Running a content audit on a website involves evaluating all of a site's written content to determine what it consists of and how effective it is. A content audit can entail analyzing the entirety of a website's content or only a part of a website's content. However, any size audit should lead to an improved understanding and awareness of what kind of content is being viewed by website visitors.
The Importance of Content Audits
Over time, a website's content could decrease in quality or stray from the central focus of a website. Content needs to be constantly geared towards the main business purpose of the company running the website. An audit can not only address quality or focus issues, but it can also determine topics and areas that need to be explored in greater depth via blog posts, landing pages, white papers, or whatever other type of content is offered on a website.
The Audit Process
Although running an audit on a site's content is generally an easy and straightforward process, it can be boring and tedious. Obviously, the amount of time necessary for performing an audit will depend upon the size of a given website. An audit of the content on a smaller website might only take an hour or two. However, it could take days to perform a sufficient audit of a larger site's content. The following are the major steps to performing a content audit for a website:
In general, you will first need to gather all of the different site URLs that have content on them so you know what you are looking at in terms of site content. This stage of the process is often termed a content inventory. Not only should you list all of the content-containing URLs on your website, but you should also put the information on a spreadsheet that includes fields for details on the content given at each listed URL.
Considering organizational factors
Factors such as navigation title, page name, URL structure, and hierarchy are important in presenting content on your website. A content audit should not only involve looking at the content itself, but also looking at how that content is organized and presented. During your audit, you should be checking to see that navigation through different content pages is logical and straightforward.
Determining how to handle content
After you've looked at all of your content, you need to determine whether posts/documents should stay the same or be removed, edited, recategorized, consolidated, or rewritten. Make sure the tone with which your content is presented fits your targeted audience, and check the accuracy and consistency of nomenclature that is used.
Conducting keyword research
Obviously, your content needs to focus on the keywords for which you are trying to optimize your site. Your content needs to attract site visitors who are looking for your company's products and services. During a content audit, you need to take some time to evaluate your content in view of the characteristics of your targeted Internet users and what their search engine queries might be.
Finding content gaps
What is your website missing? During the part of an audit that involves finding content gaps, you need to brainstorm on subjects/topics that haven't yet been addressed by your site content. This is an important step in expanding exposure on the Web to as yet unreached potential clients.
Developing or revising your strategy
The last step in a content audit should be strategizing. Ideally, your content marketing campaign will already center on some overarching strategy goals. However, you will want to consider these goals anew in light of any changes that have come to your market, industry, or company since your last audit.
Major goals of a content audit
In the end, a content audit is really just about improving your content in any way possible. If you conduct a thorough, detailed investigation into your site's content, you will probably find a great deal of room for improvement. In fact, content audits are only the start of a long process.
Once you've completed your audit, you will probably have lots of work ahead of you so that you can make all of the necessary improvements that will optimize site content so that it has the best possible effect on both website visitors and search engine result pages.