My first tip is to set up an assessment criteria upfront, depending how big your website is and how much content you have, this criteria will help you filter through and make the audit more manageable for you. It’s important to align that criteria with your objectives so you can keep, cull, or re-work what’s most important to you. That might mean taking a closer look at your personas, going back to basics by making sure if a piece of content is hoping to either engage users, build the brand, or focus on conversions.
Think about what ‘good’ looks like for you in your industry. One industry page might look completely different to another industry, so benchmark against your competitors to understand what good looks like for your sector, and then you can understand where you’re performing against those benchmarks.
This leads me on to drawing upon all the data sources available to you. For example, Screaming Frog and Google Analytics. Take a look at what you’ve got with Screaming Frog and cross-reference it with Google Analytics, see which pieces of content are getting traffic, or if it once did and then petered off over time. If it is receiving traffic, where is that traffic coming from? Also, cross-reference with Google Search Console and your keyword ranking reports, make sure that your content pieces, if they do have traffic in the organic search landscape, aren’t losing traffic, you only want to build upon the traffic they have.
Having said that, it’s also worth being mindful of other channels. For example, I’ve seen a blog that wasn’t ranking well from an organic perspective, but had really high engagement rates and good volumes of traffic coming from social. So, don’t forget to consider the bigger picture, talk to your teams and understand the business needs as a whole. You don’t want to lose a piece of content that’s working well for your users or for your sales team.
It goes without saying that the audit should lead to action. Decide upfront how you’re planning to tackle the audit findings, especially if you’re in a bigger team. Outline responsibilities from the start, set yourself some deadlines and have those checklists, which David and Greg shared, to help keep you on track and not forget anything as you’re working through. The checklist might look different depending on how the content is performing and what the objectives of that piece is. If it’s getting good traffic, ranking well, and is still relevant in date, that’s brilliant, but then you might want to consider what the exit rate is like.
Can you signpost the user to another piece of content or add in another relevant next step to retain and engage that user further? There’s always small improvements and tweaks that we can make. If it used to get good traffic, but it’s dropped off, or if it’s been indexed in Google but not ranking very highly, you will want to update that. Take a closer look at your meta tags, refresh your copy, is it keyword optimized, can you add any additional value into that piece, all of the things that have been mentioned earlier. Some of the content may need rewriting or re-working completely, it might be that it’s really content light, and in hindsight, you might want to expand on the topic completely.
This is where I’ve really found Google’s guidance to self-assess your quality content helpful. It gives you a guide to be really critical. Greg mentioned earlier about that creator bias, having a checklist from Google to really question if you meet the searcher intent here, are providing value to the user or being unique and original in my content. Sometimes having these questions from an external source can really drill you down into what you need to do to be top of the game. If you’ve got more than one piece of content on the same or similar topic, consolidate them. Having multiple pieces of content can cause mixed signals. 10 blogs definitely are not better than one. Make sure that any unpublished content is redirected to the next relevant alternative destination as well.