What is a Content Audit? (And Why You Need to Conduct One)

What’s the point of having a website if no one can find it?

What’s your content marketing ROI? Are you getting a good return on your content marketing investment? Is your content strategy succeeding? – and do you know what your content plan is supposed to do? In my experience, most clients don’t understand the difference between using content marketing to drive traffic to their website and sales. Yes, they’re related – but you can easily measure sales success. How do you know if your content marketing is successful?

The reality is websites are never ‘done.’ And if you wait to launch your website until it is ‘perfect’ it will probably never go live! Once you finish designing your website and loading the content, you aren’t finished. Websites need to be regularly reviewed to make sure they do what they are supposed to do: attract your ideal client and provide information about you, your product or your service so that your visitor takes the action your website is offering.

The goal of a digital content audit is to use content analysis and SEO and UX (user experience) metrics to identify both problems and opportunities so that you can create a content marketing strategy that your visitors can trust and search engines can understand, and that will help grow your business.

37% of content marketers never do a content audit. – Curata

You want to make your website and social media easier for people and search engines to find and understand, to increase your rank in search results and to improve your usability: to identify content weaknesses and change them into strengths so you can increase your business opportunities.

I’m not a technical SEO, but I understand the key metrics for content marketing and content optimization. As a content writer and manager, I’ve been conducting Content Marketing Audits for over 7 years. (A technical SEO can do technical content audits and make code and strategy changes that can help search engines access, crawl, interpret and index your website.) Sometimes content audits are for a client who needs a roadmap to design their own content marketing plan. Other times, they are Phase I of creating a content marketing strategy for my clients. And sometimes there are technical issues that require the assistance of a technical SEO expert who can optimize the website’s crawling and indexing to improve rank and visibility.

Here is an overview of my client content marketing audits, and the types of information you should be analyzing in a content marketing audit.

Note: Audit results vary considerably based on a business’s online presence and business objectives.

SOCIAL PROFILES, PHOTOS & BIOS

  • Are they branded with logos, slogans, etc?
  • Do they clearly explain who you are and what you do?
  • Is the content compelling – or at least interesting?
  • Is the information appropriate for each respective social site?

10 Fast and Easy Social Media Profile Updates

1.    Optimize Your Bios: #DYK the LinkedIn mobile app only shows 68 characters of the 120 maximum of your desktop headline, so be sure your first 68 are the most important information you want people to know.

2.    Customize Default Settings: Open the customize settings on each social network and review one-by-one to make sure that all images, text, and options are being correctly used and optimized.

3.    Update Your Profile Photos: Use the same photo (or very similar) from one network to the next so that people can easily recognize you across all social networks.

4.    Add Branded Cover & Background Images: Don’t waste valuable real estate – upload a custom cover image that delivers a key message. Every social network has different dimensions for cover photos. Consistent branding helps your message be seen and remembered.

5.    What’s Your Bio CTA? Links to external sources can give your new connections more insight into your work. It can be an email address, website URL, branded hashtag or other CTA.

6.    Check Your Links: Do all the links on your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram accounts work? Do they take the reader to the right page on your website?

7.    When Was Your Last Post? Don’t give potential customers the idea you’re out of business… if they see you’re not active, they may also assume your business is not active.

8.    Check Your Competitor’s Posts: You can’t compete if you don’t know what the competition is doing.

9.    Have You Pinned a Post? Facebook and Twitter let you pin a post to the top of your feed and control the first message your visitors see.

10. What’s Your Profile Name/Handle? Most social media sites let you show both a user name and a site name. Having them the same can be a missed opportunity.

Free Download: 5 Minute Social Media Audit Checklist

WEBSITES

Content Marketing metrics can generally be divided into four categories:

  1. User behavior metrics: page views, average session duration, bounce rate, etc.
  2. Engagement metrics: likes, shares, comments, mentions, etc.
  3. SEO metrics: organic traffic, backlinks, keyword rankings, dwell time, etc.
  4. Sales metrics: number of leads, conversion, ROI, etc.

SEMrush

  • Is your site user-friendly and is the content optimized for search engines?
    • Is your website attractive?
    • Is it easy to use?
    • Do all links work? (I like Screaming Frog to check for broken or missing links.)
    • Do you have a content strategy that attracts the right visitors, encourages sharing and provides useful relevant information
    • Have you created Client Personas (Avatars) to attract the right audience? If not, how do you know what your target audience wants to read or know?
    • If so, are they working?
  • Metrics and Analysis:
    • What is your website load speed?
    • Is your website mobile-friendly?
    • Do all images have ALT text?
      • ALT (Alternative Text) helps with usability, rank and is required by the American With Disabilities Act.
    • Analytics: I like Google Analytics, Search Console and My Site Auditor.
    • Which pages on your website have the most visitors?
      • This is the content your visitors are most interested in
    • What are your primary referral sources?
      • Social media, Google, other websites?
    • What content is ranking for your keywords?
      • When did you last update your keyword strategy?
    • What content is not ranking?
      • Should you update low ranking content or delete it?
    • What Search Queries (keywords) are driving traffic to your website?
    • How does your traffic compare to 1 year ago? 6 months? 1 month?
    • How does your bounce rate compare to 1 year ago? 6 months? 1 month?
    • What is your conversion rate?
    • Which pages get the most engagement
      • Shares, clicks, comments etc.
  • SERP:
    • Where do you rank on Google?
    • What do your SERP page meta descriptions say?
    • Have you claimed your Google My Business?
      • Do you update it regularly?
    • Where do your key competitors rank?
    • Competitive analysis
    • Where do your competitors rank on Google?
    • What keywords do they rank on?
    • How does their website compare to yours in terms of user-friendliness and relevant content?
    • Content gap opportunities
      • What content is missing from your website that would help drive more targeted traffic?

OVERALL

  • Is branding and messaging consistent across platforms?
  • Does your digital presence align with your business goals?
  • Is the voice consistent across platforms?
  • Do platforms target the same audiences?

ANALYSIS

What is working, what isn’t working – and what do you need to change?

The analysis and results of a content marketing audit should be delivered in a written format with actionable, prioritized instructions on how to implement the recommendations.

People change. Social media changes. Your competition changes. A content strategy that delivers great results today may fail in 6 months – or even next month. An annual content audit is a must-do – a quarterly content audit is content marketing rockstar status!

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Catherine Russell

freelance writer, content marketer and social media strategist at Hire Catherine
Content Strategy • Content Marketing and Social Selling • Social Media Management and Strategy • Copy Writer and Content Editor • Blogging • Ghost Writer. I work with entrepreneurs, small business owners, nonprofits and solopreneurs to increase their online visibility and provide content solutions and strategies.
Catherine Russell
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What is a Content Audit? (And Why You Need to Conduct One)
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What is a Content Audit? (And Why You Need to Conduct One)
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This article provides a detailed look at how to conduct a content audit to help companies be more successful with their content marketing.
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