Some of the content on your site might have been there for 15 years essentially gathering dust; gaining little to no traffic nor impressions. You need a content marketing strategy and a content audit will help immensely with this especially when updating or upcycling your content. An SEO content audit will analyse all of the content on your site, taking into account performance, off–page metrics and relevance so you can either optimise the content you have or get rid of it. We’d recommend doing an SEO content audit at least every 12 months.
Why do I need to do a content audit?
Content is valuable to your eCommerce site for a multitude of reasons, in particular for SEO. If you’re about to go through a site migration, an SEO content audit can help you make a decision on which content gets transferred across and which content isn’t worth keeping; in particular low performing content. With so many Google updates, from Panda to EAT, keeping your content updated is key to helping your site rank and boost its trustworthiness and authority.
Your content can also become irrelevant, with changing trends and consumer behaviour; content can quickly become outdated and need a refresh.
How to do a content audit?
There’s a few steps you can take when it comes to a content audit, first you’ll want to look at defining your goals for the audit.
Define content goal
Are you looking to increase traffic to certain content, get rid of old content before a site migration or overhaul your content completely? Remember to take into consideration your business goals too.
Collect and Categorise content
Content can come in a number of forms with blogs URLs, product pages, pdf, video, category landing pages and other media. You will then need to collect all of the URLs on the site that you want to audit which you can do manually or use an SEO content audit tool such as Screaming Frog or Semrush
Choose a content audit tool to use and analyse your content
You can do it manually but a content audit tool will save you considerable time with them automatically collating URLs and providing analysis. Content audit tools will also help you to categorise your content into type, date, and content formats.
After analysing all of your content, the results will hopefully have given you an idea of what to do with the content. Pages with a low ranking but high search volume could be optimised, and pages with a low ranking, low search volume, and outdated content could be cleared out if they have no potential. However, take your industry knowledge into account, don’t delete something with low search volumes if it is relevant to your business, and optimise the page anyway. Outdated content can be updated too depending on what it is. If it’s an old event, that can probably go but a guide/how-to page can be updated.
How to analyse content audit data?
So how do you analyse your content audit data? To do this you’ll need to locate opportunities in your content, find where your content is poor or underperforming and also look at the content that needs optimising or updating. For instance, if you’ve done a blog post on social media image sizes, the sizes are continuously updating and your blog post may very well have incorrect information.
You’ll also want to look into the content that is performing well for you, you can then repurpose this content or build your content strategy around content that is getting the best engagement. You can look at page organic CTR (using Google Search Console data) and find out if you can tweak the metadata to improve an article that already ranks well but doesn’t get that many clicks. If the page is already up to date, ranking #1, and has good CTR, you may want to leave it as it is. Once you know what to keep, ditch, or improve you need to prioritise because depending on the site it could be thousands of pages. The key steps are:
Export all of your landing page URLs
Categorise into the content type and publication date
Identify the main keyword and search volumes for this
Rank content based on priorities
Determine which content needs deleting, optimising or left
How to optimise old website content
So now that you’ve categorised and analysed your content, in turn, completing your content audit; you can now evaluate which content can be optimised. When it comes to optimising your content you’ll want to first do an audit of the page itself; looking at page views, bounce rate, average time spent on the page, and the current ranking for the chosen keyword. Compare these to the metrics on your entire site so you can look at areas for improvement.
Next look into recommendations for improvements on the page. Does the imagery need optimising with correct alt text, and clickable imagery (open in a new tab) or is not even showing correctly? Does the on-page optimisation include the main keyword in the SEO title, meta description and H1? Does the SEO title & meta description fit within the character allowance? Are there any broken links on the page that need updating? You’ll also want to look into the relevance of the current keyword, whether there are people still searching for it, or whether there is an alternative that you can replace it with.
Check relevance of keyword
Compare bounce rate, average time spent on page and page views to the rest of your site
SEO content audit tools
We’d recommend using SEO content audit tools for your content audit. Here are just a few that we use:
Screaming Frog is a website crawler that pulls URLs from your sitemap. It can audit up to 500 links for free if you have a small site. However, with the free version you can’t use any of the APIs so we’d recommend using in conjunction with Google Search Console and Google Analytics APIs so that for each URL you will get GA data, GSC visibility metrics and it offers you a wealth of analysis about your website. Alternatively, you can use the paid version in which you can use all of their APIs which takes less time. The audit is SEO-based, so it also provides information on how to improve your SEO, which, depending on your objectives, may be useful.
Users of Semrush can obtain a thorough audit in three easy steps. You can get a tailored report that outlines how to improve your site. You can connect to your Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts, if you want to see more information about your sitemap, such as the articles that are most well-liked by your audience. SEMrush will highlight obvious content issues such as pages with duplicate content or duplicate metadata that could also indicate other areas of the site affected by duplicate content.
Google Analytics is great when used in conjunction with another SEO audit tool. It will give you a detailed breakdown of the visitors to your content, how long they stay on the page and the bounce and exit rate.
Google Search Console
One of the most underutilised SEO tools is Google Search Console which is a free tool designed by Google to examine and track information about your website and organic search results and site health. Again similar to Google Analytics, it’s to be used in conjunction with an SEO Audit tool such as Semrush or Screaming Frog when conducting an SEO content audit.
Google Search Console also provides an API that can be used on Screaming Frog that will extract information data about any URL on your website. There are daily quota limits but this can be run on your top pages to quickly spot any indexation problems and address them.
Key issues with content
There are a few key things to look out for in your content audit that will help Google to index your content that aren’t just the obvious content pieces such as blog posts.
Check Ranks vs Clicks vs Estimated Search Volumes
For all URLs listed in your document, check the average rank, current traffic to the landing page and CTR. If a page ranks well and the query has good search volume but low click, there might be an opportunity to optimise the meta data to improve CTR. If a URL has low ranking for a given query but your landing page is relevant to the keyword, there might be an opportunity to review the content to improve its organic visibility.
Missing category descriptions
A lot of eCommerce websites will not properly fill in category descriptions on both categories and subcategories. Category descriptions are useful to provide information about the content of the page and main products to both users and search engines.
Duplicate content is also a common issue on eCommerce websites, particularly on product landing pages. This happens when the content of a page is too similar to another internal page.
Redirecting to non-indexable resources
With internal linking always make sure it’s linked to indexable resources.
Implementing the findings of the audit can improve the overall visibility of content in the search engines; making your content rank higher, gain more traffic and ultimately increase your conversions. Get in touch to get started with your content audit.