It’s no secret that blogging is a core digital marketing tactic for a lot of smart businesses. According to Ahrefs, most marketers use content to generate leads and drive results, not to mention bolster search engine optimization (SEO), thought leadership, and social sharing efforts. Simply put, blog content is great for educating audiences, building your brand, engaging customers, and generating quality leads.
However, blogging is often a forward-facing strategy. It’s easy for marketers to focus on “what can we publish next” instead of “what can we improve” or “what no longer serves us.” According to the Content Marketing Institute, 80 percent of marketing content is either irrelevant or hard to find. It’s important to look back and assess the existing content that lives on your blog, much of which may be out-of-date, under-performing, or irrelevant to your business goals and objectives.
Like a health check-up, auditing past blog content and conducting regular post updates can improve the long-term performance of your website as well as your overall content strategy. Let’s break down how blog audits work and a few best practices for updating your blog posts.
What is a Blog Content Audit?
A website content audit is a qualitative assessment of all the content on your website. It assesses the strengths and weaknesses of your content in relation to your key performance indicators (KPIs). When performed correctly, a content audit will help you understand:
- Which content is performing best?
- Which content has overstayed its welcome?
- Where to focus your future efforts?
As you may expect, a blog post audit focuses specifically on your blog content. Over time, it’s easy to accumulate a ton of posts on your website. Posting once a month will yield a lot of content, and each piece of content is an opportunity for success. The content audit process is a good chance to identify which posts you’ll want to update (and if there are any posts it’s time to retire).
Why Audit Your Blog Content?
Who doesn't want their blog posts to perform better? If your blog isn’t being read or the traffic generated isn’t being converted into qualified leads, then you have a problem. Here are a couple of advantages of auditing your blog.
Make content easier to find
Google updates its algorithm about nine times a day. Older posts are less likely to follow SEO best practices or use out-of-date keywords. If your posts have broken links, bad keywords, and other issues, your content won’t perform well in the search results.
These issues can even tank a useful and authoritative blog post that supports both your audience’s and business’s goals. By conducting regular audits, you can ensure your content is optimized to current best practices and make it easier for your audience to find it.
Improve conversion rates
Just because people found your posts in the search results doesn’t’ mean they’ll click them. Your content is fighting against a sea of other posts and pages. Sometimes your posts need a boost to make them more attractive to click-happy consumers.
If you find that your posts are getting a lot of impressions, but not many clicks, it’s time to update what people see before they click on your links. Review and adjust title tags and meta descriptions to attract readers and fit withing recommended character counts. First impressions matter, so blog audits give you a chance to reintroduce your content.
Avoid content cannibalization
You can, in fact, have too much of a good thing. Over time, you may end up writing about the same topic or have difference pieces of content competing for the same keywords. For example, let’s pretend you have three blog posts that are written about the same topic. Instead of boosting your ranking, they’ll be fighting each other for the better ranking.
That’s a bad case of content cannibalization, which makes it challenging for search engine crawlers to properly rank your posts. The typical result is a lower ranking for all those posts. A blog content audit will help you identify which blog posts are repeating keywords and topics so that you decide on which to keep, combine, or delete.
Fix problems and improve user experience
Your website is like a house in that it requires some regular cleaning and maintenance. Even a well-crafted blog post can need some help over time. The problem is that you won’t know it until you check.
There are plenty of potential issues that need some cleanup – broken links, missing images, etc. Sometimes your internal links may need updating or a redesign or other change made some content assets disappear. There’s also a chance that what you did in the past doesn’t look as good anymore – tastes change after all. Auditing past blog content can make all these issues come to light.
Gain a big picture view of your content
If you don’t know what blog content you have and how it’s performing, you can’t improve. Conducting a content audit can give you a big-picture perspective of the current state of your content and help identify several opportunities for improvement.
When it comes to your content strategy, an audit will tell you what topics perform best and which topics aren’t gaining exposure. That info tells you more than just what posts to update. It also highlights any gaps in your content as well as your audience’s preferences. That knowledge is important for when you plan out your editorial calendar moving forward.
A blog audit will also tell you other opportunities. Is there a strong blog post you should promote on social media and email to attract more leads? Understanding how you can update and leverage your existing content will help your blog to be more focused and valuable to your business.
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How to Conduct a Blog Content Audit
It’s important not to rush into a content audit without the right plan. You’ll want to take some time to understand who your audience is and what your goals are to get the most out of your blog audit. You’ll also want to follow a handy blog audit checklist to make sure you take every step necessary for success.
Understand your target audience
Not having a clear value proposition or defined buyer persona can render your auditing efforts moot. Before you begin auditing your blog, you’ll need to define your target audience.
Create personas to identify your target audience. Are you writing for high-level executives or technical workers? Millennial consumers or retiring Boomers? Understanding who your audience is will ensure that your posts will truly resonate with people who will ultimately give you money or complete some other valuable goal.
Determine your content KPIs
Speaking of goals, your key performance indicators (KPIs) should align with your content goals and strategy. Identify the purpose of your blog posts as well as the reason you’re conducting an audit in the first place. Some KPIs you might consider including:
- Improve brand awareness (traffic, shares).
- Increase conversions (conversion rate, generated leads).
- Determine which content topics resonate best with your audience (read time, backlinks).
Follow a blog audit checklist
Once you have a solid understanding of your target audience and KPIs, you should be ready to review your content. This process can take a few steps, so it’s good to have a go-to content audit template or checklist to stay on track.
Fortunately, we have you covered. Follow this four-step process to get the information you need during your blog content audit:
- Take inventory of your blog content. You can use Google Analytics or Search Console to pull a full list of your blog content that you can save in Microsoft Excel or Google Docs. Make sure that each post can be easily identified by title an URL.
- Analyze performance metrics and data. Your spreadsheet should include essential information to evaluate each page’s SEO performance. Ideal metrics include:
- Organic traffic
- Conversion/click-through rate
- Target keywords
- Post subject/topic
- Publish date
- Review the blog content for quality. Check each post to see if they’re up to your standards. Give each post a grade to denote quality. This can be 1-10, A to F, or anything else, just make sure you stay consistent. Keep the following questions in mind when grading:
- Is the information up-to-date and accurate?
- Are there any clear errors?
- Is the post still relevant and valuable to your ideal audience?
- Does the post support one of your goals?
- Is the post written in the correct voice and tone?
- Evaluate on-page SEO factors. Every blog post should include several elements on the page. Check each post to review each element to see if it’s good, if it needs to be fixed, or if it even exists.
- Proper keyword usage
- Headings and subheadings
- Page title
- Meta description
- Internal and external links
- Images and alt texts
- Identify next steps. Once you have all the information, you can start to identify content gaps and create an action plan for your posts. That process usually breaks down into the following:
- Keep – No changes necessary.
- Delete – The post brings no value and isn’t worth updating.
- Update – The post needs work, but can be turned into valuable content with work.
- Combine – Multiple posts cover the same topic and can be condensed into one or can be improved by combining them.
- Prioritize projects. There’s only so much time available, so highlight the most important opportunities and focus on them first.
How Often to Update Your Blog?
Wash, rinse, repeat. Conducting a blog content audit isn’t a one-time process. It should be a regular practice that should also extend to both your website content and any other marketing channels you use.
According to SEMRush, most content marketers recommend auditing content once or twice a year. Those results will give you a clear idea of how much work you have to do with your current posts.
Don’t Have Time to Conduct a Content Audit?
Conducting a content audit can be a time-consuming task. Between reading and analyzing every post and depending on how much blog content already exists on your website, your schedule could be booked for weeks on end.
Whether you’re pressed for time or need a content expert, Aztek is here to help. We work with businesses who need a more comprehensive digital marketing program, including expert content creation services. Contact us today if you’re ready to expand your digital marketing efforts.