How to Perform a Content Audit to Improve Quality & Relevance

By Jillean Kearney on February 29, 2016

How to perform a content audit to improve quality and relevance.It happens. Websites get messy. They lose organization. They become over-stuffed with content, and it's likely that some of it doesn't quite fit into your business goals, is irrelevant to your audience or isn't up to snuff in terms of quality.

Performing a content audit is a great way to clean up a site, cut out anything that doesn't fit and make adjustments to improve quality and relevance.

Depending on the size of your site, a content audit can be a huge undertaking. But in order for your site to do well, your content needs to be top-notch so that your audience will stick around to read, watch and listen.

Bonus: Following through with a thorough content audit will help impact your SEO strategy. When done right, content audits result in the type of site that Google rewards (richly-written and high quality content, an organized content structure that provides a user-friendly experience and relevancy to its target audience).

How to Get Started

To get started, review all of your content. Start with your most important and work your way down. Familiarizing yourself will help you get a better understanding of what you would like to change, any gaps that exist and what you need to build a better content strategy.

While going through your content, make a list of the topics (categories that your content is organized under) and the relevant keywords that are used and that you want to rank for.

This is where you should also make decisions about the types of content that you need. Check out your analytics to see how different types of content is performing. Maybe how-tos get the most views. Maybe videos have the highest conversion rates. Find out what works well, and make that a bigger part of your content strategy going forward.

Create a Spreadsheet

Is there a better organizational tool than a spreadsheet? Nope. For your content audit, create a spreadsheet with the following columns:

  • Content title/headline

  • URL

  • Date posted

  • Content Type (How-to, video, infographics, landing page, etc)

  • Topic

  • Keywords

  • Takeaway Tasks

After your spreadsheet is ready, it's time to go through each piece of content and audit.

The Auditing

This is where the process gets tedious. Enter each page, landing page, article, blog post (everything) into your spreadsheet. Enter the title, URL, type and when it went live. If it fits into one of your topics, fill that in. If it doesn't, leave that column blank. The same goes for the keyword column.

The "Takeaway Tasks" column is where you're going to make notes on what changes and actions need to be made to a piece of content. Here are some things to look out for and make note of in this column:

  • Does the content fit under one of your topics? Make notes as to why and whether there is any way it can be edited to fit in.

  • Is it optimized for the appropriate keywords? Where can improvements be made?

  • Is the page title/headline optimized according to search engine best practices?

  • Is the meta description entered? Does it accurately describe the content?

  • Are there any dead links within the content? Should they be updated or removed?

  • Do the images have ALT tags?

  • Are there any typos or grammar mistakes?

  • Is there any outdated information that can be fixed?

  • Is it formatted correctly? Are there any line breaks where there shouldn't be? Are headers used properly?

  • Can the content be repurposed in order to be more appealing to your audience? Maybe a particular blog post would work better as an infographic?

  • Should this content be removed entirely? If so, make note of the proper URL redirect process required when unpublishing a page.

Takeaways

Once your spreadsheet is complete and all content has been combed through, it's time to start working on all of the takeaway tasks outlined in your spreadsheet. This can take a while. If you can, get some help from your content team. If you can't, make sure to schedule in enough time to make it through all tasks.

A content audit is a lot of work. But when it's over, your site will be clean, tidy and search engine optimized. Going forward, it will be easier to stick to your content strategy and maintain your new organizational structure.

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February 29, 2016
Categories:  Web Strategists

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