SEO is quite vital for websites. Everyone knows this now. However, optimizing websites for search engines alone is not enough. Because SEO is evolving almost every day. So, what is the reason for this change in SEO? Because the algorithms of search engines also continue to evolve thanks to the advancement of technology. SEO studies need to continue in the form of periodic checks to keep up with a change at this speed. That is where SEO audit comes into play. Here, an important part of SEO audit works is the website content audit.
Thus, you may keep up with these developments thanks to the content audits that you’ll perform on your website at periodic intervals. However, in order to get the desired efficiency from these studies, you must optimize your website for search engines beforehand. Keep reading if you want to perform periodic content audits so that your SEO efforts are not wasted. Because we have prepared a great web content audit guide for you.
What Is Content Audit?
As you know, Bill Gates has a very famous saying that content is king. As you can see here, the quality of the content on the websites is of critical importance. For this reason, in the digital world where we spend most of our day, this age is called the age of content. But these days, while content is so widespread all over the web, we rarely come across quality content. This type of content that is users frequently encounter is called weak content. That is especially harmful to SEO-based websites.
In this case, Google also plays a big role. Because Google penalizes websites that host such weak content that gives users negative experiences. On the other hand, it also rewards websites with quality content. In this way, Google aims to encourage quality content. Here, content audit refers to the process of optimizing the weak content on websites. Thus, it aims to turn them into quality content.
In the content control process, you should primarily evaluate the performance of the content. In this process, it is necessary to examine all individual metrics of the content. Besides, it is necessary to evaluate the content in terms of channels. The primary aim of all these processes is to identify two main factors related to content quality. These two factors are what works and what doesn’t. After determining these factors, you may both edit your current content and create new content to gain more engagement. Another advantage of content controls is that they are completely free. Of course, it’s free if you know how to do it. Don’t worry! We have prepared a guide that may help you with just that. Before we get to that, let’s also explain how you can detect weak content. So, let’s define what weak content means first.
What Is Weak Content?
Before we move on to the content audit template, let’s also explain the weak content. The biggest indicators of weak content are that they do not contribute anything to the visitors. Similarly, content that contributes quite little to visitors about the topics they are looking for is also included in this category. The biggest indicators of such content are excessive amounts of keywords in the content. However, content that is completely or partially copied is also weak. In such cases, it does not matter how useful the content is. However, the content produced by algorithms automatically is also in this category. In addition, web pages with low word count content are also called weak content. At this point, many website owners think that they may have higher-quality web pages by creating longer content. However, unfortunately, this is not the case. Because content that is difficult to read and meaningless, no matter how long, is still poor quality and weak. Users read some of such content and leave the page.
Weak content is generally in six different categories.
- The first of these categories is classic weak content. There is a trace amount of content in the article in these contents.
- Another category is called superficial content.
- Another weak content category is duplicate content, that is, stolen content. Content written by changing only the titles or some of them is also within this scope.
- Content with excessive amounts of keywords, written in a method known as keyword stuffing, is another category.
- Finally, content with too many typos is considered weak content.
Weak content does a lot of damage to the web pages and websites they are on in various respects. So, what are these damages? Let’s take a closer look at how weak content can harm websites.
What Damage Can Weak Content Do to the Website?
Google attaches great importance to content quality. For this, it has developed many algorithms to measure content quality. The most important of these algorithms are known as Hummingbird and Panda updates. Thus, Google may detect poor quality and weak content much more easily. As a result, weak or spammy content cannot escape punishment. Google commonly imposes de-index penalties on web pages with such content. Google sends a notification through Google Search Console to websites that face such a penalty. After this notification, the website in question will face significant problems such as indexing and traffic. Website owners should strictly avoid using weak content to avoid such penalties. If your website contains web pages containing such content, remove this web page from the index yourself.
We guarantee that you will not benefit from such content anyway. For this reason, remove pages with content that does not benefit you or your visitors before they harm your website. Because such weak content is, first of all, extremely boring. In addition, because they are useless, they hardly attract the attention of users. For this reason, they rarely get clicks. Why would you have such content on your website? So, either optimize your content or remove it completely from your website before Google penalizes you. Because Google’s Panda and Hummingbird algorithms will eventually reduce the traffic of websites with such content.
The contents on the web pages are the main veins that feed your website. For this reason, content that has no value will fail to feed your website in terms of traffic. On the other hand, if your content is valuable, it will cause Google to value your website. As a result, your website will be fed and revitalized with even more traffic thanks to these contents.
Step-by-Step Content Audit
Now you know the differences between poor content and quality content. Then, you should detect such weak content and remove it from your website or optimize it. So, we may identify the first step you should take in the content audit process as detecting weak content.
Detect Weak Content on Your Website
Detecting weak content is not always an easy task. More difficult than that is deciding whether you can optimize them or not. But, you don’t have to worry. There are many methods that you can apply for this, that is, that may help you in this process. First of all, there are many paid and free software that you can use for this. On the other hand, you can successfully detect the content on your website with manual methods. For this, you will have to look for answers to a few questions.
First of all, make sure that the content in question is informative enough. On the other hand, try to understand whether they are boring by examining these contents from the eyes of the readers. One of the most important issues that affect the quality of content is timeliness. Google places a lot of emphasis on up-to-dateness, especially for certain topics. You should also make sure that the topics of the content are of a type that may attract the attention of users. Finally, it is also important which resources you used while creating the content in question. Because this issue directly concerns the accuracy of the information contained in the content. That is one of the issues that Google attaches great importance to always. So, what are the tools that may help you to examine the contents in these respects that we have mentioned?
You can use Microsoft Word’s Spelling & Grammer Checking feature to check your content for these issues. Another tool you can use for this is Screaming Frog. This tool allows you to scan the weaknesses of the content on your website in detail. You may also use the CopyScape tool to detect whether the content on websites is duplicated.
Check the Content Details
You need to separate the contents into their smallest components at this stage. Here, start with the creation phase of the content. Also, pay attention to details such as basic broadcast information. For example, prepare a content audit chart on this subject. In this chart, give priority issues related to the creation process. Include the author of the content, the team that created it, and the date of the content. Include the content type, content target, title, and word count related to the content issues. You may also evaluate how long the readers will need to consume the content under this category. It would be appropriate to add the URL of the content related to the technical structure of the content. You may also add the total amount of shares and comments about the engagement data of the content to this chart. You will need to evaluate your content if you have completed your chart.
Evaluate Your Content Based on the Data You Have
This process is the most important part of content auditing. For this reason, you may contribute to the process by creating new charts at this step. In this step, you should divide the process of evaluating your content according to the data into two. In other words, you should review your content retrospectively and on-going. Start by first evaluating your content retrospectively data. The retrospective audit will make a great contribution to both editing and preparing future content. Make sure you devote enough time to this process. Because this is the most time-consuming process of content auditing. Now let’s share how to perform this process step by step.
- First, decide how far in the past you will examine your data. In this regard, many SEO experts recommend that you go back for about one year on average.
- In the second step, collect the URLs of all the content you have published up to the point you set.
- You may get help from some tools while collecting these URLs. For example, Semrush and Google Analytics are the best SEO tools you can use in this regard.
- If you’ve collected the URLs of past content by following the steps above, now is the time to review important data.
If you were able to finish the retrospective content audit, now there is the ongoing audit. You must have added historical data to a chart. You should do the same for the content that you will publish periodically. Now continue to chart key data about your new content on a weekly basis. This way, you won’t have to go through the hassle of doing a retrospective audit again. Continue to add data about your content to the chart periodically throughout this process patiently.
Keep Tracking Key Metrics for the Content Audit
You will have to look at nine different metrics for your audit.
Organic traffic data ranks first among these important metrics. Whether your content is high quality or poor quality, it will definitely attract some organic traffic over time. There is something you should pay attention to at this point. You should not include traffic you get using paid advertisements in this data. At this point, you can clearly see that your content is not attracting satisfactory levels of traffic. Take this as a warning. And try to spot problems in your content. For example, the content strategy you are following may be wrong. On the other hand, a wrong content distribution strategy may also result in low organic traffic. You should consider that there may also be a problem with the type of content. If you haven’t encountered a significant problem with any of these, the content itself may be the source of the problem.
One of the most important signals that the content is bad is bounce rates. Bounce rate means that users who click on a web page leave the page in a short time. So, visitors probably didn’t like what they saw when they came to your web page. So, how do you fix this problem? While preparing your content, you should ensure that they move forward in a way that persuades users to stay on your website. For this, you should prepare the introduction and development parts of your content carefully. You should also make sure that your content encourages readers to do research on your website. In this way, users will continue to stay on your website after consuming the content on your website. So, what should bounce rates ideally be?
You should not think that there is a clear ideal figure for this. But, a bounce rate of at least 30% is normal for almost any website. In some cases, this figure can go up to 50%.
Another factor that may make the quality of content on websites better or worse is backlinks. For this reason, you should carefully examine the backlinks when doing the content audit. In such cases, you should be aware that only quality backlinks can increase the quality of your content. On the other hand, bad quality backlinks will worsen the quality of your content. For this reason, you should definitely separate bad backlinks in the content audit. Thus, only quality backlinks that can increase the quality of your content will remain.
There is something you need to be careful about backlinks in the content audit that you’ll carry out on a regular basis. It will not be enough to examine one content once in terms of backlinks in the content audit. Because the backlinks of that one content have will increase with time. For example, the backlinks of one content may be more than a dozen in a week. However, this number will be in the hundreds in a few months. That is exactly why you should check backlinks for each content regularly during every content audit process. In this way, you can always weed out the poor-quality links that your content will earn. Removing bad quality backlinks earned by content will increase both content quality and ranking.
Time on Page
The time visitors spend on your web pages may also provide important clues about the quality of your content. For this reason, you should definitely take a look at this metric in the content auditing process. So, how can you tell whether your content is of good quality by looking at the time visitors spend on your web page? First of all, let’s say something else important. The short time visitors spend on your web page doesn’t always mean that the content on that page is of poor quality. Maybe these contents just don’t appeal to them. These contents may not be in their area of interest. Only you can determine whether your content is of poor quality or simply not in the interests of your visitors. So, let’s explain how you can detect such issues by looking at the time your visitors spend on your web pages.
For example, let’s say you have 3000 words of content on your web page. If your visitors spend 20-25 seconds on a web page with such long content, it means there is an issue. That may be because of your content. Or your content is not engaging with your target audience.
The unique visitor metric can also say something about the quality of your content. The increasing number of unique visitors visiting your web page shows that different people like your content. That is an important signal that your content is of good quality. A high number of unique visitors is a sign that shares, engagements, conversions, and backlinks may be just as much. That also indicates that the return on investment you will get from your website will be just as much.
Pages Per Session
One of the important indicators of the quality of your content is the number of sessions per page. Sessions per page refer to the rate at which visitors who visit a page visit other pages on your website from there. Visitors who do this are usually satisfied with the content on the first web page they visit. That means that the content on the web page is of good quality and persuades readers to visit other web pages. That is actually quite an important issue for your website as a whole. Because the content of this quality will positively affect the statistics of other pages on the website. For this reason, you should evaluate your content from this perspective in content auditing studies.
New and Returning Users
This metric is also an important signal that indicates how successful your content is in attracting new audiences to your website. On the other hand, the returning users metric indicates whether the visitors who visit your website are satisfied with your content. New and returning users are very good for both your website traffic and conversion rates.
Traffic sources to your website can also provide important insights into improving the quality of your content. For this reason, it will be useful to research from which sources you are driving traffic to your website in content control. So, what exactly will this do for you? In this way, you will discover which audiences your content appeals to the most. You can understand which sources you need to produce content for first. Then you can optimize your weak content for these sources. Being active on these traffic sources will help you increase the traffic content will drive to your website.
Let’s say that the content you have created attracts the highest traffic from Facebook. In this case, optimizing your weak content on your website according to Facebook in content moderation will increase your traffic significantly.
Improving content quality will also have a critical impact on your conversions. In order to get higher conversions, you need to follow your online campaigns closely. For this, you should first analyze your content in terms of performance. In these processes, also identify which sources your content gets the most conversions from in detail. There are some things to consider while auditing your content. For example, if you have just published your content, it’ll be pointless to expect high conversion rates from this content. However, if this situation continues for a couple of more months, then there is a problem with your content. If you notice this in your content moderation efforts, then it’s time to take action. So, how will you know if the content is performing adequately in terms of conversion?
For this, you can first use it to compare the monthly average conversion rates of other content on your website. You can also set conversion goals for that content so you can understand whether it’s of enough quality to get conversions.
Categorizing Metrics for Content Audit
We’ve outlined the most important metrics for content audit above. So, how can we categorize these metrics by content audit goals? First, let’s talk about content moderation for SEO purposes. Key metrics to use in these studies include keyword rank, organic traffic, backlinks, and dwell time. However, there are also certain metrics that you can use in studies on user behavior. These metrics are primarily page views, bounce rates, and average session duration. In sales-oriented content audit studies, there are three basic metrics that you should consider. These are ROI, number of leads, and conversion rates. Finally, let’s consider the engagement-oriented content audit. In these studies, you should consider metrics such as shares, comments, likes, and mentions.
How Should You Measure and Evaluate Results in Content Audit?
Now you know which metrics you need to track in the content audit. But do you know how to evaluate these metrics? First of all, let me state that you should evaluate each content according to certain criteria in this process. The metrics you will use in these audits may differ for each content. Thus, you will understand whether your content will perform adequately to meet your goals.
At this stage, identify the strengths of content that align with your goals in terms of performance. Then, take note of these powerful features. For example, analyze the type of content that is sufficient in terms of performance. Also, identify who produced this content. The time you publish content is also an important factor affecting content performance. For this reason, do not forget to take note of the time you publish the content.
Performing the steps we have listed above will help you maintain your success. Because in this way, you will be able to keep producing successful content with the same methods. That is one of the main purposes of content moderation.
But what about content that doesn’t contribute anything to achieving your goals? That is exactly the other main purpose of content audit. So, detect content that is underperforming in meeting your goals. Then, analyze these contents in detail in terms of the metrics we have mentioned. Thanks to the data you’ll obtain from these analyzes, you can determine the reasons for the failure of these contents. For example, one of the reasons for the content to fail may be that you publish it on the wrong channels. So, your content is not of poor quality. All you have to do is analyze well on which channels you should share it. Similarly, the date you publish can have a similar effect.
Using Google Search Console in Content Audit
GSC is a unique tool with great features for content marketers. Not to mention that the tool is completely free. So, how can you use this amazing insight tool for the content audit? One of the most prominent features of GSC is the insights it offers on click-through rates. You can also get great data on keyword positions with this tool. You can analyze this data to evaluate the extent to which your content affects rankings.
An active Google account is all you need to use the GSC tool. In this way, you can easily connect the tool to the website of your choice. Finally, verify the domain. After you complete these steps, go to the Performance tab of the tool to review the data we have mentioned. Through this tab, first, enable average click-through rates. Then, enable the average position. In this way, you can benefit more clearly from the insights we have mentioned. Then, take a look at the top right corner of the screen. Here, you will see the export button. Click this button. Then, enable the CSV option. In this way, you will be able to export the data you need from the GSC tool for content control.
Using Google Analytics in Content Audit
The GA tool is likewise another essential tool for content marketers. Although this tool is completely free, it also has great features. For this reason, you will also need the data you will provide from this tool in content control. In order to use this tool in content audit, all you have to do is export the data of the tool. First, connect your tool to a website. The tool will collect a lot of data for every element on your website and provide you with insights. So, which reports should be your priority to export for content auditing in this tool?
The first of the reports that you should prioritize in this regard is acquisition. The page content report of this tool then provides priority insights that you should benefit from in content moderation. It is also important for content audit that you export the targets report from the GA tool. So, what kind of evaluations can you get with these reports that you will export from the GA tool?
The insights you gain from these reports first help you identify the sources of traffic to your website. Besides, you can determine which web pages have the best performance thanks to these reports. The reports we have listed also provide important insights into how your content reaches your goals. Let’s also explain how you can export these reports.
First of all, switch to the tabs related to the reports we mentioned in the GA tool. You’ll see the export button in the upper right corner of the screen that each tab will open for you. By clicking this button, you can export the reports in question.
Content Audit and Competitive Analysis
One of the most important issues that you need to address in content auditing is competitive analysis. That will be of great help to your content audit in two ways. First of all, this way, you can get new methods and ideas for further developing your content. For this, analyze how your competitors engage with your common target audience. Thus, you will be able to create an effective reference frame for your own content.
As we have mentioned, competitor analysis makes a significant contribution to you in another issue. Everything about your content can be good. You may have difficulty identifying where the problem originates when this is the case. In such cases, performing competitor analysis helps you find answers to your questions. So, how? Thanks to competitor analysis, you can identify your competitors’ content related to the subject or field of your content. If you have enough time in the content audit, we recommend that you analyze this content in terms of quality. Seeing that these contents are of much higher quality than their counterparts on your website will provide you with an important clue. At this point, you will be able to understand why content that has no problems on your website cannot attract enough traffic. Because the audience interested in this content flows to the page with higher quality content on your competitor’s website. So, what should you do in this situation?
In such cases, if you have enough time, you can make the said content even more perfect. But, that may be very time-consuming. So, instead of dealing with such content, you may prefer to spend your energy and resources on improving your website in other aspects. At least you understand that you shouldn’t mess with these contents anymore.
How to Set Goals for Content Audit
Performing content auditing by following the steps we have mentioned above requires hard work and time. For this reason, there are some things you should do before you start the content audit. This way, you can make the process easier. The first of these topics we’ve talked about is setting goals for the content audit. In this way, you can guide the process more easily. Besides, you can more easily determine what to prioritize in the content audit. Let’s take a closer look at how to set your goals for the content audit.
It is useful to consider your business goals as a priority throughout this process. Then, guide the process so that your business can achieve these goals. To summarize, clearly define how you want the content audit to contribute to your business. So, what are the most common targets of most content audits? Also, how do these goals affect the success of the process? First of all, each process has its own specific goals.
Boosting Conversion Rates
It is quite important to include content that appeals to every stage of the buyer’s journey on a website. For this reason, consider this process while improving your content on your website in terms of contributing to sales. Your website may not contain content that addresses every aspect of the buyer’s journey. In this case, focusing on these missing points in your content creation efforts will help you eliminate this problem.
Increasing Audience Engagement
If you have such a goal, you should first evaluate the content on your website in terms of engagement performance. Identify the content that your target audience is most engaged with on your website. For example, determining which content is shared the most on social networks may be a good start. Here, write down the contents that are suitable for the results you have achieved so far. In this way, you can identify the most popular topic types among your visitors. In the light of this data, you can create content that will attract the attention of your target audience in the future.
In this process, do not only perform SEO content audits. Performing a general SEO audit will actually be much more beneficial for your website. In this process, first, determine which web pages rank better. At the same time, it will be extremely useful to determine the content that attracts the most organic traffic. So, let’s give some tips to make this process easier for you.
In this process, the Google Analytics tool will make a great contribution to you. This tool allows you to identify the pages that get the most views. In this way, you can get data on identifying your content that can rank higher in search results. Thanks to GA, you can also gain important insights to improve internal links on your website. Besides, you will be able to determine the web pages that you need to update in terms of SEO, thanks to this tool. Thanks to the important insights GA provides, you can easily identify the pages that harm your website in terms of SEO. In this way, you can contribute to SEO by removing or improving these contents from your website.
There are other important elements that you should examine in an SEO content audit. In this process, you should examine your content in terms of title tags and meta descriptions. Also, do not forget to evaluate the backlinks and alternative texts of the content. Duplicate content on your website can also have a significant impact on SEO. For this reason, identify these contents and remove them from your website. Optimizing your website in the aspects, we have listed above will be very beneficial for the best-ranking result.
What Benefits Can You Get From the Content Audit Process?
Thanks to the content audit, you clean your website figuratively. In this way, you will contribute to your marketing strategy in many ways. Thanks to the content audit, first of all, you evaluate your content strategy in detail. So, you can think of these studies as a comprehensive website inventory. You can get a bird’s-eye view of the overall work you have done on your website. So, what elements can you evaluate your website holistically in this bird’s-eye view?
In this way, you can have a clearer view of your video or blog posts. The same is true for infographics and landing pages on your website. That clear view will allow you to see important elements that you have overlooked or neglected. Many websites waste resources on certain topics and areas unnecessarily. Thanks to the content audit, you can also detect such issues. Thus, you can be sure that you spend your resources on more necessary matters.
Content strategies are generally about more micro-scale details. Thanks to the content audit, you get out of this micro-scale and have a macro perspective. That means that you can undoubtedly gain very new perspectives on your marketing strategy.
Through the content audit, you also discover ways to improve website SEO. You can direct your future content production process with the concrete data you will get from the content audit. Another advantage of the content audit is that it reveals topics and areas that you neglect. In this way, you can complete the deficiencies of your website. You can even be inspired by this process for much newer ideas for your website. Finally, thanks to the content audit, you can make content perfect. That will naturally allow you to achieve higher rankings.
What Are the Types of Content Audit?
There are five different types of content audit. We may list them as follows:
- Full Content Audit
- Partial Content Audit
- Content Sample
- Content Marketing Audit
- SEO Content Audit
Let’s explain what they mean now. Let’s start with the full content audit first. It refers to the process of taking a complete inventory of content assets. In this process, you need to analyze all the content on your website. Then, thanks to the data you will get from these analyzes, you should make your content even better.
You can understand what partial content audit means from the name. It refers to auditing the content on your website in only one or a couple of aspects. For example, you can audit the content that you have published on your website only in a certain time period. Or, you can choose to focus only on content on specific topics instead. You may even determine the content you will audit according to the channels you have broadcast them.
There is a similar situation with the partial content audit in the content example audit. Here, too, you choose to audit only a specific instance of content. There is a fundamental difference between these two types of content audits. Here you only perform an audit of the selections of the sample content entities.
Content marketing audit, on the other hand, is quite comprehensive. In this process, you have to audit all your existing content assets. You should also consider many metrics in this evaluation process.
SEO content auditing is also quite extensive. In this process, you don’t just audit your content assets. You should also evaluate each post for the most important SEO factors. So, what are these top SEO metrics? Only you can determine these important SEO metrics according to your goals.
How to Perform a Content Audit, In Short
The content audit works are one of the most important parts of the website audit. However, these processes are often time-consuming and labor-intensive. It may be very difficult to cope with the accumulated workload, especially if you do not regularly perform content auditing. For this reason, it is the healthiest to perform a content audit on a weekly basis. However, if you cannot do this, you should definitely perform a content audit, at least on a monthly basis. Of course, if you want to get the expected efficiency from these processes, you should know how to do it.
In this article, we have prepared a detailed guide for you. First of all, we have made it clear what content moderation means for those who don’t know. We’ve also clarified the distinction between poor content and quality content. Finally, we have talked about content audit types in our article. We have also included some tools that you can use in these studies. We hope this article will help you in the content audit.