A thorough audit of your web content should provide you with a detailed review of your content measured against your organizational goals.
“While the spreadsheet provides great insight at the page-level, there is immense value when you zoom out and look at the data as a whole.” — Jennifer Kohnhorst, Bluespire’s Content Strategy Expert
The audit is conducted in meticulous detail, with evaluation captured in a massive spreadsheet. If your content team or agency is conducting an audit, they should be providing holistic observations that answer, at a minimum, these five questions:
1. Is my content dated, inaccurate, duplicate or irrelevant?
Hidden three pages deep in your website lurk versions of your old logo, defunct phone numbers and content for a product you discontinued last year. One of the primary objectives of the content audit is to identify and flag this fossilized and dated content.
2. Does the content on my website support my brand?
Your website is designed in your brand colors and has your logo in the left hand corner, but:
- How well do other elements of your site reflect your brand?
- Do you purport to put the customer first, but talk only about yourself?
- Do you say you value diversity, but only feature your key demographic in photographs?
Content on your website should deliver a consistent experience of your brand mission values and position. Even if your brand standards are followed to the letter, with many different authors and influencers, it’s possible for content to run amok. Rein it in by flagging problem pages, photos and identify trends that send an off-brand message to your users.
3. Is my content up to current best practices?
The internet is a dynamic, ever-evolving marketplace with its own set of rules. Every time technology changes, best practices shift. Take SEO for instance: once it was just about massive keyword volume, then it was about relevance, and now you should be optimized for voice. Look at device usage: screens get small (mobile), smaller (watches) and then disappear altogether (smart speakers).
Every time Google releases a new product, there may be an opportunity for you to improve your page rankings or conversions rate. While it’s never a good strategy to chase every new shiny object, it is a good strategy to identify new technology that has the ability to help you reach your objectives. Determine the best practices that align with your business objectives, then evaluate your content against them.
4. What content gaps do I have?
As your business grows your business goals may change, your product lines contract and expand, and your customer’s needs and expectations shift. But, has your content remained static? A thorough review of your content should not only flag flaws in existing content, but also identify content gaps. How do you know what you don’t know? Here are a few ways to map content gaps:
- By persona: As you review a piece of content, determine the intended audience persona and color code it in your audit spreadsheet. When you are done, you’ll have a visual map that quickly surfaces content deficits, as well as over-saturation.
- By topic: This is especially useful when reviewing blog content, and especially easy if you’ve tagged your content on the back end. Tally up the total pieces of content for each topic and ensure the content is meaningful. Also, step back and look at your breadth of topics and think about your business goals — are you missing opportunities to position yourself?
- By performance: Look at the best-performing pages on your site, in terms of session time, page visits or other KPIs that align with your goals. What can you understand about user intent or preference? Are there ways to capitalize on a heavily trafficked page, like adding a call to action? Is it worth building out additional content, like video, to frequently visited pages?
5. Does my website serve my overall content strategy?
Once you’ve reviewed your website, you should have an idea of what it does well, and how it can be improved. Now take another step back and look at your digital content ecosystem and ask: what content is in place to address customer needs at each point in their journey?
Look at your other marketing efforts, including paid, owned and earned media, and examine the role of the website. Your site probably isn’t, and shouldn’t be, designed to meet all your content needs.
Performing a content audit is undertaking the proverbial heavy lifting and there is significant pay off. Make sure to get the most from your efforts — and if you’re unable to answer the above questions, keep digging until you can.