What is a Content Audit and Why are they Vital?

Content Audit

Think about the websites and services that you frequent regularly. Google, Netflix, even social media profiles – every one of these sites stand and fall based on their content. If they fail to keep you engaged or cease to meet your needs, you’ll cancel your membership post-haste.

This relevance in content is not an accident. Any website needs to undergo a regular content audit, to nip, tuck and adjust what is found within its pages. A business site is no exception. Learning how and when to conduct a content audit on your online presence can make a big difference to your reputation.

What is a content audit?

A website audit is a root-and-branch review of the online presence of your business. The purpose of a content audit is to ensure your site is likely to attract visitors and achieve conversions. A business website that does not produce results is a waste of effort and resources.

Many people focus almost exclusively on generating new content for a website. Repurposing older material can be equally effective, though, if not more so. In addition, reviewing your existing content will reveal what your target audience is responding to – and, more importantly, what is leaving them cold.

Why undertake a content audit?

There are countless reasons why a business should undertake a website audit with regularity. These include:

  • Relevance. The internet is eternal, so previous content will always show up in searches. You need to ensure that your reputation is not damaged by users locating outdated content that no longer rings true
  • Efficiency. Check that your content is not negatively impacting the performance of your website. Loading speeds, for example, could be slowed down by videos. Users will lose patience, and your Google quality score will drop sharply
  • SEO. Keep a close eye on SEO trends, especially Google’s ever-changing algorithms. While attempting to second-guess Google is a fast track to madness, at least attempt to keep up. If your content does not match the expectations of a current algorithm, you could lose substantial traffic overnight
  • Security. With cyber-crime on the rise, you can never be too vigilant about internet security. Regularly check in on your website’s security certificate and ensure that user data is completely safe. This will enhance trust in your site from your users   
  • Conversion reviews. Website audits will reveal what pages are seeing the most attention from users. More importantly, an audit can reveal what pages are likeliest to see users close a site. These destinations may need some work.

If you regularly undertake website audits, you’ll remain ahead of the curve – and, by extension, greatly enhance your odds of success online.

How often should your website undergo a content audit?

One thing to always consider when undertaking a content audit is seasonality. Google’s algorithms constantly shift based on users’ search habits, and the time of year will dictate user behaviour. 

A seasonal policy starts with the very basic, such as building content audits around the seasons and public holidays. In December, festive search terms will go through the roof, while the summer will bring a renewed interest in outdoor activities. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll find a range of events and ways that you can repurpose your content to appeal to all users.

To keep on top of these opportunities, schedule a content audit every three months. These quarterly reviews will enable you to maintain a watchful eye over ever-changing trends. What’s more, it’s beneficial to make these tweaks little and often. If you wait six months or longer between audits, you may find that your website needs greater, more time-consuming surgery. This can result in unwelcome downtime for your site, which impacts profitability.

Do not be married to the calendar when it comes to an audit, though. If you are experiencing a problem, such as a sudden drop in web traffic, do not sit on your hands wait several weeks for a scheduled audit. Review your site immediately, taking any necessary steps to steady the ship. If necessary, enlist the services of a professional to aid with this.

How to complete a content audit in five steps

If you are not undertaking content audits, you need to begin doing so immediately. Even if you do conduct regular website content audits, are you confident that you are doing so in the most effective manner? Follow this five-step process to ensure success.

  1. Make the time for a website audit. We do not mean a two-minute once-over. You need to set aside sufficient time and patience to dig deep into your content. Ask your entire team to join you so everybody understands the intention of your audit
  2. Consider your aims and ambitions. What are you looking for from your content audit? To remove irrelevant blog posts and make your site is the most authoritative in your niche? To review your SEO strategy, doing all you can to appeal to Google? To encourage more customers to convert and improve your bottom line? 
  3. Collect and collate the data related to your content. Use this information to review the journey of visitors to your site. Where do users go from your home page? How can this journey be adjusted to create a superior user experience? Would more or less copy be beneficial? 
  4. Now, create a spreadsheet of all pages that contain content. Sort these in whatever way you see fit. The date the content was uploaded is probably the most effective 
  5. Work through each of these pages, starting with the oldest, and take note of their performance. How many clicks are these pages attracting? How long are visitors remaining on these pages? Are users moving onto another afterwards, or are they closing the site altogether? Do the pages load quickly or frustratingly slowly?

Once you have completed this content audit, it’s time to take action. Edit or delete content, or start over and completely adjust your marketing strategy. This content audit will determine what works for your site and what would benefit from improvement. Paying attention to this insight, and reacting to it, will set you up for future success.

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