Brands that leverage content marketing to grow, utilize content audits to gauge the performance of the various content types they’ve created and distributed. Analyzing a completed content audit is often the task of a senior SEO, but there are many benefits for marketing leaders to understand them as well.
Here’s a guide explaining what marketing leaders need to know about content audits to improve their marketing strategies.
What is a Content Audit?
Content audits feature the systemic analysis and assessment of a website, including the blog and all pages.
The resulting report displays an inventory of the content with recommendations on how to optimize the site to boost performance. This comes in the form of creating new articles and pages, rewriting existing content and deleting outdated or duplicate pages.
Components of a Content Audit
Your Head of SEO will use a crawling tool to produce an itemized list of the pages contained on your domain. This crawler may be a feature of the SEO platform they use daily, such as Searchmetrics Site Experience. However, if your SEO platform doesn’t include a crawler, your SEO lead may seek budget to secure the use of a point solution.
Not all content audits are the same. It’s possible to miss important learnings if the audit is not carefully done. Each component will help you uncover opportunities to improve your collective marketing strategy.
1. Content Inventory
To have a better understanding of your content, and how it meets the needs of your target audience, you need a full inventory. It is a comprehensive list of files organized in a spreadsheet to make it easy to access and review the performance of each page. This can be a revelatory exercise as many pages are built in the normal management process of a business. But they all might not be needed.
You may use the content inventory to identify the structure of content, provide a baseline for a side-by-side comparison of two different pieces, etc.
2. Data Analysis
Once your SEO has the completed content inventory, facilitated by a crawler, her or she will analyze each piece of content to determine how they are performing.
Here are some of the key areas of the analysis:
- Number of keywords a content ranks for, positions on search engine page results, and monthly organic traffic.
- On-site performance such as bounce rate, conversion rate, page views, click-through-rate, email-opt-in rate, average session duration, unique page views, average time on page, page session, average page session, etc.
- Off-site performance, such as backlinks.
3. Content Gap Analysis
Your head SEO will also conduct a content gap analysis. This involves evaluating existing content on a topic and discovering gaps within the coverage. It’s especially important if you have a number of writers crafting content. Some writers may be more skilled while others may need improvement. The feedback received will provide growth opportunities for both freelancers and in-house content creators.
Example: You have a pillar blog post that discusses the keto diet but doesn’t cover the benefits of the diet. That’s a content gap. Google sees this as a missed opportunity even if your competitors also missed the boat. However, when you rectify the issue by optimizing the article to include the full scope of tips, you’ll have an advantage over the competing links.
4. Competitor Analysis
Each content piece created by your team competes not only against your product competitors but with everyone else writing about similar topics. In this regard, there’s two elements of site competitor analysis to keep in mind.
Firstly, you’ll want to develop a clear understanding of your known competitors’ content strategies and compare it to yours. This allows you to identify their top and low-performing content. Take note of what works for them and see how you can improve on any of their content pieces.
Secondly, with a competitor analysis you’ll discover which sites are battling for the same keywords. This work often reveals new competitors (from a content standpoint), which you’ll want to monitor. Likely these sites will have different content goals, but studying their content strategies can also reveal opportunities for your sector as well.
Tips for analyzing content audits
Take a holistic view of your key content metrics. Here are the metrics you’ll want to pay close attention to:
Bounce rate: If your bounce rate is high, it means users exit your site from that page. It could be that your page loads slowly or you have poor content. Don’t worry about high bounce rate if it’s a product page. This is because users leave a site immediately after they make a purchase.
Ask your SEO: Which informational pages have the highest bounce rates? How can we reverse this?
Conversion rate: A low conversion rate could mean your product or gated page isn’t well optimized. It may load slowly and or doesn’t offer a seamless experience.
Ask your SEO: How have our conversion rates changed over time? Are there seasonal trends?
Click-through-rate: Your title and meta description impact this. Optimize these with a catchy title, and a description that highlights the value the content offers.
Ask your SEO: Have you conducted A/B tests to determine which title and meta description formats are most effective? What other tests can you perform?
Email-opt-in rate: Poor content and positioning of your opt-in form affects this metric. If your audience doesn’t find your content helpful, they won’t provide their email address. If the content is great and the opt-in form is in a corner where they hardly see it, that’s another barrier.
Ask your SEO: What are some tests to run to increase your email-opt-in rate.
Page views: Compare your product page views to those of your competitors. Your SEO should examine the keywords to gauge what’s the gap in potential traffic based on your current search engine result page position compared to position 1.
Ask your SEO: How much traffic can you gain for each page if you ranked position 1.
Time on page: This is one of the most important metrics. Because a long time-on-page metric signifies the content is being read in full, not merely skimmed.
Ask your SEO: What learnings can you ascertain from the pages with the longest read time?
Backlinks: An increase in the number of backlinks especially from authority sites means that content is useful and is ranking high on search results. Informational posts, research, reports, survey, and studies get more backlinks naturally. It suggests that you should create more of it.
Ask your SEO: What content types generates the most backlinks?
Running a content audit is important. But knowing how to interpret it is as crucial. Not knowing benchmarks for basic KPIs limits your team’s opportunity to reach their performance and business growth goals.
If you have a recent content audit, take a deeper look at the report. Schedule a meeting with your SEO and pose the insights you just learned to them.