It’s easy for blog posts to accumulate over time.
As content marketers, producing new blogs to grow traffic and improve targeted keyword rankings is a top priority. But if you aren’t careful, your blog can turn into a hot mess - fast.
You’ll want to take a step back every now and then to assess the bigger picture of your overall content marketing strategy.
A routine blog audit uncovers the effectiveness of your blog’s organizational structure. Clean up your content library, resurface old neglected posts that could use an update or redirect, and identify gaps or opportunities for improving your content strategy.
How to Audit a Blog: A Two-Prong Approach
What’s the best approach for conducting a blog audit?
The answer depends on the current state of your blog and your intentions for improving it.
From an SEO perspective, do you have a vast number of blogs that you haven’t revised since publishing? Are the posts in good shape from a technical standpoint? Are any blogs overlapping in content, potentially confusing search engines?
Or, from a content marketing perspective, are you aiming to improve the quality and educational value of your content? Are you falling behind competitors and wondering if you’re missing out on key opportunities?
A thorough blog audit encompasses a healthy mix of the two above approaches. But as you might guess, conducting a blog audit can be time-consuming.
Depending on the amount of content you have or regularly create, you may want to perform a full-scale audit yearly. Review traffic patterns and rankings monthly to identify immediate optimization opportunities.
6 Content Audit Best Practices, Tips and Tricks
Here are the top six content audit best practices, tips and tricks that our content team incorporates into our blog audit checklist at Human.
1. Use the right combination of tools
Guess what? The best content audit tools aren’t always the fanciest ones.
An SEO crawling software like Screaming Frog is a great place to start, but their free plan has a 500 URL limit. If you have a vast collection of blogs or pages, you’ll want something more powerful and extensive in capability.
At Human, we use Google Analytics to export and pull all URLs and traffic metrics from websites.
Follow these steps to ensure nothing goes amiss:
- Navigate to “Behavior” in the left-hand column, and go to Site Content > All Pages
- Toggle the display to view all pages in a single view
- Then, hit Export and save as a Microsoft Excel file
Sort the data by page views, so you can get the best sense of where to start. Don’t forget to add custom columns for the specific KPIs you need to track.
2. Focus on data that aligns with brand or client objectives
Now that you’ve exported a list of your blogs, it’s time to zone in on the relevant data. But don’t just track any content KPIs for the sake of tracking them. Be mindful of how each metric attributes to the success of your content strategy - this varies for every brand or website.
For example, if you’re seeing a big increase in organic traffic but a decline in conversions for one blog post, you’ll want to understand why that piece isn’t converting as well as before.
Here are a few basic metrics to include in your content audit data analysis:
- Session duration
- Pages per session
- Bounce rate
Then, be sure to add any other KPIs that are directly related to your brand or client’s goals and objectives.
3. Come up with a strategy for identifying opportunities
Next, determine which blogs or keywords you need to focus on. To pin down the best opportunities, start by considering these factors:
- Keyword ranking: Is the blog currently at the bottom of page 1 or at the top of page 2 for a valuable keyword? Can we lift this blog’s rankings with a quick update?
- Keyword movement: Has the blog recently dropped several rankings or declined in organic traffic? You may need to revisit it to see what’s going on.
- Keyword volume: Are users searching for this keyword regularly? If so, it’s good to ensure your blogs are up-to-date and offering relevant, high-quality information.
It’s also essential to prioritize blog posts and keywords based on natural user search intent, as well as its impact on your business. Ask yourself these questions:
- What phrases or keywords is my target audience searching for?
- Are we providing relevant and accurate information that answers their questions and search intent?
- What stage of the funnel does this blog belong to, and how might it affect my business? Will it help drive conversions or revenue, or educate and raise awareness?
4. Designate “Impact Ratings”
You’ve collected everything you need to know about all your blog posts. So how do you figure out exactly where to start?
At Human, we use an impact rating (or numerical score) to determine which blog revisions, optimizations or redirects you should prioritize ASAP.
In addition to observing keyword movements and rankings, you’ll want to look at metrics like conversion rate or revenue. Traffic metrics alone don’t always tell the whole story.
Don’t forget to prioritize blogs that are timely or relevant to the current season, product offerings, special events or holidays, etc.
It also helps to add a “Notes” column in your blog audit documentation. Include further context on why you made certain decisions, so it’s easy for others to pick up on your strategy and thought process.
5. Clean up your underperforming blog posts
More blog posts doesn’t mean better. In fact, underperforming content can actually hurt your website authority and rankings.
If you have a high percentage of blog posts that aren’t generating organic traffic, you have 2 options: Optimize the blog post or redirect it to a better performing blog or pillar page.
Ask these questions to determine whether or not to keep an underperforming blog post:
- Is this blog getting very little traffic, or none at all?
- Is the content short in length or slim in information and value?
- Does the bulk of the content overlap with a more popular blog or page? Are you better off moving that information to a more prime location?
If you answered yes to any or all of the above, it might be worth 301-redirecting that blog to a higher value blog or landing page.
Remember: Don’t make drastic changes to any blogs that are ranking or generating revenue.
And, if you’re redirecting a blog, skim the content beforehand and salvage any pieces of information that you don’t want to erase from your website completely. Move that information to a more prominent place on your site.
6. Conduct a competitive analysis
After performing an internal blog content audit, it’s good practice to analyze your biggest competitors and look for opportunities or content gaps you can fill.
At Human, we use SEMrush’s Keyword Gap Analysis to put our clients head-to-head with their top 3-5 competitors. This tool breaks down what keywords our competitors are ranking for and how well they’re performing. We can also see the keywords that our clients are ranking for that we didn’t even know about.
What You Can Do to Improve the Quality of Your Site
Conducting a blog audit can help you understand the quality of your content and how you can improve it.
But auditing your blog is only one piece of the puzzle. Ultimately, the overall quality of your entire website influences search engine rankings.
Here are a few pointers Google says they look for when determining the quality of a page or website:
- Is the information trustworthy? Is the site an authority on the topic?
- Do the topics or information actually speak to the reader’s intent, or is it simply written in an attempt to rank well in search engines?
- Is the content edited, proofread and free of grammatical or stylistical errors?
We know that outsmarting Google’s algorithms is impossible. But by continually analyzing your content performance and prioritizing action items, you’ll have a clear roadmap for achieving your SEO goals.
If you need a hand in reviewing your content or website, or know you need to optimize but don’t know where to start, reach out to Human’s content experts for help today!