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    How To Conduct a Content Audit: Step By Step

    A content audit is an essential part of any content marketing strategy.

    At its simplest, a content audit starts with gathering all of your data that is associated with the content you have created. Then by analyzing that data you can identify and better understand patterns in how your audience engages with your content.

    The goal of a content audit is to perform a qualitative analysis of all the content your business has created, and use the insights gained to improve future content marketing strategies.

    Benefits of a Content Audit

    Identifying Problems or Gaps in your Content

    As you analyze all of your content, you will begin to notice and address issues with certain pieces or topics of content. You may notice that certain pieces are not generating leads even though they are getting traffic, or that you have covered certain areas of a topic but missed a crucial point that is essential to the piece.

    By identifying the content gaps on your site, you can then strategize to create new content that adds value to your audience and gives them the answers they're looking for.

    An audit can also help you notice broken links, which you can fix to not only improve your user experience, but also to help Google when crawling your site. Fixing these pieces of content and issues like broken links not only improve the value of your content, making it more appealing to new or existing users, but improving the positive user experience that visitors will get will result in better engagement metrics, more conversions and higher search engine rankings.

    In fact, according to a GoMez study, 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.

    Saving Money

    SiriusDecisions estimates that 65 percent of B2B content ends up unused.

    You could be putting a fair portion of your marketing budget into projects that get left unfinished or forgotten about. When performing your content audit you may come across old assets that you can use to help your next campaign, whether that's something that can immediately go live or a project that can be repurposed with some small changes.

    Rather than starting from scratch, finding assets in an audit can save you both time in ideation and money in the creation of content that can then be redistributed to other campaigns, or just republished.

    Evaluate your Quality Content

    By auditing your content you can evaluate its quality, assess whether it really adds value to your audience or is just thin, low-quality content. Google’s website crawlers can detect, low quality, repetitive, error-ridden content and will penalize your site for it.

    Your content will likely have improved since you first started your content marketing efforts. The content you produce now might be higher or medium quality, but you could be forgetting about the low-quality content you created when you first started that you might be penalized for and want to remove it or update it.

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    How To Conduct a Content Audit 

    What's the Objective?

    Content Audits can be performed for a number of reasons. However, prior to starting  you should agree on what your team is trying to accomplish so it can be the focus of the audit.

    Typically, a Content Audit is conducted for 2 main reasons:

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

    Analyzing different keywords, lengths of content, types of content, and other elements and comparing them to your current search rankings, you will be able to determine what content is ranking well and which is ranking poorly.

    You can perceive patterns in your high ranking content and use this insight to improve the low ranking content and include this knowledge in future content marketing strategies. Low quality content can also cause you to be penalized by Google, so auditing and then improving or removing your low quality content can improve the SEO of your site.

    Content Marketing:

    Another objective of your content audit is to assess and improve your content marketing efforts. Looking at user engagement metrics such as time spent on page, bounce rate and social shares, you can review which pieces of content are resonating most with your audience. 

    By identifying which types of content, or styles of content are working, you can double down on those insights and generate more leads from your content marketing.

    Develop an Inventory

    Once your team has set its goal, you can start figuring out which pieces of content you are going to audit. For example, your blog posts, product descriptions, guides, case studies etc.

    Then, you need to find all of this content and create a spreadsheet of your URLs. 

    You then need to add any additional information content marketing metrics to your spreadsheet. For example:

    • Page title
    • Target keyword
    • Inbound links
    • Images
    • Date last updated
    • Page views
    • Landing page count/Exit page count
    • Bounce rate
    • Time on page
    • Broken links
    • Word count
    • Type of content
    • Author
    • Number of social shares
    • Conversion data

    This may seem like a daunting process, because it is. Luckily, there are a number of platforms out there, including Atomic Reach, which can help you audit your content.

    Analyze the Data

    Then, examine all of these metrics to get a clear picture of where your content stands.

    For example, you may notice that your pages are getting a lot of pageviews, but that specific page has a high bounce rate and a low time spent on page. This could mean you are reaching a larger audience which is interested in your topic, but the content itself did not bring them value or solve their problem.

    You may then need to assess things like content format, the quality of content and the usability of your site. Keep the stages of your buyer journey in mind when analyzing your content. Top of the funnel content will likely have more traffic but lower engagement/conversion than bottom of the funnel content, which is something you should consider through your analysis.

    Action the Data

    After you have analyzed your content you must then take the information you have gathered and action your new insights, aligning them with your content marketing strategy. Think about the goals of your site and how the data you have collected can help you achieve them.

    Here are some actionable tips you can take from your content audit:

    Repurpose your content: If a piece of content is working well, try creating it in another format such as turning a blog into a downloadable eBook, and remember to update it to increase its lifespan.

    Optimize your internal linking: Add links sending your audience to related content on your site to improve the user experience and reduce bounce rates, the more time they spend on your website the more likely they'll convert.

    Fix broken links: If there are broken links on your content, it will negatively affect how it ranks. Consider setting up redirects to new pages or create new content that can be linked instead.

    Adapt your Content Strategy

    Reviewing your successes and failures should guide your future content marketing strategy. The insights you gained should help you better understand your audience and the type of content they want, giving you a better organic reach and improving your conversion rate.

    It may seem tedious to have to analyze such large amounts of data but it's well worth your time. It will help you improve future marketing efforts and may bring up successes or failures in your content that you were not aware of.

    If performing a manual content audit seems like to mundane a task then there are alternatives to manual analysis. Atomic Reaches AI-powered platform can conduct content audit reports to analyze the most important trends in your content to speed up your workflow and give you actionable insights into what your audience wants to see.

    This post was created using Atomic Reach.

    Topics: Content Marketing Strategy Content Audit

    Published on October 30, 2018
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