Feel as though your content needs a spring cleaning? Worried that a 327 word article is bringing traffic down? It’s time for an SEO content audit.
An SEO content audit can be a super powerful way of boosting your websites performance. Yet it can also be time-consuming and tricky if you’ve never done one before. However, a content audit gives you a clearer sight of how you can improve your SEO strategy by showing you what content should be kept, what should be updated, and what should be deleted altogether.
The end result? A healthier website with less low-quality pages. Where SEO is concerned, it means better traffic, more results and improved visitor experience. This will also allow you to start building a more effective content marketing strategy and in consequence, bring new potential leads and boost sales.
Traffic growth after conducting a content audit. Source: https://www.siegemedia.com/
As said, performing a content audit can be time consuming and tricky. To make your life a whole lot easier, join us as we take a look at how to perform an effective SEO content audit in 2019 the (fairly) easy way.
What is an SEO Content Audit and When Should You Perform One?
An SEO content audit is a full rundown of all the indexable content on your website. It gives you actionable insights into your content marketing strategy, showing you what’s working and what isn’t. And when you know what’s working, you can then double down on it while ditching the stuff that isn’t working.
For example, you’ll be able to sift through your content to find out which articles perform the best, which receive the most engagement, and which put rocket fuel into your conversions.
Not just that, but an SEO content audit also allows you to optimise ranking signals and influence PageRank the right way. The more times you perform content audits, the higher you will rank – or, at least, that’s the idea. It all depends on the conclusions you draw from the results and what you do next (we will take a look at this soon).
That said, you don’t need to go crazy and perform an audit, say, once a month. Aiming for a content audit each quarter is a good rule of thumb. If you have a fairly new website and haven’t yet performed a content audit, now might be the time to do it.
Let’s take a look at what you need to do.
Pick a Tool To Help You Get Started
The good news is that, as exhausting and demanding as an SEO content audit is, you don’t actually have to do it all yourself with your own bare hands. Instead, you can use tools to help you.
Nightwatch is an all-in-one SEO tool that also has its own site audit feature to help make your life easy. Once you’ve finished your audit, you can then use the tool to keep improving your SEO strategy.
You can always trust Google Analytics to save the day when you need a free option. There’s a lot you can do with it. When it comes to content reports, Google Analytics lets you generate them before checking to see which types of content are performing best and worst.
You can also use it to find out why content is performing well or poorly.
Screaming Frog is another solid option for online marketers performing content audits. It has a free version that lets you crawl as many as 500 URLs. In fact, the only thing the free version can’t do is save a data export.
Create a Spreadsheet For Your Content
Picked a tool? Great. The first step proper is to create a spreadsheet for all your content. This sounds like a daunting task, but fortunately, you can use the aforementioned Screaming Frog to help you out. Screaming Frog’s paid version lets you export your data as a CSV file, for example.
Alternatively, you can enter all your URLs manually if you have, say, less than 50 pages. If you have more than that, you’ll definitely want to use a tool.
Either way, you’ll want to export all your URLs into a spreadsheet, such as Excel or Google Sheets. Exporting a CSV file into Google Sheets is pretty easy. You just need to click File followed by Import followed by Upload. Then, select the saved file.
Decide On Your Data Points
The specific data points you go with will depend on your goals. But as you’re carrying out an SEO content audit here, there are definitely certain data points you’ll need to cover. These include:
- Target keyword
- Page title
- Meta description
- Page bounce rate
- Image ALT tags
- Inbound links
- Broken links
- Average time on page
You might also want to cover these data points, too:
- Word count
- Last updated
- General topic
- Number of comments
- Conversion data
The problem is that, as you add more and more data points, the time it takes to complete your audit will increase. To that end, it’s a good idea to a) know your goals and b) choose only the data points you really need. Moreover, you can always return to your analysis at a later date and add more data points. For now, just pick the absolute requisites.
By the way, if you use a tool like Screaming Frog it will automatically generate SEO data points for you.
And if you want to find out metrics like bounce rate, you can use Google Analytics. Shared Count, meanwhile, is a handy tool for social metrics.
When you’ve decided on your data points, create separate columns for each one in your spreadsheet. Once you’ve gathered and inputted all your data (which might take a lot of time, depending on the size of your website) it’s time to take a look at it all. Then, you can assign a score for each page that ranges from A to F. A is reserved your best-performing pages, while F is reserved for the pages you can definitely delete.
Identify Opportunities and Put Your Data To Use
Once you’ve gathered and inputted all your data and scored each page, it’s time to put your data to good use. In other words, it’s time to take action on your results.
A simple way to take action is to add an extra column to your spreadsheet titled “Action.” Then, you can base your actions off each score.
For example, for all your A and B content, you could write “Keep” in the Action column. Your C and D content, meanwhile, perhaps needs to be updated so that it’s better or simply more relevant (which is one and the same thing). The rest – your E’s and F’s – can be deleted. They’re driving little traffic and have little to no use. If anything, their poor bounce rate might be damaging your overall PageRank.
Of course, simply deciding whether to keep, update or delete content is a very simple conclusion to have drawn from your auditing. You should also look for trends and patterns so that your SEO content improves in the future.
For example, let’s say that you’ve taken a look at all your data and found that your video blog posts receive 50% more engagement than your text posts. This tells you that you need to start producing more video content and perhaps even allocating more of your budget to video production.
Neil Patel drives a significant amount of traffic to his blog using videos.
You might also find that listicles lead to more conversions than any other type of content, while meta descriptions with a call to action lead to a 23% increase in click throughs.
It may also be the case that, after making observations such as this, you decide that any content that scored less than a C should either be rewritten or removed altogether. Moreover, you should also have a better idea of what type of content converts the best. Then, you can produce more ‘evergreen’ content that creates lots of value to the end user.
Let’s also consider that you might find you’re missing out on excellent long tail keyword opportunities that would put you ahead of your rivals.
Audit Your Competitors’ Websites
I know, I know. You’ve just performed a comprehensive SEO content audit of your own website and now I’m asking you to do the same of a competitors website. Does it ever end!?
The thing is that the success of your website often hinges on how well it performs versus a rivals. If you’re behind them in the SERPs for a particular piece of content, you need to know why this is. Perhaps they’re winning because they’re using better targeted keywords, or perhaps they’ve got more backlinks. Whatever the reason, you can find out by performing a content audit of their website.
The good news is that you don’t need to cover all metrics. For one thing, you can’t cover all metrics because you won’t have access to their bounce rate, conversion rate etc. What you can do, however, is use SEO tools to see how their link profile compares to yours. You can also use tools like BuzzSumo to measure social shares.
Link profile is important for SEO purposes. If your rivals have better backlinks than you, it puts them in a powerful position. Once you know where they’re getting their links from, you can put together a stronger link building campaign and reverse engineer their tactics.
This is how to perform an effective SEO content audit in 2019. As you can see, an SEO content audit is difficult and it can be tricky. If you feel that this is too challenging or time-consuming, do not hesitate to reach out for help to the digital marketing agencies. You can use a platform like Upcity to find the right match.
However, keep in mind that the cost of the SEO services can often eat a big chunk of your marketing budget. Therefore, learning how to perform a content audit by yourself is a skill that can help you save a decent amount of cash. And once you’ve done it for the first time, it will get so much easier in the future. As long as you work with tools, you’ll find that it’s not too difficult.
Just make sure you take the right actions once your audit is over.