How to Conduct a Content Audit - 5 Steps for Your Content Analysis

Linda Schmitt 9/29/2021

In this article, you will learn what a content audit is, why you need it and how you can implement this method.

Table of contents
  1. What is a Content Audit?
  2. When is a Content Audit useful?
  3. These 5 steps will help you carry out a Content Audit

How good is your website content? Which contents attract the most traffic to the site and where is there potential for improvement? Don't you know? Then it's time for a Content Audit!

To analyze success and uncover optimization potentials, marketers should regularly perform such an inventory of their content measures. We show you what a Content Audit is and how you can carry it out step by step.

Recommended Content Marketing Software

Recommendable content marketing software can be found on our software comparison platform OMR Reviews. There we have listed over 250 content marketing tools that support the creation and/or distribution of content on various channels and platforms. So take a look and compare the software with the help of authentic and verified user reviews:

What is a Content Audit?

A Content Audit is a qualitative method to analyze existing content for its relevance to the target group and in view of the set marketing goals. It therefore includes an inventory of the content of a website in terms of its general performance. Based on the knowledge gained here, ideally hidden potentials can be discovered and existing content further optimized.

When is a Content Audit useful?

You can generally think of a Content Audit as a regular inventory of your content for quality assurance purposes. After all, websites are usually long-term projects that are constantly growing and being filled with new content by you. Depending on the volume and output of your website, a semi-annual or quarterly Content Audit is recommended to maintain a reasonable overview. In such audit rhythms, you stay up to date on which contents are still topical and contribute to your own content strategy.

A Content Audit is also applicable situationally: A planned change in the content strategy, for example, usually also has a direct impact on existing content. An inventory here helps to identify the first contact points for these changes.

A Content Audit is also worthwhile for common problems in the SEO area. If your rankings fall or you fail to achieve your content marketing goals, an analysis of the existing content is the tool of choice.

Moreover, an audit is advisable when you want to renew your content world with a relaunch or supplement it with another thematic area: What can be retained and which content might offer inspiration for new things?

In the event of changes in the team, a Content Audit gives new colleagues a valuable overview of the status quo - and thus makes it easier for them to get started in the collaboration.

The reasons for a Content Audit are therefore diverse. Let's now move on to implementation.

These 5 steps will help you carry out a Content Audit

Step 1: The Target

From your respective reasons, the first goals for your Content Audit usually arise. Nevertheless, it is worth formulating these once again and setting them down based on your KPIs.

Wanting to improve the general performance of your website is a good starting point. There are two perspectives you can take here:

  1. With a view to user data: How do you improve the user experience?
  2. With a view to marketing goals: How can you best achieve the goals of your strategy? Which KPIs are important here?

Specific goals to improve performance include:

  • Improve rankings
  • Identify duplicate content
  • Find and fill missing information and gaps
  • Increase the informational content of the contents
  • Ensure the topicality of the contents
  • Stock up keywords

Step 2: The quantitative content analysis

Then you start with the quantitative analysis. First of all, you create a so-called content inventory, for example as a table in Excel or Google Documents. In this file, you then collect all URLs of your website.

Sensible properties that can be included are:

  • Page title
  • URL
  • Meta Description
  • Headings
  • Time of publication
  • Format/ Type
  • Content/ Topics
  • Keywords
  • Extent/ Word count
  • Author
  • Internal and external links
  • Backlinks
  • CTAs

That sounds like a lot of work now. Fortunately, there are tools that support you in the quantitative analysis:

Screaming Frog gives a quick overview of the URLs, meta descriptions, titles and other quantitative data of your websites.

Screenshot from Screaming Frog

The Searchmetrics suite provides a good overview of SEO-related information such as ranking keywords, search volume, and more.

Overview Searchmetrics

Once you have created a comprehensive content inventory with these or other tools, it allows for initial conclusions about your content: It shows gaps where information can be added (e.g. missing meta descriptions), or reveals outdated content that needs to be updated.

Step 3: The analysis of user data

Then you have a look at how visitors behave on your website.

Key figures here are:

  • Page views
  • Click-Through Rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Dwell time
  • Shares

Here as well, you are not on your own:

For example, Google Analytics collects various data about site visitors and under the tab "Behavior" specifically about their behavior. You can also directly export the data listed here and transfer it to the audit document.

Screenshot from Google Analytics

If that's not enough, you might want to check out Ahrefs which is a comprehensive SEO tool that supports you in both the quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Overview Ahrefs

The analysis of user data gives initial insights into whether your content is relevant and accepted by the target group.

A page with many views and low dwell time, for example, could mean that users were expecting different content and move on disappointed. Or it could mean that they quickly find the desired information there. This needs to be checked on a case-by-case basis.

In any case, the analysis makes any abnormalities in user behavior transparent that need to be examined in detail next.

Step 4: The Qualitative Content Analysis

Now we get to the heart of the matter: the content evaluation of the content. Here, there are two popular approaches:

The ARA analysis examines content for topicality, relevance and appropriateness.

The ROT analysis examines content for redundancy, outdatedness and triviality.

But your content analysis can still be extended by some other criteria. Decisive factors that we also like to include in the audit are:

  • Quality of titles, meta descriptions and headings:
    ⁠First, you should check if titles, meta descriptions and headings are present at all. Especially the length of titles and meta descriptions can have a positive or negative effect on the search engine ranking. They should be formulated on point and make you want to read about the topic of the page.
  • Tone of Voice:
    ⁠Check if the content matches the tone of voice of your company. Do the formulations, the address and formalities comply with your style guide?
  • Readability:
    ⁠Naturally, your contents should not have any spelling or grammar mistakes. A content audit provides the perfect framework to detect and correct possible typographical errors.
  • Scanability:
    ⁠Hand in hand with good readability is the scannability of texts by readers: Here, you look especially at the length of the text blocks and discuss whether you should supplement them with text-breaking elements such as lists, quotes or images to underline your statements and optimize the reading experience.
  • Reader guidance:
    ⁠A good content piece should not be the last stop for visitors to your site. Ideally, it guides them via links and CTAs to other, also interesting contents for them, which bring them a bit closer to your products and services. Therefore, check whether the contents of your website are linked in such a way that they proactively lead users to conversion.

With the qualitative content analysis, we recommend working with an Ampel System: Rate the above-mentioned factors according to the quality of the content with Red = Bad, Yellow = Medium, and Green = Good. This is what it could look like in your audit table:

Example of a traffic light system for a qualitative content analysis

Tools such as Clearscope support you: It rates the relevance of your content based on used keywords and terms that match the content of other top 30 results on Google.

Overview Clearscope

In the paid version, you can also use Screaming Frog here, as it checks your content for spelling and grammar.

The qualitative analysis thus takes a closer look at the content of your website. Based on this, you can decide whether pages should be left as they are, revised, merged with other pages (e.g. via redirects) or deleted if they really no longer have any added value.

Step 5: Formulate recommendations for action

You have thus completed the analytical part of the Content Audit. Now you can plan the next steps based on the insights gained. Ideally, you should set these recommendations for action for each piece of content.

First of all, you can answer the question of how the respective content can be optimized. This step should also clarify responsibilities: Who is responsible for the adjustment? Does it also involve other teams that should be spoken to?

Content Audit example

Et voilà: After these five steps, your Content Audit table could then look like this or similar:

Content Audit example

You have inventoried all relevant URLs including relevant metrics and can thus derive a rating and possible optimization measures, which you also record in the document. From this, the next to-dos for all stakeholders with content responsibility result!

Conclusion: Use the Content Audit for regular optimization!

A Content Audit is a complex process, no doubt about it. But: It's worth it!

And there are more good news: The first Content Audit is always the worst, because afterwards you know the process and know better each time which conclusions you can draw from your insights. If you establish regular content audits in your marketing strategy, you can thus ensure the quality of your content in the long term.

So that you don't have to start from scratch with your first Content Audit, we at House of Yas have created a free Content Audit template for you to work with. Good luck!

Anmeldung zum SEO-Newsletter von OMR Reviews

Linda Schmitt
Linda Schmitt

Linda Schmitt ist Marketing Managerin bei der Kölner Digital-Marketing-Agentur House of Yas. Die Agentur betreut mit einem 40-köpfigen Team Kunden wie ImmoScout24, die Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung und OSRAM bei der Entwicklung und Umsetzung von Content-Strategien. Ein Schwerpunkt der Agentur ist die Förderung von nachhaltiger und antidiskriminierender Kommunikation im Marketing.

All Articles of Linda Schmitt

Software mentioned in the article

Product categories mentioned in the article

Related articles

Join the OMR Reviews community to not miss any news and specials around the software seeking landscape.