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Content Audit 101: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating original, informative and interesting content that speaks a thousand (flattering) words about your brand and products can be an enjoyable and equally rewarding process. After all, what could be more satisfying than revealing the most spectacular features and benefits of your business, goods or services, and crafting a unique story around them to spark a nice conversation with your audience?

What Is a Content Audit and Why Is It Necessary?

However, once you manage to fill those empty pages with help from your favorite providers of quality content writing services, and finish uploading your material to your web pages, you should know that there are still several important elements that you should weigh very carefully before even thinking that your job is done, like the overall value and effectiveness of the content pieces that you’ve created and distributed so far. Do they really manage to raise the interest of your audiences? How do they rank in search engine results? Are they converting?

Don’t let all these key questions drive you crazy and make you lose sleep during the night. Instead, choose to perform a content audit to figure out whether you should adjust your strategy, improve your writing, or just leave everything as it is and enjoy the sweet taste of content creation victory. If you’re still living under the impression that content audit is a waste of time and/or energy, now would be a good time to reconsider and take action. Here’s why:  a well-done audit is a qualitative analysis of your web content, meant to help you understand and address specific needs, correct past mistakes if necessary, perfect content governance, and determine the feasibility of upcoming projects that you may already have on your agenda.

Getting Started

Whether you simply want to make sure that you’re going in the right direction with your writing, or feel the need to have a closer look at pages that aren’t performing the way that they’re supposed to, here a few key steps that you should follow to perform a thorough, efficient content audit on your own.

Come up with a Content Inventory. To begin with, it’s very important to gather all your web content in the same place. Record it into a text document by URL or by page title, and organize each piece in outline form. Ideally, you should each section should have its own annotation mentioning the type of content that it comprises-image, text, video and so on- and also the author.

Assess the Overall Quality of Your Writing. If you have allocated a big percentage of your resources for quality content writing services, chances are that you’re wondering whether or not investing in this sector was a smart move. After creating your content inventory, you can perform an audit to get the most accurate answer to this burning question. As you take the steps detailed below, it would be a good idea to assign grades to every page using a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10. 1 meaning terrible, and in need of urgent improvements and 5 or 10 being superstar, absolutely flawless content.

Here are the main aspects that you should focus on when conducting a thorough content audit:

  1. Relevancy. What is your content actually about? Does it provide quality, consistent information regarding your services, history, and uniqueness? Is there a balance between headlines, subheaders, and your body copy? Is your content tailor made to match your business profile, goals and, most importantly, the needs and expectations of your audience?
  2. Factual Accuracy. Next, take a closer look at the overall accuracy of your content. Does your writing feature information that is no longer accurate, old products that are no longer part of your inventory, or hyperlinks leading to pages that no longer exist? During this phase, pay special attention to the “about us” and “contact” section to update or remove key information regarding your pricing, staff, physical location and contact information.
  3. User Experience and Business Goals. Good content seduces. It converts. It helps you sell faster and better. On the other side of the coin, writing that doesn’t serve all these purposes is a mere waste of resources. This is why you should make sure that each material that you have created and uploaded meets the needs of two “masters”: your company and your prospects/existing clients. In other words, the main objective in this case should be to restore or maintain a balance between your interests, as a company owner, and the needs and expectations of your audience.
  4. Analytics. A content audit that doesn’t make the most of web analytics has little odds of returning accurate results. This is why you should make the most of all the tools that you could find online to determine how your public is interacting with your content. Free and paid tools can help you figure out what pages are the least and most visited; what sections of your website draw eyeballs like a magnet, and which ones actually have the highest conversion rates, and so on. Data-gathering tools such as URL Profiler, Google Analytics and Magestic SEO metrics are an excellent source of information meant to give you the chance to improve your content strategy via a series of easy steps, such as finding and adding phrases and keywords that would bring more people on your pages and keep them there for a longer period of time. While you’re here, review your SEO elements (image tags, headings, keywords, page titles and so on) using your search engine optimization arsenal. Make sure each page encompasses your targeted phrases and keywords, and check if your metadata is used appropriately. Keep in mind that your content (including metadata) should be optimized for search to boost the visibility of your pages in SERPs.
  1. Aesthetic and Practical Value. How does your content actually look? Do your pieces display a simple structure based on small paragraphs and an ideal balance between text, images and other important visual cues? Are your grammar, punctuation and spelling on point? Are your images properly placed and captioned? All these aspects should be taken into consideration during a content audit, considering that even a few missing commas or one basic grammar mistake can make your readers raise an eyebrow and question your industry expert status and overall level of credibility and knowledge? While you’re here, see if your content is organized and shared in a completely logical manner, and eliminate any redundant information that may confuse or annoy your reader.
  2. A Unique Voice and Story. Also, keep in mind that no tool could ever be a suitable replacement for one’s voice of rationality. In other words, while SEO tools may help you improve your metadata and tweak your body copy by adding and removing keywords to make your pages rank higher in search engine results, only you are the one who could adjust the voice of your content to make it resonate with your brand statement and the particularities of your audience. Therefore, reaffirm your consistency by making certain that your personality and style are perfectly compatible with the language, tone and self-expression methods that you have embraced to promote your business and create solid ties with your online community via your blog or website.

“What is your content actually about? Does it provide quality, consistent information regarding your services, history, and uniqueness? Is there a balance between headlines, subheaders, and your body copy?”

Let Your Content Audit Bring a Much Needed Wind of Change

Sooner or later, all businesses change, according to new market realities and trends. As scary as this may sound, you have the power to adjust to any change that your company may have to undergo, sooner or later. A content audit allows you to analyze your content in an objective manner, adjust your strategy (if needed), and work on certain sections that do not serve your best interests. By identifying new content weaknesses and needs, and bridging certain gaps, you could improve the looks and overall performance of your pages, avoid search engine penalties and ensure the best user experience that you could image for your audience.

Looking for help with your content audit or your content marketing plan? We are here to help.

Annie Ianko

Content Happiness Advisor

Annie has 18 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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