Your blog is only as strong as its content. The stronger the content, the better is its performance across search engines.
As search engines update their algorithms and user behavioral patterns change from time to time, your blog content must evolve to comply with the best practices and accommodate users’ need.
Therefore, the content audit is an inevitable blogging practice which keeps your blog on the right track as it grows bigger.
Why Audit Your Blog?
Blog audit is not merely a buzzword – here are some tangible benefits.
- It keeps your blog content updated
- It makes your blog SEO-compliant
- It reduces your bounce rates
- It improves your conversion rate
- It makes you more money
How to Audit Your Blog
The process of blog auditing can be brief or quite extensive depending on your goals. If you want to audit your blog pretty regularly, like say monthly, then it need not be very time consuming for you.
However, if you’re performing blog audit quarterly or biannually, then you may have to spend a great deal of time.
Whatever approach you choose, here are some of the tools your blog audit team could benefit from using.
Tools You Need to Audit Your Blog
There are countless content auditing tools out there but I find the following ones especially simple and useful.
Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a free tool which offers comprehensive insights into the performance of your blog content over a period of time.
Google Spreadsheets: Google spreadsheets help your blog audit team collaborate easily and analyze KPIs in real time.
Atomic Writer: Atomic Writer helps you analyze each blog post and tells you how to improve it further to exceed the expectations of your target audience.
Yoast SEO Plugin: Yoast SEO plugin helps you tweak the overall technical SEO aspects of your blog posts in order to boost their search engine performance.
Broken Link Checker: Broken Link Checker is a nifty WordPress plugin that sends email alerts every time it detects any 404 errors on your blog, thereby helping you take action before search engines find them.
Page Scoring: Page Scoring measures the size of your page and tells you how you can minimize it to improve page loading.
Siteliner: Siteliner analyzes your blog comprehensively and comes up with posts that may have complete duplicate or near duplicate content issues.
Screaming Frog: Screaming Frog runs through your blog and offers you a 360-degree view of your blog from the standpoint of technical SEO compliance.
SEM Rush: SEM Rush offers a detailed view of your site traffic, backlink profile and keyword rankings.
Steps to Auditing Your Blog
The purpose of this blog audit guide is to introduce you to a standard blog audit process and offer you a list of essentials tools. Whether you’re auditing your blog alone or with a team, you can always extend the process as per your own requirements and audit goals.
So, here are the steps of a blog audit.
Analyze Metrics on Google Analytics
Assuming you’ve created a profile for your blog on Google Analytics, here’s how you can find the performance of your content pieces on search engines.
Go to Behavior > Site Content > Content Drilldown.
Here, you can find the best performing blog posts based on their page views, unique page views, average time on page, bounce rate and exit rate.
Please, note that the default setting shows the metrics over the past 30 days; however, you can change the date range and expand it up to 90 days or 180 days or so based on your goals.
I recommend viewing the performing of your blog posts over the past six months in order to correctly analyze their performance.
When I say viewing past metrics, I assume your blog is at least a year-old and you have installed Google Analytics code since day one.
Google Analytics (or any other analytics software for that matter) cannot show you metrics of your blog retrospectively.
You need to set a benchmark for your blog posts in order to evaluate their actual performance. For example, if my blog has 100 articles and drives nearly 10,000 monthly unique hits, then I’d like to see which posts are top performers and how much traffic they get individually.
Likewise, I’d also segregate posts which are older than six months but bring less than 10 monthly hits. This gives me an opportunity to launch an SEO audit for those posts and see how I can improve their performance on search engines.
Use Google Spreadsheets to Collaborate
Google Analytics allows you to export your reports in many formats including CSV, PDF, Excel and Google Sheets. However, I’d recommend choosing Google Sheets over other options because it allows you to collaborate with other team members.
Once you export reports to Google Sheets, you can sort the results as per unique page views or bounce rates in order determine individual goals for your posts.
Now that you have figured out the metrics of each post and segregated it based on its performance, it’s time dive into content quality audit and SEO audit for each of them.
Run Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is a bot that crawls your blog and prepares comprehensive SEO reports. The reports typically consist of many technical SEO metrics such as 404 errors, pages with no meta titles/descriptions, images without alt text, pages with loading issues and other technical details. Again, these reports are downloadable as well.
Please, note that the free version of Screaming Frog generates reports for only up to 500 URIs. If you have more pages, you may consider going for the paid version.
Install Broken Link Checker Plugin
I personally find Broken Link Checker plugin quite useful for my blogs because it automatically detects the broken URLs and offers a super easy method to fix or remove them altogether.
It also sends you email alerts as soon as it detects any broken links within your blog posts. By fixing or removing the broken links periodically, you make your blog more SEO-friendly.
Run Your Blog on Site Liner
The Site Liner, from the maker of CopyScape, is a great tool to determine duplicate issues on your blog. While its free version scans only a limited number of articles on your blog, you might need to go for the paid version if you think it is really worth it.
Based on the results, you may want to rewrite the posts that seem to have any duplicate content in them.
Use Page Scoring
Apart from duplicate content issues, your pages might be suffering from loading issues. Google has become very serious about websites that have loading issues.
According to Search Engine Land, Google was testing a red slow label in search results to warn searchers before they click over to your website.
Page Scoring shows the contributing elements – from heavy images to java scripts - to your page’s slowness thereby helping to fix them and improve the speed in real time.
Page Scoring tests only one URL at a time; therefore, I’d suggest testing pages that contain multiple images and any other elements potentially affecting page speed.
Potential Actions after Blog Audit
By now, you have done most of the things to figure out the potential issues affecting poorly performing articles. It’s time to fix the problems.
Based on your performance benchmark, you should take one of the following actions on your blog posts.
Leave As-Is: If you believe a post doesn’t need any particular improvement as such but should be allowed more time to perform, leave them as is.
Improve: There are some posts that have been around for over six months but aren’t performing up to the mark. You must improve them.
Consolidate: During your blog audit, you may find some posts could perform better if they are merged together. It’s a subjective decision.
Remove: There are some posts which are so poor that you should remove them rather than spending time on fixing issues. I assume this action would be applicable to only a handful of posts if your blog generally has high-quality content. It also depends on the benchmark; posts having less than 10 page views in over a year’s time should simply go.
Improve the Existing Blog Posts
At this point, you have a list of posts that have some room for improvement in terms of quality and SEO. Here are some tools that you may find useful.
Run Your Blog through SEM Rush
Before optimizing your existing blog posts, you want to know which keywords they are ranking for. You can try the trial version of SEM Rush software and find out the keywords your existing articles are ranking for.
I’d also recommend using Google Console to find similar information.
Go to Search Traffic > Search Analytics and see a list of queries your blog is ranking for. You can also export the reports and analyze them further.
More importantly, do a keyword research and collect long-tail keywords that you can optimize your posts with.
By following this method, one of my blog posts barged into the top five spots for many competitive keywords, and drove a substantial amount of traffic in just a couple of months.
Install Yoast SEO Plugin
Yoast SEO hardly needs any introduction, and chances are that you’ve already installed it on your blog. When used to its fullest potential, it can help improve the performance of your blog posts and drive more traffic to your blog.
While working on fixing your content, you can rewrite the meta title, meta description and even add more keywords to Yoast SEO meta box.
In short, this must go along with the content improvement process.
Use Atomic Writer
Atomic Writer is a Chrome add-on from Atomic Reach, the leading data-driven writing platform for small businesses and publishers.
It allows you to compare your content quality against a given target audience ranging from General, Knowledgeable, Specialist, Academic, and Genius.
Based on your audience type, Atomic Writer assigns a specific score and shows you the areas in your content that must be improved in order to have a higher score.
Businesses publishing content regularly can also take advantage of Atomic Audit to dramatically improve their content quality.
Atomic Audit is designed to track and evaluate the content characteristics in a wide range of digital communications including web copy, training manuals, research reports, email newsletters, product descriptions, job descriptions and press releases to name a few.
Blog audit is an ongoing process that results in improved performance, higher organic traffic, and more revenues.
If you have a fairly big blog, you could benefit from conducting a blog audit once in every six months.
Even though blog audit may seem like a repetitive task, its results are well worth the time you put in.
How often do you audit your blog? Did you see any performance improvements in your content? Which blog audit tools would you highly recommend using? Please, let me know in the comments below.
About the Author:
Susanta Sahoo is founder and chief content marketing strategist at Top League Technologies, a digital marketing start-up in Bhubaneswar, India. By offering SEO consulting services, he helps SMB’s build their online presence and boost ROI. Follow him on Twitter:@sushantsahoo