What are the benefits of a content audit?

January 25, 2016
Topics covered in this article:
Content Audit

"The more content the better, right? So why bother doing a content audit? And why do you recommend doing one every six months to a year?"

Great question. A content audit (also frequently called a content inventory) is like opening up the hood of your car and realizing that your engine has been taken over by squirrels.  

Okay, not exactly like that. But the content audit is certainly revealing and often surprising to clients.

Here's what I discovered in the last few website content audits I've completed:

  • Weeds and mud. So much old/outdated/irrelevant/dying content is getting sifted through by search engines and visitors that it's difficult to find the good stuff. The solution? Refresh, revise, remove at least once a year. It's a good SEO and user experience practice. Plus Google and your customers will reward you for it.
  • Weak meta data. Content audits show you your meta data all in one place, so you can spot opportunities to optimize content and attract more visitors through search.
  • Buried content. I'm finding many clients have the best content buried deep in the site, so it takes multiple clicks to find it, and the most recent content floating on top. The solution? Re-analyze your site's architecture and linking strategy.
  • Unbalanced topics and gaps. Once you have a list categorized and tagged, it's easier to see important topics that are missing ... and topics you might cover too often. Especially when your core messaging strategies have already been established.

The benefits? Here are just a few:

  • Improved SEO (you are rewarded for a higher ratio of useful content that is refreshed frequently)
  • Improved site search results for your audience, and a better user experience
  • Optimized audience decision-making and less brand/product confusion
  • Easier content maintenance
  • Potentially faster site load times (leaner is faster!)
  • More ideas for useful content creation, recycling, and repurposing

So, how do you do a content audit?

Essentially, you'd like to end up with a list of all your content assets (the inventory) that your audience could potentially see, along with some data (the audit) about that content. This can be both online and offline. Here are a couple tricks:

  1. Check out this Tutorial from Moz and InFlow. A good foundation on auditing content here.
  2. Search your own site on Google by typing site:yourURL.com in the search field to see what Google sees.
  3. Inventory your website using a tool like Content-Insight.com.
  4. Go old-school and create your own spreadsheet. Pour through your site map for pages.
  5. Gather all offline materials that your audience sees. Include them on your spreadsheet.

Need help with your content audit? Pybop is here to help. Just give us a shout.  

What's next after a content audit? Here's the content strategy process in just five steps.

About the Author: Shelly Bowen

Shelly Bowen, content strategist

Shelly Bowen, MFA, is a content writer, content strategist, and founder of Pybop.

For decades, Shelly has written for businesses on complex topics from disease prevention and medical devices to alternative energy and leveraging data. Today, she's hyper-focused on supporting B-B technology businesses. In her spare time, she hikes, kayaks, draws, and works on her T-Bird.

A wide variety of brands rely on Shelly as an essential freelance writer and content strategy resource.

Follow Shelly on Instagram @pybop or connect on LinkedIn. More about Shelly and Pybop.

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