If you’re a marketing manager working in-house on behalf of a brand you may be looking for a digital marketing agency or freelance consultant to support your business’ organic growth. If SEO is a particular area of interest you will see many SEO content specialists talk about content auditing as a core part of ongoing activity. So, what is a content audit and what does it cover? Read on to find out what to expect.
What is a content audit?
A content audit consists of taking either a sub-section of your website content or the entire site and following a checklist of criteria to look for to find issues which are affecting your SEO performance or user experience. Each specialist or agency will have their own defined criteria to check, as well as their own process for conducting audits in ways that suit their workflows. The audit can be delivered to the client as a list of findings in an excel sheet or fit a more personal approach and be presented nicely in a deck or document. I personally prefer to present audits in a more digestible way that makes it easy for my clients to take learnings from audits and understand the next step actions required.
How often should content be audited?
The frequency of an audit is entirely subjective to the website itself and the type of business the website is for. The size of a website will be a key factor, websites with more pages will have more to audit and audits may need to be broken down into site sections – such as blog audits, landing page sector audits, product category audits.
If you are a business which publishes a lot of new content pages monthly or makes frequent changes to your website it is recommended to audit content more regularly than a site which makes very few changes. Audits could range from monthly, quarterly or even yearly depending on the needs of the website.
Why do SEO specialists audit content?
From an organic search standpoint there is a lot that can be gained by conducting content audits. Any decent SEO Content Consultant that you begin working with should take stock of your website health to begin with before diving into a list of new pages or changes to make.
Common things from an SEO perspective that content audits look for can be: pages which should/shouldn’t be indexed in Google search results, URL structural issues, duplicated content issues, broken pages/links, pages of little relevance or value for SEO and more.
How is website content audited?
As mentioned, each individual will have their own process for auditing content but commonly this can consist of crawling a site or site section as a starting point. This crawl can flag common issues and immediate issues which may need action to be taken. These crawls can also plug in data from sources like Google Search Console or Google Analytics to compare a direct impact of page performance to the issue being flagged.
The difference between poor and good quality SEO expertise will be clear from what you get out of it. SEO tools have become sophisticated enough to run general checks and email you updates directly, so what you want from an audit is actual valuable advice from your consultancy partner. For content, it isn’t just about flagging what is wrong. A good consultant will inform you of priority of fixes, what is necessary versus nice to have and guide you on the right path for your business based on your goals and not just box check SEO basics. A good content audit will go beyond finding problems and actually put forth growth opportunities and gaps for site development.
What types of problems and fixes come out of a content audit?
Websites including Ahrefs include good and thorough guides to content audits. A typical content audit will be a combination of technical issues to fix as well as formatting content to best practices for SEO guidelines.
Technical things to check include:
- 404 pages
- URL structures
- Thin content (low wordcount/low value content)
- Duplicated pages/duplicated content
- Page indexation issues
- Page crawlability
- Page markup for SEO
- Page traffic and engagement metrics
- Internal link structure
- Website navigation structure
- Page optimisation such as breadcrumbs
Content best practice things to check could include:
- Quality of the copywriting for guides – is copy adhering to E-E-A-T guidelines?
- Author information – as part of E-E-A-T is copy highlighting the experience and expertise of the author?
- Relevancy for topical authority
- Length of copy – is it longform just for the sake of it or does the writer have something to say which requires detail?
- Content consolidation – if you have three similar blogs on a topic would it be beneficial to combine these into one stronger piece?
- Types of topics covered through organic content and authority of cluster topics
- Content structure and formatting – is it user friendly and easy to digest?
- Flow and grammar – is the content well written?
- Content assets – would the content benefit from engaging assets, diagrams or imagery to enhance the page and make it more useful/impactful to readers?
What are the goals for a content audit?
Short-term the goals are to find immediate site issues to fix but longer-term the goal is to use these findings as the basis for a content strategy. This will paint the picture of where your current site is positioned, what your site regularly discusses/or doesn’t discuss at all. It will outline gap opportunities for long-term growth with your SEO strategy.
If you are interested in receiving a content audit for your site, fill out the form below to enquire and get details on my services.
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SEO & DIGITAL PR CONSULTANT
Leanne has a decade of experience across SEO strategy, content marketing and digital PR. She has worked for a range of clients from SMEs to global brands.