What is a Content Audit?

Tedious and not sexy, but necessary, a content audit is a crucial step for your content strategy and content marketing.

A complicated process that is not quick, a content audit is an assessment of all the content that on your website. It evaluates the content inventory, so you know the value and quality of the material.

What’s the Difference Between a Content Audit and Content Inventory?

A content inventory pulls a list or catalog of the website content that from the content audit.

A content audit is usually done before a website redesign but is highly encouraged to do it regularly to maintain a healthy site. The audit pulls the content inventory and then gathers data to let you know if it’s valuable content. A content audit is a long process but is necessary to improve your content.

Why Run a Content Audit?

You’ll want to run a content audit to identify whether the current content on your site follows the business goals, adheres to the brand’s voice, style and tone, is for the targeted audience, and supports the editorial guidelines. During your content audit, you can establish a gap analysis between the content you have and what you need. It’s also helpful when doing a website redesign to discover any duplicate content—big no, no for Google—what can be revised and migrated. A content audit also helps you understand the life cycle of the material.   

How to Do a Content Audit?

A content audit is a long process. It involves a comprehensive spreadsheet, with many tabs. To paint a picture: one content audit involved one spreadsheet with over 20 columns, 10 tabs, 10 URLs, over 1,500 unique URLs, over 2,000 linked pages, and over 2,500 lines of data. In a nutshell, you’re looking at a lot of information.

The video How to Perform a Content Audit and Extract Meaningful Insights, by Paula Land from Gather Content, delivers robust content auditing techniques and is easy to follow.

What Are the Benefits of a Content Audit?

There is a whole slew of benefits! One of the most significant benefits of a content audit is the deep understanding you gain of the content on your site. You’re able to discover duplicate content, what are linked, if it adheres to the business goals and targeted audience, and more.

The audit also allows you to determine the value and quality of the content. We use a scale 1 to 3. If your content is a one, then there’s a likelihood that you don’t need to do much fixing. If it’s a 2 or 3, then there’s some work to do. The audit allows you to find content that’s dump-worthy too. Breaking free from crappy content is OK.

In other cases, a content audit allows you to discover if you can re-purpose the content, maybe turning one piece into two—now you just saved time and money.

What Elements Should You Include in Your Content Audit?

  • Title/Page names
  • Meta description
  • Meta-keywords
  • Meta-page title
  • URL
  • Content type (article, video, images)
  • Content description
  • Topics & tags
  • Ownership
  • Last updated date and date audited
  • Links (internal and external)
  • Comments
  • Social buttons
  • User experience

How Often Should I Do a Content Audit?

Typically, content audits occur right before a website redesign. However, we like to run content audits annually. Right around the time we update our client’s content strategy, content marketing strategy, and build our editorial calendar. It allows us to clean house and improve each year. It also keeps the website healthy.

Who Runs a Content Audit?

Anyone who works with content can do a content audit.

  • Content strategists
  • Editorial Directors/Editor-in-Chief
  • SEO managers
  • Project manages
  • Site managers
  • Information architects

Will a Content Audit Make You a Superstar?

A content audit will give you an in-depth understanding of what’s working and not. It puts you on an excellent path to bettering your content. So, will it make you a superstar? Not immediately. However, in the long run, yes because you know what gaps are needed to fill and you can see what improvements need to be made to better your content plan.

Read more: What is Content Marketing Strategy?