It’s important to audit your content at least once every six months. For many companies a content audit is just one leg of a full SEO audit, but it’s important that you think of your content as something important on its own. If you want to audit your content while auditing your SEO that’s fine, you just have to make sure you’re giving your content the attention it deserves.

Your first content audit may be a challenge and take a good amount of time, but once you get going and start to record your work you’ll find that it isn’t as daunting as it sounds. There are plenty of tools out there to help and strategies that will help you make sure you’re doing a thorough job efficiently.

Content Auditing Checklist

  • Check for broken links. I recommend using this tool to help automate the process.
  • Your statistics and links have to be updated, relevant, and still authoritative.
  • You should check the backlinks pointing to your content to make sure they are high authority and not spammy.
  • Always make sure there are no 404 errors on a page.
  • Check to make sure there is no duplicate content on your site (I recommend using CopyScape here).
  • The subject mater of your content has to be relevant, which sometimes isn’t the case when looking at content that was written several years ago. When this happens, it’s important to repurpose that content.
  • It’s a good idea to look at some of your top-performing content through your Analytics account and then featuring that content on top-performing pages, re-sharing the content, and working to mimic it in the future.
  • Find your top-performing authors and analyze why his/her content worked so well.
  • You should check your Analytics for under-performing content and/or authors as well. You can learn more about Analytics for your content here.
  • With the data you’ve gathered, you can then begin to create a strategy for the future. This will entail giving responsibilities to team members and coming up with a way to evaluate the effectiveness of all the content.
  • Add in more internal links where needed.
  • Make sure that your content is categorized correctly. Users should have to click no more than 4 times in order to land on any one piece of content (or page).
  • Remember that SEO audits and content audits will overlap. In this case, keyword-rich anchor text in your content is something to keep your eyes peeled for when editing. Google doesn’t like this anymore, so make changes when needed.

Content Auditing Tips and Tricks

The biggest trick to having a successful content audit is staying organized and not having too many cooks in the kitchen. You should be recording several different data points including the date of the audit, title of the content, keyword and/or audience notes, URL, and author.

We also suggested in a Vertical Measures article that you could also consider going about your audit in essentially two different ways:

  • By webpage. This strategy gives certain people certain pages for them to audit completely and then record.
  • By task. This strategy gives one person a task to look at for all pages. For example, one person will check all broken links and then pass it off to someone else to record audience Analytics metrics.

Use a spreadsheet to record all of your data. When you do future audits, you will then know where to start and won’t have to backtrack checking every link or every page. Many people choose to assign only half of the website pages first, then three months later check the other half in order to split up the work.

Content Auditing Tools to Help

There are many different content auditing tools out there that can help you be successful, so it all depends on your type of company and your budget and what works best for you. I highly recommend checking out a few free demos of the tools before making your final decision.

We recently published an article on Entrepreneur here that discusses top tools to use when completing an audit. Below is a quick summary of the top 5 most popular:

  1. Screaming Frog. This tools creates a crawl report of your website so you can quickly scan for duplicate content, poor URL structure, word count, 404 errors, and more.
  2. Online XML Sitemap Generator. This is the only free tool on the list and allows for you to create an automated sitemap of up to 50,000 URLs, so this is the must-have for larger companies.
  3. Open Site Explorer. This is one of the most popular tools from Moz, and it helps you to see which links are pointing back to your website and which pages are getting the most clicks on your website (so it’s great for link audits).
  4. SEMRush. This is a great tool to use when it comes to keywords and deciding which keywords are working well for your content and which you should be incorporating more often based on competition and search volume.

Do you have any more advice about content audits or any questions? Let us know in the comment section below.