A website content audit can be intimidating, especially if you create a good amount of content throughout the year. You’ve probably read a few articles that told you something along the lines of “sit down, lay out all the content you’ve ever created and evaluate its performance.” That sounds pretty exhausting, right?
We know the more complicated and time-consuming it is, the less likely you probably are to want to do it. So to help ease your anxiety, here are some simple tips on how to get started with a content audit.
Many organizations have spent years building up their website over time and have numerous people contributing to content over the years, but no one person overseeing it all. This often results in an overgrown, out of control “franken-site” with all sorts of content that doesn’t necessarily tie back to the user journey. There may be outdated pages, unclear paths or even broken links. A content audit can help you identify these dead ends and fix them, and also better optimize content to improve performance. The ultimate goal of any content audit should be to create the best user experience possible by ensuring each and every piece of content has a purpose and provides value to your users.
Separating out the tasks into different phases will help you stay organized and keep your goal top of mind as you work. It will be helpful to break it down into three phases: taking inventory, identifying opportunities and creating an action plan.
You can take the old-school route and try to document by hand, but crawling your site is probably a much more time-effective solution. Use an SEO spider such as Screaming Frog or SEMrush’s content audit feature to pull a report of your indexed pages. They can fill in most of the blanks for you in just minutes (compared to the hours it might take you by hand).
Once you have your report, start to trim down the fields to only those that are necessary and will help you accomplish your goal. Some of the most important fields to keep track of are:
You can use your sitemap as another reference point to fill in the remaining content a crawl might have missed. It will also help you visualize the flow of your website (which may also need a refresh). If you don’t have a sitemap, you can always use a sitemap generator. Be sure to submit your sitemap for review to Google Search Console so search engines can better understand the structure of your website and can easily find your pages.
After you’ve documented your content, you can begin to “weed the content garden”. Choose whether to keep, revise or remove content based on performance, relevance and timeliness.
There may be some pieces right on the mark that don’t need any updates. You should keep content if:
Older content or lower performing content may need to be revised to improve performance. You should revise your content if:
If the content and topic are outdated or you have new information in another piece of content, consider removing the older piece altogether. You should archive and remove content if:
Be sure your content is focused on a keyword that makes the most sense for your audience. Following the HubSpot pillar page structure, organize your content by creating a main topic cluster and tie subtopics back to it. You should reorganize your content if:
This is a good time to check that you have content mapped to each stage of the buyer journey. Take a moment to categorize and ensure you have sufficient content for each stage. If certain stages are lacking, this is a good opportunity to create new content to fill in the gaps and better nurture your contacts.
Once you have your content sorted and know which pieces could use a little sprucing, which need to be re-written and where you can fill in the gaps, create a plan of action.
For those pieces that just need revisions, you can likely repurpose old content into new campaigns by including new or updated information and adjusting the keyword focus. Be sure you’re not just adding to the piece but truly revising to keep it relevant and straightforward. This may be:
Keep in mind the goal of the content piece and where it fits into the buyer journey. This will help you get into the mindset of your customers and focus on how to add value with your content.
If your site does not provide a clear path for your user, reference what you did in Phase II with the content strategy tool. This information can be used to take another look at how users might navigate from one topic to another. Restructure your site in a logical way that is easily understandable for your end user.
For those areas that may require new content pieces, dedicate time and resources to mapping out the buyer journey to identify where your gaps are and what kind of content you need to fill them. You should lay out the content, delineating what type is used for each stage of the buyer journey, its purpose and how it helps nurture your leads. Be sure you have helpful and targeted content for each stage so you aren’t repeating what you already have.
You’ve likely taken a good amount of time putting together a detailed spreadsheet of all your valuable content. Now that you’ve removed, revised, reorganized or even written new pieces, be sure to update your inventory spreadsheet. This will surely come in handy in the future, and having an updated sheet will save you a lot of time and energy (and keep you from having to do it all over again).
Now, pat yourself on the back. You’ve learned how to perform a content audit—and didn’t pass out from overwhelming anxiety. Keep the momentum going by determining the ROI of your content with this free eBook.