How to perform a content audit for SEO in 2017
What is one way to know for sure that Google will like your website content? Why, to run a content audit, of course! There have been times; we have run around from door to door to learn the steps required for auditing content. Up until recently, there was no one-way to perform a content audit that was good for all leading search engines including Google and Bing.
What is content audit?
Google and Bing handle almost 75% of global searches. So, it you can optimize your website content for these two search engine giants, you can stay on top of all related SRLs. Content audit is the process of creating and updating a complete inventory of all your indexable content on the domain. This content is then analyzed using different performance metrics to determine if they need any improvements or removal.
How to conduct a content audit?
Content auditing determines how well your website is optimized for the search engine spiders. So, this is quite important for website visibility. If your SEO Company does not conduct your content audit correctly, your SEO can go horribly wrong and your website can sink at the bottom of the abyss.
As we have mentioned before, content audit starts with a complete inventory of all indexable content in your site. They are then analyzed and given any of the three “Action” determinations: Keep as is, Improve and Remove.
There are 3 basic stages of this process: Inventory and Audit, Analysis and Recommendation, and Summary and Reporting.
Inventory and Audit
- Crawl all the URLs to be indexed
You can use an online tool like the Screaming Frog for this purpose. It is quite likely that you might inedxable content by this method. So you need to collect URLs from Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, XML Sitemaps and internal databases. Some of the links found using Google Analytics and XML sitemaps may not be indexable. You need to exclude these URLs while auditing. You should remove all robot meta and X-Robots noindex tagged URLs, and all other URLs that are returning error codes.
- Dynamic websites have two code-bases, but only one URL. As a result, the content can vary depending on the type of device navigating the site. Therefore, you will need to perform two content audits for the two versions of the website.
- Getting additional on-page metrics
Additional metrics are very necessary during content audits. The crawlers will give you data as per titles, Meta tags, descriptions, alt tags, readability and word counts on each page. There are your on-page metrics. However, you will also need to know other factors including internal linking, outbound links, content uniqueness, page traffic, ROI, conversion, response code and much more. You can check out URL Profiler for this purpose and it works perfectly with Screaming Frog. Once the latter completes scanning your site you can run the URL profiler that will generate a table-report containing everything about meta-descriptions, meta-keywords and header tags.
Not all the data generated by these tools are necessary. You need to remove all URLs and data you don’t need.
Analysis and Recommendation
- Put it on a dashboard
After weeding the report, you should put all the data in Excel sheets. They are easy to use and manipulate. Don’t use Google Sheets unless your report is shipshape.
Just add two columns to your Excel sheet labeled as “Action” and “Details”. Action should have the 3 options mentioned above and Details should content freeform text for description.
- Managing the dashboard
- All the data that you will work with need to be in front of you. From here on, the process becomes a lot more liberal and you can modify the audit method. The tabular format gives you the golden opportunity to look for all content related issues. You should make sure your content is high quality, unique and relevant. If your website is particularly cumbersome, try the hatchet-based technique. Try sorting by “Page Type” when applying the Actions based on the noted Details.
Note: this is a critical step. You need to know which content to include and which one to exclude before you can start remodeling. The “As-is” section is very important. You will need to make informed decisions and not work on gut-feelings.
Summary and Reporting
The final content audit report will be neat and well organized. You need to make a note of the quantity of each Action, the total organic traffic and the ROI on each URL. You need to weed out pages that do not have impressive stats.
Your content audit summary should be clear and it should state the reasons for removal, improvement and preservation of pages. Every successful content strategy needs recommended next steps. Check out online content auditing report examples for a clear idea.
Wrapping it up
Content auditing is not a new process. However, this process evolves along with SEO and Google algorithm changes. This is the latest version of content audit that will help you stay on top of all related keyword searches without spending thousands on SEO consultancy each year.