How to Do a Content Audit That Skyrockets Your SEO [+ Free Template]

Content Audit SEO

If you’re trying to improve your website’s SEO, a content audit is a great place to start. A content audit is basically a comprehensive review of all the content on your website, including blog posts, landing pages, service pages, etc. A content audit will help identify which pages on your website need the most attention, and it can help improve your website’s overall SEO.

How do you go about performing a content audit? It might sound like a daunting task, but we’re here to help. In this blog post, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to conduct a content audit, starting with identifying which pages need to be audited and then conducting the actual audit. Plus, we’re including a free content audit spreadsheet that you can use to streamline the process. Let’s get started!

What is a Website Content Audit?

A website content audit is a process of assessing all the content on your website to identify which web pages are performing well and which ones need to be improved. Audits are a part of the content marketing strategy that can help website owners understand what type of content is resonating with their audience and which content is not. Additionally, a content audit can help website owners identify any duplicate content, thin content, or outdated content that may be hurting their website’s SEO.

Content audits are a great way to evaluate all the content on your website with the primary goal of improving SEO and visibility. It involves taking a look at your website content and determining which pages need the most work. From there, you can develop a strategy for improving them so they rank better in search engine results pages (SERPs) and generate more leads and conversions for your business.

Why is a Content Audit Important for SEO?

Google’s algorithm takes into account the quality of a website’s content when ranking it in SERPs. If a website has a lot of low-quality content, it’s likely that it will not rank as high as it could. This factor will be especially relevant to Google moving forward, as it recently announced that what it deems “helpful content” will be given priority in SERPs.

Additionally, a website content audit can help you improve the overall quality and user experience of your website. If your website has a lot of thin content – meaning content that is short and doesn’t provide much value – it’s likely that users will not have a good experience on your website. This could lead to a high bounce rate, which is when someone visits your website and then quickly leaves. A high bounce rate is a bad sign for SEO because it tells Google that your website is not providing value to users.

Your content marketing strategy should focus on high-quality, helpful content that provides value to your website’s visitors. A content audit can help you identify any areas where your website’s content is falling short so you can make improvements.

The 4-Step Process for Conducting an SEO-Boosting Website Content Audit

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Now that you know why a content audit is important, let’s take a look at how to conduct one. There are four key steps in conducting a content audit:

Step 1: Define Your Goals

It’s important to specify both what your goals are for the website content audit itself and what your overall SEO goals are. You want to pin down exactly who you’re trying to reach, what you’re trying to get them to do (aka, your CTA’s – this could vary quite a bit depending on the content), and what you’re trying to achieve with your content audit. Once you’ve defined these goals, you can move on to the next step. This will help ensure that the time you spend auditing your content is focused and effective.

Some goals you might want to consider for your content audit include:

  • Determining which pieces of content are most popular with your audience
  • Identifying any duplicate or outdated content on your website
  • Generating ideas for new content that could help improve your website’s SEO
  • Understanding the relationship between your content topics (this is very useful for building your internal links)

And as far as your general SEO goals go, some objectives you might want to keep in mind include:

  • Improving your website’s organic search traffic and conversion rate
  • Understanding what your target audience looks like
  • Identifying deliverables your target audience might be interested in
  • Increasing your website’s authority and trustworthiness

Perhaps most importantly, make sure that the goals you set for your website content audit are achievable and realistic. This will help ensure that you’re not setting yourself up for disappointment and that you actually see some results from all your hard work.

Step 2: Conduct the Audit

The first stage of the audit is to evaluate your current website content. This will help you understand what content is currently on your site and how it’s performing. Once you have a good understanding of your current content situation, you can start to make some decisions about what needs to be improved.

There are a few different ways you can go about conducting a content audit, but we recommend using a spreadsheet to keep track of everything. This will make it easy to see which pages need to be updated and what changes need to be made.

Here are a few ways you can go about conducting the audit:

1. Look at your website’s analytics data: Analytics data can be very helpful in identifying which web pages are getting the most traffic and which ones need some work. If you see that a particular page has high organic traffic but a low conversion rate, that’s a good indicator that the page could use some optimization. Alternatively, if you see a page with low organic traffic and a high bounce rate, that’s another sign that the content on that web page needs to be improved.

Google Analytics is the most popular website analytics tool, and for good reason. It’s free, relatively easy to use, and provides a wealth of data that can be very useful for conducting a content audit. Google Analytics can show you things like page views, organic traffic, time on page, and bounce rate for each page on your website. If you’re not already using Google Analytics, we recommend giving it a try.

2. Check your website’s sitemap: Your website’s sitemap is a great resource for quickly identifying which web pages are currently being indexed by Google. A sitemap is essentially a list of all the pages on your website, so you can quickly scan it to see which ones haven’t been updated in a while or are lacking in content. You can access your website sitemap by going to www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml (just replace “yoursite” with your actual website domain).

3. Use a crawler tool: Crawler tools like Ahrefs or Semrush are designed to “crawl” websites and identify any issues that need to be addressed. These tools can be very helpful in identifying pages with thin content, duplicate content, broken links, and other problems that could be negatively impacting your website’s SEO. We recommend trying out one of these tools even if you’re not planning on doing a full-fledged content audit. It’s never a bad idea to get an idea of the overall health of your website’s SEO.

Ahrefs offers a WordPress plugin that makes it easy to crawl straight from your WordPress dashboard. This is a good option if you’re not comfortable using the command line or if you want a visual representation of your website’s SEO health. Ahrefs does a lot of the work for you – it tells you which pages’ content you need to rewrite and why.

4. Perform a manual review: Finally, sometimes the best way to identify which pages need some work is to simply go through your website and take a look at each page yourself. This can be time-consuming, but it’s sometimes the best way to get an accurate picture of your website’s content. As you’re reviewing each page, take note of any pages that seem outdated, have thin content, or are otherwise in need of improvement.

What to Look For When Conducting a Content Audit

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If you’re unsure of what to look for when conducting a content audit, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • High bounce rate: If a page has a high bounce rate, that’s a good indication that the content on that page is not engaging or relevant to the user’s needs.
  • Date Updated: Outdated content is one of the biggest SEO problems there is. If you see a page that hasn’t been updated in months or years, that’s a good sign that it needs to be rewritten.
  • Low page views/shares: If a page isn’t getting many pageviews or social shares, that’s an indication that the content on that page isn’t resonating with users.
  • Backlinks: If a page has very few backlinks, that’s a sign that the content on that page isn’t considered to be high-quality by other websites.

Using these criteria, you should be able to quickly identify which pages need to be improved. Once you’ve identified the problem pages, it’s time to start the actual content audit process.

Step 3: Identify Why the Audited Pages Need to Be Improved

At this point, you’ve figured out which pages need help – meaning you’ve found the ones that have a high bounce rate, aren’t ranking well on SERPs, have zero backlinks (i.e., no other sites are linking to them), or are just generally in need of improvement. Now it’s time to figure out why those pages aren’t performing well and what needs to be done to fix the problem.

Important Tip: Blogs that have only been published for a couple of months will not have desirable numbers where search volume, backlinks, and ranking are concerned. That’s ok. It’s going to take a while for new blogs to gain traffic. In general, you should exclude new posts from your audit.

When you’re going through the website content audit process, there are a few different things you’ll want to keep an eye out for. Here are a few of the most important factors to consider:

1. Search Intent: The first thing and perhaps most important thing you’ll want to consider is whether or not your content is meeting the user’s search intent. In other words, does your content answer the user’s question or meet their needs? If not, then it’s time to update your content. For example, our article on the cost of website redesign wasn’t performing as well as it should have been. The reason? We didn’t include enough concise and easily accessible information on pricing.

Even if an article contains all the answers a visitor is looking for, if it’s not organized in a way that is easy to scan, they’re likely to click away. Once we updated the article to include more pricing information, it started ranking higher and getting more traffic.

2. Keywords: Keywords are still an important part of your content strategy, so you’ll want to make sure that your content is optimized for the right keywords. This means using the right keywords in the right places – the SEO title, the meta description, headings throughout the article, the body of the article, etc.

3. Readability: As we mentioned before, your content needs to be easy to read and understand. This means using short sentences and paragraphs, using active voice, and breaking up your text with images, headings, and bullet points.

4. Outdated Information: Having outdated information is one of the quickest ways to lose website visitors. If you’re still talking about Google’s old Panda algorithm update from 2011 when people are searching for the Helpful Content Update, for example, chances are your readers will tune out. Make sure that all the information in your articles is up-to-date and relevant.

5. Mobile-Friendliness: More and more people are using their phones to access the internet, which means your website needs to be optimized for mobile. This includes having a responsive design, fast loading time, and easy-to-use navigation.

These are just a few of the things you’ll want to keep in mind as you’re conducting your content audit. By going through your website and making sure that all of your content is up-to-date, relevant, and easy to read, you can improve your website’s SEO and performance.

Step 4: Create a Content Plan to Improve Your Website’s SEO

Once you’ve completed your content audit, it’s time to create a plan to improve your website’s SEO. This plan should include things like updating your existing content, creating new content, and improving your website’s architecture. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that all your content is optimized for SEO before you publish it.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve put together a list of five steps to improve your website’s SEO.

1. Prune Content that Didn’t Pass the Test

This is an admittedly painful step. But don’t worry, that content doesn’t have to be lost forever. You can make a plan to revamp this content so that you can repost new-and-improved versions that actually do something for your SEO. But we’ll get to that in the next step.

At this point, you hopefully have a list of web pages that are underperforming for one reason or another. You’ll want to now organize those entries into three different categories:

  • Pages that need content changes only
  • Pages that need changes and to be repurposed or consolidated
  • Pages that can be redirected or deleted

Pages that are relevant to your site but need to be rewritten to match user search intent or updated to include new information can be moved into the content changes-only category. These are usually pages that have potential but need a little work to get there.

Pages that need to be repurposed or consolidated are those that are too similar to other pages on your website. You don’t want to have duplicate content on your website, as this can actually hurt your SEO. You also don’t want to have pages that are so similar that there’s no point in having both. In these cases, you’ll want to either repurpose the content into something new or consolidate it with another page.

Finally, pages that can be redirected or deleted are those that are no longer relevant to your website. This could be because they’re outdated, they’re no longer relevant to your business, or they’re simply not performing well. In these cases, you can either redirect the page to another relevant page on your website or delete it entirely.

2. Revamp the Pruned Content

The next step is to go through your existing content and make the necessary changes. This could involve adding new information, updating old information, or simply improving overall content quality. You’ll want to put a heavy focus on user search intent and making sure that your content is up-to-date.

In this step, you’ll also want to consolidate any similar pages and redirect any outdated or irrelevant pages. By doing this, you can improve your website’s overall SEO while also making sure that all of your content is high-quality and useful for your users.

Once you have updated your content, you can republish it and start to see an improvement in your website’s SEO.

Learn how to update an entire website by reading our blog on performing website updates.

3. Create New Content

You may recall our earlier suggestion to figure out the relationship between your existing content topics. That’s where this knowledge will come in handy. You may have noticed that your top-performing pieces of content all cover topics that are related to one another.

This is because Google (and other search engines) likes to see websites that have a lot of content on a variety of topics related to the main keyword. So if you want to improve your website’s SEO, it’s important to create pieces of content that can relate to each other. Then, it is important to link between those pieces of content so that search engines can pick up on the relationship between those topic clusters.

Not sure where to start with creating content? Learn how to create a website content plan here.

4. Optimize Your Content for SEO

After you’ve created new content or updated your existing content, it’s important to optimize it for SEO. This means adding relevant keywords, using proper tag structures, and making sure your website is easy to navigate. By optimizing your content for SEO, you can improve your website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs), which will ultimately lead to more traffic and conversions.

If you’re not sure how to optimize your content for SEO the right way, there are plenty of resources available online that can help you like keyword research tools, SEO plugins, and more. Additionally, many content management systems (CMS) have built-in SEO features that can help you as well.

5. Monitor Your Progress

After you’ve made all of the necessary changes to your website’s content, it’s important to monitor your progress. This means tracking your website’s traffic and rankings over time to see if there is an improvement. Additionally, you’ll want to keep an eye on your website’s conversion rate to see if more users are taking the desired action.

If you don’t see an improvement in your website’s traffic or rankings, it’s likely that something is still amiss. In this case, you’ll want to go back and make sure that all of your content is optimized for SEO and that there are no duplicate content issues. Additionally, you may want to create more content or update your existing content more frequently.

By following these steps, you can perform a comprehensive website content audit that will improve your website’s overall SEO. By taking the time to assess your website’s content and make the necessary changes, you can ensure that your website is ranking highly in search engine results pages and driving traffic that converts.

Why Perform a Content Audit?

As a website owner, you likely already know that content is king. After all, it’s the bread and butter of your website. But what you may not realize is that the quality of your content has a direct impact on your website’s SEO.

There are several reasons why you might want to consider performing a content audit on your website. Here are a few of the most important ones:

1. Improve Your SEO

One of the main reasons to do a content audit is to improve your website’s overall SEO. A content audit will help identify any areas where your website’s content is lacking, such as duplicate content, thin content, or outdated content. Once you identify these areas, you can take steps to improve them so your website ranks better in SERPs.

2. Increase Traffic and Engagement

Another reason to perform a content audit is to increase traffic and engagement on your website. A content audit will help you identify which pieces of content are resonating with your audience and which ones are not. From there, you can focus your content marketing efforts on producing more of the types of content that your audience wants to see.

3. Generate More Leads and Sales

A content audit can also help you generate more leads and sales for your business. By identifying which pages on your website are not performing well, you can take steps to improve them so they generate more leads and conversions.

4. Save Time and Money

A content audit can also save you time and money in the long run. By identifying areas where your website’s content is lacking, you can avoid spending time and money on producing content that doesn’t help your business achieve its goals.

Enjoy Watching Your SEO Soar

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When done correctly, a content audit can be a powerful tool for improving your website’s overall SEO. Not only will it help you identify areas where your website’s content is lacking, but it will also help you generate more traffic and engagement, generate more leads and sales, and save you time and money in the long run. Don’t wait to start seeing the benefits of a content audit for your business. With a content audit, SEO success is just around the corner.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by content audit?

A content audit is an assessment of a website’s content to identify areas where the content is lacking, such as duplicate content, thin content, or outdated content. Once these areas are identified, steps can be taken to improve the quality of the website’s content.

What should a content audit include?

A content audit should include an assessment of the quality of the website’s content, as well as an evaluation of how well the content is performing in terms of traffic and engagement. Additionally, the audit should identify any areas where the content is lacking so that steps can be taken to improve it.

How often should I perform a content audit?

How frequently you perform a content audit will depend on the size and scope of your website. If you have a large website with frequently updated content, you may want to consider performing a content audit on a monthly or quarterly basis. However, if you have a small website with static content, you may only need to perform a content audit once a year.

What are the benefits of performing a content audit?

There are several benefits of performing a content audit, including improved SEO, increased traffic and engagement, more leads and sales, and saved time and money. By taking the time to assess your website’s content and make the necessary changes, you can ensure that your website is ranking highly in search engine results pages and driving traffic that converts.

How do you audit using Ahrefs?

To use Ahrefs for your content audit, simply create an account and enter your website’s URL. From there, you can run a variety of reports that will help you assess your website’s content and make the necessary changes.

What is the best tool for a content audit?

Google Analytics is a great tool for content audits. It can help you track your website’s traffic and engagement, as well as identify areas where your content is lacking. Additionally, Google Analytics is free to use, making it an affordable option for businesses of all sizes. Ahrefs is also a great content audit tool, as it offers a variety of reports that can help you improve your website’s content. However, Ahrefs is a paid tool, so it may not be the best option for businesses on a tight budget. Content audit tools are not necessary to perform a content audit, but they can make the process easier and more efficient.

Picture of Kouressa Smith

Kouressa Smith

Kouressa is WGM’s resident website content manager. In this position, she directs the content creation for WGM’s marketing channels. She develops SEO strategies, maps out the overall direction of content per project, and helps facilitate the creation of that content. Kouressa has over eight years of experience writing professionally and gained her bachelor’s in creative writing and technical communication at Texas Tech University.

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