If there is one thing content managers, web developers, and similar specialists dread doing with their website, it would be content auditing. However, they are the same people who will attest how valuable this task is when optimizing a website, especially when you're planning to take on a new marketing campaign. A full-scale content audit can help you identify how much content has already been posted on your site and find the areas that need fixing. This is why no matter how tedious content auditing can be, it is still considered as one of the most crucial steps in website and content improvement.
Relatively new websites do not always require auditing. Its those that have been running for a long time that can benefit from it significantly, as an all-out content audit can help you eliminate redundancies found in your content, among other things. So whether you're about to kick-start a fresh campaign or you simply want to spring-clean your website, here's everything you need to learn about content auditing and how to do it.
Content Auditing Defined
Content auditing is done to identify and evaluate the types of content that constitute a website. Content audit usually begins by pulling all of the websites links together into a spreadsheet and from there, classifications and criteria will be assigned depending on the kind of the audit is desired or needed. This process also goes by the name content assessment.
However, you should not confuse it with the term content inventory. While these two may seem synonymous, their functions are distinct from each other in the sense that content audit deals mostly with the quality of the websites content, while content inventory is mainly about numerically-measurable data.
The Value Of Content Auditing
You have to keep in mind though that not all who perform a content audit examines everything. Aside from a full-scale audit, you also have the option to undertake a partial content audit and simply review the main categories and subcategories of your sites pages. Your third option is to do a content sampling wherein you take pieces of content and have these represent an entire classification for the review.
Auditors have also established expectations when carrying out content auditing. Some of the most common are the following:
- Comprehensive site overview.
By auditing your sites content, you'll have a credible basis of how all types of content you publish perform. You can see whether theyre effective or not, and from there you can decide if you should discontinue the ones that aren't generating enough attention and just come up with a new content strategy.
- Ample to-do list.
Content auditing, in many ways, is all about aggregating and checking of your sites content. But, of course, you will need to implement changes according to your findings. The audit can give you sufficient data on what need optimizing, fixing, or removal. A mere glance at the lapses will already clue you in to what can and should be done.
- Transparen't reports.
In case you're an auditor and was asked to audit a clients website, a full-blown content audit will serve as a reliable account and will help you proffer realistic suggestions that your client can choose from.
What You Need To Audit And How
The task of content auditing may be monotonous but it doesnt mean that it cant be done without a system. To make your life easier, here is a lineup of the elements that you need to evaluate and how to optimize them.
- Begin with Analytics.
Among the many things that Analytics is good at is showing you who goes to your site, where they are located, which pages they visit the most, and how often they go there. By simply looking at these numbers, you can already have an idea which demographic you should talk to more and what kind of content you should be publishing.
For instance, if you have a considerable traffic coming from China, maybe its time you launch a version of your site in Chinese. Analytics can also point out which devices your audience views your site on. If many of your viewers go to your site using their smartphones and tablets, you should consider working on a mobile version of your site. This way, you'll be able to enhance user experience on their end and traffic and income on yours.
- Check your brand indicators.
The identity of your brand relies heavily on how your site looks like. And since first impressions can definitely last a long time, its always better to make your site appear professional at all times. One way to do this is by letting your audience know who you are and how they can reach you. It will also help if your visitors see how fast your following grows and what others have to say about you.
As such, make sure that your About page is detailed and written in a way that will make the readers remember you. Aside from supplying complete contact details such as phone numbers and e-mail addresses, make sure that all of these are working. If you must put up a contact form instead, don't forget to check if this is also functioning well.
In addition, you can also dedicate a part of your site wherein you can display the testimonials of your satisfied customers and how many you actually have. This will help reinforce the trust of potential clients when they view your site.
- Study your contents quality.
The length of any written content should depend on which page you're posting it. In your content audit, see if the pages where articles are published are of the ideal length–and by ideal, it should mean that every post has in-depth coverage as that would display your authority in the industry you belong to.
For example, the home page does not require too much text but it should nevertheless include strategically-placed keywords. On the other hand, pages such as blogs, product previews, and tutorials will do better with longer and meaningful discussions. It is also important that your articles are edited and proofread not just to avoid confrontations with the grammar police but also to insert links in a more natural way throughout the copy.
- Review your websites layout.
A websites appearance has great influence on the amount of time your visitors will spend on your site. Case in point: the cleaner and easier to navigate your website is, the more likely it is for your viewers to explore your site and its contents.
See whether the layout fonts you're using are friendly not just to the readers but for devices as well. You should also check where your ads are located, as Google can be sensitive about ads found at the top-half of your site and punish you with a low PageRank. If your ads are above the fold, consider reassigning them in a specific column meant for ads alone.
- Inventory your multimedia matter.
Quality articles are a good thing but so are the multimedia types of content. Not only they are engaging, they are also highly shareable among users. If you want to make your content more interesting, present your ideas in different ways. Use photos to elucidate your point better, videos to aid your tutorials, and infographics to depict a material that is rich in data.
To make the sharing more efficient, display share buttons prominently in the page. Include the most common networking badges such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
- Test the technical features.
Content auditing leans on the qualitative side more, so if you decide to perform a full-scale audit, you will need to do a content inventory. The technical features of your site that should be included in the audit are your keywords, meta data, and links.
When it comes to keywords, remember that you shouldn't solely depend on the obvious terms that pertain to your brand and product. These days, search engines like it better when links take a contextual form. Your meta data should also be reflected in your content, be it text or multimedia. By optimizing the meta data, it will be easier for search engines to index your site and to recommend it in the results page. As for the links, it is better to customize your contents URLs according to posts titles, instead of relying on automated permalinks.
As they say, there are no shortcuts to greatness, so if you want your website to be the high-ranking, income-generating platform you wish it to be, be prepared to do the dirty work in the form of content audit. It only takes one successful attempt to enjoy the awesome results of examining the material found in your site. Content auditing will allow your site to be optimized in a way that would make it easier for your target audience to find within the tangles of the World Wide Web.
Kyle Kam is a marketing consultant for Affilorama, an affiliate marketing portal. They offer free affiliate marketing lessons for affiliates. He spends his free time playing video games and reading random marketing contents.