How to conduct an SEO content audit
Columnist Thomas Stern shows how a content audit, when done right, can help you assess whether your content is relevant not only to your brand goals and SEO objectives, but also to the customer’s needs.
Google has thrown a ton of changes at marketers over the last few years. From major algorithm updates to voice search, all of these changes follow Google’s ultimate goal of creating the best search experience for its users.
The upshot is that it’s not enough to develop and optimize website content for just search engines anymore. As better language processing has become a major focus for improving search results, your brand’s site content is no longer speaking to search engines alone, but to actual people.
To appeal to both people and search engines, brands must evaluate their site content through an audit process to discover what may (or may not) be working and determine where to improve. A website content audit is the cornerstone of your entire content strategy.
When done right, a content audit helps to determine whether your website content is relevant to not only your brand goals and marketing objectives, but also to the customer’s needs. Audits can identify problems with accuracy, consistency, voice and tone; they can also provide direction for SEO.
Review existing content
Not every content audit is the same; it takes familiarity in many different digital marketing channels to set up a framework for success. However, each content audit has a few things in common, like evaluating quantitative and qualitative metrics for each page of a website.
The first step in each content audit is to record all of a website’s existing content. At ZOG Digital, we find it easiest to centralize the data and break out information like URLs, page titles, conversion rates, meta descriptions and so forth in a single spreadsheet to begin our process.
Take the time to evaluate your audience’s search habits and any historical data you have available. Some of the tools we like to use include:
- Screaming Frog crawls websites’ pages, links and images and allows us to export the data to a spreadsheet.
- Google Analytics lets us export the success metrics of each page, broken out by marketing channel.
- Ahrefs allows us to look at the backlink profiles of each of our target pages.
Next, we layer in qualitative data about the page from a brand level and a content quality level. For our clients, we measure key pages against intended audience segments and brand objectives. As you evaluate each page, you should be able to appropriately grade each page and define next steps for them, too.
With each content audit, you need to define problems with your site’s overall health and identify any strengths and weaknesses. If you decide that the content lacks substance or has weak traffic but is essential to the brand, the content needs to be refreshed for current audiences. You’ll begin to see themes in each category page and be able to make informed recommendations for each part of the site.
Content creation for audience segmentation
After defining next steps, you need to be able to execute it effectively for your target audiences. Successful content marketing is all about targeting a niche and then, of course, making the most out of it in terms of engagement and revenue. Through audience segmentation, you can have laser-focused strategies around each audience type.