As Google continues to regularly update its algorithms this summer, how important is knowing the strength of your content? You guessed it… very! One of the key ways to do this is by actioning a well-structured content audit and I am going to give you an overview of how best to go about reviewing your content, in the hope that you either action an audit or seek some help in ensuring your content is fully optimised. We are all operating in a Google climate that is ever more focused on relevant and in-depth content, so you don’t want to fall behind competitors when some understanding and planning is often all that is needed to rank higher.
What Content to Include in your Audit
How to Set Up for a Content Audit
Following the collection of all content, the next step is to collate it all into one document. Tools like Screaming Frog, Corigan and SEMrush can help to make this step much more streamlined, yet still require an experienced eye to ensure the crawling settings are set up properly (as well as spotting any technical issues which we referred to in the previous section).
Once all of the content has been collated in one location, you want to begin categorising it. Segment the content into elements such as H1s, meta descriptions and page titles.
Following the segmentation, you want to see if there is any evergreen content on your site. Hopefully there is – and if you aren’t sure what evergreen content is, I’ll explain: content that will never go out of date, is always relevant to your brand or organisation, and will always generate impressions and clicks through search engines, is your evergreen content.
Now that all of your content is ready to be analysed, you need to ensure that you have your up-to-date keyword basket ready to compare against your content. This will then enable you to spot areas that are not keyword optimised and are therefore a focus for your suggestions at the end of your audit.
Thorough keyword research should also detail the trends of many leading terms that you wish to target, and should in turn help to inform peak times for content to be published on your site.
We’ve made it to the crucial stage. No content audit is complete without a bit of thorough analysis. You have your content elements and you have your keywords, seeing what kind of content is performing well and what kind of content is missing – missing in that you have the keyword in your basket, but you don’t have any content ranking for this and related keywords.
Now that the comparison against keywords is complete, it’s time to look at the performance of content in general. This is the part where you gain an insight into what content is performing well, being sure to take note of the type of content and the ranking keywords of each top performer.
A final stage of the analysis is to compare your content against your top competitors. SEMrush and Corigan are both great for this and will help you to visualise areas where you are weaker or even not present at all, which will then need to be highlighted and integrated into your recommendations.
We’ve done it, we have all the content organised by type, keyword optimisation and performance, so what’s next? We aren’t finished yet…
Taking all of the findings, an experienced SEO eye should be cast over these in order to create an optimised content calendar. This calendar will highlight what content works all year round and what content needs to be published in specific months. This can, of course, be done by yourself but will require the ability to spend time correlating trend data with well-performing content, whilst not ignoring content that needs strengthening in order to compete better, as well as your foundational evergreen content.
It can often feel like a juggling act trying to tick all the boxes from your audit findings, but remember: if resources allow and each piece of content is different in some way, there is no such thing as too much fresh content being published. Particularly if your site is relatively new, one benefit as an example are well-informed pieces of content-generating backlinks from authoritative sites, which should increase your site visibility within search engine result pages.
To save time there are some great content calendar tools available across the web, but remember to fill it with the relevant keywords and the suggested title of the content, along with other page elements such as H1s and alt tags. Trust me when I say that you thank yourself later when you come back to the calendar before starting your next writing task.
The Long Game
Success. You have a content calendar, whether it be for three months, six months or 12 months – whatever works for your business. That being said, it’s wise to stick to a minimum of three months as it can often take this long for any SEO reward to be reaped from content publication.
The content fun doesn’t stop here, though. Constant monitoring of the performance of all of your planned content should be actioned and recorded (preferably alongside your content calendar). This will help you to create a doubly optimised content calendar when the day comes to generate a new one.
Remember that everything in the digital marketing world is fluid, so if you are noticing that certain content themes are not performing as expected, go back to the drawing board and find out if a different type of content is needed or if a new topic altogether should be used.
To answer the title of this article, and if you couldn’t guess my stance already, content audits are absolutely crucial for many reasons and can help to unify many departments of a business. Often, minimal resources mean that it’s left to one person to create them, but with the right time allowance and research the results will be hugely beneficial to your overall SEO strategy.
If you know that an audit is long overdue but you don’t have access to all of the necessary tools and/or don’t have the time to create a thorough calendar, get in touch with us at Organic to explore how we can help to get your content in an optimal position.