What is a content audit?
According to a 2016 study by Curata, 37% of content marketers never complete a content audit. This is despite the fact that 42% of companies are working toward strengthening their content marketing teams and the more focused efforts toward creating:
- Content marketing strategies
- Building content marketing processes
- Investing in content marketing.
Why is it then that a content audit is not a priority among many content marketers?
It could be due to the focus on creating and distributing new content without thinking about ways to reuse and audit old content.
Content is how you communicate with your target audience and convince them to convert. It is one of the most important tools to use in modern marketing strategies, which is why it is important to frequently check the quality of content on your website. Poor quality content leaves a negative impression on visitors and makes them question your authority in the industry. By improving the quality of content, you can improve conversation rates, brand reputation, and authority.
A content audit helps you identify your content’s strengths and weaknesses and whether it is helping you achieve your goals. It is a qualitative assessment which is based on your KPIs and is useful in informing future marketing activities.
What is the difference between a content audit and a content inventory?
A content inventory is simply an accounting of your digital assets for all the content on your site. Unlike a content audit, which is qualitative, a content inventory is quantitative. To a certain extent, the content audit does involve a content inventory by identifying your content’s strengths and weaknesses. You will be also taking stock of how much content you actually have on your site.
The content audit is more detailed and in-depth, but if you want to carry out a content inventory, you can use a tool like the Content Analysis Tool (CAT) that automates the process, saving you time so that you can focus on your content audit.
Why do you need to conduct a content audit?
Here are some reasons why you want to audit your content:
It helps you determine whether or not your content is helping you achieve your goals.
Our goal is to get a return on your investment from the services you provide—in your case, drug and alcohol rehab. A content audit will help you determine whether your content contributes toward the goal of ROI and to what extent it influences the sales funnel. Content can expire quickly if you don’t do it right. Just because you’ve written an article one year ago does not mean you should neglect it now. This type of content can produce a higher click-through-rate (CTR) simply by changing the content title name.
According to Marketing Insider Group, content will have increased by 600% by 2020. This suggests that writing amazing content won’t be enough to beat the competition anymore. Content can produce better ROI results over a longer period of time if you perform an audit and update content based on current trends.
Most content you produce are results of evergreen content, or content that can last for a very long time. While some content you produce might be news and trends, you can still reoptimize, modify, and identify better opportunities based on what the current search results are showing.
User Intent: Check for the correctness of the information your content brings
You may have crafted successful content two or three years ago that perhaps even went viral. However, the facts, data and information shared, in general, may have become inaccurate or obsolete. A content audit can help you identify such content and how you can reuse it to make it current and relevant. If you haven’t reviewed the latest results for your targeted keywords, you might miss out on what your competitors are now writing about and what’s more popular.
Auditing your content can be dynamic. Take a look at the keyword “questions to ask a drug rehab center”.
Most articles that show up in these search results will provide template questions that potential customers might want to ask you. You’ll notice most of them provide 10, but one shows 12:
Maybe you’ve accumulated more frequently asked questions since you first created the content that allow you to add more insight and value to your content. Google recently announced their algorithm updates to better define user intent. They are constantly trying to provide relevant results. Previously, your content was able to rank for hundreds of keywords; with the new algorithm updates, your content may only rank for a few keywords that target specific intent.
Identify the content types that work for you
A content audit will help you identify the content types that result in the most traffic, social shares, and engagement, as well as longer dwell times and better user experiences. Additionally, content audits will help you assess which content types are contributing most—and least—to lead generation and ROI. This will help you know which content types to focus on.
Determine SEO success
A content audit will help you identify how successful your SEO is. You can analyze keywords, content length, image optimization, and other SEO aspects to see how well your content is doing. You can then identify areas of improvement.
How to conduct a content audit
Before you begin your content audit, you need to know what the process is and prepare accordingly.
Here are a few things you’ll need to go over:
- the goals of your audit
- the resources that you need
- which metrics to track
- how far back you want to go in your content audit
- amount of time that you have available to conduct the audit
If you do not have enough time to conduct the audit, you can do it in phases, hire someone to do it, or ask someone on your team to do it.
What are your goals?
The first step is to identify the goals of the audit and understand why it must be conducted regularly. Experienced marketers will conduct it every year just to ensure the client’s website is fresh and current.
The goals of an audit are:
Identifying content that performs well and brings in the most viewers. You can create similarly successful content and improve future marketing campaigns based on their performance. It is best to keep this content in its original format so it can continue bringing in more conversions and revenue.
Identifying content that needs improvement or updates. If the piece has outdated information, errors, or just needs a better tone, you can update it instead of removing it entirely. Doing this can bring in more viewers and also have a positive impact on your reputation.
Identifying content that needs to be removed or consolidated. Poor quality pieces can actively bring down conversion rates, hamper your reputation, and compromise your authority. Removing them entirely will improve the quality of your website.
Other goals may include:
- Determining your performance against your competition in the drug rehab facility space
- Determining which content types drive engagement, traffic, and contribute to your ROI
- Generating ideas that can be used for the creation of future content
- Discovering any duplicate content
- Revealing low performing pages or content
- Determining content gaps
- Updating and recycling content that has become obsolete and no longer reflects your drug rehab facilities values, amenities, policies, or even payment methods
Once you have identified all goals, it is easier to single out content and understand their performance. This process will take a lot of time and effort, so make sure you don’t rush through it; doing so can cause a lot of trouble down the line.
What metrics should you analyze?
The metrics can be divided into:
Engagement metrics – mentions, shares, likes, comments
Sales metrics – ROI, conversion, number of leads
User behavior metrics – bounce rates, page views, average session duration
SEO metrics – backlinks, dwell time, organic traffic, keyword rankings
Below is a SemRush infographic that shows more metrics that you can track. I’ll be explaining these in detail throughout the article.
Bounce rates – Bounce rates can be defined as single interaction visits to a site. This means that the visitor never comes back after the primary interaction. It can be difficult to determine what bounce rate percentages should alarm you.
According to Rocket Fuel, your bounce rate is amazing if it rests between 26% and 40%. If it’s between 41% and 55%, it’s average. 56% to 70% is above average, and anything above 70% is thought of as a problem.
This graphic summarizes the percentages:
Dwell time – If you have long blog posts (for instance, 2,500 words or longer) and the dwell time is just 15 seconds, there is something wrong. The content is clearly not serving user intent since 15 seconds isn’t long enough to fully read and digest the content.
Traffic sources – You need to know where most of your traffic comes from. If most of it comes from your social media pages, for instance, you’ll know to post more content there.
You must understand the behavior of your users. What are the parents looking for? Targeting self check-ins? Are they millennials? What do users do on a particular page? Are they reading, clicking, or contributing?
Finally, before you begin your content audit, you need to decide what content you want to review in your audit. You can audit any internal content: news, descriptions of the services offered at your rehab facility, landing pages, blog posts, or even PDF documents, infographics and videos.
Drug rehab content audit process
Identify all your content assets
Although a content audit does not take inventory of your content, you need to identify all the assets that you would consider to be content assets. Group all your content assets into different categories on a spreadsheet.
List All of Your Content
You can use easily available crawling tools like Screaming Frog, URL Profiler or georanker.com to sift through all your website pages and create a list of content. These tools will help you identify all URLs on your site and allow you to download them as a .csv file. Note that Screaming Frog is free for up to 500 URLs. URL Profiler is a paid-for tool and Georanker is free.
You can also copy and paste URLs of content manually if you have fewer pages. This process is a little more time consuming if you don’t have access to the aforementioned tools. Make sure all the content visible to search engines is present on your list of content assets.
Add Data to Every URL
Once you have a list of content, it is time to understand their performance. You can analyze their performance by first noting all the data mentioned below:
- Page title and keywords
- Meta descriptions
- Inbound links
- Last update dates
- Page headings
- Page visits
- Bounce rates
- Entry and exit information
- Average time spent on the page
- Broken internal and external links
- Word count
- Type of content
- Current relevance (i.e. Is it still useful or is it out of date?)
- Number of comments
- Shares on social media
- Clicks on CTA
- Conversion data associated with the content
This might seem like a long list, but it is easy to collect all of this information from various tools such as Google Analytics, Screaming Frog, Shared Count, and Act-On. These metrics provide accurate information about how every piece of content on your website performs, which can be helpful during the final content audit of your website.
How to identify URLs using Screaming Frog
Once you have accessed their website, you need to download the software. Once you’ve downloaded the software, run it and choose an installation type (hint: choose default). Once the installation is complete, click “close”.
Access the Screaming Frog file and open the file type named “application”.
Copy and paste your URL in the box titled “Enter URL to spider” and press enter or click “start”.
After the crawl is completed, you can view the URLs based on category:
You will see the total number of URLs at the bottom right of the page (just after the results), as well as the specific URL address, its contents, status code, and status.
On the right-hand side you will find a breakdown of the content types per category, including a chart showing a distribution of the various content categories. Like we discussed earlier, you should categorize your URLs in a spreadsheet.
Click “export” to download the URLs per category. It will be downloaded as a .csv file.
The .csv file is further categorized into address, content, status, indexability, title, meta description, H1 tags, meta robots, word count, text ratio, and crawl depth, among others.
Since you probably have quite a number of URLs depending on the amount of content you have been publishing since you first launched your rehab facilities website, you may need to use other tools to help collate all the URLs into a single spreadsheet.
Tools you can use for data collection include:
- Content Audit & KWM Template
- Content Inventory and Audit Template
- Content Inventory Spreadsheet
- Content Audit Template
- Content Quality Audit Template
Go back to the KPIs that you set for yourself. You can filter your URL data based on these. These KPIs will be easier to filter if you used a tool like the aforementioned Screaming Frog.
Remember your KPIs will be determined by your goals. If you want to create content to convince more people to sign up at your rehab facility, you may want to have KPIs like:
- Indexing and crawling – images that are missing alt text (though they could be infographics about services at your facility), image URLs not in your sitemap (these are not likely to be crawled and indexed), and URLs with directives like follow, nofollow, index and noindex
- SEO – content with missing meta descriptions, content with duplicate meta descriptions, content that did not achieve any URL due to a directive like noindex, and H1 and H2 meta tags that are over 70 characters
Once you have determined your KPIs and the issues to look out for, create those categories on your spreadsheet.
Remember, you can use other tools here if Screaming Frog does not give you the data that you need.
SEOptimer helps you identify your keyword consistency for each content page you create:
You’ll also need to use Google Analytics to check bounce rates and session length. Go to “Reporting” then “Behavior” then “Site Content” then “All Pages”. You can export the data as a.csv file. To export, go to “Report Title” then “Export to CSV”.
Shared Count shows the number of times a post has been shared on social media, but you’ll need to enter each URL manually. The bulk upload option is available for paying clients.
Act-on gives you conversion rates per page.
Google Search Console provides data that is already organized and that shows individual page performance. Go to Search Analytics >> Pages and check Clicks, Impressions, and CTR. Then export the data as a .csv file. To do this, click “Download” at the bottom of the page. Add it to your spreadsheet.
Clickflow can help you keep records, snapshots and a/b testing for each implementation:
If you want to make changes you can use Clickflow to see what happened before and after you changed your content.
If you’re looking to keep track of the changes you’ve made, you can use tools like Airtable.
It’s basically a spreadsheet on steroids. You’ll be able to attach your main keywords for each article so that you can see how much content per keyword you have and more.
Depending on when you began publishing content on your website, you’ve probably collected a large amount of data by this time. You can sort your content and rate it on a scale of 1 to 5, with one being the worst. This is the most challenging and tedious aspect of conducting a content audit. You should go through all of these values in order to understand how every piece of content is performing
It is now time to do a data analysis based on your goals and KPIs. Take note of the important conclusions that you draw from the data, starting with the high priority data.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Highlight all content that performs well consistently.
- Take note of content that performed well in the past but doesn’t do so now. You can potentially turn it back into a useful asset by providing updates.
- Always take note of content with large amounts of broken links. They can compromise user experience.
- Note high content with a large number of backlinks. They can help you create similar assets in the future.
- Highlight all poor performing assets and determine why they’re underperforming. This will also help with future campaigns.
Your content audit process is not complete until you do a content audit of your competitors as well. You can follow the same steps that we have described above but you may not get all the information like you would for your own site. Tools that you can use to perform content audits on competitors include Majestic Site Explorer and BuzzSumo’s Backlinks to check the number of links pointing to your competitor’s web pages, and BuzzSumo’s Most Shares to check for social media shares.
How to understand Majestic trust flow and citation flow
Research your competition. What are they doing right? Where can you can beat or outdo them?
Audit other source.
Now that you have focused on your website and those of your competition, it’s time to take a look at other sources. What performance data can you glean from print publications, email marketing, radio, and TV?
You need all these data to perform an accurate content audit.
SEO content audit
Your main content audit should have an SEO focus. Without proper SEO, you won’t be able to reach out to your potential audience and are left with little to no ROI. SEO is all about providing the best user experience for your potential clients while at the same time keeping copy relevant and high quality for Search Engines.
WooRank specializes in helping you identify the Natural Language Processing. Their keyword cloud is structured so that it helps you and your readers identify the best possible user intent for that specific content.
Keyword consistency is different than keyword density, or keyword stuffing. Each placement does factor into SEO. While there is no tool to help you create bulk audits, this is crucial to your SEO efforts.
SEO top ranking factors with regard to content are: title tags, meta descriptions, headings, and alt text. It’s obviously vital that you use keywords and align with your user intent in each article.
A content audit is something you should do each week or month, depending on the amount of content you produce. This allows you to keep tabs on what is helping you achieve your goals, what is not (ex. obsolete content) and areas where your competition is doing better than you. You will then create a working content marketing strategy that helps you focus on what works best for your drug rehab facility.
Have you recently conducted an audit for your facility? If so, we want to hear from you. Leave us a comment about your content strategy and how your last audit went.