By Laura Rives — Oct 6, 2022 11:00 AM
A content audit is the process of taking a complete inventory of your site and identifying how to improve it in terms of site structure, SEO, and overall content quality.
Performing a content audit can do wonders for your site. For one, it shows your commitment to fresh, quality content. It also allows you to provide a better user experience, helping visitors quickly find what they’re looking for. Furthermore, following through with action items of your audit will also result in improved SEO. And finally, a content audit can optimally prepare you for a website redesign.
Let’s talk about some of the things you would want to consider as you are planning and executing your content audit:
Step 1: Create an inventory of the pages on your site
This is easier than you may think. Hannon Hill's free content audit template generator will produce a spreadsheet of the indexed pages on your site. This will enable you to better understand what's published, review content, and assign ownership.
A good way to build momentum is by addressing pages with broken links, misspellings, and accessiblity issues. By tackling pain points first, you can immediately show site improvements and stay motivated for the other action items generated in your audit.
Step 2: Identify high-performing URLs
When performing a content audit, make sure to review analytics data as it can provide a plethora of valuable pointers for improvements. For instance, if you know which pages are performing well, you can determine how you can get other pages to higher levels. Additionally, you can get a clearer idea of what type of content seems to generate the best results and use this knowledge to better serve your audience when you write new pieces.
Step 3: Look at your search terms
Which search terms are frequently used on your site and which search terms do visitors use to get to your site? Incorporating your search terms in your audit process will allow you to ensure that your audience can quickly find the information that they’re looking for.
Step 4: Determine content gaps
In addition to revealing the need for re-arranging some of your information architecture, analyzing your search terms can also make you aware of content gaps. What is your audience looking for that you’re not currently providing?
Step 5: Identify how visitors find your site and how they interact with content
Other than your home page, which pages are typical “entry points” to your site? Do you have any pages from which your visitors exit your site more frequently than others? Can you identify typical paths that different personas take as they navigate through your site? Gaining a more in-depth understanding of those patterns allows you to further improve your content and your site structure.
Step 6: Throw out outdated content
Providing fresh, valuable content is the most important thing you can do for your site and your audience. But don’t forget to do some housekeeping, either. Stale, outdated content needs to be cleaned up or thrown out so that it doesn’t take away from the quality of your site.
Step 7: Ask for feedback
Focus groups are a great way to solicit feedback. You can ask very specific questions, such as “which pages or sections do you visit most often?” or “what are some things that you were looking for on our site that you had a hard time finding or didn’t find at all?”. Give them the opportunity to simply tell you what they think of your site.
Step 8: Create an editorial calendar
Once you have completed the audit portion of the process and have compiled a list of action items, work on your editorial calendar. The sooner you commit to providing the new content pieces that you need, the better.
These are just a few pointers as you go through your content audit. Since performing the audit is not a one-time activity, capture key performance indicators pre and post audit to see the results of your efforts and continue to optimize your site. To create an inventory of your site's indexed pages, try out Hannon Hill's free content audit template generator.