Before you kick-off a content project and establish a strategy for said project, it’s important to fully understand the cards you’ve been dealt.
This usually starts with some form of content audit or inventory–two jargon terms that content marketers often use interchangeably.
But what do these terms actually mean?
Let’s explore how these audit processes differ and how they can work together to increase your site’s visibility around core industry topics.
Audit? Inventory? Which Is It?!
Content audits are hyper-focused on evaluating quality. Here, you’re identifying if there are pages worth scrapping, pages that have duplicate content issues, or pages missing title tags and meta descriptions.
A content inventory, on the other hand,functions as a catalog of your site’s existing content. Usually, this catalog will be a complete list (or subsection) of unique URLs on your site.
The end goal with both is to clearly assess what you have, what you’re missing and what action you need to take in establishing a sustainable content strategy.
How to Get Started
Phase 1: Quantitative Analysis (Content Inventory)
Cataloging your site’s content should always be the first step. Take inventory of all the pages on your site and focus on quantitative metrics, such as:
- How many blog posts do we have?
- How many different topics are we covering and how often?
- How often is fresh content being published?
- How varied are the content formats and types we’re using?
- How many pages have thin content (or no content) vs. pages with plenty?
During this inventory phase, there is no need to provide detailed analysis of individual content quality on a page-by-page basis (save that for later). After all, it’s likely your site has hundreds or even thousands of pages ranging from blog posts, service pages, product pages and more.
Instead, simply compile a master list of your site’s URLs and identify patterns that you can later use to assess the overall quality and organization of your site’s content.
Phase 2: Qualitative Analysis (Content Audit)
Now it’s time to really dig in and document your content’s greatest pitfalls and opportunities form a quality standpoint.
Depending on the size of your site, you may want to focus on a particular subset of URLs:
- URLs in a particular section of the site (e.g. blog posts)
- URLs focused on a topic you want to boost visibility around
- URLs that are driving the most organic visitors
- URLs that are experiencing a gradual traffic decline
- URLs that have ranking potential (e.g. pages stuck at the top of page 2)
During this phase, you’ll thoroughly audit the quality of content published on each page in your URL list. Ask yourself questions like:
- Is the content easy to find and navigate to?
- Is the content well written?
- Is the content thin?
- Is the content easy to skim?
- Is the content conversion-friendly where necessary?
After noting the above, consider these additional SEO-specific factors:
- Does the page have a title tag and meta description?
- Does the title tag contain a primary keyword target?
- Does the H1 contain a primary keyword target?
- Does the meta description explain clearly what the page is about and include a call to action to improve click-through rate?
- Is the title tag and meta description too long? Too short? Duplicative?
- Is the page interlinked with its corresponding pillar page?
Once this analysis is complete, you should have a clear sense of what action needs to take place for immediate improvement.
Benefits of a Combined Approach
Together, the content audit and inventory processes allow marketers to strategically measure both the quality and quantity of website content. These findings will lead to more informed decisions when determining content gaps, prioritizing content concerns, and enhancing semantic relevance.
With so many different ways to optimize an individual piece of content, having these processes in place (working together) will help you focus your efforts on the greatest opportunities.