Around mid-July, I created a Facebook post on content audits. Like I said in my post, they aren’t the most “fun” aspect of SEO. They can also be quite tedious. However, if you are aware of the new Google algorithm which states that Your Money Your Life (YMYL) websites have to show their Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT), you should know that your law firm’s website has to display your expertise in your legal field. So, if the content on your website isn’t expert-level, authoritative, or doesn’t convey trustworthiness, it’s likely you need to perform a content audit.
What Is a Content Audit?
For SEO purposes, content audits include an in-depth investigation of every page on your website that includes content. Using Google Search Console, you can find out which pages are (or aren’t) getting enough impressions and clicks. Using a website crawler (such as Screaming Frog), you can find out the status codes of your site’s pages (301s, 404s, etc.), duplicate page titles, broken links, and much more.
After conducting your content audit, you should be able to:
- Identify what content your audience relates to the most.
- Identify content that you should make “evergreen” (content that is always relevant and not dated).
- Content you should update on a regular basis (e.g. yearly statistics).
- Generate new ideas and topics for future blog posts.
- Discard content that is no longer relevant or necessary.
How to Set Up Your Content Audit
Simply put, you want to find pages to keep, combine, and discard. The easiest way to keep track of your progress is to go to Google Search Console and export the Search Analytics (for pages over a 28-day period) as a CSV so you can use a spreadsheet format.
- The original URLs are in the first column.
- Number of clicks go in the second column, followed by the number of impressions, click-through-rate, and position (all found in Google Search Console).
- The task you need to perform (keep, combine, discard, add content, etc.) follows the position column
“Redirect to” refers to where you want to redirect the original URL from (if you are discarding or combining that content).
- Status refers to whether the task has been performed or not. I like to put the “rule” number (from WPengine) or “done” for each task I complete so that in case there are too many URLs in my spreadsheet, I can filter out the tasks that are completed.
Here’s an example of what your content audit spreadsheet can look like:
How Do I Perform a Content Audit?
Using Google Search Console (over a 28-day span) and a website crawler can make this job easier. Overall, though, you should be doing the following tasks:
- Keep content that performs well and still receives impressions and clicks.
- Combine content that is “thin,” or very short, with another page that is on a related subject that also receives traffic (for comparison, we try to make sure our content is 800 words or longer). Migrate the content from the thin piece to the larger piece, making sure to add in the appropriate keywords, headers, and internal links. Also be sure to combine duplicate content.
- Discard content that does not get enough traffic, doesn’t rank well, or that you feel is completely unnecessary.
- Any content you want to keep but also want to add new information to, find that new information and make note of it in your spreadsheet.
- If you’re curious about which specific pages get a good number of pageviews (so you can find out what topics your visitors are interested in most), Google Analytics is a great place to start.
A note on 301 Redirects:
It’s very likely that you have pages you’d like to get rid of completely or would like to move to another related page. That means it’s time to complete a 301 redirect (in which you’re telling search bots that the old URL has moved to a new URL permanently). While you’re performing these redirects, be sure to set the original piece of content as a draft. And, if you’re a WPengine user like I am, it might be helpful to put the “rule” number in the status column of your spreadsheet for future reference.
How Can I Take My Content Audit Further?
If you’re looking to do even more with your content audit, you can try some of the following:
- Do a competitor analysis. Find the content gaps between your website and your competitor’s website. What keywords are they ranking for (that they’ve written on) that you aren’t?
- Update your page titles and add subheaders as necessary.
- Update the meta description and SEO title.
- Add image ALT tags.
- Change the date last updated to today’s date, yesterday’s date, or a to-be-scheduled date.
- Find the queries (keywords and phrases) your site ranks well (or not too well) for and come up with new content pieces to create from them.