Given the expanding scope of modern digital marketing, keeping track of everything on one’s website is becoming increasingly challenging. Even the largest experienced teams can spread themselves too thin, and oversights may eventually slip through. However, leave enough oversights compiled for long enough, and your performance will inevitably be affected. This is one of the biggest reasons to perform a website audit at regular or semi-regular intervals. As we’ve written before, content audits are a valuable type of website audit to give due attention to. If you’re in any way engaging in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a website content audit can safely inform your efforts. Let us explain why in this article as we explore the benefits of content audits.
What is a content audit?
A content audit, as the name suggests, is the process of collecting and auditing website assets. Such assets will typically include blog posts and landing pages but can include other assets depending on the website. As with all audits, the process seeks to examine performance and unearth possible mistakes and gaps. As HubSpot aptly puts it,
“Content audits keep an inventory of a website and provide insight into which content to create, update, re-write, or delete.”
Why you need a website content audit
With the benefits of content audits already outlined in the above definition, let us now delve into specifics.
#1 Find and fix content gaps
Initially, as noted in the introduction, SEO thrives on content – so it’s vital to identify gaps in this area. Especially if your website includes too much content, it’s likely practically impossible to do so by hand. Thankfully, that’s exactly what content audits explicitly seek to help with.
A content gap is, put simply, relevant or valuable content missing from your website. The former may be dictated by what your audiences are seeking and not finding, while the latter may be SEO keywords you’ve identified but not thoroughly covered in your content.
By cataloging your site’s assets, an audit can pinpoint gaps and inform your content marketing activities. Doing so can enhance your SEO efforts and your website’s customer journey.
#2 Acquire insights into content performance
Beyond gaps, a website content audit is ideally suited to measuring existing content performance. Ideally, in combination with analytics tools, it should measure such SEO-relevant metrics as:
- Best entry performers; which landing pages and posts serve as the first journey touchpoint most often
- Exit rates; which posts or pages your audiences leave your website from most often
- Time on a page; which pages incite the most engagement once reached
These and similar metrics will highlight landing page mistakes and blog post shortcomings, allowing for SEO enhancements. At the same time, conversion analytics can inform your Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) efforts within individual pages, as we’ll see next.
#3 Improve your information structure
Individual pages aside, content audits also serve to measure overall website performance. That is to say; a thorough audit will not just delve into individual pages but, on the whole; how your content creates a customer journey and where the journey falls off.
Long journeys with needless friction and distractions are among the most notable factors that impact conversion rates. Under this lens, a content audit can focus on such questions as:
- Are all your pages linked to at least one other page?
- Do your informative posts nudge the user along a meaningful customer journey?
- Does your information structure satisfy your users’ conversion intent soon after it’s incited?
A clear overview of your information structure, both within individual pages and across your website, may be all you need to engage in CRO meaningfully and effectively.
#4 Identify opportunities for content repurposing
In addition, a website content audit can go far beyond your website itself. Specifically, it can indirectly but effectively enhance your social media campaigns by fueling them with the right content.
Content marketers do accept that social media is essential but often struggle to produce valuable and timely content for it. This is why the practice of content repurposing has gained popularity in recent years, as it essentially entails just:
- Identifying valuable past content
- Updating it for accuracy, new audiences, or new platforms
- Reusing it as part of a current content strategy
If you’re sitting on a proverbial trove of website content, this may very well be an excellent way to have it fuel current social media campaigns. You may even limit the process to just your website, if you prefer, repurposing past content for new SEO campaigns.
#5 Understand your audience
Finally, content insights are arguably the best way to understand your audiences themselves. Through such metrics as page engagement and exit rates, you may best identify their likes and dislikes – and adjust accordingly.
This is not a benefit unique to content audits, of course. Built-in social media analytics, Google Analytics, website heat maps, and other tools can serve similar purposes. So can your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, as far as existing customers go. Still, content audits can provide additional insights to use in combination with such assets and inform SEO to improve your customer experience (CX) in turn.
When is it time to consider a website content audit?
All that said, it is prudent and safer to perform scheduled audits at regular intervals. However, they may not always be necessary, or there may be signs you do need to consider one for safety.
To cover the latter before concluding, here we may outline the most common signs a content audit might be in order.
- Your organic traffic is down; if you’re seeing uncharacteristically low organic traffic, content SEO issues are not an uncommon cause. If you can’t identify the problem at a glance, a content audit may help you do so.
- You’re migrating your website; website migrations tend to be much safer nowadays, but content migrations may still go wrong. An audit will help ensure the process went smoothly, and your hard-earned backlinks are in place.
- You’re rebranding; for an array of reasons, rebranding may become part of your plans. If so, your content may need to meet different quality standards or otherwise match your new brand image. Audits will give you a manageable overview of your content to help you make necessary adjustments.
- Your audience is displeased with your content; whether in blog comments, social media outreach, or reviews, displeased audiences are vocal. If your audiences are directly telling you your content doesn’t satisfy them, a data-backed review is likely in order.
- Your competitors are outperforming you; observing your competitors is always a sound practice. If you find they’re outperforming you by any relevant metric, you may need an audit to determine gaps and shortcomings to regain your edge over them.
When in doubt, perform a website content audit
In summary, a content audit can be an invaluable tool for SEO and content marketing alike. It can help reveal content shortcomings, acquire audience insights, explain performance dips, and more. As a culmination of its benefits, it can improve the customer journey and your final conversion rates.
Performing one reactively, once you’ve identified performance dips or migrated your website, is thus highly advisable. Being proactive about it and performing a website content audit at regular or semi-regular intervals may be the safer choice, however. SEO shortcomings and a lessened CX can be quite damaging and hard to recover from, and fortune favors the prepared.
Celia is a digital marketing specialist at Set Fire Creative. When she isn’t writing ads and driving sales for clients, she is working out, cooking some delicious comfort food, or camping in the mountains with her family.