more columns, like additional comments, or article links as it all comes down to preference and necessity.

Moreover, you can use an existing content audit template to make your content audit journey even easier.

In fact, there are lots of content audit templates readily available for you to download and use.

Some of our top picks are the template from HubSpot and the one from Semrush.

By using such templates you will save some valuable time, as all you have to do is fill in the blanks and add all the information about your content.

Monitor and Refine Your Content Strategy

Once you finish your site content audit, you’re not really done. As I’ve stated before, conducting a content audit is not a one-time activity. 

You must regularly monitor your content performance and user behavior and always look for ways you can improve your practices. Constantly refine your content strategies based on your new findings to ensure that your content remains fresh, relevant, and continues to meet your business goals.

To streamline your content monitoring efforts you can use tools like Visualping which are perfect when it comes to tracking and monitoring websites.

Conclusion

Well, let’s sum this all up:

  • A content audit is the process of collecting and analyzing all the content on your website.
  • Its main goals include improving SEO results, increasing user engagement, identifying content gaps, and refreshing and repurposing content.
  • When conducting a content audit, you can check both the qualitative and quantitative results.
  • The qualitative content audit usually includes the relevance of your content, the accuracy, clarity and the value it provides.
  • The quantitative audit helps assess the organic traffic, the bounce rates, the time spent on a page, backlinks, conversions and so on.
  • The content audit process involves defining goals, creating a content inventory and categorizing it, analyzing your assets, using audit tools, creating an action plan, and constantly monitoring your strategies.

FAQs about content audit

What does a content audit do?

A content audit is the process of analyzing website content and identifying overall content performance.

What are the 3 goals of a content audit?

The main goals of a content audit include improving SEO, enhancing the user experience, and identifying new content opportunities.

Why is a content audit useful?

Conducting a content audit helps identify issues, solve them, and get the most out of our content strategies.

How do I prepare for a content audit?

The best way to prepare for a content audit will be to clearly define your goals and prepare a content inventory ready to be audited.

What should a content audit include?

A good content audit should include content performance metrics, SEO factors, and information on content relevance.

Want to rank higher?

Build backlinks with us and boost your SEO!