Content may still be king, but there’s another word that should be added to that phrase: quality. Just any type of content won’t do; yours needs to be high quality in order to be recognized by Google and appreciated by your audience. If you already have a ton of content up on your website, it may be time to prune some of it via a content audit.
What Is a Content Audit?
A content audit is when all of the content on a website is evaluated so that you can make decisions about whether to delete it, update it, or leave it. There are different types of content audits, and the one you choose will be based on your current goals.
- Competitive Content Audit: This type of content audit looks at the content of competitors to determine what they’re doing well and where they’ve missed topics, giving you the opportunity to fill in the gaps.
- Performance-Related Content Audit: This type of content audit looks at the performance of your blog posts, such as bounce rate and organic search performance.
- Qualitative Content Audit: This type of content audit focuses on usability. It will look into characteristics such as branding, content structure, and readability.
Before you do any of this, though, you’ll want to figure out which metrics need to be collected. You can then sort content based on specific criteria to assess which content should stay, be updated or be removed.
According to HubSpot, a blog’s high-performing content will continue to gain traffic over time, generating six times more traffic than that of the blog’s low-performing content. By removing inferior content and focusing on the pieces that are pulling in tons of traffic, you’ll raise the quality level of your blog. Also, by digging into what those high-performing blog posts did right, you’ll figure out how to update old blog posts or create new ones so they too can perform well.
Why You Should Perform a Content Audit
A content audit will help you clean up your website or content platform by getting rid of any low-performing content that’s potentially hurting your search engine ranking, conversion rate, or engagement. If you don’t perform regular content audits, your website will become overrun with blog posts, many of which will be irrelevant or out of date. There’s also no use in keeping a blog post up if it’s not performing well. If you keep all of your old, low-performing, or low-quality content up, your website and brand could be considered inferior by your readers and Google.
How to Conduct a Content Audit
Conducting a content audit can feel overwhelming if you have a ton of blog posts to go through. It doesn’t have to be that daunting, though, especially with the right tools. Here are the steps to take to conduct a performance-related content audit:
- Take inventory of your current content. You’ll need to use a tool like Screaming Frog to crawl the website and uncover orphaned pages, which are pages that don’t include internal links. As the tool crawls your website, it’ll also collect information about bounce rates, clicks, and visits for each page. Once you’ve collected all of the information, you’ll want to export it to make it easier to look everything over.
- Extract referring domains. For this, you’ll need to use a tool like Ahrefs. This step will show you if there’s other content online that’s linking to the content on your website.
- Analyze the results and make decisions about the content. This step is based more on your opinions and insight than on actual numbers, though the numbers will help you make decisions. A good place to start is with the obvious: pages that have gotten zero traffic or clicks can come down (unless it’s a core page, like your About page). You’ll then continue looking through your content based on the criteria you’ve set to figure out what should be removed, what’s performing great and should be left up, and which blog posts should be updated.
The more content you have, the more difficult the audit is going to be. Choose just a few parameters to start with so that you don’t get overwhelmed. You don’t want to trim so much that you don’t have any content left at all!
After your preliminary content audit, you don’t have to obsessively audit your content all the time. If most of your content is high quality and performs well, a handful of “lesser” blog posts isn’t going to hurt you. Your goal should be to outweigh the bad with the good and to continue increasing the great content on your site to make the not-so-great content a much smaller percentage. If you sense that certain blog posts won’t perform well, keep them up for at least three months to collect data on them. You can also make a decision about those posts during your next audit.