We love content audits. After our recent post on why you should complete your inbound marketing content audit, it's time to give you the tools to get it done.
So here you are - our clearest ever web content audit guide, as well as some simple steps to help you conduct an audit that’ll improve your website in a multitude of ways.
Here are some of the top reasons we urge you to get onboard the web content audit train:
✓ It’ll give you an idea of the quality of your content
✓ You’ll find and fix problems
✓ You’ll discover content gaps
✓ You’ll find ways to repurpose content
✓ You’ll get to know your best assets
Learn & Grow (Your Website’s Visitors)
In this blog, you will learn how to conduct a thorough audit of your website’s content, from static content on landing pages your to your blogs and whitepapers.
Not only will we tell you how to get started, we’ll give you the tools to make your project as efficient as possible.
We’ll also take you through the basics of planning a content audit, from planning and delegation to completing a review document.
This includes putting plans in place to avoid any roadblocks and pre-empting any issues that may arise should you uncover and serious gaps or necessary amends during your audit.
It Starts & Ends With A Plan!
Then, as if that’s not enough, we’ll show you how to include the findings from your audit into a well-oiled inbound marketing strategy, so you can put your content to work as soon as possible.
Your web content audit won’t be a stand-alone piece of work. We’ll show you how to put all those juicy findings into a plan that’ll boost your website’s earning power.
If you’ve never conducted a content audit of your website before, we can categorically say that you can’t afford to skip this article. Bookmark it, save it for later, keep coming back to finish it but make sure you read it. Your business depends on it!
Content Audits for Inbound Marketing
When you’re looking at organising a content audit with inbound marketing in mind, the first thing you need to do is identify your goals and how you’re going to measure your progress (your metrics).
Your goals will be unique to your business’s aims, and once you’ve outlined them, will give you a strong framework to base your audit’s plan around.
Picking Your Goals
Thinking of how your web content could influence and enhance your inbound marketing strategy is just the beginning. Here are examples of common goals that can be set at the start of an audit project.
Gaining More Subscribers
Perhaps you’re looking for more potential customers to sign up to your monthly sales blog, or you’re planning to gather a larger database of warm leads using an ebook or online resource as your bait.
Here’s what you’ll have to do:
- Make sure the content you’re offering is valuable and unmissable
- Optimise your content so it appears in searches
- Use calls to action that work
- Ensure the user experience is flawless, so you can entice as many users to subscribe as possible
Improving SEO Results
A huge part of inbound marketing is getting your content ranking highly in those Google SERP. A content audit is a proven way to do this.
You could set goals around:
- Identifying what content you need to republish
- Remove old content from your website
- Target Google rich snippets or increase the amount of content you have ranking on the top page.
Have you noticed that your social media platforms aren’t performing as well as they used to?
To increase engagement and drive more customers to your website:
- Use analytics to see which content followers are interested in
- Find out which content you could create more of
- Discover which types of content are engaging in your industry
Are customers or potential leads visiting your site but dropping off when it comes to committing?
Boost your conversions by:
- Understanding your buyer’s journey from start to finish
- Removing potential barriers to conversion
- Creating content that suits each stage of the buyer’s journey
Once you’ve defined your goals, it’s time to think about how you’re going to measure your success. Curata have put together an exhaustive guide to the most effective content analysis metrics.
The main areas to measure are:
- Engagement: Social shares, comments, mentions and the ever-important “like”
- Behaviour: Traffic, page bounces, page views and average time on site
- Sales: Easy - how many leads, conversions and sales made
- SEO: Organic traffic, backlinks, keyword rankings, dwell time
Heading back to those initial reasons why web content audits are essential to businesses, here’s what they mean to you in the most relevant terms: cost, time, efficiency, value.
Next, it’s time to take a long, hard look at your content.
If you have a large site with plenty of sub-sections, you might want to look into using a tool to help you gather the data you need. SEMRush’s Content Audit uses your sitemap data to take a detailed look at your website’s content; another useful tool is the Screaming Frog crawl, which can find the majority of your indexable URLs.
After you’ve found all the pages you need to audit, cataloguing them will keep everything in order and easy to delegate and keep track of each section’s progress.
This part can take a little time, but it’s very much worth the hassle, particularly if you have a large, complex website to audit. It will save you time in the long-run and avoid any duplications or omissions as the project progresses.
Creating a spreadsheet to catalogue your content is more straightforward when you use clear categories that your whole team can understand. According to SEMRush, the most effective categories to get started with are the following (but you can use unique categories that better suit your business.)
The best ways to catalogue your content are:
- Buyer’s journey stage (awareness, consideration, decision)
- Content type (blog post, manual, product description, landing page)
- Content format (text only, images/video present, within/without call to action)
- Number of words
- Date of publication or last modification
- Author (if you have multiple writers on your website)
Auditing Your Content
Now every aspect of your site has been catalogued; it’s finally time to look at the content. Don’t worry if the first part has taken a while - every section of this process is vital. It’s better to be thorough than to be fast, but from now on, your hard indexing work will pay off in dividends. We promise.
This list isn’t the be-all and end-all, but it’s a great start and an easy way to explain to your team what’s required. This comes in handy should you decide to delegate sections of the site’s content audit to people outside of your working group or audit action team.
Who Does The Audit?
It isn’t a one-person job, put it that way! Anyone can be involved in your content audit, from customer services to hands-on, technical members of staff.
You may have a piece of content explaining how tractor engines work, for that you may need a writer to speak to an engineer and a designer to take photos of the machine.
Everyone can take part in the audit; the more detailed you make it, the better it’ll be!
Create A Strategy
After you’ve decided which content you want to keep, you’ll need to create a republish strategy. This will contain all the content you wish to edit, and how you want to improve it.
For example, an article that’s ranking 4-5th on a search engine results page could be updated to target a Google rich snippet like a knowledge panel or image pack. An article on the second page could be optimised so it ends up on the 1st page!
Here are some tips for updating your content:
- Improve your CTA’s - design, positioning, text. The better your CTA, the more conversions you’ll get!
- Rewrites - Sometimes your content doesn't cut the mustard! But there may still be a need to have it. In that case, you need to re-write it. It’s a long job, but it’s worth it.
- Republish - Content doesn't always have to be rewritten, it may need refreshing though. Add whatever you need to and give it a new lease of life.
- Combine - It’s common to have two pieces of content that say similar things, so combine them. There’s no need to overcomplicate it.
- Add images - You may have used stock images in the past and now you have a designer. You may have never used images before! In that case, you need them.
- Journey positioning - You may have done this already, but it’s important to know where the content lies in the buyer’s journey.
- Add videos - If you have access to video equipment, you should use it. Video is everywhere; it’s people’s preferred choice for content consumption.
- Optimise metadata - Refresh your titles, check your meta tags. It all counts and improves your SEO score.
- Improve your linking - Always consider what your pages should link to. Think of your links like a journey, where do you want to send someone next?
Get Stuck Into Your Content!
1. Find and Fix Problems
Outdated content, broken links, 404 error messages and images that aren’t showing correctly - all of these things can affect not only your customers’ experience on your website but the ranking of your pages on search engines too.
2. Look at the Quality
Over time, your website’s content can become stale and uninspiring. Taking a step back to look at it through the eyes of a customer can be illuminating. You might even think of new ways to brand and sell your products or services.
3. Plug the Gaps
When you’re conducting a web content audit, you’ll almost certainly come across areas of your website that need more attention, and a lot more content. It’s easy to overlook the task of creating engaging content when so many other tasks need to be dealt with, but gaps are fatal to a customer who’s looking for something specific.
4. Reuse & Recycle
We’ll let you in on a little secret here: Not all content has to be original. There will already be plenty of existing quality content happily living and generating customers on your website. An audit will help you to identify where you can repurpose or reframe some of your most useful information, bringing it bang up-to-date and enhancing its value.
5. Assess Your Best Assets
All of your best resources are indispensable marketing tools. Use your audit to help you archive and catalogue your best content so you can use it to draw customers in and give them what they need.
Use lifecycle stages to push you towards the types of content you need to create or amend for future use within your inbound marketing strategy. Don’t have one? Take a look at our blueprint for the ideal inbound marketing strategy for some great starter info.
Lifecycle Stages & Your Content
Normally used as a way to decipher the sales funnel, the lifecycle stage can give your web content context. If you pitch your content in the right way, not only will you grab their attention, you’ll spark their customer journey. Then all you need to do is keep hold of them right to the bottom of that funnel.
These customers are right at the top of your funnel. They want:
- General information and FAQs
- Soft-sell introductions to your products or services
These customers have dropped to the middle. They want:
- How-to guides
- Deeper introductions to the uses of specific products or services
These customers have concluded that they probably need you, but they need a little push. They want:
- Case studies
Keeping Your Strategy Relevant
We’ve spoken already about the vital connection between your inbound marketing strategy and your web content. Having an effective inbound marketing strategy means having the content to back up your convictions.
When you’re conducting your web audit, you might feel that every single aspect of your content could use some work in making it bigger, better and brighter.
There are marketing tools out there to help you get your content right. It’s vital to keep your inbound marketing web content audit focused on the creation of relevant, highly engaging content.
However, it’s just as essential to making sure the content you create and display is clear, well-written and portrays your business with style and charisma. Your tone of voice is a major part of your brand image, but if your grammar is patchy, all that hard work will be for nothing.
Don’t alienate your customers with over-technical wordplay if they’re right at the top of the sales funnel. Don’t put off potential investors with sloppy spelling mistakes. Attention to detail matters.
A tool as simple as Yoast will help you to write content that’s easy to read and ideal for search engines to pick up. For more in-depth analysis, grammar tools such as Hemingway and Grammarly keep your writing sharp and professional.
When you’re trying to look at the big picture, the way you write can slip down your priorities list. Take a look at some of the oldest pages on your website. What is it about them that feels out of date? How would you change them to suit your updated marketing goals?
Conduct Your Audit Inline With Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
We’ll keep saying this until we’re blue in the face, not because we like repeating ourselves, but because it’s vital to the success of your website content.
Creating attention-grabbing, perfectly-brand-matched web content takes a lot of time and a lot of effort from every single member of your team. To miss out on making it work, as hard as it can be for you, is missing out on huge opportunities. A harsher person might say it would be a waste of your time.
This audit isn’t just something to work on in isolation. To be effective, it needs to be created with the preferences and needs of your customers in mind, using all the metrics and research we’ve already spoken about to prove that you’re making the right decisions.
- If your customers are downloading a lot of PDFs, maybe your website is hard to read, or they’re desperate for more detailed information.
- If they’re hitting search hard, think about the navigation of your site, and whether the content guides your visitors to the correct areas of your site.
- If your customers bounce at the checkout, are you giving them enough incentives to make their purchase? Do they need more detailed shipping info?
Web content isn’t just paragraphs of product descriptions. It’s your marketing team, your sales team and your own belief in your company’s products and services wrapped up into a website. Does yours do your company justice?
Book an inbound marketing review with Red-Fern today, and find out exactly which areas your team can work on to improve your web content. If you don’t have time - let us do the legwork.
Our experienced team of copywriting and content creation professionals can work with you to develop an inbound marketing plan and web content audit that targets the customers you want, and then create the web content you need to hook them in.