What is an SEO Content Audit and why it should be considered.
An SEO content audit is an investment in your website’s SEO future. It entails taking an analytical look at the entirety of your content to determine SEO strengths, weaknesses, and how to improve future content creation.
Through the review and subsequent pruning of your content, you’re able to remove dead weight which might have been weighing down both UX and SEO strength. Google favors quality and freshness in content over quantity. That is to say, Google is pushing everyone to update or remove four year-old blog posts that don’t get any traffic.
SEO content audits are for websites and businesses that have been consistently producing content for at least a year. They are meant to be a semi-annual checkup and recalibration. If you’re just starting out, you won’t have anything to audit and instead you should be focusing on building up a strong SEO foundation.
How to Conduct an SEO Content Audit
First, in order to conduct an SEO content audit you must gain a bird’s eye view of all your content. This can be achieved by bringing every blog post, video, and article into a single spreadsheet to allow for easy organization, evaluation and prioritization. Presenter Mike Roberts recommends a specific technique that involves a few SEO tools and a Google spreadsheet. Check him out explaining how it’s done in the webinar replay here on YouTube.
Once your sheet is complete, seek out and note obvious technical issues like 404s, missing titles, missing meta descriptions, H1s, duplicate content, duplicate titles, etc. Identify errors and mark them in the sheet and get a sense of common mistakes.
Next, organize your content into categories so you have a good vantage point to look at the relationship between like-minded content. Seek out outdated content, older content that should be redirected to your new content, content that is missing media that might have been made at a later date, redundant content, etc. In essence, find your content opportunities. Ask good questions about each piece of content:
► Is this piece outdated?
► Is it worth redirecting to another piece?
► Do we need more than one article or video about this topic?
► Can this content be combined with another piece to form something more valuable and fresh?
Next up is keyword research
Complete keyword research on which terms you’d like your site and your content to rank for. With your organized and evaluated content, see how it lines up with your target keywords.
Here are the goals of your keyword research:
► Make sure every article actually targets a specific keyword.
► Update or eliminate content which does not target a specific keyword.
► Gain perspective on what needs to be built by surveying what you already have and its relationship with your target keywords.
Now that you’ve organized, evaluated, marked up, and gained perspective on your content’s relationship with your target keywords you can now begin systematically pruning, fixing, combining, editing and deleting your content. Furthermore, you can set goals on types of strategic content to work on for the future.
Below are additional tips to help you with your audit:
Learning how to properly canonically tag content is very important, don’t skip it. Canonical tags act as a detour sign from one piece of content to another. They tell Google that while there are two similar piece of content, we suggest this one over another. This builds the case for a certain page to rank higher. (Learn more by watching that part of the webinar replay here.)
Use Google Search Console > Crawl > Sitemaps to look at how many pages you’ve submitted versus how many they’ve indexed. Work to gain Google’s trust by having at least 99% of your submitted content indexed.