It’s not enough to simply produce content for your website—you have to produce the right content for your audience. Why? Because if you don’t have content that your audience wants to read, they won’t read it. And if they’re not reading it, you’re not ranking.
Do you know whether or not you’re producing quality content?
Google’s 2013 Hummingbird update changed the game in terms of search ranking: keywords are still important, but not nearly as important as the quality of your content. But how do you know whether or not you’re producing quality content?
Enter the content audit.
A content audit can seem like a daunting task. There are excellent step-by-step tutorials all over the web on how to make sure you’re conducting your content audit the right way. The tutorials can, however, seem like a lot of highly technical information, or just a lot of information all in one place.
You should absolutely consult these tutorials when you’re conducting the actual audit, but to keep things in big-picture perspective, here are the three things you should understand for your overall audit strategy.
1. Know Your Objective
There are a variety of metrics that you can track during your content audit, and you may not place a high priority on each one, depending upon your business.
Knowing what metrics you want to track before you start can help you work through your audit seamlessly—after all, it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
Two metrics in particular will be universally important to understanding the quality of your content:
- Bounce rate
- Time spent on the page
These two metrics will tell you a great deal about what you’re doing well—or not so well. For instance, if your bounce rate is high and people aren’t spending a lot of time on the page, your content is weak and needs to be stronger or retargeted for your audience.
If the bounce rate is high and people are spending a lot of time on the page, the content is strong, but you might not be giving your audience a reason to click around on the rest of your site.
If your bounce rate is low and the time spent on the page is high, great work! Your content is engaging people, and you should replicate the spirit of that content through the rest of your site.
As far as other metrics, you can read through a list of objectives on some of the step-by-step tutorials, including this one by Moz. Once you understand what the metrics are supposed to tell you, you can determine if they’re something you need to track.
2. Compile Your Data
To start, create a spreadsheet in Excel, Google Docs, or your spreadsheet tool of choice. Next, import the information from your website into the spreadsheet so you have everything in one place in order to analyze it properly.
Once your data is compiled, make sure to refer back to your objectives.
You can pull together all the URLs that your website is associated with by using a crawl tool such as Screaming Frog, as well as Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. Then you can use tools like Google Analytics KPIs or Moz Metrics to pull the metrics from each of your pages.
Once your data is compiled, make sure to refer back to your objectives: start to take out information that may not matter to you. If you aren’t sure if you should delete this information, set it aside in case your objectives change.
3. Analyze Your Data
Now you need to look through the data you’ve imported to determine a) what’s currently happening on your pages and b) what to do next.
If there are pages with high bounce rates, make note of them and determine if you need to dispose of the pages altogether or rewrite the content.
Content audits aren’t a once-and-done deal
You can begin to plan out your content strategy from here—what content is working? Write more of those topics into your calendar. What content isn’t working? Rewrite or remove the existing content and make sure that you include fewer of those topics into your strategy.
Content audits aren’t a once-and-done deal. While you can certainly do them annually, it may be a good idea to analyze your content twice a year, or even quarterly, in order to stay on top of retargeting opportunities. There’s nothing worse than knowing you’ve been producing the wrong thing for a whole year!
Content audits can also help you determine if there are broken links or slow load times for your content—otherwise, you may not know about these problems until it’s too late.
Performing regular content audits can help you provide insight to your content team, strategize for the future, and keep your tech and marketing teams aligned.