How to Do an SEO Content Audit
The written content on your website drives all the results – both good and bad – that you achieve in the search engines.
In the past, adding a high volume of articles and gaining backlinks to those articles was what boosted SERP rankings.
But in 2021, Google’s search algorithm is more complex. The Google crawlers take into account search intents and use the BERT update for contextual language in content. Therefore, you must ensure that all content on your site is high-quality to gain relevant backlinks and build your domain authority.
For your website to rank on Google, quality content must come before quantity. This is why doing a regular SEO content audit can help. By reviewing your existing content pieces via an SEO audit, you can begin to raise the quality level and find ways to increase your SERP rankings.
What is a SEO Content Audit?
A content audit is when a website is analyzed for overall performance. It highlights which content asset should be updated, improved, removed, consolidated, or redirected.
In layman’s terms, a content audit means improving what you already have on your website to make it more appealing.
A SEO content audit can help resolve underperforming pages, increase your website’s domain authority, search relevance, and SERP visibility. It also increases the chances that other websites will want to give a backlink to your website.
Essential Questions for a Website Content Audit
A website content audit should offer in-depth insights that help improve your SEO approach.
To get started with an SEO content audit, you should start by answering the following questions:
- Which content is performing well?
- What blog topics create more engagement?
- Which blog posts and web pages are outdated (both for SEO and readers)?
- Which old content is now irrelevant to your niche?
- Why do some web pages have higher impressions but generate lower conversions?
- What is the bounce rate like on the best-performing pages?
How to Do a Content Audit Step-By-Step
The content audit process may feel overwhelming, but if you divide your SEO content audit into three main parts, it can help simplify the approach:
- Generate a list of all your content. This can be done with Google Analytics or a content audit tool like Ahrefs.
- Analyze the performance data. Create a plan of actionable steps based on the data gathered. Each step should help to improve the quality of your content, whether a blog post or services pages.
- Content Repurposing. Once you have your findings and recommendations, you can work on improving your existing content assets for better rankings.
Step 1: Crawling and Site Auditing
Creating a content inventory begins with crawling the site.
Ideally, you should have a separate audit process for indexable and crawlable content.
Crawlability refers to the search engine’s ability to read and crawl content within the page. If a site has no technical issues, the web crawlers can easily understand its content and follow the links between pages. The most common problems that affect a website’s crawlability can include broken links or dead ends.
Indexability is the search engine’s ability to assess and add pages to its index. Google and all other major search engines (Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo) might be able to crawl a site, but that doesn’t mean all pages are indexable.
When performing a content audit, you must make sure you have clear objectives in mind. Technical SEO site audits focus more on the crawlable content, whereas those who need a better content strategy for SEO should focus on the indexable content.
The recommended tools for crawling the site are SEMRush or Screaming Frog which can help to crawl to generate indexable URLs. But to ensure you don’t miss any pages, you can consider using secondary tools like XML Sitemaps or Google Analytics.
For eCommerce sites, you can export all product and category URLs.
Create a separate list for the main URLs. This step allows you to deduplicate the main URLs. It will also produce a more in-depth list of indexable URLs.
Here are some checkpoints for your website content audit URL list:
Are All Your Pages Indexed?
Non-Indexed URLs mean low-quality pages. You can either optimize or remove the page.
Is All Your Content Unique?
Does your site have any duplicate content? You can double-check with audit tools like Copyscape or Duplichecker.
Organic Search Rankings
Can you see the search terms you are ranking for within the last three months? This will help to get an accurate reading of what your site is indexing for.
Check the Publish Dates
What dates were all the content pieces published? This helps you detect outdated content that needs to be removed or updated.
Review of Internal Links
An SEO content audit is an excellent opportunity to increase the number of internal links on your site. As a rule, you’ll want your main pages to have the most internal links.
Check on External Links
While it’s essential to have backlinks, you must ensure your external links are relevant to your niche.
Other metrics to consider are conversions on landing pages, bounce rates, page speed, and site responsiveness.
Step 2: Data Analysis
Having this real-time data at your fingertips makes it easier to analyze what is needed for your content audit. It’s a good idea to create a dashboard using Google Sheets or Excel to keep track of all your content and begin to analyze it.
Start by addressing any content issues that could lead to red flags or penalties. Content quality, search relevancy, and duplicate content are some of the things you need to prioritize. Here are the most critical factors you need to be aware of:
Content Quality Issues
This covers poor grammar, content inaccuracy, thin content, keyword stuffing. All these items will be noticed by Google crawlers and can be penalized.
Focus on value-added content. Everything you publish online should be informative and useful to your audience. Don’t just write content to try to rank for keywords.
Search engine crawlers can easily detect duplicate content (i.e., anything that is copied and pasted from another site, or even your site). You can use comprehensive plagiarism checker tools like Grammarly to help.
Step 3: Content Updates
Use the spreadsheets you have created to work on low quality content pieces that need updating.
Start with your top-ranking pages, and if you have a tool like Ahrefs, you can even do competitor analyses against other top-ranking pages in your niche.
Update the dates of all your content once you have finished reviewing, and make sure the statistics and information is relevant, readable, and current. A tool like Yoast can be a great help to ensure you are using accurate meta descriptions, and have high levels of readability.
Repurposing content and improving it is a great strategy to help boost your SEO rankings. This is because the search engines have already indexed a lot of your existing content, and updating it means it is more relevant and valuable.
A Regular Content Audit Boosts Rankings
Overall, an SEO content audit is an excellent opportunity to reassess and enhance your content marketing and SEO strategies.
Consider it as an on-going process, and aim to do an audit at least once a year, or ideally once a quarter. Trends change online, and content can be adjusted to reflect what is most important based on your engagement metrics.
If you want to rank well in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for your business niche, you need to adapt to the changes that happen.
Your content is an asset that needs regular maintenance to ensure it is working for you and adding value for your site visitors. The SEO value of your website is not static and needs constant work. Before you focus on new content, it is a good idea to do some content auditing to ensure that your current content assets are performing well.