Frustrating, isn’t it? You know that to attract and convert more organic traffic, you must continuously improve your content. But, at the same time, even the thought of conducting a content audit to evaluate your strategy so far sends a wave of panic through your body.
Content audits consume so much time. Plus, analyzing content’s performance often seems like doing nothing else but trying to make sense from seemingly disconnected information.
That said, a thorough audit is a life-saver for any content marketing strategy. Even a simple review of Google Analytics data could reveal enough insights to fuel your growth for months.
And going even deeper into your content strategy would, most likely, uncover even more incredible opportunities that you would have otherwise missed.
In this post, I’ll show you how to simplify auditing your content to discover what actions will boost your content’s performance.
Intrigued? Let’s begin at the beginning then.
What is a Content Audit?
A content audit is a process of evaluating your existing content for its strengths, weaknesses, analyzing how they affect its performance, and identifying opportunities to strengthen it further.
Note that an audit is a qualitative process. Your goal is not to list your existing content assets or organize them into categories.
Using data, based on your organization’s KPIs, you aim to uncover insights about your content to determine what actions you could take to improve its rankings, conversion rates, etc.
A solid audit will reveal:
- Your most successful pages,
- Topics and ideas that resonated with your audience,
- Content assets that failed to perform as expected (both in terms of rankings and traffic they generated),
- Blog posts or other content types that need updating, and so on.
How to Conduct a Content Audit
I promised to show you a straightforward process to conduct a content audit, one that will not leave you at your wit’s end.
And so, here it is – a simple four-step content audit framework.
Step 1. Take Content Inventory.
I mentioned that a content audit isn’t a simple inventory taking, and I stand by these words.
However, before you can dive into the data, you must identify all the various assets your organization has published over the years.
If you’re using a platform like seoClarity, you can do that by going to Managed Pages section of the Page Clarity report.
It lists all content assets on the site that you can also organize with tags to simplify further research.
Personally, I wouldn’t dwell too much on this step. All you need to do is identify pages and other content assets in your strategy.
And then, with the list at hand, you can move to the next step.
Step 2. Identify Keywords That Target Customer’s Micro-Moments.
Page Tags offer one way of categorizing your content. But another, an even more effective method is grouping them by how they correspond to a searcher’s intent.
We wrote about the idea of search intent and micro-moments already but to reiterate:
Google describes the concept of micro-moments as “[...] intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire consumer journey.”
These are the situations when you intentionally use smartphones and mobile devices to research information that helps you:
- Learn or discover something,
- Watch something,
- Find new places to go to,
- Purchase something.
Google refers to them as the four main intents - to do, go, know, and buy, and as they point further:
“They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped. In these moments, consumers' expectations are higher than ever.”
What’s also important is that the search engine serves different search results based on that keyword's intent.
Just take a look at these search results for a mobile query that might indicate an intent to GO somewhere.
Now compare that with the first thing you’d see if you use a query that might suggest a transactional intent:
See what I mean?
For queries indicating the intent to obtain information, the search engine displays various rank types - a knowledge graph, a list of recent news, the answer box, and many others. If you’ve searched for local information, a local business recommendation, for example, it would show you the local pack. To satisfy a buying intent, however, the search engine serves ads and product recommendations.
So, as the next step in your audit, map your content to keywords to buyers' intent. I recommend you do this by splitting your target keywords into two groups:
- High intent keywords that include phrases searchers would typically use with the intention to buy or at least learn more about a product or service.
Examples of high intent keywords would include: “buy Lenovo laptop,” “Toyota garage near me,” “Macbook cover.”
- Low intent keywords, on the other hand, are queries customers use to find any non-transactional information. For example: “Lenovo laptop reviews,” “Protecting your Macbook,” etc.
We've previously shared about how to leverage keyword intent to optimize your site to convert users at all stages of the buying cycle. Those opportunities include:
- Optimize the blog and top of the funnel content for the low-intent keywords that you've researched.
- Create dedicated landing pages to target high intent non-transactional terms.
- Use transactional terms on your key bottom of the funnel pages
Doing this can help to convert users at every stage of the buying cycle and is a very important step to every content audit and analysis.
Step 3: Enhance Your Content with Additional Keywords.
As we've shared above, it’s crucial to your content's success that every page helps your users satisfy multiple intents - to learn, discover, and buy.
Similarly, to increase a page’s chances of appearing for various unique queries searchers might use, you need to enhance it with semantic phrases. The easiest way to do this is by offering information and content relevant to both – intents and semantic terms.
Here are some of the ideas I’ve discovered working particularly well for various content types:
Ratings – Category or Product Pages
The idea behind a category page is simple - they aim to attract users who look for a particular type of products. And then, give them easy access to all relevant items offered.
However, depending on the number of products within a category, customers might find making the final choice difficult. Including star ratings or number of reviews on category pages simplifies choice for users, and helps steer them towards a product to buy.
Product Sheets and List of Benefits
Customers often select products on emotion. But then, they justify their choice with logic. And for the most part, elements like meta-tags focus on targeting the buyer’s emotions.
But once they’re on a product page, you need to provide them with all the information to convince them that a particular item is for them.
That’s where product information comes into play. However, instead just listing product specification, highlight benefits and show how a product can help improve a person’s life, overcome certain challenges or have any other, positive effect on them.
Visuals and Layout
It’s hard to believe, but product images can affect conversion rates in so many ways. Then again, we rarely buy anything without seeing it first. And so, it only makes sense that we’re more likely to purchase items on pages that feature engaging images, product videos, and have a clean layout that makes absorbing all the information much easier.
Here’s an example of a product page from Made.com boasting big and engaging visuals.
Today, for a page to rank well, it must be relevant to the most current audience’s needs.
Unfortunately, making it so sounds only simple in practice.
For one, the audience’s requirements change. And what goes with it, Google often updates what pages it deems the most relevant in SERPs.
So, how do you keep up? By analyzing the top 10 results for a keyword continuously to identify most up-to-date trends and semantic keywords that engage the audience.
That’s exactly what Content Fusion helps you achieve. This AI-powered content editor analyzes countless data sources about the keyword and content ranking for it to deliver insights to help improve your page.
One of its capabilities is the ability to identify terms and phrases Google emphasizes for the keyword.
Include these Must-Use keywords on the page to increase its relevance and topic authority.
But a couple of weeks or months after you’ve done that, go back and re-test your copy with Content Fusion again.
I cannot emphasize this step enough.
You see, SERPs are constantly changing. As the Google’s algorithm evolves, the search engine becomes better and better at analyzing context and identifying the most relevant content to the query.
And what goes with it, the search engine’s expectations for content change as well.
Re-testing your pages with Content Fusion gives you the opportunity to update them for what’s relevant for the query right now. As a result, you ensure the highest possible rankings for your content.
Finally, it’s always a good idea to take a peek at other websites ranking for your terms, paying particular attention to ways they enrich the user experience.
This electronics retailer, for example, uses a variety of unusual elements on their product pages:
Notice a tool tip that explains how buyers could learn more about delivery options and a dedicated T&Cs tab. It’s worth identifying, and then, implementing similar initiatives, your competitors might be doing on their pages.
Step 4: Set up KPIs to Monitor Progress.
I’m sure this goes without saying:
The only way to ensure that any changes you’ve made to the site have delivered the desired result is by monitoring their performance.
As part of the content audit, I always recommend updating the set of KPIs you’ve been using to track and monitor.
Often, the original metrics might seem inadequate to capture the full breadth of your new strategy. Or they might be failing to reveal the insights you seek, simply.
With all content updated, amend your reporting dashboards to track all the information you seek.
The data your content marketing dashboards might include traffic to pages that share certain common characteristics:
- They cover a similar topic or idea,
- You published them as part of a specific SEO campaign,
- They target a specific keyword group, or
- Relate to your organization’s specific service or product, etc.
Here’s an example of such a dashboard, created with our platform, seoClarity.
Similarly, you could measure content performance in additional channels, social media, for example, to broaden the insight you receive about it.
Final Advice: Conduct Ongoing Audits of Your Content
Fact: A single content audit can empower your strategy for a long time into the future.
But analyzing its performance on a regular basis will help you gain an unmatched insight into how your content works throughout the year or your market’s seasonality.
When asked about the ideal content audit frequency, I always recommend conducting them at least once a year. Twice is even better.
This way, you can react to any changes or capitalize on new trends much quicker.
Most SEOs (or at least many of the ones I know) dread auditing their content. For one, the task feels daunting, time-consuming, and often, pointless.
At the same time, a thorough content audit means more than an opportunity for growth. It delivers insights needed to ensure the content’s top performance for a long time into the future.