There are a lot of elements and moving parts involved in content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), increasing the probability of human error occurring. However, you may not be aware of these errors until you perform a thorough content audit.
Once you put your content through this 9-step auditing process, you'll be able to easily recognize and fix issues that are preventing your content from reaching its maximum potential. Performing an analysis of your old blog posts will also provide you with insight into simple tweaks that can improve your SEO results.
This 9-step content audit is a great way to keep your posts relevant and evergreen, which allows you to establish yourself as an industry leader, increase your traffic and create more conversion opportunities.
What is a Content Audit?
A content audit is an in-depth analysis and optimization of the most popular posts on your blog. Attracting clients with compelling content is the number one tool in any marketing tool belt, and-while you might have great content-it takes more than that for your blogs to reach their highest potential. To get the most out of every blog you post, you must regularly take a step back and analyze if each post is performing as intended.
A thorough content audit will allow you to easily identify and fix any breaks in the system. Performing content audits on a regular basis is crucial to the success of your business, as it will drive more qualified leads to your site via blog posts, and increase the conversion rates of your posts.
How to Perform Your Content Audit
To get started with your content audit, you'll need a few things. If you have the budget to outsource the work, do so; otherwise set aside some time to devote to your audit. You'll also want to sit down with Google Analytics and get familiar with it. Using a basic spreadsheet data entry program will help you to see if everything is functioning as planned, and show you very clearly what changes to make if it isn't.
Now that you have everything you need, you can get started on your content audit.
To ensure that your blogs achieve the results you want, you need to analyze these 9 things:
6)Image ALT Tags
9)Date of Audit
These nine things should be the column headings on your spreadsheet, so that it looks like this (click to zoom in):
Now, export from Google Analytics a list of your most popular blog posts. You'll then want to analyze each of the nine elements to ensure that they're fully optimized. Optimizing these pages will give you the biggest return on your investment.
Once you have your exported list of permalinks ready within your spreadsheet, it's time to start your content audit.
1) Post Permalink
Your permalink should be short, keyword-rich and free of stop words (such as "the," "of," "it," etc). For example, the permalink for this post could be /blog-content-audit-boost-traffic/. Permalinks are important as it provides an easy way to link to individual blog posts.
Writing an effective headline is both an art and a science. Without a compelling headline, most of your readers will leave before even reading your post. Your headlines should be engaging, keyword-rich and entice people to read your post from beginning to end.
Performing a content audit will give you great insight into what your readers are most interested in reading. Analyze the headlines of your top-performing posts. What do they have in common? How can you recreate this success with future posts?
3) SEO Title
The SEO title is what appears as your post's headline in Google's search results. They aren't a necessity, but you may want to consider them for two reasons:
If your blog post's headline is somewhat abstract, you'll want to create something more keyword friendly to gain an advantage on Google.
Next, check if your blog post's headline exceeds 60 characters, including spaces. You'll want to shorten any headline more than 60 characters so that Google doesn't do it for you.
4) Meta Description
Meta descriptions are the descriptions of your posts that Google uses in its search results. While it doesn't play a role in Google's ranking algorithm, it could be the difference between prospective readers clicking on your post or scrolling away to something that does catch their interest.
Write meta descriptions that are informative and intriguing. Use this as an opportunity to stand out from everyone else.
There are certain ways to write effective and engaging blogs. Good rules to follow are to make sure your blogs are engaging, relevant and keyword-rich (but not keyword-stuffed). You'll discover over time from your own blogging experiences what is most effective for your specific audience.
Regular content audits will help you tailor your content to reach the right audience. It will also allow you to identify your highest-performing posts so that you can attempt to recreate the same success for future posts.
6) Image ALT Tags
Every image in every post should have an ALT tag, which accurately describes the image. Ideally, your ALT tags will contain relevant keywords, but don't try to force it.
7) Internal Links
Each blog post should have a minimum of two to three internal links that direct the reader to relevant posts or pages elsewhere on your blog or website. This will create credibility and give the reader a reason to continue coming back for more. The more you teach them, the more they'll want to learn from you.
8) External Links
Each blog post should also contain at least one external link to a reputable and authoritative source. During your content audit, check to see if any of your existing external links are broken.
9) Date of Audit
By tracking the date of each audit, you'll know when it's time to revisit any given post for further auditing.
While this 9-step content audit can be a long process, it is needed for each post to reach its reach maximum performance. Avoid taking any shortcuts, because each step in the process is just as important as the next.
A successful content audit will provide insight into what's working and what isn't, so your content is constantly improving. Compelling content is what brings increased traffic and lead flow, and isn't that what we all want?
Solomon Thimothy is the founder and chief executive officer of Clickx, which provides budget-friendly, scalable marketing solutions to small and medium-sized businesses nationwide. His aptitude for discovering and analyzing hidden holes in existing campaigns, and building long-term goals to fix and optimize them, exemplifies his "no shortcuts, no tricks" philosophy that creates tangible, real-world results.