4 steps to running an SEO content audit

Team meeting

Be honest – when was the last time you conducted a little housekeeping on your website? 

63% of B2B decision-makers go directly to a company’s website when looking for information. With this in mind, many B2B businesses add more and more content to their websites and hope for the best. But buried content is rarely visited, and its full potential is wasted. 

It’s likely that with the push to keep content fresh and SEO-friendly, the nuggets of gold on your website are lost amidst the tide of outdated, wordy content that isn’t advancing your marketing goals. 

But how do you find those nuggets of gold? That’s where an SEO content audit can help.

Content audits: what are they?

A content audit is a systematic process of analysing and assessing all the content on your website. 

This reveals your content strategy’s strengths and weaknesses, helping you adapt your content plan to meet your marketing goals. 

Whether you’re a start-up, small business, or multinational corporation, a content audit is an invaluable way to quantify the effectiveness of your content. Approached systematically, it doesn’t have to be too technical or demanding. Follow our four-step checklist below to get started. 

1. What are your goals? What metrics will you measure?

As with any marketing-related activity, think firstly about your goals. What do you want to get out of a content audit? This will tie back to your website’s overall goals – and if you don’t have any, this is an excellent time to set them! Here are some common goals:

  • Increasing audience engagement. Identify the types of content your audience engages with and spends the most time on. What do they engage with the most? What gets the most social attention?
  • Boosting your conversion rate. See which pages offer the best user experience, find the content generating the most leads, and determine the best content formats for each marketing funnel stage.
  • Improving your SEO results. Find web pages with high potential to rank for your keywords, identify content to update or remove, and optimise your internal linking. 

After determining your goals, you must match them with their relevant content metrics. This helps you streamline the process rather than measure everything at once. For example, if you’re investigating your SEO performance, you should look at backlinks, time spent on pages, organic traffic, and keyword rankings. For engagement, look at metrics like time spent on page, scroll depth, and bounce rates.

2. Inventory your content

Now we’re auditing! This includes all the content on your website: news, blog posts, product descriptions, landing pages, videos, interactive content, and more.

Begin your inventory with the page URLs. You can collect these manually or use a tool such as Semrush Content Audit.

The next step is to catalogue the content. You can do this by using an online tool or a spreadsheet to sort by different categories, such as

  • Writer
  • Stage of the marketing funnel
  • Length
  • Format (blog, product description, landing page, video, etc.)
  • Content cluster
  • Date uploaded or last edited

Top tip: Collect metadata (title, meta description, h1) for each piece of content to check and update these together. 

3. Collecting and analysing the metrics data

Data collection can appear to be a complex and lengthy process. But using the right tools can streamline the process. Instead of collecting data from multiple sources, use a content audit tool to automate the process, such as Semrush Content Audit or Ahrefs Site Audit. Just make sure it collects metrics data tailored to your goals.

To capture more data, here’s some other helpful analytics tools:

  • Google Search Console: for Search Engine Results Page (SERP) performance, the indexing coverage report, and page experience results.
  • Google Analytics: for traffic, engagement, and conversion rates. Also, estimate how effective your content has been in achieving marketing and business goals.
  • Semrush Position Tracking: to track target keyword rankings and content with good SEO potential.
  • Content Square: for user behaviour, customer journey analysis accordingly, as well as page impact, performance, and usability.

Now for the exciting bit. You need to analyse these metrics to understand how content is performing on your site.

For example, if your web page is attracting a lot of traffic but has a high bounce rate and low session duration, the topic piqued interest, but the content didn’t actually provide what users were looking for. You’d need to understand why users are leaving the page. The content might not be relevant to the titles, or the page loads slowly. This is where you also need qualitative analysis of the content itself, and placing yourself in the shoes of your target audience is essential. 

Top tip: Take the marketing funnel into account. Top-of-funnel content will produce higher traffic with a lower conversion rate. Middle-of-funnel content may attract less traffic, but it can generate more leads.

Based on the metrics data you’ve collected and the takeaways you’ve uncovered, you can now decide (in a new column on the spreadsheet) whether to keep, update, or delete the content. This should be straightforward:

  • If the URL performs well and is relevant to search intent, there’s no need to update it – reuse it for newer content marketing strategies. 
  • For the web pages that aren’t performing as well, or older pages that are getting recent traffic, assess how you can improve these to boost their rankings. Is the information outdated?
  • In the unlikely event that you can’t improve a page, whether it’s from an old seasonal campaign or improving it would use too many resources, consider removing it from the site. 

4. Make a fail-proof plan

From your analysis and judgements, you can set your plan into motion to build a website content audit workflow. Refer to the goals you made in step one before making a plan for each URL, so your investments are on target every time. 

Top tip: Organise your next step actions according to how immediately achievable they are. You can add a “Priority” column to your working sheet. 

Here are some example URL actions:

  • Reduce: For underperforming content, cut back on irrelevant parts, refresh the stats and trends covered, and optimise the metadata. 
  • Reuse: Plan to use high-performing content in your upcoming campaigns to boost traffic and direct users to newer content using backlinks and updated CTAs to improve your marketing funnel content organisation and conversion rates.  
  • Recycle: We like to say that some of the best movies are remakes, which also extends to content! One of the best and most efficient content marketing strategies is simply updating existing content. Think about how a piece of content might work in a new format. What about a video? 96% of consumers have watched an explainer video to understand a product or service. On that note, always add images to make the content more engaging. 

Top tip: When pages are removed from the site, use 301 redirects to avoid “not found” pages and improve user experience.

Top tip: Use the URL Inspection tool in Google Search Console to update Google on website changes.

And what about the long term? 

It’s essential to keep your long-term marketing strategy in mind when performing a website audit. You can adjust your content strategy by tracking your performance – tailoring pieces to your target audience’s needs for better organic reach and conversion rates.

Top tip: Keep monitoring what seems to be working and what still needs help. Note successful content from your competitors to get inspired. 

Your content needs to be reviewed frequently to ensure it adds value. Using outside expertise can help! If you want to learn more about Isoline’s expertise in building SEO-optimised content, get in touch at: hello@isolinecomms.com.