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7 Steps to Do a Content Audit of Your Website and Increase Organic Traffic

Is developing and marketing content (assuming it is original, engaging and valuable) enough for getting the kind of organic traffic you want? Even if you are a content matter expert, the same content might not be valid or useful after two years. Over time, you will need to figure out if site visitors are still getting attracted to your old blogs and pages? So, how to do that? Conduct a content audit

What is Content Audit?

Put simply, a content audit for organic traffic boosting is a process that involves diving deep into every single content piece and analyzing as well as assessing them. The goal of this entire process is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your content marketing strategy.

Now that you know what the term ‘content marketing audit’ means, how exactly is it gonna help you?

It will help you to:

  1. Find content gaps (like new focused keywords, content ideas, etc.)
  2. Optimise content for search engines and visitors
  3. Find ways to reuse the content

So, let’s dig deeper and take a look at the content audit process (especially if this is your first time).

Preparation Phase (Before Starting the Content Audit)

Before you set up and get down to business, it is better to make a few things clear. One among those is your goals, their metrics, and how that will attract the customer in their sales journey. So, the website content audit checklist starts by defining your goals and their indicators.

Step 1: Define Goals and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

A content audit can be time-consuming and undeniably boring. So, you definitely need something to keep your motivation level high. Start by charting out clear, defined business goals and objectives that you want to achieve. And just defining goals isn’t enough. You also need to pay close attention to the metrics to get an idea.

For example:

  • Improve SEO Ranking

If getting higher on the search engine result page is your objective, then you definitely need to look at pages:

  1. With high SEO potential
  2. With keywords with better rankings
  3. With internal links as well as backlinks
  4. With content that needs to be deleted or added

Metrics you should look at are: Organic traffic, keywords ranking, backlinks, average session duration, etc.

  • Increase Engagement

If improving audience engagement is your final goal with this audit, then you need to check the data for:

  1. Most engaging content pages
  2. Topics that your audience are interested in 
  3. Type of content that generates the most engagement

Metrics you should look at are: Likes, comments, shares, mentions, bounce rate, etc.

  • Boost Conversion Rate

If you are looking to boost the conversion rates, then you need to look for:

  1. Pages with best user experience
  2. Content generating most of the leads
  3. Content types as per the buyer’s journey stage

Metrics you should look at are: Page views, conversion rates, number of leads, etc.

Step 2: Define the Audience Persona and Buyer’s Journey

Just defining goals and metrics isn’t enough if you do not have a clear buyer’s journey information or target audience persona. So, this should be your next step for content.

First, you need to start by identifying the reader. Note down the behaviour of an ideal customer. Collect data regarding their interests, topics they prefer, the content type they enjoy, and platforms they like to be on.

How will you find such data? By collecting data regarding the demographics and psychographics factor of your visitors. Google Analytics can be a lifesaver at this point in time.

A detailed target audience profile will help with the content audit.

Next, you should plan out the buyer’s journey for your audience. It means to note the track of pages your potential customer will follow before turning into a paid customer.

Why is this important? Buyers, during different phases of their journey, prefer different kinds of content. Identifying that will help you with the content strategy.

The Main Audit Process

Now, you are done with the prep work i.e. you know the goals and you also know about your target audience. So, let’s get into the main juicy part of the content audit process.

Step 3: Generating a List of Content

Unsurprisingly, this is an inevitable step to start with the content audit process. Make a list of all the content you need to run an audit for – you can either go for ‘all-in’ or simply choose a part of the content. It literally depends on what your goals are (and that’s why we made sure to note down our goals at the start).

Now, you can do this in two ways:

Method 1: You can manually note down the URLs of all the content pages. Seems a daunting process, isn’t it? And I won’t make any fake promises – it can get a tad boring too. But it works well with small websites with few pages and blog section.

So, note down these URLs on a spreadsheet so that we can move onto the next step of collecting data. Some templates that might help you are:

Method 2: Make use of a crawling tool to get all the data automated on a spreadsheet. You can use web tools like Screaming Frog, SEMrush, or URL Profiler. All you need to do is download the data CSV file and you are done. But mind you, these tools come with paid plans for anything beyond basic searches.

Once you have the results, you are free to go ahead with the URL status 200. But if you find many links missing from the data, then you can use the Sitemap Generator tool and start checking the SEO data manually.

Step 4: Gather and Categorize Data

You should have a list of content URLs on a spreadsheet, and then start filling the data points on it. The exact points will, however, depend on the goals you have set. But just to give you a small glimpse, or offer a helping hand, here are the most common data points that you can start collecting.

  • Page Title
  • Meta Description
  • Target Keyword
  • Inbound Links
  • Images/Alt Tags Used
  • Last Updated Date
  • Bounce Rate
  • Average Time on page
  • Page Visits per Month

These data points will help you with the SEO factor. However, if you are looking to strengthen your content marketing strategy, you also might need to look at:

  • Content type (Blog post, Infographic, Landing page, etc.)
  • Word count
  • Author
  • Assigned tags
  • Number of Shares
  • Number of Comments
  • Call to Action
  • Customer’s Journey stage (awareness, interest, decision, etc.)
  • Content condition (Evergreen, out-of-date, association with your audience, etc.)

These points will help get you started. But, you may/may not need any or all of them, as it depends on the business goals set for the content audit.

Let’s take a look at an example of how to do it.

For this example, we will consider the content audit to check how my content strategy is working. So, the key data points I need are:

  • Page Title
  • Visits per Month
  • Bounce Rate
  • Number of Shares
  • Average Time on Page
  • Conversion Data

We have clear information on the metrics we need to look at. So, let’s get the party started.

First, I am using the Screaming Frog tool to generate a list of content that needs to be audited. That gives me the page title tags and the title tag length for each URL.

Next, I will take a look at Google Analytics to get data related to the visits per month, bounce rate, as well as other data related to your customer (comes handy while choosing the buyer persona).

Then, I will note on the Shared Count tool how many times the post has been shared over time.

I can even go to the Google Search Console to pull out more information like clicks, impressions, etc. related to every page for more data.

These three tools give me all the information I need to check if my content strategy is working well and where I am lagging. Get your journey started too.

Some other tools you might find handy as per your goals are:

Step 5: Access the Content

If this is your first time doing a content audit for blog or website, then my suggestion is to check data for at least 12 months. In later installments, you can go ahead with data for a shorter period.

Depending on the data you have collected from ‘step 4’, now you need to access the data. You can keep, update, redirect, or delete the page. So, which one is it? And how will you categorise it? Let’s find out.

Keep ‘200’

Code 200 means ‘leave as is’.

If the content is relevant and attracting visitors frequently, you should keep the content as is. You can also think of reusing the content in different formats and including in content marketing strategy.

Some of the popular content that comes under this category will be: Evergreen content, your general information, FAQs, success stories, case studies, etc.

Also Read: 7 Excellent Content Marketing Examples To Learn From

Conditions that will help you analyse the content are:

  • Less than 6 months old
  • Have meaningful traffic and page views
  • Attract organic traffic and new visitors

Update/Redirect ‘301’

The content that doesn’t perform well will fall under this category. Try and review to make it more effective. You might also need to revise the content in some cases. In certain cases, you can simply go with the option of deleting the content and redirecting the page to a similar, more informative piece.

Some of the popular content that comes under this category will be: Blog posts with stats, outdated articles, low-conversion content, etc.

Conditions that will help you analyse the content are:

  • Has no meaningful traffic
  • With at least one backlink
  • Including important keywords or title tag

Also Read: 8 Proven Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Blog 

Delete ‘404’

Consider the content from the previous section without any scope of improvement or taking too much effort/resource in doing so. If that’s the case, then delete it. Rather than working hard on that, you can work on another piece that makes more sense with your content marketing strategy.

Some of the popular contents that come under this category will be: Events or activities, duplicate content, content related to discontinued products, old campaigns, etc.

Conditions that will help you analyse the content are:

  • Has no meaningful traffic
  • With no backlinks

Follow-Up Process (After Content Audit)

You have mentioned your audit objectives, got a detailed assessment of the content, what’s next? Though the content audit process ends by assessing the pages, you cannot stop there. You need to utilise the information somewhere, right? So, here’s what you can do next.

Step 6: Gap Analysis of Content

Now, you must be having a detailed analysis of:

  • Your current content and its performance
  • Your target audience profile and their interests and relevant content

When you look at these two sheets together, you may see the right way to steer your content strategy. There are two major areas to focus on while doing this:

  • Check the content you are missing

Compare the prominent keywords and content ideas according to your target audience persona to the current content you have. If there are some ideas not matching the content available on your website, you have a gap. So, here’s something for your next content marketing strategy report.

  • Note the content that isn’t performing

If there’s a relevant content piece that is under performing but matches the content ideas as per the persona that you have come up with, check why it isn’t attracting traffic. And also start brainstorming for ideas that may kick start the organic traffic for the content. Will it be adding more relevancy or visual effects or something else? The answer lies within your content piece and research.

Step 7: Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Finally, with all the data you have collected after doing this tango dance, it’s time to revamp the content strategy.

The content audit will offer you a detailed report of actions that works for you and the weakness that you need to work upon. You can start by working on the current content ideas that you have assessed and marked as ‘rewrite’, ‘merge’, ‘improve’, or ‘create new’.

The next step is to add a priority check for each task. For example, if there is a huge content gap on your website, then prioritise that at a high level. And then eventually, you can work down to the normal ones. You also need to consider SEO traffic while assigning priority factors to the task.

Conclusion

No matter how awesome a content piece is, it is never ‘enough’ for any website. There are always gaps present – either smaller ones or sometimes there’s a chance of exploring an entirely new field. So, keep a schedule and conduct content audit regularly to identify these weaknesses and also assess your strengths.

I know it is a huge task to carry out a complete content audit for a website. But you cannot forget the benefits it brings to you, and also the rise in organic traffic to your website.

Content Audit for Organic Traffic cta

Payel Mukerjee
About The Author

Payel Mukerjee

Payel dreams about travelling the world and relaxing in quaint beach cafes – when she is not helping brands find real growth through powerful content experiences. She loves waging the war against mediocre content marketing and is passionate about entrepreneurship and startups. She is also a Darjeeling tea junkie and the founder of Justwords.

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