Why a content audit could unlock organic reach for your business and how to get it right?
Content marketing efforts are often experimental. You try and replicate more of what you find works and abandon the content that doesn’t bring results. Over time, you end up amassing chunks of content that fail to add any real value, eat up server space, cost you money and make finding the important stuff difficult by cluttering up your website.
All too often you will find content teams churning out one piece of content after another following the conventional wisdom of “the more content you produce, the more chances you have of ranking”
The biggest problem with this approach is that you end up producing loads of content that you forget about once you hit the publish button. The content just ends up accumulating, becoming outdated and often irrelevant.
Content audit helps identify the content pieces that are cluttering up your website. By managing the existing content effectively, you stand a chance of boosting your SEO rankings and ensuring that relevant traffic flows in, directly contributing to your business’ growth.
What exactly is a content audit?
A content audit is a review of your website that involves a deep dive into every single piece of content you have published.
Going through every single webpage to determine its relevance, accuracy and importance is no easy feat. This is why 37 percent of marketers admitted that they have never performed a single content audit in a curata survey.
The benefits you reap with performing a content audit on a periodic basis far exceed the efforts you put in. You can not only ensure that you attract the right traffic which has conversion potential, but you also automate revenue generation by ensuring that your content ranks for the relevant search queries giving rise to compounding business benefits.
Basically, a content audit helps you tie all the loose ends on your website.
The benefits of a Content Audit
1. Organic traffic that converts
The motive behind content marketing is bringing in relevant traffic and generating leads and conversions. If you are a tech firm, it may be tempting to blog about all the recent advances in technology but unless it is an area of your core competency, that blog you published about virtual reality is not going to bring you any quality leads that convert.
A content audit helps identify the content pieces that are not related to your core business offering. These may unintentionally be sending out mixed signals about your area of expertise to the search engine bots that crawl your website, thus hampering your topical authority.
Identifying the buy-intent keywords and ensuring that the content you have on your website targets the right audience is an important part of a content audit. This ensures that your website is conversion optimized and the content that remains after the audit is poised to bring in predictable revenue consistently.
2. Improve visitor experience and content rankings
The information you posted or the statistics that you quoted are at the risk of becoming outdated as time passes. As you post fresher content, the click depth of your blogs from the home page also increases which negatively impacts your search engine rankings as well.
Content audit helps to identify the content pieces that need an update, thus improving the overall content quality of your website. It also helps in identifying the well-performing content which may be bearing the brunt of being lowered further down your website as fresh content appears.
All you need to do is modify the existing content to add more value and update it to give it a significant boost in the search engine rankings.
3. Boost in SEO score and organic reach
Duplicate content on your website is severely penalized by all search engines. You may have two location-specific web pages on your website with the same content but different locations. While you may think these are two entirely different pages, the crawlers that come across them tend to disagree which severely impacts your rankings.
A content audit helps identify pages with duplicate content so that you can either delete, redirect or merge them and fare better in organic search.
How to perform an effective content audit?
Start by recording all your website’s pages in a spreadsheet. Use color coding or bulleted-number of sections (or both) to organize this sheet.
Once this sheet is ready, start by asking the most important questions of your content.
Is your content relevant?
The content you publish needs to be targeted at your core competencies and not extra fluff. Evaluate the landing pages and ensure that they are targeting the buy intent, bottom of the funnel keywords the audience may be using to search for a product or service you provide.
The content on the blog should also be primarily focused on the middle of the funnel keywords or the top of the funnel keywords to ensure relevant traffic lands on your website, moves through your content marketing funnel and eventually converts.
Is your content up-to-date?
As time passes, your market conditions will change. Some of your content may go out of relevance. If the topic or tone of the content makes your website look outdated, it’s time to update it.
Content can also become stale if it includes time-sensitive facts and figures. Content audit keeps your website content more accurate and protects brand reputation.
This question is important to ask because keeping your content abreast of the market and consumer trends constitutes positive customer experience; it could set you apart from your competitors.
Is your content achieving its goals?
The ultimate goal of every business’s content strategy is moving the leads through the sales pipeline and generating conversions.
While you would be regularly measuring your content goals, during a content audit you can reflect on large-scale issues that may not be immediately fixable. Therefore, you won’t be looking at individual metrics but look at trends in those metrics across a particular time period and find patterns in them.
Doing so helps you understand your team’s strengths and weaknesses more deeply. It helps you optimize your conversion strategy.
Is your content being discovered and used by the audience?
This is where a content audit helps learn from web analytics stats. Positive metrics do indicate success but if you don’t take the time to understand why they are successful, you may not able to replicate it.
Use content audits to understand which type of blog posts and web pages are most useful for your audience. Go a level deeper and trace their complete sessions through your website. Use this data to understand what’s really popular on your website and how are people discovering it.
Once you understand this journey, you understand the physical content funnel on your website. You can then tweak your content strategy and bring more people into this funnel and move them faster to the point of purchase.
Does your content have a consistent brand voice?
It’s hard to maintain a consistent brand voice when you have multiple different writers writing for your website. While it’s important to give them creative freedom, it’s also important to maintain a brand tone that’s consistent throughout the website.
If you have never created a brand voice style guide, a content audit is a perfect opportunity to do it.
Is your content optimized for search engines?
On-page SEO is not only about the page content. Other elements such as meta tags, alt text and captions for media elements, and page descriptions are all essential parts of optimizing a web page for search engine bots.
Does your page have a meaningful amount of organic traffic coming in? Does it have external backlinks pointing to it? Is the page targeting a relevant keyword with a meaningful search volume that is directly related to your business?
If the answer to any of the above questions is ‘Yes’ you should consider updating, redirecting or retaining the webpage otherwise the content adds to real business value and needs to go.
A content audit helps get a complete picture of these elements on each page, thus opening it up for a search engine optimization activity.
To do a thorough analysis, you will need to scour through each and every page and all the links on each page. This makes content audit an arduous and rather mechanical process to get started. However, once you start realizing the big picture of your implemented content strategy, you will soon realize how important a periodic content audit is.