If you are creating content for your website without a strategy or have clients who haven’t tracked any of their on-site content creation, it’s probably time for a content marketing audit.
An on-site content marketing audit allows you to gather insight from work that has been done, determine work that needs to be done, and decide how to direct your future strategy.
Go through the following steps to identify the best-performing content on your website from social media, link generation, user feedback, and keyword relevancy perspective and create a content audit template. Through this process, you will collect, review, and analyze data to produce actionable takeaways and build a strategic on-site content marketing plan for the future.
1. Create a Catalog of Your Content
The first step is creating a content marketing inventory worksheet that lists all of your on-site pages and posts so you can see what assets you already have. You can organize marketing content by creating an excel spreadsheet with columns for the following:
- Category (i.e., the theme or topic referenced in the post)
- Medium (e.g., a landing page, blog post, downloadable asset, video, podcast, etc.)
- Conversion (e.g., a call to action at the end of the post, such as a prompt to sign up for a consultation or download a digital asset)
- Publish date
By using this content marketing plan template, you’ll be able to track and organize all of your website pages and posts.
2. Measure Your Content’s Engagement Metrics
Once you have your pages documented and organized, you can begin to add useful details about each piece of content. Create columns for engagement metrics that show how audiences interacted with the posts and pages. Consider including the following (and choose the ones that make the most sense for your marketing goals):
- Page visits
- Bounce rate
- Inbound links (i.e., the total number of sites linking to the page)
- Conversions (i.e., the number of page visitors who performed the call to action on the page; this could also be presented as a percentage of page visitors who responded to the call-to-action prompt)
- Number of comments
- Total number of social shares
- Number of social shares, by channel (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Google+)
3. Measure Your Content’s Quality
Next, create a section that assesses the quality of the content. Some of these metrics will be subjective, as you will need to use your judgment to rank their quality.
- Word length: Content with a word count of 600 or lower will usually have a lower content quality score.
- Uniqueness: Content that is very similar to content published on other sites or your site will usually have a lower content quality score.
- Timeliness: If the content has outdated information, it will have a lower content quality score.
- Topic relevance: Content that is very relevant to your products, services, and industry will have a higher content quality.
- Overall quality: Give a score of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the highest) to rate the content quality based on the other factors.
4. Measure Your Content’s SEO Value
Now, dig into the search engine optimization (SEO) value on each page. Create a section in your content audit template that identifies keywords that you’re using and whether or not you’re implementing best SEO practices on each page and post.
Fill in the page information for:
- Main keyword
- Meta description
- Meta title
Answer yes or no to the following checklist:
- Keyword in content?
- Keyword in headline?
- Keyword in subheading?
- Keyword in image alt tag?
- At least 1 to 3 inbound links?
- At least 1 to 2 outbound links?
You can easily measure a page’s SEO value using Alexa’s On-Page SEO Checker. When you enter a URL from your website and the targeted keyword, you’ll receive a report on the status of the page’s SEO.
The report helps you find answers that will fill in your content audit template. The report also gives you tips for improving the pages, which becomes extremely helpful during the step of the process where you create plans for revising SEO content.
Alexa’s SEO Audit Tool is also useful for identifying SEO errors in your content. The full site report identifies content that has errors or is missing vital SEO data. The report highlights pages and posts with missing title tags, too many links, missing image descriptions, and duplicate meta descriptions (among many other factors) so you can easily identify and resolve errors.
5. Decide What to Do With Current Content
The information and metrics you collected related to engagement, quality, and SEO will help you determine what to do with each piece of content. Consider the factors and make a plan for each piece of content.
- Keep posts that have a high audience engagement and content quality.
- Fix posts that have SEO errors.
- Revise posts that are low quality.
- Update posts that have outdated information.
- Republish posts that are relevant and high quality but were published in the past and have low engagement. (You can give new life to a post by refreshing the content and republishing it on your website or using it on third-party sites like LinkedIn or Medium.)
- Delete posts that have low content quality, relevance, and engagement. (If you remove these posts, remember to set up link redirects so any traffic is directed to a new page of relevant content.)
6. Examine Your Competitor’s Content
As you create a new plan for the future, it’s important to look at your content and that of your competitors. Understanding your competitors’ content strategies will give you a better idea of how to direct yours.
You don’t need to collect the same level of content metrics for your competitors’ sites as you did for your site. Instead, get broad metrics about the site’s overall engagement and keyword usage. Create a new tab in your spreadsheet and add the following information for five to 10 competitor sites.
- Website name
- Alexa rank
- Unique visitors
- Page views
- Bounce rate
- Time on site
- Keyword No. 1
- Keyword No. 2
- Keyword No. 3
- Keyword No. 4
- Keyword No. 5
With this information, you’ll see how well a competitor’s site is performing and which keywords are bringing them the most traffic. This helps you identify topics and set the bar for how your content should perform.
By using Alexa’s Site Overview Tool, which is part of our suite of Competitor Intelligence Tools, you can easily find data about competitor websites. Plug in the website URL and the tool will produce a report with website traffic statistics including engagement as well as keyword metrics and data.
7. Use Your Content Audit Template to Create a Plan for the Future
At this point, your content audit template is filled with information about your current content and your competitor’s content. Now, you can use this information to create a plan for the future.
Create a content marketing plan by:
- assessing gaps in your topics and keywords. Decide what opportunities you are missing and create future posts based on those topics and keywords.
- seeing how you can rival competitor content. Identify content that is performing well on other websites and see how you can create content on similar topics while increasing the quality. Pinpoint content gaps that competitors aren’t ranking for so that you can make content audiences seek but can’t currently find on competitor sites.
- identifying ways to repurpose and revise what you have. Look back through your old content to see if you can reuse pieces or whole posts to fill keyword needs and topic gaps.
Create a third tab on your spreadsheet with a list of keywords that can be used to fill in the holes in your content marketing plan.
To quickly identify keywords you could use for your future content marketing plan, use the Alexa Competitor Keyword Matrix. When you enter up to 10 sites, you’ll receive a report on which keywords they use the most. Include your own site and use the Show Keyword Gaps filter to find keywords your site does not have, but your competitors do.
Each keyword includes data on how popular the term is, how competitive it is to rank for it, and how many of the entered sites rank for it as well. This report helps you identify topics you can use to fill your editorial calendar.
When you go through these seven steps, you’ll end up with a content marketing inventory worksheet that allows you to assess and measure the content you have and make a plan for the future.
You can use that information to provide your team or a client with a detailed look at where you are, where you need to be, and how you can effectively and efficiently get to your goals. It gives you and other decision-makers a complete look at the state of your content so you can feel confident and comfortable moving forward with a plan for updates and growth.
You can use this template to quickly create a plan for your site or your client’s site by using the Alexa Tools mentioned in this post. Sign up for a trial of our Advanced plan to get access to our On-page SEO Checker, Competitor Intelligence Tools, Competitor Keyword Matrix, and other powerful tools that make it easy to measure and audit your content.
Latest posts by Kim Cooper (see all)
- How to Write an SEO Friendly URL Using the Best Keywords - March 8, 2017
- Build a Strong 2017 Editorial Calendar with Keyword Research - January 17, 2017
- How to Create (and Complete) an SEO Audit Report for Your Clients - December 5, 2016