Have you put your content marketing under the microscope?
That’s exactly what a content audit does: help you see how the content your business publishes helps or hinders success.
The in-depth review assesses the impact of each piece of content and the strategy as a whole. This can become a tedious and time-consuming process if your audit encompasses too many measurements. To prevent that from happening, I’m sharing what you should ignore – and what you shouldn’t ignore – for a useful content audit.
But first, let me share the value our company found in their content audit.
How a content audit impacted content strategy
We conducted a content audit to spot trends and missed opportunities, content gaps we could fill, and recommendations for content and site structure updates. We have inventoried and analyzed the published content and conducted a competitive analysis.
We discovered three separate blog posts covering the same overarching topic, separating traffic from those interested in learning more about the topic in three ways.
We combined the three blog posts and redirected each original page to a single URL. We’ve also added new links and bolstered the content with updated examples and information. At the same time, we changed keywords and cleaned up deprecated language.
In five months, the revitalized blog post generated more than 7,600 views, 32 form submissions, and 26 new leads — and even influenced a sale.
Ignore These 4 Things in Your Content Audit
In our content audit journey, we didn’t spend excessive time on the process. For what? We knew what to focus on and what to skip. Here are four things you can ignore in any content audit:
1. Flashy metrics
Vanity Metrics look big and flashy but don’t make sense on their own. Don’t fall for vanity metrics during your content audit. Focus on metrics directly related to your content goals.
Let’s say you want blog readers to convert to email subscribers (the call to action). You don’t need to focus on shares, likes or even impressions. Instead, look at directly relevant metrics, such as:
- Number of clicks on post calls to action
- Percentage of people who saw the blog post and clicked on the CTA
- Number of people who subscribed using the form connected to the blog post (In some content management systems, this statistic may appear as “submissions” associated with this blog post.)
If you’re trying to achieve a few goals, you can use different metrics to track them. Don’t clutter your content audit with unnecessary data.
2. Newborn content
Your content audit looks at the long-term effects of your content marketing strategy, so disregard any content posted within the last 60 days. It didn’t have enough time to show real results.
Do you have little time to carry out your content audit? Delete any content posted in the last 90 days. You will move forward faster without losing information from your more experienced content.
3. Personas and buyer journeys
You shouldn’t waste time digging into target personas or customer journeys. If these items are not identified, put the audit on hold.
Then identify who the content is for, what you want them to do on your site and with your content, and the preferred tone and voice to use. From there, you can identify your goals whose effectiveness can later be assessed during a content audit.
4. Third Party Content Scores
A few third-party SEO tools and plugins offer content “scores”. While these tools can be useful in some applications, such as seeing how many times a target keyword appears in the body text or title, they are not useful for content auditing. It’s just noise.
Instead of content scores, make sure your pages are set up technically. Check if the search intent of the users is strong and if your authority resonates everywhere. Measure something like your schema markup (Google has a simple evaluation of structured dataionic tool) is a better use of your time during a content audit.
Include These 3 Things in Your Content Audit
Now that you’ve removed the glitz from your content audit, you have room for what matters. For a successful content auditincorporate these essential components:
1. An inventory of existing content and metrics relevant to your goals. They may include:
- Seen pages
- Rebound rate
- Exit rate
- Average length of visit
- Total number of ranking keywords
- First Page Ranking Keywords
- Page speed
- Back links
2. Data analysis of relevant parameters, such as:
- keyword and traffic
- Calls to Action
- Bounce and conversion rate
3. Competitive and gap analyzes to compare your website to competing sites, including:
- Competitor keyword rankings where your site is not ranking
- Ranking keywords in lower positions than competitors
- Navigation (user experience) of your site vs your competitors’ sites
- Content topics covered by competitors but not your brand
With the insights you glean from your effective content audit, you can make improvements and move forward knowing your content can reach its maximum impact and fuel your marketing machine.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute