Although it may seem an easy task at first glance, performing a content marketing audit can be a real challenge, even for the most experienced marketers and bloggers. But with over 4.4 million content pieces published every day — it has become almost impossible to obtain a substantial growth through content marketing without continuously analysing and optimising your content.
Periodically performing a comprehensive content audit can help your business improve its performance: you can get valuable insights into what your audience is interested in so that you can remove or replace irrelevant pieces of content with something more appealing to your targeted audience.
To run a thorough content marketing audit, are a few essential steps to take into consideration:
Analysing the Data
To assess content performance and make smart decisions for future optimisations, you must first create a content inventory. Data collection is complicated and time-consuming. But with the right SEO tools, the task gets more manageable. Screaming frog SEO Spider crawls all the pages of your website/blog and extracts all the URLs. This tool can automatically collect various other SEO data for you (internal links, metadata, response codes, security data, etc.).
The SEMrush Content Audit tool also audits your website content. It provides you with various data, such as social shares from Twitter and Facebook, backlinks, metadata, content authors, and content length for each URL.
Go to Reporting > Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages in Google Analytics to get valuable information such as page visit, bounce rates etc. You can easily export this data and then import directly into your spreadsheet.
To see exactly how specific pages are performing in terms of Clicks, CTR and Impressions, you can go to Google Search Console, click on Search Analytics and select Pages you want to analyse.
All this information gathered into a big spreadsheet allows you to get the big picture, based on which you can then quickly identify the content to keep, the content to discard, and missing content ideas that you can further develop.
If you are dealing with a big website, you can expect the analysis to take a while (days, even weeks). After you gather all critical data extracted from the tools into one crucial document, it is time to draw some conclusions.
Based on content quality, performance, customer experience, or all these factors combined, you can decide to rewrite or remove individual pages, create evergreen content pieces, or develop more content for the main categories.
Performing a Content Gap Analysis
Content gap analysiscan be defined as the process of detecting missing topics and content pieces that your audience is most likely to be interested in. The purpose of these missed opportunities is to allow users to move through the funnel (convert into buyers). When performing the content gap analysis, you need to have a clear picture of who your customers are (buying persona). Understanding your customers’ pain points is essential for creating the right piece of content for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Creating content around topic clusters
Online search has dramatically changed, and so have the technologies used to interpret and offer search results. 20% of mobile Google searches are conducted via voice search, so it is no wonder people are submitting longer, more conversational queries, which determined SEOs and bloggers to adapt their content marketing strategies to stay relevant.
Today, to get ranked in search and best answer the queries your customers are submitting, you need to organise your content around topic clusters. After choosing the broad topics you want to develop, you should create various pieces of content based on specific keywords related to that topic that all link to each other, to create search engine authority. By organising content into a topical hub, you allow your readers to quickly find the content they’re interested in so that your most valuable pieces of content get the deserved attention.
The Pillar page (named as such by Hubspot in 2017) is the core of a topic cluster. It is a longer piece of content which covers all aspects of the chosen topic. After creating the pillar page, you can write more detailed cluster blog posts that link back to this page.
Following this model, big brands that want to offer content that responds to their users’ needs turned into real learning hubs. For example, Unilever’s content hub, titled “All Things Hair,” offers various beauty tips for all hair types.
Goldman Sachs’ content hub, called “Our Thinking,” offers readers different types of content on a variety of other topics related to finance.
Airbnb’s Neighborhoods Guide content hub offers valuable information about a list of popular cities for travellers, all broken down by specific neighbourhoods. This way, travellers can learn specific details about the exact locations they’re visiting.
Analysing your competitors’ websites and blogs
Unless you have found the perfect niche, there are probably other companies who offer the same product or service as you. Therefore, when auditing your content and optimising it, it may be useful to look at what your competition is doing.
By using Majestic Site Explorer or BuzzSumo’s Backlinks you can assess the number of backlinks your competitor’s content pages are getting, you can measure social shares and other vital data that can allow you to identify overperforming pieces of content that you can use as an inspiration.
A content marketing audit is an essential step for a successful marketing strategy. By carefully inventorying your existing content, analysing the data you’ve gathered, and optimising each piece of content accordingly, you can cut costs, save time and stand out in front of your competition.
As an example, this Ahrefs tutorial shows how to get more traffic from Google by deleting and redirecting content on your website: