It’s funny how I come across so many companies that pump out a good amount of weekly blog posts, but has never performed a content marketing audit.
What’s the point of writing so many blog post and releasing so many contents on a regular basis without knowing anything about your content’s performance?
How are you going to figure out what’s working and what isn’t? How do you know what topics your readers want to read next?
That’s why a solid content marketing audit is important. This means doing more than just setting up Google Analytics and looking at the traffic numbers.
A content marketing audit doesn’t take a lot of time and does not need to be performed daily, but it needs to be done to know your audience and how well your content is performing.
I do this for all my clients prior to writing for them to ensure that we have a plan set out that will bring them better results.
Never conducted a content marketing audit before? No worries, I’ll show you in this post exactly how you can do one right now easily.
Identify the top content performers
You always want to start off with identifying the top content performers. Meaning the articles that do best.
Which articles are getting the most views? Which articles are getting the most email subscribers?
Before you start, you should at least have goals set up within Google Analytics to track whatever your conversion goals are. This could be email sign-ups, trial signups for your product, or even just an ebook download.
Assuming you have all the goals set, within Google analytics, look at your Behavior > Site Content > All Pages report.
It should look something like this:
Switching this report to the comparison view makes the top performers even more obvious.
Usually, the articles that get the most traffic are also the articles that rank well in search engines.
There are two ways to see just the content that gets traffic from search. One is to use a segment. Create a segment for search traffic (where the medium is organic) and it won’t include visitors who came from social, email, direct or anything else.
Another thing you could do is just go to the acquisition tab to see where the users are coming from.
But our main focus, in the beginning, is just to find out what your readers enjoy reading the most.
That way we can generate more topics relating to these keywords in the near future.
To see the which posts are ranking and attracting visitors directly check the Acquisition > Search Console > Landing Pages report. Just sort this report by clicks and you’re measuring content performance from search per article.
You can toy around with Google Analytics to further narrow down different articles that are receiving good traffic.
The different types of content champions
Personally, I like to take a look at all the content and then split them into a different category that I like to call “content champions”.
This allows me to reoptimize old content and make it better and it allows me to add certain tricks and conversion goals to maximize the traffic coming in for the winning articles.
These are the type of content that receives the most attention. They’re the ones that get the most page views, most shares, and most engagement.
High search traffic pages. Also pages with high social shares and email open rates all fit within this category of winners.
Action: Link from these to your highest converting pages with internal links and calls to action. Add “related articles” links at the bottom to posts on related topics with high conversion rates. Add more call to action within these articles and link to articles with “weaker” traffic so that they can get a boost.
This can be as simple as adding another line within the middle of the article that says something like, “Related Read”
The second type of content is what I consider “runner-ups”. These are usually the pages or posts with low search traffic, but high link popularity / Page Authority.
One of the best tips for boosting traffic to these type of articles is to rewrite them and include more long tail keywords so that search engines will pick it up.
These type of articles usually do not have a problem with quality. They’re the ones that readers enjoy reading with a low bounce rate, but the search engine just isn’t picking up the traffic. This could be due to the fact that other sites with strong authority is outranking you.
Action: Repurpose the URL and rewrite the article. Make it a high-quality piece focused on a specific topic and keyphrase. Then relaunch the piece with a new email campaign and social promotion. Finally, use internal linking to pass SEO authority from these pages to products and services pages and to other articles and guides that aren’t doing so well.
Another trick you can use is by updating the dates to the article in the title. For example, if you have a guide on “The best keyboard for 2018” change it to “The best keyboard for 2019” with a slight update in the content as well.
These are the content that just doesn’t perform well at all. I hate to call it “weaklings”, but that’s what they are. This doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved though!
These type of posts need a lot of help. My recommendation for these type of posts would be to rewrite them targeting the newest trends and keywords. At the same time, you would want to make them more in-depth than before.
Action: These pages need help before they fall off into obscurity. Google is looking for the best page on the internet for the topic, so our first goal is to simply make it a better page. Add anything that improves quality, including details, examples, images, video, statistics, contributor quotes and answers. These pages also get a boost when you link to them from “winners.”
There are certain pages that convert REALLY well but receives close to none search traffic. These can be landing pages or subscription pages. They’re the ones that convince people to buy or sign up.
The strategy for these type of posts and pages is to leverage your winner pages to drive traffic onto these conversion kings.
Include all of these pages within the call to action at the bottom of every boost and do whatever it takes to include links from your most popular content to these pages. Pitch guest posts that refer back to them. You can even buy ads to these pages or try them in native advertising!
Making sure your content matches the proper guidelines
Next, create a section that assesses the quality of the content. Some of these metrics will be subjective, as you will need to use your judgment to rank their quality.
- Word length: Content with a word count of 600 or lower will usually have a lower content quality score.
- Uniqueness: Content that is very similar to content published on other sites or your site will usually have a lower content quality score.
- Timeliness: If the content has outdated information, it will have a lower content quality score.
- Topic relevance: Content that is very relevant to your products, services, and industry will have a higher content quality.
- Overall quality: Give a score of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the highest) to rate the content quality based on the other factors.
Now, dig into the search engine optimization (SEO) value on each page. Create a section in your content audit template that identifies keywords that you’re using and whether or not you’re implementing best SEO practices on each page and post.
Fill in the page information for:
- Main keyword
- Meta description
- Meta title
Answer yes or no to the following checklist:
- Keyword in content?
- Keyword in headline?
- Keyword in subheading?
- Keyword in image alt tag?
- At least 1 to 3 inbound links?
- At least 1 to 2 outbound links?
The information and metrics you collected related to engagement, quality, and SEO will help you determine what to do with each piece of content. Consider the factors and make a plan for each piece of content.
- Keep posts that have a high audience engagement and content quality.
- Fix posts that have SEO errors.
- Revise posts that are low quality.
- Update posts that have outdated information.
- Republish posts that are relevant and high quality but were published in the past and have low engagement. (You can give new life to a post by refreshing the content and republishing it on your website or using it on third-party sites like LinkedIn or Medium.)
- Delete posts that have low content quality, relevance, and engagement. (If you remove these posts, remember to set up link redirects so any traffic is directed to a new page of relevant content.)
Create a content marketing plan by:
- assessing gaps in your topics and keywords. Decide what opportunities you are missing and create future posts based on those topics and keywords.
- seeing how you can rival competitor content. Identify content that is performing well on other websites and see how you can create content on similar topics while increasing the quality. Pinpoint content gaps that competitors aren’t ranking for so that you can make content audiences seek but can’t currently find on competitor sites.
- identifying ways to repurpose and revise what you have. Look back through your old content to see if you can reuse pieces or whole posts to fill keyword needs and topic gaps.
Reoptimizing your content
Now that you’ve identified your most popular content, have a strong understanding of what your readers like to read, and know the different types of content winners, it’s time to put together a framework that will drive endless traffic into your content funnel.
That’s the whole goal of a content marketing audit. We want to be able to identify all the winners and optimize all the ones that aren’t doing so well.
Follow all the strategies and action steps that you’ve gathered from your content marketing audit and re-optimize your content in a way that will convert more users.
If there are any changes that need to be made to your content, then do so with each and every single article, then log into Google search console and have them recrawl everything.
That’s all for this article! If you need help with your content marketing audit or need help with high-quality content creation that will drive you more traffic, then feel free to reach out to me anytime!