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Auditing Your Blog's Existing Content: The 5 Basic Steps


Today's successful online businesses rely heavily on content created by content marketers. However, these content creators frequently fail to assess the effectiveness of previous content they have made. This implies that these creators are not implementing a "content auditing" process.

Too often, we post a piece of content and never return to it. It then becomes out of date, stale, and completely irrelevant.

To ensure that our content is as relevant and engaging as it was when it was first published, our Florida SEO specialists recommend that we revisit it regularly. In this post, we will show you the five basic steps to audit your content.

Step #1: Determine Your Primary Goal

writing goals and objectives on a sticky note

Which problems with the content do you want to fix first? Make sure to choose a main goal. Your main goal will determine everything else you do during your inventory and audit.

For example, if your goal is to figure out how to organize the content you will put into a new content management system (CMS), you might not want to spend time evaluating messages for consistency.

Here are some possible goals:

  • Remove ROT (redundant, outdated, or trivial content).
  • Understand the breadth of your content.
  • Determine the efficacy of SEO.
  • Contrast the quality of the content with a standard.
  • Examine content for consistency of message.
  • Determine which content must be moved to a new platform.
  • Evaluate how to organize content for easy access.
  • Assess whether metadata, such as tags and categories, was used correctly.
  • Encourage better editorial planning.
Pro Tip: Ask yourself, "If I were auditing my company's web content, what goal would I prioritize?"

Step #2: Identify Content For Inclusion

Websites with many pages usually need an exhaustive inventory or cataloging of all of an organization's content. However, some companies with a simpler website can just get away with just a partial inventory.

If your website contains thousands of pages, you may be hesitant to conduct an audit. However, you may be surprised to learn that a content audit can reveal that most of your posts are not visible to site visitors.

This simply means that as your website grew, it may have lost sight of why it was created in the first place.

You must also be aware of the content in channels besides the website, such as training materials, call-center scripts, social media posts, and point-of-sale (POS) materials. For this reason, you must adopt an omnichannel perspective for your messages to be delivered clearly and precisely across all channels.

Pro Tip: Take a moment and ask yourself, "Whose content should I look at if I were conducting an audit of my company? If we're going with a smaller set, which channels or types of content should we cut? How could we know if our subset was big enough to accomplish what we set out to do?"

Step #3: Establish Key Auditing Facets

title tags note

Define the facets (data types) to be captured in the inventory. These facets are converted into columns in your spreadsheet or whatever tool you use to collect inventory data.

Here's a starting point for the types of facets you might want to capture:

  • Index Numbers. Because web-based content isn't always linked to a URL, indexing each item is best. A single piece of content may appear on multiple pages or at a single URL, whereas non-web content has no URL. As a result, it's best to devise a system that allows you to tell by the number if something is two levels deep on a website, app, or YouTube video.
  • URLs (if applicable). This applies to static websites. If your web pages are dynamic, a different ID may be required to indicate content chunks to audit. Depending on the objective, chunk-by-chunk analysis may be preferable.
  • Headline. Make a transcription of the title.
  • Content Summary. Since the headline or title doesn't always tell you enough about the article, you should summarize it. If the text is short, you might want to copy it.
  • Target Audience. Determine the audience you want your content to reach.
  • Navigation Information (in page-based audit). Keep track of how people navigate to different sections of the site.
  • Content Template. Check to see if the content has a consistent look and feel.
  • Supplements (image, audio, video, or PDF). Describe the media files that people can access or download. You may want to make a note of these as facets or record this information somewhere else.
  • Image file (type, dimensions, and size). Make a list of the characteristics of the image files you want to capture.
  • You may want to collect data such as browser titles, keywords for which you want to rank in searches, description text, and H1 text. You should also consider whether an SEO description exists or is appropriately coded to appear as a snippet in search results.
  • More Facets. This could include asset type or content quality. Our Florida SEO experts believe that whatever else you want to know is dependent on your business goals and the state of your content.
Pro Tip: When auditing for content quality, resist the urge to collect a binary rating such as "keep or delete." Make a quality scale and label it.

Step #4: List All Items That Will Be Audited

You can use a web-scraping tool to get an automated head start on compiling an inventory of web-based content for your website. Developers created web scraping tools to make gathering information from websites more manageable.

While data extraction serves a practical purpose and is frequently employed, it can quickly become tedious, error-prone, and time-consuming if not handled properly.

But what exactly does a web scraper do?

Web scrapers employ automated software to scavenge a website for helpful information by parsing its HTML code and retrieving relevant data from a database.

RELATED: 12 Best Web Scraping Tools in 2022 to Extract Online Data

In some circumstances, you will be able to export data from your CMS; however, you should exercise caution. Our Florida SEO specialists have witnessed exports produce a significant amount of garbage in addition to something with which they were "sort of" able to work.

When a site is small enough to warrant manual capture, we recommend copying the URL and pasting it into a spreadsheet. This is best done when the site in question is relatively small. Manual inspection is the only way to determine what you actually have in your possession.

Pro Tip: Ask yourself, "How should the inventory of my company's content look if I were conducting an audit? And, which method or tool for capturing this information best suits our subject matter and ultimate goal?"

Step #5: Audit Items In The Inventory

During an ideal inventory and audit, you would examine every page on your website. This could include:

  • Pieces of POS collaterals
  • Social media platforms where your brand is discussed
  • Videos

Consider using this sample table for your content inventory:

content inventory template

Even though this is a simplified version of the table, you'll likely end up with more than a dozen columns. You can use as many or as few columns as you like; the important thing is to organize your data and observations in a way that makes sense for your audit.

If you want to see how well the content you're evaluating aligns with your company's intended messaging, you can create a column labeled "Messaging" (like the one displayed on the table) and record your observations.

When you've finished with one row, move on to the next section of text in the next row.

Pro Tip: Assuming you were conducting an audit of the content produced by your organization, what information and insights would you find most helpful in informing strategic decisions?

Initiate A Blog Content Audit Today

A content audit isn't something that happens occasionally; it's an ongoing process. It would be best if you adopted this frame of mind when creating content for your website and all your promotional efforts.

You can save time, cut costs, expand your brand, and increase your return on advertising investment (ROI) by making intelligent marketing decisions based on a thorough inventory of your existing content and analyzing the data for each item.

And remember that there is no silver bullet here. There is a wide variety of content audits that can be conducted. You must specify your needs and goals before making any decisions.

Our Florida SEO specialists at Digital Resource can craft a plan specifically for your business's needs, allowing you to promote your online content better.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

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