Why you should do a content audit before 2019 is over

Why you should do a content audit before 2019 is over

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With the end of the year fast upon us, now is the perfect time to conduct a content audit. The insights you find will help drive your marketing efforts in 2020.

Emily Tatti

While the phrase “content audit” probably makes you think of the tax office, it’s not the tedious task you expect.  
  
A content audit involves analysing all of your published material to determine what’s working, what isn’t and where there are gaps to fill.  
  
It’s the only time you will look at everything on a holistic level, so you’re guaranteed to learn things about your business and your audience that you haven’t considered before. 
  
It’s also a great opportunity to make sure everything aligns to your current strategy – because odds are your older content will be working towards an outdated purpose.  

Consider this article part one of a two-part series. Here, we will outline why you should perform a content audit, and in part two, we will explain how to go about it.  

A group of people working around a table
  

What are the different types of content audit?

There are two main ways to tackle a content audit. You can look at things from a content marketing perspective or an SEO perspective. Or you can combine both to be more efficient.  
  

A content marketing audit 

In a content marketing audit, you'll analyse how your content marketing efforts are going across all channels. This involves considering how well each piece helps readers move through the customer journey (is it driving them towards an eventual conversion?). 
  
You’ll evaluate things like what the piece’s purpose is and if it’s achieving that objective, whether it’s prompting users to complete an action, how well it aligns to your brand and tone of voice, and how it’s being received (through user traffic and social media shares).     
 

An SEO audit 

Performing an SEO audit helps you identify how well your content is performing on Google. This is a good audit to do once a year if you can, because Google constantly changes what it considers important. You’ll evaluate non-technical elements like each piece’s length, how well it’s structured for online, and what keywords it’s ranking for vs. what keywords you would like it to rank for. This kind of audit does not look at the more technical aspects of SEO. 

In an ideal world, you would combine both audits to make sure your content is ticking all boxes, but it really depends on your priorities and how much time you can devote to the job. If you’ve been publishing content for a decade, then this would be a mammoth task, so you might decide to focus on a specific time period rather than all of your content.
  

What is the goal of a content audit? 

Once you’ve decided what kind of audit you want to do, and you’ve got your list of content ready to go, you’ll be able to slot each piece into one of these buckets:   
  • Keep
  • Discard
  • Refine
  • Develop

Keep

If you decide the content is well written and it’s getting good results, then of course you should keep it. However, there will still be actions to take. For example, you might discover that your amazing content isn’t getting enough notice and you need to point more readers in its direction. Or maybe it’s so good it deserves to be repurposed for other platforms like email and social media.  
  
Often, you’ll realise you have more than one article on the same topic, and that one is performing better than the other. If that happens, think about consolidating the articles so you’re creating a single, awesome piece of content (as we’ve explored on the blog before, Google loves useful, long-form articles).  
  

Discard   

It will seem counterproductive to remove content when you’ve spent so long creating an archive, but it can be harmful to keep low-quality content. You only have one chance to impress a new customer, and if they discover your business through a poorly researched article, they will make assumptions about the quality of your work as a whole and move on.  
  
As this Quick Sprout Social article explains, unengaging content also impacts your SEO ranking. If an article draws in readers but they immediately leave again, then Google will push it down in the search results, which can impact the performance of your whole website. 
  

Refine

A lot of your content will likely fall into this last bucket – it’s well written, but it could also be improved. Maybe the facts are out of date or adding an asset (like a video or downloadable guide) would take it to the next level. Or maybe you’d like to enhance its SEO value by incorporating new keywords and improving its readability. It’s always better to salvage a piece through editing if you can, because most of the work has already been done and you have a foundation to work with.  

Develop

There is one other thing that will come up during this process, and that’s what you haven’t written. Once you can see everything that your business has published, it will be a lot easier to identify (and prioritise) missing topics that you should be covering.    
  
In a follow-up article, we’ll explore how to do a content audit step-by-step – the tools to use, what to analyse and the actions to take.  
  
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Emily Tatti, assistant editor 


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