The Magic of a Content Audit: What to Keep & What to Throw Away
The world welcomed the year 2019 with more than just a simple and generic ‘new year, new me’, it introduced Marie Kondo and her KonMari Method of decluttering. Some call it phenomenal, while Kondo herself even considers it as ‘life-changing’ and ‘magic’ put together.
Made to be applied specifically for homes and belongings, the method has been applied to multiple facets like personal lives, relationships, careers, and whatever aspect in life you need cleaning up. But what about in the digital world? The Internet is a vast space filled with content in all types, forms, and lengths. There’s always something to read and talk about something online. There is so much content that some aren’t even needed anyway.
But what if we apply the KonMari method to the content we see online? Then you don’t really need magic, you just need a content audit.
One of the most gruesome tasks every digital marketer needs to face at one point in their content strategy specifically, content auditing. If you’ve done content editing a hundred times or are just starting to do one for your own website, read on to find out the steps on how to do a content audit.
What is a Content Audit?
In technical terms, a website content audit is an inventory of all the indexable content you have on your website. The content referred to here is mostly in the form of written blogs. But if you have more diverse content than that like images, infographics, videos, and even audio then you can count that too.
You line up all your content, take into consideration their performance, compare it to your set KPI, and analyze what is for keeps and what can be thrown away.
To put it simply, a content audit is a magical process that improves your overall website performance.
Why Conduct a Content Audit?
Next on the list of importance is the content. Users check if the posts are still relevant, fresh, and updated.
If you’ve had a website running for more than 5 years, maybe even less, but your post and produce blogs on the regular then you definitely need one. This means you’ve produced so much content online, but are you sure they’re all working and converting for you?
It’s not about quantity, but the quality you put online that matters most.
With a simple content audit report, you can:
- Remove low-quality content;
- Improve on the trust and quality of the output on your website;
- Update the old and outdated content available on your website, they’re dead weight at this point; and
- Recognize content opportunities you haven’t tried like a new content format, or a keyword you SHOULD be ranking but your content says otherwise.
Like what Marie Kondo says, put everything you own in your hands and ask if it sparks joy in your life. In the case of digital marketing and content, view all your content and see if it sparks interest and converts in your favor.
How to Do a Website Content Audit?
STEP 1: Prepare a Spreadsheet
Have an area where you can lay all of your belongings and assess them one by one.
Love them or hate them, spreadsheets are the lifeblood of every content strategy. Lay all your data in that single spreadsheet. Just keep adding tabs for every set of data you will be putting and laying down.
Tip: Google Spreadsheets saves time, space, and effort. Use it well.
STEP 2: Crawl and Index your Website
Gather all your belongings and categorize them, placing them in proper bins.
Time to gather up all your content! You can download all the data and pages on your own, but if you have a number of pages then you might as well call a friend to help. Don’t worry about all the pages, just include all the indexable content.
Tip: Have a column for to place your URL, Page Title, Date Published, Content-Type, and all the other information you deem useful in your decluttering process!
STEP 3: Import your Analytics & Data
The process of elimination and discarding to see what is needed and not.
What is an audit without checking for performance? Here is how to do a content audit of your website and data you’ll be needing from Google Analytics:
- Organic Traffic, to know how many people are visiting and browsing through your website.
- Paid Traffic, if ever you’ve ever invested in PPC then you must include the result of the ads.
- Bounce Rate, to help analyze what’s wrong with the page; it may be because of the page speed on your website or the content is just not that good.
- Time on Page, if you’re a blog site and visitors only spend a matter of seconds then are they really reading your content? This is where you will find out if your content strategy works.
- Unique Visitors, the more views and visitors you get on your website then the more chances of conversion or engagement with your users.
- Pages Per Session, after the homepage where do they go next? Do they browse on the website? This tracks how far users explore and read more on the website.
- New vs Returning Users, these are two most significant users a website can get. Are you attracting new people? And is your website gaining a following with its content or services?
- Traffic Sources, this is needed for you to know where your users are coming or redirecting from. Do they catch you on Facebook often? Or is Search really your strong suit.
- Conversions, if you have a sign-up for a newsletter or an ‘add to cart’ in your website you need to measure if those call to actions are working and getting the results you want.
Tip: If you need help on understanding analytics, you can read this article on key metrics you should monitor.
STEP 4: Import Backlink Data
Gather everything you own, even the objects that mean the most.
Whether you’re actively doing outreach for your website or not, backlinks can be a big boost in credibility and your DA score.
Collect all the links, list them down in your spreadsheet, and review them one by one. Instead of asking “what sparks joy?”, ask what links are following the Golden Rule of E-A-T: expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
STEP 5: Review & Analyze Your Data
Ask yourself and your belongings, “Does this spark joy?” If yes, then keep it. If not, discard the object.
Time for the most important step! The data you’re looking at is just bare skin and bones, you need to bring life to your data with a content audit. Once you’ve gathered all your data, process them one by one and then collectively.
- List down your key takeaways from the analytics and data you’ve gathered
- Review the content you’ve been posting and ask these questions in place of ‘what sparks joy’:
- Is the content updated and still relevant?
- Is their significant traffic on the page?
- Is the content ranking on search engines?
- Are there significant shares on social media?
- Weed through your backlinks and see if they give significant value to your website or not because they’re just dead weight at this point.
It’s alright to take time with this step. This is where you really learn how to do a content audit of your website because this is where you’re dissecting your content strategy of the whole website and all its pages.
Tip: Review it all manually. No amount of SEO or online tools can give you the exact answer you need to improve your strategy. Put on your thinking caps, this is a long process.
STEP 5: Create a Content Audit Report
Discard all the unnecessary and start arranging your kept belongings in its proper place.
As with all things, documentation is highly needed and very much recommended. Put your whole process in a presentation format and present all your data in a simplified manner.
An example flow would be: first, present the gathered data, second is show your elimination process, third is the end result, and so on and so forth. You need to put your whole content audit process into writing not just for formality, but for future reference when you do another audit in the next years to come.
Touch things only once
In KonMari, once you’ve touched an object be sure to put it back where you got it right away. Once you place something down and leave it, you are obligated to touch it and clean up again.
Just like with a content audit, if you don’t want to keep doing this tedious process annually or at least regularly, here are some tips to make sure your what you’re posting online fits the bill and won’t even be considered to be audited:
- Always think of your audience
Remember, you’re creating content meant for reading, learning, and potentially sharing. Keep in the mind your target audience so your content gets all the love it deserves from the amount of effort you’ve put.
- Create content for all funnels
Maybe you’re writing for Awareness, what about for Consideration? And most especially, what about for Conversion? The funnels have different concerns that need to be addressed with your content strategy.
- Don’t get lost in jargon
If your audience is regular or leisure readers, then I suggest toning down on the big words and use simple or concise words that convey the message easily.
And voila, the magic of a content audit! I won’t be discussing the whole process of executing the changes needed to be done because that in itself is another battle to face — maybe next time.
Aby Nicole League
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- The Magic of a Content Audit: What to Keep & What to Throw Away - March 22, 2019