written by
Freya Laskowski

How to Conduct a Content Audit: A Step-by-Step Guide

Content Marketing 7 min read

If you’re like most companies, you depend on content marketing to drive traffic to your website and generate leads. An often neglected yet vital piece of the content marketing process is a content audit.

Learning about auditing might seem even more boring than doing an audit. But a content audit will help you get the most out of your inbound marketing strategy. It will help drive conversions and increase revenue. And that’s what makes it all worth it.

A content audit is a comprehensive examination of the existing content on a website to determine its performance, relevance, impact, and user engagement. It provides valuable insights that guide you in making better marketing decisions.

Doing a full website audit can be incredibly tedious. Research shows that 37% of marketers have never done one.

Reviewing your website content ensures your marketing strategy can be as effective as possible. Assessing existing content helps identify opportunities for improvement and simplifies the development process.

This guide will help you know exactly how to do a content audit.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is a content audit?

Content audits are conducted to review, organize and assess the content on websites. It involves collecting data from all pages along with analyzing their impact and relevance. Once the audit is over, it gives insight into what needs to be created or updated, rewritten, or removed The goal is to make sure that the website only contains relevant information.

Doing a content audit is an essential step in managing your online presence. It helps you keep track of all pages, posts, landing pages, and other content. During the process, you can also identify potential problems like broken links, old posts, and poor content performance.

Doing a complete content audit manually can be very time-consuming. It can take anywhere from several days to weeks, depending on the amount of content you're dealing with.

What are the benefits of a content audit?

A content audit is an essential part of any successful content marketing strategy. An audit gives you valuable insights into your audience’s preferences, improves your SEO performance, and helps you develop better strategies for creating engaging content.

Content marketing helps new visitors find your website. But it also exists to increase customer loyalty. A content audit assures that your marketing efforts deliver on those goals by providing value to your visitors’ lives or business.

Here are several other advantages of conducting a content audit:

  • Understand what's engaging your audience, which reveals what content marketing strategies are successful
  • Find out what’s not working so you can avoid those strategies
  • Discover and remove duplicate content
  • Identify the content that can be repurposed
  • Better leverage your best available content
  • Improve and/or expand the content that isn’t performing well
  • Learn which keywords are working for you

Knowing this will help you create the best possible SEO strategy to improve how well your site ranks in search engines.

How often should you conduct a content audit?

We suggest auditing your content at least once a year. Depending on the stage of the user journey, however, some types of content may need to be audited more frequently.

It’s probably best to view an audit as a process rather than an event. If it’s something you keep your eye on regularly, you can avoid doing a website overhaul each year.

Now let’s look at the 6-key steps you need to conduct a website audit.

The six steps to conducting a content audit

Step 1: Set your content audit goal

Before you begin the auditing process, it is important to have a clear idea of your goals. This will make it easier to organize and classify the audit results in the future.

Your audit goals may include:

  • Improve your SEO and brand recognition (SERP, traffic, backlinks, etc.)
  • Increase audience engagement (comments, likes, shares, clicks, etc.)
  • Increase conversions (leads, sales, ROI, etc.)

If boosting your SEO is the priority, you’ll want to update old content, fix broken links, and optimize pages that aren’t ranking. If conversions are most important, you’ll want to examine your CTAs and landing page optimization.

Knowing your goal will make this process much easier. Try to limit yourself to one goal for each audit. This will keep things simple. You can do multiple audits per year if you have other goals you want to tackle.

Step 2: Identify the content to include

You can conduct a content audit on any kind of content. Start by making a list of the type of content you want to audit and then compile and list those pieces. This handy flowchart can help you decide:

Image source

You’ll want to use a spreadsheet to organize your content, or use your content management platform. This enhances visibility and allows you to keep track of your progress and goals. This is called a content inventory and helps you track changes systematically. Here’s a free Google spreadsheet you can use.

To begin, collect the URLs of each piece, then gather other details of the pages you're auditing. Here are some of the key pieces of information that will help you identify what needs to be improved:

  • Page titles
  • Headings
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Alt descriptions for images
  • Content type
  • Content format
  • Word count
  • Date last modified
  • Linked CTAs

There are online tools to help you collect this data. Those tools may use your sitemap to collect this information. Your sitemap is a file that has all your website’s information.

Step 3: Categorize your content

Categorizing your content is an important step in your content audit. It helps you identify the areas of your website that need improvement and prioritize tasks for optimization. By categorizing your content, you can also determine which types of pages have the most potential for growth and engagement.

The most common categories to use include:

  • Blog posts
  • Product or service descriptions
  • Case studies and success stories
  • Manuals, eBooks, white papers, etc.
  • Images, videos, and other types of media

Keep in mind that you may have other categories depending on your industry and the purpose of your website.

Sept 4: Determine success metrics

After you have prepared all the data, it is essential to establish success metrics for each piece of content you’re evaluating. The measurements you want to track will differ based on the objectives of your content audit (see Step #1). Here are several suggestions to get you started:

  • Overall traffic
  • Bounce rate
  • Click through rate
  • Page views
  • Average time on the website
  • Average time on page
  • Social shares
  • Conversions
  • Backlinks
  • Rank in search engines
  • Page speed
  • Keyword rankings

By determining the right success metrics, you can better understand what works best for your marketing strategy and make informed decisions about content creation and content distribution.

You might use a number scale, for example, to rank how well a piece of content performed for any particular metric.

Once your spreadsheet is filled out, it might look something like this:

Image source

If you are new to content audits, taking a content marketing course might be a helpful first step for you to determine success metrics.

Step 5: Analyze your data

You've done all the hard work and now it's time to look through the data you obtained from your content audit. Analyzing this information will give you a much better understanding of your current content.

Pay attention to the data to look for any patterns that may emerge. Are there particular topics that your most popular blog posts highlight? Are there similarities in terms of length among them? Does your top-converting landing page focus on a certain type of consumer?

Examine the type of content you have created. If you find that most of your content is focused on one or two topics, it may be beneficial to create more varied content. Additionally, make sure that there are enough pieces for each stage of the buyer's journey.

Step 6: Prioritize your next steps

Now it’s time to take all your work and prioritize the next best action steps to deal with low-rated content. Go through your ratings or other metrics and figure out which steps you need to take for each URL in your audit.

You can use your success metrics rankings (see Step #4) to determine what should be done with the content. Give special attention to content that isn't performing well. Then evaluate it with your content marketing team to ensure it is aligned with your current strategy.

If you used a number scale, a ranking of one or two should be kept, three should be updated, four should be rewritten, and five should be deleted. This helps establish your priorities for improvement.

If you and your team feel the need to re-work your entire content marketing strategy after the audit, no worries. The content audit gave you all the data you needed to make the best decisions moving forward.

Wrapping Up

Since content marketing is essential to generating leads and driving up revenue, it is more important than ever to ensure that your website is optimized for maximum results. Content audits are a great way to identify any areas of improvement and can help you make sure that your website content is up-to-date and relevant.

Taking action now can help you ensure that your website remains competitive, relevant, and effective in helping you grow your business.

StoryChief can help you with your content marketing development across all your online channels. If you want to generate more leads for your sales team, book a demo or start your free 7-day trial today.