Publishing content once is not enough to assert yourself on the Internet in the long term. To do this, you should check your content regularly and take an inventory with an audit.
When a content audit makes sense
The intervals at which a content audit makes sense depends on the size of the website. With large websites, the effort is higher, so larger intervals are often recommended here. For online shops, one audit per year is usually sufficient to determine the performance status of category and product pages. Apart from that, however, there is one event where an unscheduled audit is very useful: When there is a significant loss of visibility.
How to proceed with your content audit
You do the inventory using an Excel sheet in which you enter all the important data of the URL that you want to analyze. The sheet gives an overview of the content right from the start and can serve as a further working basis. The filter option of Excel makes the subsequent data analysis much easier.
The following are relevant for the inventory:
- Status code
- Page title
- Meta description
- H1 headings
- Internal links
- Click depth
- Word count
So that you don’t have to manually record this data, you can use a crawling tool such as Ryte or Screaming Frog . It is useful to classify the URL according to page type: for example, category page, product page, blog post, news article and so on. This helps in evaluating the content. Once the overview is ready, you can immediately identify the first errors, for example missing page titles and meta descriptions or several H1 headings on one page.
2. Ranking check
The rankings are one of the most important indicators in a content audit. Because as already mentioned above, only those pages that have positive user behavior keep rankings in the top places. You surely have a list of the keywords that you are optimizing your content for. If you don’t want to check the rankings manually, use a tool such as Sistrix or Drink .
3. User behavior analysis
To check how the content is received by users, you should look at the following metrics:
- Click-Through Rate (CTR)
- Length of stay
- Bounce rate
- Entrances to the website
You can get these metrics from Google Analytics or another web analysis tool such as Webtrekk , provided that you have set up proper tracking. Use the maximum possible time in the tool or the date of your last content audit as the period for the user behavior analysis. The longer the period, the more reliable the data.
4. Interaction Analysis
The direct interactions of the users with the content show how much they like it. Backlinks and social signals are of course created when the users find the content really interesting and recommendable. The Google Search Console as well as Majestic or Ahrefs for the backlink analysis and Sistrix or Buzzsumo for the social signals help with the analysis .
When all the data from the tools have been transferred to the Excel sheet – the easiest way to do this is by using the S reference – you can start the evaluation. It is important to note that the key figures that are relevant for the content audit should be viewed in relation to each other. They are often not an absolute figure, but only give a clear picture of the content performance when viewed with other key figures.
How good is the CTR?
If a snippet is clicked too seldom, although the page ranks well on Google , something is wrong with it. This can lead to a loss of ranking, as the search engine assumes that the page is not relevant enough for the search query. If the CTR is bad, checks whether the snippet is well optimized, appeals to the user and matches the search query. The search intention is also important here: If the first page is primarily shops, it is transactional. Then a blog post or news article will not satisfy the search interest even with a well-optimized snippet.
How long is the length of stay?
A long stay is not always a purely positive sign. It depends on the type of page: With a distribution page, the user should quickly decide where he wants to go. If he stays for a long time, he may find it difficult to find his way around the site. In the case of a long blog post with pictures and videos, however, it is imperative that you stay as long as possible.
What is the bounce rate?
The bounce rate is only meaningful when viewed with the length of stay. If the length of stay on a content page is long and the bounce rate is high, this is a positive signal. The user has very likely found what he was looking for and has therefore returned to Google.
What content has the most page views?
Content with many page views was clicked often and a lot. But did the content also arrive? The length of stay and bounce rate are also important here: content pages that are called up often and have a long stay are really read.
Which to-dos result from the audit
A topic has been dealt with several times and not all of the pages on it are performing well?
- Checks what could be the reason for the poor performance: Is the content out of date? Are they badly optimized? Are they too superficial?
- Decide whether you can optimize the pages, or whether you’d better delete the page. If it has backlinks, you should then forward the URL to another, suitable page.
- Also check if you can group pages with similar content. Google values holistic content. Therefore, it can bring a ranking boost if you combine pages that thematically overlap into one comprehensive one.
Some pages are rarely visited?
- Just because they’re badly attended doesn’t mean they’re bad. Do they have anything in common? Are they perhaps deeper in the website structure? In this case, the pages are more difficult to reach from both the Google bot and the user, which can affect the ranking.
- If the quality of the content is right, try to link the pages better.
Some pages are not ranking well?
- Do an SEO Analysis: Are Important Keywords Missing? This can happen quickly if the SERP changes.
- Uses a WDF * IDF tool such as the Content-Success from Ryte or the TF-IDF Data from Termlabs.io . This shows you which relevant keywords are missing from the content.
- Inserts the missing keywords into the text and checks the overall quality again. If necessary, you should update or expand the content.
Learnings from the content audit
Some pages have a lot of traffic from organic search?
- You did a lot right here: The pages rank well on Google AND users like to click. If the other user signals also match, then these pages are perfect prototypes for further content production.
- Checks what the pages have in common: Do they have a certain length, videos or other special content formats?
- Make a note of the similarities and create a general briefing for you or your editors.
Some pages have a lot of backlinks and / or social signals?
- Here, the direct feedback shows that users like the content.
- Checks whether the sides have anything in common. From this you can deduce which topics or content formats are particularly popular with users.
A content audit is the basis for content production and an essential factor for long-term success on the Internet. Since Google is getting better and better at evaluating content and also increasingly incorporating user behavior into the ranking, you can position yourself strategically well in the long term and stand out from the competition with a regular audit.