Content marketing audits are either a minor piece of a larger SEO audit or a brief report prepared as part of your pitching process and then forgotten about. These two words will have various meanings for different marketers, and the amount of effort you devote to this undertaking will depend on how important your content strategy is to you.
Copywriting and content marketing are both considered parts of SEO. In order to gain the most result from your efforts, you should treat content development as an entirely separate department. While content can help with SEO, PPC, and social media tactics, it also has its own set of functions and objectives. Keeping that in mind, it is safe to say that content audit and SEO audit of content are completely different in my opinion. A perfect example of a website with a content-rich layout is super coupon surveys.
For the past six years, I’ve worked in digital marketing, assisting in the creation of an SEO department from the ground up, and writing more content than Marcel Proust. My current position is entirely focused on content, and while I do employ SEO tactics to help my work succeed, the quality of what I write is always first and foremost.
With this in mind, the majority of this post focuses on the value of content audits as well as how to conduct them. However, I’ve provided some recommendations for how you might use these to help your SEO team.
What are the Pros of Conducting a Content Marketing Audit?
The content marketing audit carried out during the pitching process to discover the flaws in the content of your website will be of limited use. A content audit, on the other hand, that is updated on a regular basis and used to direct the next steps has a variety of applications, including:
An insight into the past
You may not have the opportunity to communicate with the individual who administered the website before you when you take over its management. You could receive some information from the site owner, but you’re not going to get the entire story.
A content marketing audit might assist you in putting together certain missing pieces of information. For example, the prior content manager’s goal will be revealed in the page’s call-to-action.
The content of all sorts placed on your website will also provide information about:
- End-of-funnel items will be scarce on top-level pages.
- Product pages are frequently sales-oriented.
- As a result of internal links in blog posts, you’ll be able to see which pages your predecessor tried to improve.
Examining prior content subject concentration can also help you figure out which product types or services were most significant to the previous manager or business owner. This will assist you to decide which one is worth investing in and which one isn’t.
Identifying the Point at which Content is Accepted and Becomes Successful
If you don’t see success within the first few weeks or months of publishing, it’s easy to write off (see what I did there?) a content effort as a failure. A work that wasn’t deemed successful at the time of release may be taken up afterward, comparable to public relations. Understanding how long it takes for items to become “successful” according to your standard of measurement will help guide future tactics and keep current disappointments at bay.
Providing Direction for Existing and Future Strategies
Understanding what has previously done well gives you a great idea of what your target audience is looking for. Are there any specific patterns you can identify and incorporate into your existing strategy? Is there a structure or issue that your target audience responds to better than others?
You’ll be able to determine fast wins based on the analysis, whether it’s reworking things that you believe can perform better, leveraging other marketing strategies to push particular components, or completely trashing anything and beginning over. Similarly, you can decide which topics to avoid if necessary.
Additionally, you may point out content gaps and have a dialogue with your customer about them. Then again, they may have forgotten to clarify which angles they don’t want you to shoot from. As an alternative, your client may give you permission to produce fresh material to fill in the gaps and track the outcomes
It’s worth noting that the metrics you’re utilizing to assess content performance should be carefully considered. A top-level instructional or instructive page should not be judged only on its return on investment (ROI), as opposed to a booking or transactional page. Measuring engagement metrics and helped conversions on higher-funnel pages will offer you a better idea of how the page is truly functioning.
A Tool for Reporting
While creating a content audit can take some time, keeping it up to date only takes a few minutes. With that said, we all know how valuable minutes are and how quickly they accumulate. Furthermore, some clients will always prefer to conduct hands-on chores and will struggle to perceive the value in these “admin” assignments.
How to Conduct a Content Audit?
Before you even consider exporting and jumping into a data pool, you should communicate with your client. In addition to being time-consuming, content audits may not be well-received by some businesses.
To get your client on board, I recommend going over the following points with them:
1. The Reason for Conducting the Audit
There are a variety of reasons why you might wish to conduct an audit. What are you attempting to do:
- How will you plan your content marketing strategy?
- As a quick win, should you remove obsolete content or update it to improve performance?
- Find out what kind of material your audience responds to the most.
Understanding and acting on what your client values most will cut down on the time you spend on your audit and boost your chances of gaining approval.
2. Type of Content you Want to Audit
You may go this method if your site is huge because you won’t necessarily want to do anything else except performing your audit. Have a discussion with the customer about whether or if you should start by looking at blog postings or e-books.
Due to the way your audit is segmented based on content type, you’ll be able to complete sections of the analysis and reporting while still having time for other responsibilities and adding to your content plan once each month.
3. Key Goals, CTAs, and Metrics
Inquire about your client’s key website objectives, and go beyond “more sales.” Beyond content that targets end-users, there will be — or should be — items that target every step of the funnel, either by guiding the website user to the desired action or solving their problem or query pre-and post-sale.
Furthermore, knowing which metrics are most important to your customer can help you fine-tune your audit and any plans that result from it.
Conducting the Initial Audit
Keep in mind that this audit is solely for content purposes. However, the SEO team may subsequently add their own columns to the spreadsheet so that all of the information is in one place, even if you aren’t looking at metrics like backlinks, page speed, or rankings.
Export a list of all URLs
Find information that was published inside the agreed-upon time range using the tools of your choice.
Assign a function to each URL
Depending on where you are in the marketing sales funnel, you may be able to determine which departments you should approach for content upgrades.
Search engine optimization can help pages that are aimed at customers in the exposure phase of the funnel but aren’t performing effectively. The CRO team may be able to assist you with pages focused on the conversion stage.
Assign a goal and call-to-action
Assign each of these to each page based on your conversation with your customer. To enhance anything, mark it “to be improved” if you’re having difficulties assigning a function or objective to it.
Make things colorful
Color is a great visual help for determining the health of each page depending on your specified KPIs. If a page doesn’t target the call-to-action you established, for example, that cell will be colored red. You can turn the cell green once the problem has been rectified. Make sure you save the original so you can quickly see what you’ve accomplished.
Include additional information
To examine how the parts are doing, you’ll want to include the standard metrics based on the allocated page function. There are a variety of indicators that may be color-coded based on their performance, including traffic, conversions, new or returning users, etc.
To better highlight, if a specific issue outperforms or underperforms, you can use a sliding color scale and categorize it from best-performing to worst-performing.
Details such as the publishing dates and authors might also be helpful in identifying trends that can be used in the future. To discover if your authors can replicate an author who regularly creates high-performing work, you can see how they do it.
Set a Deadline for Reporting
Every month, you’ll be able to report on the performance of each item, even if you just generate one piece of content each month! It’s quite unlikely to happen, however, it’s wise to negotiate with your team and client on how long you’ll track the performance of your content.
Most blog posts in this audit took three months to reach their peak. If that’s the case, you’ll want to look at success measures after the item has been up for three months. Instead of having to spend time updating the audit, you can focus on improving the content instead.
Instead of generating evergreen material, you may want to review it once a month. Your customer should be informed of whichever course you choose in order to set expectations.
This is a totally valid point of view and one that I share. Each customer has a lot to contribute to your success. The work is, however, well worth it, in my opinion. Keep your material current and relevant, and it will be more likely to do well. You can also save time (and money) by not creating content that your audience isn’t interested in reading or watching (or listening to).
Before I go, here are three examples of how getting to know your site content can help you perform better:
- During a customer audit, I saw a lot of similar information, but each time from a slightly different position. Integrating these components resulted in the pages competing less for ranking, and the overall quality of the pages increased.
- One of my clients seemed quite attached to their existing material and was hesitant to have any of their blog pieces merged or reworked. So, instead of proposing a hub-style page on one of their major category pages to enhance content exposure, I advised creating one on one of their primary categories pages. Instead of directing visitors from page to page, we designed it so they didn’t have to spend time attempting to piece everything together before making a decision.
- Finally, once UK gyms reopened following the lockout, we wanted to do everything possible to help our exercise clients. We edited existing blogs and created a “welcome backpack” instead of spending hours upon hours creating new content. Before I wrote this, there was an article that had been the top performer since it was published a year ago. As a result of this new pack, a flood of additional assisted and direct conversions become available.
In the right hands, content marketing audits may be a powerful weapon. Additionally, they will not only help you with strategy, but they will also help you establish a relationship with your customer, which I believe to be a nice side effect.
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