Get out the broom! Content Audit for Spring Cleaning
Winter is breathing its last, chilly breeze and the days are getting longer. The additional hours of sunlight may expose the muddy remnants of last season. The same is true for your website. From time to time, it’s important to perform a Content Audit of your website to ensure everything is fresh, updated, available, and still engaging with your audience. Let’s review the reasons and methods for giving your web content a much-deserved Spring cleaning!
Why do I need to perform a content audit on my website?
Cleaning up content after a long period of time has many benefits. Here are a few:
Search Engine Optimization
Like anything else in life, stagnation dilutes interest. Not only does old content stagnate the interest of your website visitors, but it also stagnates the attention you receive from search engines. Updating your content lets both the reader and the robot know that you are keeping everything fresh. The robot loves this and will re-index the new content and may provide a ratings boost.
Improve Visitor Engagement
Performing a content audit allows you to take a look into what your visitors are spending their time on when they reach your website. Refreshing and retargeting existing content that receives little interest is an opportunity to increase your website’s engagement. This can help your overall time-on-page metrics, calls-to-action, and other items you want your audience to read.
Uncover the Broken Bits
Over time, stagnated content will accrue broken links, images, and documents that you may have moved or removed from your content library. Performing a content audit allows you to proactively locate and fix these missing assets. Broken asset links harm your SEO ratings and devalue the user experience. Spring cleaning means throwing out the garbage and putting the room back together again.
Set Goals for your Content Audit
To ensure that you stay the course during your content audit, set clear goals for yourself. This will help you better understand what to optimize, what to update, and what to remove. For example, if you want to perform an audit to improve your SEO rankings, you could check that your content is making use of important keywords and phrases. Additionally, you would ensure that content that is performing well makes use of internal links to other pages in your website to increase their standings as well.
To improve user engagement, you might reorganize the information on certain pages to bring the focus to the forefront. Using dynamic images can also boost engagement. If your content bores you, it will likely bore your audience. Search for opportunities to make it stand out.
If you are looking to increase conversion rates, check to make sure that your forms and calls to action are both engaging and not overly complicated. Sometimes simply placing the call to action higher up the page can lead to more clicks and more business.
Inventory your existing content and use Analytics to guide you
Now that your goals are clear, take a thorough inventory of all of your content. It helps to create a spreadsheet to track the pages that you are going to update and upgrade. It might seem like a long to-do list, but don’t let that overwhelm you. Give yourself time to update a little bit each day and you’ll be done before you know it.
On your spreadsheet, list the full URL of each page, and be sure to include a column for notes about what you want to change on it. The process of clicking through the URLs of your website is a fantastic opportunity to get a feel for what your web visitors are seeing as they browse your site. Try to remove your owner hat and see your website through the eyes of your visitors.
Your spreadsheet should include columns for:
- Title of the content
- Type of content (blog post, landing page, product description)
- Date of publication or last modification
- Author (if you have multiple authors on your site)
- Stage of the user’s journey (awareness, consideration, decision)
- Number of words
- Metadata (title, description)
- Metrics such as number of page visits, time spent on page, conversion rate, backlinks, shares, ranking for the main keywords, and so on.
Google Analytics is your best friend
Use Analytics to help you understand all of the metrics from visitors to your site. Learn which pages are getting the most traffic and which pages are simply passed over. It is common to think that a page that is performing well should be left alone. This is not always the case. In fact, the pages that outperform can be used to boost the rest of your site. Take a look at what those pages are talking about, how the information is laid out, and try to understand how to use this information to improve the pages that people are skipping.
Use internal linking throughout your site to connect pages that complement each other. Take the time to use your Analytics data combined with your own gut instinct to grade the content of each page on your spreadsheet. Being honest with your content will go a long way to seeing what you need to fix.
Stay connected to your progress
After completing your content audit, keep an eye on your analytics to see the fruits of your labor. Over time, the pages you updated should enjoy better metrics, more time on page, and more visits. Don’t be discouraged if the improvement isn’t seen immediately. It takes time for these updates to be recognized by search engines. The more engaged you are in the process, the easier it will become to recognize your key areas of improvement. The truth is, Spring comes around once a year but you should always keep the broom handy! Enjoy the process!