Five Ways to Run a Tailor-Made Content Audit

Five Ways to Run a Tailor-Made Content Audit

Is our content share-worthy and/or link-worthy? (i.e., Are we timely? If your program has been up-and-running for some time but you’re ready to assess how to improve and optimize, these additional questions can help refine your efforts: Which pages are broken, or redirecting? Do the digging Most content audits entail some level of scraping, pulling, crawling, or other unsavory-sounding verbs to understand, at the base level, what exactly exists out there. Something like URL Profiler, on the other hand, can integrate outside tools to give you deeper analysis—think Flesch Kincaid scores to help understand reading difficulty, Google Analytics data to help understand page performance, Moz rank to help understand page authority, and more. If your team is dealing with a shoestring budget, you’ll want to do a few things to ensure you don’t bite off more than you can chew: leverage free tools (obviously), limit how much content you audit (in breadth and depth), and rely a bit more on human analysis. WooRank and HubSpot’s Website Grader few solid free and fast content audit tools (or tools that allow at least a free trial to get what you need): Quick content auditing tips If time is the key constraint, you can expedite the audit by selecting a sample size and structuring your manual analysis with less detailed evaluation criteria. With that (much more approachable) number in mind, define any sub-groups based on business goals or key themes to select your final group to audit (i.e. you might allocate more of the sample size to your top-priority category of content). While automated content audit tools can provide a decent amount of out-of-the-box insight, they lack a level of specificity—and may or may not answer some of the questions you set out to answer; you’ll need to incorporate some manual analysis. For instance, if your team wanted to understand “Which content is resonating with our audiences?” you might create a bar chart to showcase “Average Time on Page by Audience Persona” (combining insights from Google with your manual analysis) or “Social Shares by Category” (combining insights from URL Profiler and Screaming Frog or manual analysis).

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The first quarter of a new year is prime time for marketing teams to assess the state of their content and find opportunities to optimize it for search, conversions, and monetization. Hopefully, your team has a documented content strategy to align strategic and tactical efforts. You’ve likely even considered how to execute a content audit—likely with some combination of spreadsheet templates and content audit tools to inventory and evaluate your content.

But what’s the right way to plan a content audit that’s relevant to your brand’s specific goals and strategy? Here are five ways to tailor-fit your content audit approach:

1. Set a purpose

Content audits are about more than just getting an inventory of published content. That’s why step one is to know exactly what you want to learn from your content. As with most analytical endeavors, it’s easy to get lost in the data if you don’t have a sense of what you’re looking for. Depending on how advanced your content marketing initiative is, your audit goals may vary.

If your content program is brand new or less than a year old, for example, here are a few questions you might want to answer in your audit:

  • What themes does our content cover?
  • Which audiences (roles or personas) are we speaking to?
  • Is our content share-worthy and/or link-worthy? (i.e., Are we timely? Are we authoritative?)
  • Is our content actionable?
  • Is our content following SEO best practices?

If your program has been up-and-running for some time but you’re ready to assess how to improve and optimize, these additional questions can help refine your efforts:

  • Which pages are broken, or redirecting?
  • Which content themes resonate most?
  • Do we address each of our target audiences (personas? roles? industries? across the funnel?)
  • Which formats are most engaging?
  • Is there a clear path for our users to find more, related content?
  • Does everything have the appropriate level of metadata?
  • Are we using SEO best practices in our formatting (H1, H2, etc.)?
  • Are our articles too long? Too short?

2. Do the digging

Most content audits entail some level of scraping, pulling, crawling, or other unsavory-sounding verbs to understand, at the base level, what exactly exists out there. Before you roll up your sleeves, take the time to familiarize with what information each tool can grab for you—this could save you a world of heartache in the end from choosing the wrong tool (or neglecting to use one at all).

For example, Screaming Frog is a commonly-used tool that pulls every URL within a domain. It should also provide status codes (i.e. broken links, redirects, etc.); meta data (page title, description, keywords); and content data (i.e. outlinks, word count).

Something like URL Profiler, on the other hand, can integrate outside tools to give you deeper analysis—think Flesch Kincaid scores to help understand reading difficulty, Google Analytics data to help understand page performance, Moz rank to help understand page authority, and more.

3. Determine the scope

Audits can be super time intensive. Or, they can be quick…

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