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Creating & Managing Content

5 steps to performing a successful content audit

Content audits are a great way to identify underperforming areas on your website and gaps in your content. 

As your business grows, you will want to invest some time in reviewing your website’s performance. Included in this process is identifying areas of your website that may not be engaging readers or that don’t successfully convert leads. Performing content audits (also called site audits) can help you assess whether you have outdated or duplicate content and identify areas where you could improve your website design or layout.

Done the right way, site audits can help you create a better user experience for current and future customers and help you better meet your business goals. And a better-performing website will help ensure your business’s success.

But how can you perform a site audit effectively and address content gaps? Let’s look at five steps that can transform the way you review your website.

1. Define your goals and objectives 

Before diving into the tedious and time-consuming process of a site audit, you first need to understand your business goals and objectives. Clear goals will help guide your audit or content gap analysis.

Here are some goals to consider. Each goal listed below is broken down into more specific objectives you’ll need to achieve to reach your larger goal:

Goal 1: Optimize for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You may want to update content on your website to boost SEO. For this goal, your content audit objectives could include:

  • Identifying obsolete and low-quality content that should be updated or discarded
  • Determining website content that doesn’t match search intent for updating or replacement
  • Reviewing and improving internal links

Goal 2: Boost audience engagement

You may want to conduct a site audit to get more people to engage with your information. For this goal, your smaller objectives could include:

  • Identifying content with low monthly traffic for updating or replacement
  • Determining content frequently shared on social media for replication
  • Identifying content without high-quality visuals for possible updating

Goal 3: Increase conversion rate

You may want to conduct a content audit to boost conversions and generate more revenue for your business. For this goal, your objectives could include:

  • Identifying CTAs that don’t convert for replacement
  • Determining website content that doesn’t address customer objections, for potential replacement or updating

For every objective, don’t forget to set clear benchmarks and identify the key performance indicators you’ll track.

2. Create a content inventory 

The next step in the site audit process is creating a comprehensive content inventory, a detailed list of all your website’s content assets. These assets include text, images, videos, and other multimedia elements. 

Create a spreadsheet and collect the relevant information about all the web pages you want to analyze. Your spreadsheet should have the following fields:

  • URL
  • Title
  • Focus keywords
  • Target keyword ranking position 
  • Backlinks
  • Content type (e.g., product description, blog post, short video)
  • Date of publication or modification
  • Metadata
  • Author

Here’s an example of a content audit template:

Screenshot of content audit template

There are several online tools you can utilize to collect the data for your spreadsheet, such as Moz Pro, SEMrush, and Screaming Frog. 

Screaming Frog (see below), in particular, analyzes the HTML code of pages to identify elements such as headings and images. 

Screenshot of Screaming Frog page

Some tools will use your sitemap to obtain this information. A sitemap is a file containing all the data for your website.

If your website doesn’t have a sitemap, create one using a free sitemap generator online. In addition to helping with content audits, a sitemap helps search engines comprehend your website structure and identify any pages you feel are relevant.

3. Evaluate content quality 

Once you have a content inventory in place, it’s time to evaluate the quality of your existing content. Your assessment here will help you determine the specific action you’ll take for each piece. 

Here’s how you can evaluate your content quality:

  • Assess the accuracy and completeness: Quality content should be factual. It should provide a thorough overview of the subject. 
  • Evaluate the writing style: Quality content should be written in an appropriate style for the intended audience. The writing should be clear and concise. You can use Hemingway or Grammarly to check for readability.
  • Check the layout and design: Quality content should be presented in a visually appealing way to keep the readers engaged. It should have appropriate formatting and incorporate visual elements. It should be easy to read and navigate.
  • Review the analytics: Quality content should be performing as expected, meeting the goal you want each piece to accomplish. So, if you aim to drive conversions, check how many leads are converting after engaging with the content. If it’s a general or informational top-of-the-funnel piece of content, see how well it ranks and the traffic it generates for your site. On the other hand, if it’s engagement you want, you can track the bounce rate and, if these are available, even your Instagram likes, Facebook shares, and other similar metrics.

4. Categorize content and assign a priority level 

After evaluation, it’s time to categorize your content.

You can create separate categories based on the kind of update required for each piece. For instance, you can specify whether you want to keep, update, or delete an existing blog post. Add an extra “Status” column in your content audit spreadsheet as shown below for this:

Screenshot of status in content audit spreadsheet

The quality and performance of each article and other circumstances should inform the labels you use.

If a piece of content is yielding the results you’re looking for, you might decide to keep it. But if its data is old or it has poor readability, then you’ll want to update that content. You might also decide to put an article under the “delete” category if you have another article that competes for the same keyword (keyword cannibalization). 

As you categorize and do your research, you’ll likely find content gaps. For instance, during your content gap analysis, you might see you don’t have articles that target a specific keyword many potential customers use. Or you may know that your competitor has a type of content that targets a keyword that your content doesn’t. So, at this stage, also specify in your spreadsheet the content pieces you’ll add to bridge these content gaps.

After content categorization, assign a score of one to three to each action to be taken based on how vital it is. See the Priority column below:

Screenshot of priority column in content audit spreadsheet

In general, if you believe a particular action could have a huge positive impact on your user experience and it’s quite easy to do, make it your priority. Based on this, you’d categorize as #1 deleting content pieces that are poorly written. Updating content may fall under this priority level, too. After all, you may only need to add some latest screenshots and update stats.

You can relegate to priority level #3 those actions that are time-consuming or that don’t have an immediate positive impact on your user experience and content performance. 

For example, maybe you run a software company, and you want to double down on building an email list. In that case, you’ll need to create new content pieces that support your lead-generation efforts. So, you’ll need to adjust your SaaS content writing plan to include the creation of template posts, comprehensive guides, industry research, and so on. Since all this takes time, you might be more productive if you do them later.

With your categories and priorities set as part of your content gap analysis, it’s now time to turn to your action plan.

5. Implement your action plan

At this point, you just need to implement the actions specified in your content audit spreadsheet. Just check the priority level you assigned to each action start with the top priority items, and go down the list.

If you have a team, give them access to your content audit spreadsheet. This way, they can keep you updated on what they’ve done so far. You can also give them access to technologies that can make their work (and yours) a breeze. For instance, a project management platform can help ensure better productivity and task accountability.  A generative AI platform, meanwhile, can help fast-track content creation. This is a great tool to use, especially if you have many content pieces to write to fill your content gaps. 

Take note that your action plan isn’t set in stone. Assume you classified as “update” an article that didn’t meet search intent at the time you were categorizing your digital assets. But when you happened to do a check again, you found the content already meets it. That’s not really impossible since search intent can change over time

In such a situation, it would be more logical to keep the article, right? So, do just that. 

In other words, when implementing your action plan, you still need to be flexible and adapt depending on the circumstances.

Site audits can transform your website

Regular site audits on your website are crucial to maintaining a strong online presence. It ensures that your website continues to meet your business goals and user expectations. But you need to do these the right way. 

Follow these content gap analysis tips, and you will likely see great improvement in your content performance while keeping it aligned with your goals and objectives. You’ll ensure your website visitors are happy, too.

For more on creating and repurposing content, see our articles on interactive content and recycling your content like a pro

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James Westfield avatar

James Westfield

James Westfield is the Marketing Manager for Writer, an AI writing platform designed for teams. He has over 10 years of experience in the industry. When James isn't in the office, you can find him on the golf course. More articles written by James.

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