If you’re familiar with content marketing, then you’ve probably heard of content audits and content inventories. These processes are important for optimizing a website’s content and improving their results.
While these two concepts may sound similar, a content audit is different from a content inventory.
So what’s the difference between a content audit and a content inventory? And when would you need to do a content audit or inventory?
This article will explore exactly what these two processes entail and the benefits of conducting each one.
What is a Content Audit?
A content audit is a qualitative analysis of your website’s content. The goal of a content audit is often to improve content marketing and SEO results by seeing what types of content are performing well and updating or removing outdated content.
Some questions you may want to ask yourself when planning out your content audit are:
- What articles are driving the most traffic to your site?
- What content is your audience engaging most with?
- What content is out of date? Can it be updated to be more effective? Or should it be removed?
Ultimately, you want to identify what content performs the best and how you can create more content that performs well in the future.
In order to conduct a content audit, first you must perform a content inventory. Creating a content inventory involves getting a list of all the content on your site and blog, as well as other important information related to each piece of content, such as article title and URL.
Next, define the objective and goals of your content audit.
An example of a goal is to improve content performance and identify the types of content that perform well.
Once you have defined our goals and completed your content inventory, you can start your audit.
To start your content audit, perform an analysis of your existing content.
One technical aspect of a content audit may include searching for broken links or missing images. Tools like Broken Link Checker can help you quickly find broken links that need to be fixed.
Additionally, you will want to look at metrics like website traffic and conversion rates from each piece of content. Pay attention to what types of content is performing well and which don't.
Do you have articles that use to do well, but are losing traffic? Or do you have articles that can be easily improved to attract more readers?
Even if you have articles that are doing well, you may want to consider taking them to the next level to stay competitive. Think about ways that you can make your existing high performing content even better or more authoritative.
Take notes on each piece of content and decide whether or not the content needs to be updated, left alone or even deleted entirely.
Although content audits can be performed manually, solutions like Atomic Reach can make it easier and faster to perform effective audits.
Once your content audit is complete, you should have a good idea of exactly which articles need to be updated and how to fix them.
You should also be able to adjust your content strategy so that you will know what types of articles to write in the future to drive more traffic or engage your target audience better.
If you want to conduct your own content audit, this article goes into more detail on how to do it.
What is a Content Inventory?
A content inventory is a quantitative list of all the content on a site, which is often maintained in a spreadsheet. This list includes all the site’s pages, articles, PDF’s, multimedia files and any other important content files on the site.
Some common reasons for creating a content inventory include preparing for a site migration to another web host or converting to a new content management system (CMS).
A content inventory can also be a starting point for a content audit (which goes into more depth than a high level content inventory).
To create a content inventory, start by opening up a blank spreadsheet. Create columns for all important data that you need to archive.
Decide on what data you need to archive. At the minimum, you will probably want to archive the following information:
- Content title
- Content or file type
- Comments (a column where you can add your own notes is always helpful)
You may also want to archive the following information:
- Author of content
- Meta data including meta description and page title
- Word count
- Analytics data including social shares, page traffic and other useful information
- Internal and external links for SEO purposes
Creating a spreadsheet and performing all the required data entry is a tedious task, especially if your site has a lot of content.
Aside from the initial creation of the spreadsheet, you may have to regularly update the spreadsheet if your content is being updated frequently.
These tools can crawl your website and automatically capture important data including file types, URLs, meta data, word counts, Google Analytics data and more.
Once you’ve gathered all the data you need and completed your inventory, you can perform an analysis of the content. A content inventory analysis can allow you to gain an understanding of the site’s content structure and provide a good idea for the time and cost required to complete projects like site migrations.
When performing an analysis, pay attentions to things like site structure. Are articles and downloads well organized so that they are easy to find?
The end result of a good content inventory is that you will be able to identify areas for improvement for organizing your content and keeping it up to date. A content inventory should also make it easier to manage the migration of your site from one web host to another or to transfer content into a new content management system.
Finally, a good content inventory can serve as a baseline for a content audit. In other words, once you have a content inventory, you can do a deeper analysis of your content and make decisions on what to do with it as well as plan out future content.
How are they different?
A content inventory is different than a content audit because an inventory is just a collection of content data. The content audit takes the content inventory and analyzes the content on a deeper level.
A content inventory is a quantitative collection of your site’s content whereas a content audit is a qualitative analysis of that content.
If you are simply looking to do site maintenance or transfer content to a new host or CMS, then a content inventory is sufficient. However, if your goal is to analyze how your content is performing, remove outdated content or plan out future content that is effective, then you may want to go deeper and perform a content audit.
How do they impact conversion rates?
A content inventory won’t affect conversion rates much because inventories are only done to catalog content. However, restructuring the site so that things are easier to find might help and better site organization can also make it easier for content creators to be more effective at their job.
A content audit should have a more visible impact on conversion rates. Upon analyzing past content and viewing metrics like traffic, engagement and social sharing activity, content creators and managers can make better decisions on what types of content to create in the future.
You may also find that you can boost conversion rates or traffic numbers for some content that is underperforming.