What to do when a client complains that some people go to the site, but no one orders anything or even subscribes to the newsletter, there is no permanent audience, and attendance is low? In such cases, doctors say that it is necessary to make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment. This can be done by performing a content audit of the resource. In this article, you will find a step-by-step guide on how to conduct a content audit.
- Content audit steps
- Content Auditing Scenarios
- Step-by-step implementation of the content audit plan
- Step 1: Assess the situation and select the audit scenario.
- Step 2: Scan the site
- Step # 3: Analyze Content Performance with URL Profiler
- Step # 4: Import Keyword Data
- Step # 5: Explore Keywords
- Step 6: Combine data by keywords
- Step # 7: Identify the content that is missing on the site.
- Step # 8: Analyze Additional Page Features
- Check the summary table and write general guidelines for working with the site
What is content audit and why is it needed?
Content audit is an assessment of the site’s marketing effectiveness. As a result of a qualitative assessment of the content of the resource, the owner receives a description of the current situation, including the advantages and disadvantages of the information assets, as well as recommendations for correcting errors and further developing the site.
Depending on the characteristics of the resource and the purpose of the assessment, the following practical tasks can be solved using content auditing:
- Determination of the causes of sanctions of search engines and planning resource withdrawal from under the penalty.
- Definition of pages whose content should be fully or partially redone.
- Identify pages that can be combined.
- Search for pages to delete.
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of content in the context of pages.
- Planning a content strategy.
- Creating an actual keyword map: defining search queries for which users are de facto getting on the landing pages.
- Updating or creating an ideal keyword map: defining the queries that users should get on pages.
- Search for new development opportunities: increasing traffic, increasing engagement and audience satisfaction, increasing conversion.
- Inventory and evaluation of content in preparing the site for sale.
- Evaluation of the site before starting work with a new client.
- Search for reasons for low marketing effectiveness of the resource.
Conducting a content audit allows you to achieve improvements in specific performance indicators of the resource and the business project as a whole. For example, the Internet marketing agency Inflow, through an audit of the content of the site of the design studio, achieved an eightfold increase in the number of leads. Auditors found and recommended to remove a large number of irrelevant landing pages tied to advertising campaigns of the mid-2000s. The traffic from them was redirected to always actual landing pages that were not tied to specific stocks. Also, the reviewers recommended updating several pages.
After a short time, the surprised designers called Internet marketers and reported a sharp increase in the number of leads. Inflow experts analyzed this case and identified the success factors for the audit:
- A large number of irrelevant advertising pages that received traffic disappeared from the site.
- With the help of 301 redirects and internal linking of PageRank, several dozens of irrelevant landing pages were consolidated and redirected to always current pages. Due to this, they began to rank higher in the search.
- By removing obsolete pages and updating existing ones, user satisfaction has increased.
Content audit steps
If you check the blog, which published 10 articles, you can do without a plan. It is enough to read the available materials, take a look at Google Analytics and prepare recommendations for improving existing and creating new materials. More difficult if, for example, 2000 articles are published on the site. To perform a content audit of a large site, you need to make an evaluation plan and use additional tools.
The following is a typical content audit plan for a large site. You can modify and supplement it in accordance with the characteristics of a particular resource. During the content audit, you need to solve the following tasks:
- Add to the table all the URLs of the site leading to the pages with content.
- Analyze the effectiveness of pages using special tools.
- Analyze the content. For large sites with thousands of pages, manual content analysis can be selective. For example, you can analyze several of the most and least effective publications.
- Analyze keywords.
- Identify content that is missing on the site.
- Describe the existing situation and make recommendations for improving the effectiveness of the resource content strategy.
Content Auditing Scenarios
If you regularly perform content audit of resources, use the following table of content audit scenarios.
Less than 100 pages in the index
100 - 1000 pages in the index
1000 - 10 000 pages per index
Over 10,000 pages per index
General description of the strategy
Focus on keyword research, creating a key map. Recommendations for creating content that is missing on the site. The desire to analyze and improve every page of the site.
Focus on keyword research, creating a key map. We can recommend the creation of content that is not enough. Selective improvement of content, removal of irrelevant pages.
Focusing on the removal of irrelevant content and pages. Selective improvement of content on the most important pages. Selective analysis of keywords.
Focusing on the removal of irrelevant content and pages. Improved content on key pages. Keyword research is not required.
No search engine sanctions, no apparent problems with content.
Manual content audit. Keyword research and key map creation.
Keyword research, key map creation, selection of priority pages to improve content.
Selection of priority pages for improving content, creating a key map for important pages.
Selection of priority pages for content optimization.
No search engine sanctions, but there is their threat. There are problems with the content
Manual content audit. Keyword research and key map creation.
Selective audit and content improvement. Removing irrelevant pages and poor quality content. Create a keymap for key pages.
Focusing on the removal of poor-quality and irrelevant content. Selection of priority pages for improving content.
Focusing on the removal of low-quality content.
Search sanctions associated with low quality content
Manual auditing and improving content on every page.
Selective audit and content improvement. Remove substandard publications.
Focusing on the removal of low-quality content.
Focusing on the removal of low-quality content.
When conducting a content audit, you will need a table in which you will enter the results of the analysis and recommendations. An example of a template proposed by Inflow experts can be downloaded. here. Use it as a source of ideas when creating your own table.
Step-by-step implementation of the content audit plan
Imagine that you are conducting a comprehensive audit of the content of an online store site. The resource has 800 pages in the index, including product description pages, categories, blog posts. The site owners do not know for certain about the currently existing sanctions from the search engines, but they are aware of this possibility. The threat of sanctions is associated with the presence on the site of pages with an insufficient amount of content, as well as with poor-quality, duplicate or outdated content.
Step 1: Assess the situation and select the audit scenario.
Each project requires an individual approach. However, the auditor must choose a basic work algorithm. To do this, it is necessary to analyze two key characteristics of the resource: the size and the threat or the presence of sanctions.
Resource size does not allow to focus on improving each page. However, the threat of search engine sanctions requires active action.
If the site is threatened by Panda or other algorithmic sanctions associated with content flaws, you should stick to a simple scenario: improve or delete pages.
Because of the size of the site, you will have to focus on removing low-quality content or pages. At the same time, you must identify the most important pages of the resource and improve their content. With the help of keyword research you need to make sure that the main pages of the resource with high-quality content satisfy the basic information needs of the audience.
If the site really did not fall under the algorithmic sanctions, all pages can be left in the index. Since this is an online store, you need to pay special attention to product pages. If there are no product descriptions on the site or specifications that are copied from the manufacturers' resources, recommend that the customer immediately make high-quality descriptions for the most visited pages. Also, the site owner must schedule the creation of descriptions for other products.
Step 2: Scan the site
At this stage you need to get a complete list of the site URL. This problem can be solved using different tools, for example, Screaming Frog or XML-sitemaps.com. If the site has less than 500 pages, you can scan it for free and get a complete list of URLs without installing programs on your PC. To do this, go to the site XML-sitemaps, enter the address of the resource and click Start.
If the site has more than 500 pages, use the paid version of the service. After the scan is complete, download the URL list in text format. Open the received document using MS Excel, LibreOffice Calc or another table editor.
Step # 3: Analyze Content Performance with URL Profiler
URL Profiler allows you to quickly analyze a large number of web pages. To use this tool, run the program and import the list of URLs from the table.
Select URL analysis options. They depend on previously defined audit tasks and web analytics services that you already use. The screenshot below presents the analysis options offered by the Inflow experts.
Click the Run Profiler button and select the path to save the analysis results. Import the data into the content audit table. Use the obtained quantitative data, for example, the number of social networks, external links, page visits, to determine the most and least effective pages. Selectively analyze the content of the best and worst pages. After that, formulate recommendations for further work with the content of ineffective pages. In this audit scenario, you can recommend deleting pages / content or improving existing / creating new content.
Step # 4: Import Keyword Data
The selected content audit scenario involves creating a keyword map for the most important pages on the site. To do this, you’ll need data on popular searches and popular pages from Google Webmaster Tools.
To import data, follow these steps:
- Log into webmaster tools in Google Chrome browser, select the menu “Search traffic - search queries”.
- Click on the "Popular Pages" tab.
- Set the maximum possible date range for the analysis.
- In the "Show Rows" menu, select the maximum value (500). After that, place the cursor in the address bar of the browser. URL must end with the value "s = 500". Replace the 500 with the total number of URLs that Google webmaster tools display.
Press "Enter". Now the panel displays all the URLs.
- Paste the following code into the console window and press Enter:
- Thanks to this code, webmaster tools will display keywords for each URL. After that, a dialog box opens that prompts you to save the data in text format.
- Click the Popular Searches tab.
- In the "Show Rows" menu, select the maximum value. Use the above guidelines to display all popular queries on one page.
- Download the resulting table in CSV format.
- Enter the data in the content audit table.
Step # 5: Explore Keywords
To do this, use the Google keyword planner or other convenient tool. Stick to the following action algorithm:
- Enter the scheduler and select the option "Get query statistics for a list of keywords or group them by ad group."
- Insert a list of keywords obtained in the previous audit step, and click the "Find the Number of Requests" button. Please note that you can insert up to 1000 keys into the scheduler field. If you upload keywords in the CSV file format, this limit will increase to 3000.
- Add all the words to the plan.
- Download the plan. When downloading, set the settings as shown in the illustration below.
Step 6: Combine data by keywords
With the help of the scheduler you have received key phrases, the number of requests and the level of competition. Using the tools for webmasters, you obtained data on pages, average position, number of views, CTR for each word. Combine this data in your spreadsheet. Summary data will look like this:
Use the data to create a keyword map for the most important pages on the site. To do this, you need to manually check the quality of the content and its compliance with search queries. After that, it is necessary to formulate and enter into the table recommendations for working with content for the selected pages.
Step # 7: Identify the content that is missing on the site.
This step is not included in the selected content audit scenario, since this is a large site and the need to improve or delete existing publications. However, in the course of keyword research, you will likely find important keys for which no pages on the site are ranked.
Enter these keys and their characteristics in the table. Encourage the site owner to create content that responds to the relevant information request.
Step # 8: Analyze Additional Page Features
While analyzing the site using the URL Profiler, you obtained data that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of pages and the choice of tactics of actions. Pay attention to the following points:
- Pay attention to pages with a high level of risk Copyscape. Encourage site owners to create new content for the most requested ones. Recommend to remove pages with stolen content, as well as unclaimed pages.
- Check out the most and least visited pages. Recommend improving content for URLs that receive a lot of traffic, but demonstrate poor behavioral metrics. Recommend to remove or merge pages that receive little traffic and do not represent informational value for the audience.
- Check if the CMS does not save the site search results pages. If necessary, recommend removing them.
Check the summary table and write general guidelines for working with the site
In the table of content auditing you entered the collected information and recommendations formulated after analyzing the data. Explain to the client how to work with the audit results. Write a content verification report in which you share your general impressions and formulate a strategy and tactics for working with content. Emphasize that the audit conducted will benefit only if the client fulfills your recommendations.
The described content audit scenario is intended for a large site that is at risk of algorithmic sanctions associated with poor quality content. It focuses on finding inefficient pages, their removal or improvement. Также сценарий предполагает создание карты ключевых слов для наиболее важных страниц ресурса. В зависимости от характеристик сайтов, вы можете использовать другие сценарии аудита, предложенные выше.
Заказать профессиональный комплексный аудит сайта вы можете в нашем агентстве. Звоните - 8 (800) 775-16-41.