How To Conduct a Site Content Audit in 4 Steps
Keep in mind that depending on how large your website is a full site content audit could take several weeks…or it could take several months. The most important thing about conducting a site content audit is to stay organized and keep plugging away at it!
1. Pull and organize every single URL.
That’s right, every single URL—every static page of content, every white paper, every press release, employee bio, company mission statement, download form and so forth. The easiest way to organize your URLs is to put them in an Excel spreadsheet and give each URL a label (homepage equals 1, product pages are 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, sub pages could be 2.3.1, and so forth). Labeling those URLs helps you keep structure in mind as you conduct your site content audit. It also makes it easier to share the document amongst your team and make sure everyone knows what page is being discussed/edited. This is also the document you’ll make notes on as to what actions need to be taken on each page (edit, delete, 301 redirect, etc.).
Pulling every URL as part of your site content audit also helps you find those pages that might be kicking around for the last time you redesigned the site and got lost in the shuffle. That’s an easy SEO win to improve the overall usability of your website.
2. Evaluate the content on each page.
Evaluating your content is not a simple or straightforward task but it needs to be done as part of your site content audit. Take a step back and put yourself in the shoes of your audience. If this were your first time visiting your site would that particular page provide any value to you? Does it make sense within the context of your website? Is it well written for a human audience or overly SEO-ified? Is the information accurate or outdated? Sometimes it’s hard to see the flaws in your own work so if need be bring a fresh pair of eyes into the project and see what mistakes/issues they pick up on.
3. Determine which pages are under-performing and look for reasons as to why.
Using your Google Analytics account you can very quickly separate the top performing URLs from the mistakes. What pages are getting the most organic traffic? Have the highest conversion rate? Are certain pages pulling in visitors using the keywords you’ve actually optimized them for? It’s important to not look at each page in a vacuum but to also remember its place in your site overall. For instance, a deep internal page might not get a lot of organic traffic but it’s an essential part of the buying cycle once visitors do land on your site. Other pages might have a very low conversion rate but get a lot of great traffic because they target the information-seeking visitor.
For those pages that are under-performing (and shouldn’t be) try to determine what those pages have in common and what they don’t have in common with your top performing URLs. Are they poorly written? Have they been optimized improperly? Are they not benefitting from any internal link juice? Is the information out of date or just plain wrong? The goal of a site content audit is to find the problems and under-achievers so you can fix what’s wrong and make your whole site as powerful as it can be.
4. Plug the gaps!
Once you’ve determined which pages need to be rewritten, scrapped or completely overhauled it’s time to sit down and get to it! Depending on how much work needs to be done you might need to bring several pairs of hands into the project. If it’s just you manning the site content audit helm create a calendar for yourself that outlines the biggest issues that need to be addressed immediately and the smaller problems that can be taken care of later. You’ve spent a ton of time actually going through you site and finding the holes in your content so now is the time to make changes for the better!
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