It’s hard to overestimate the value of an accurate inventory, whether you’re a manufacturer with a warehouse full of components or a B2B service provider managing complex supplies and equipment.
Knowing precisely what you have, and where to find it, keeps your operations running efficiently, and that saves your company time and money.
As inbound marketers, we apply those same principles to the content we create. A marketing content audit shows you clearly the content assets you have — and what you’re missing.
Without regular content audits, it’s easy to become overstocked with content on some subjects while neglecting other topics — and missing important opportunities to attract, engage, and delight important target audiences.
From an SEO perspective, it’s also vital to understand that low-quality, outdated, or underperforming content can all drag down your website’s authority from Google’s point of view. That can contribute to a SERP position spiral.
The process of auditing can fuel fresh ideas, highlight opportunities for repurposing existing content, help you make significant SEO improvements, and eliminate the stress of filling your editorial calendar to meet your content marketing strategy objectives.
So here’s how you can take a systematic approach to your next content marketing audit, and how to make the best use of the information you uncover.
Why Audit Your Content Marketing Inventory?
If you’ve been using content marketing techniques consistently for many years, it’s likely that your website now has amassed many pages — maybe more than 10,000. While you might think all that information adds up to demonstrate experience and expertise in your industry, that many web pages can add up to an inflated site.
Slimming things down makes it easier for Google to recognize the most important content when crawling your website. It helps limit keyword cannibalization, which happens when you use too many of the same or similar keywords throughout, and search engines can’t figure out which content to prioritize.
What’s more, content that’s no longer relevant or accurate can weaken your brand. Eliminating outdated, redundant, or too-similar content makes it easier for users to find the best information you have to offer — demonstrating how well you understand their challenges and how confident you are in the value of your solutions.
What Content Should You Audit?
Setting an organizational approach and structure ensures that your content analysis for marketing doesn’t miss any of the blogs, eBooks, infographics, white papers, guides, tip sheets, videos, and other content you’ve created over time.
You don’t need specialized software; a simple spreadsheet will do. Admittedly, manually tracking your marketing content has its drawbacks, but the simplicity of a spreadsheet can make it easy to update when you publish new items. To make your spreadsheet an effective living document, and so it’s always up-to-date and easy for team members to access and contribute to, consider using Google Sheets (or, take a look at some of these alternatives to Microsoft Excel).
If you’ve been publishing content for years and have accumulated a vast inventory, gathering every piece can be daunting. Your marketing automation software is another important tool to streamline the audit process. In HubSpot, you can sort by page type (e.g., blogs, landing pages, site pages, etc.) and export lists of each content type along with other important information, including:
Once you’ve gathered all the information, organize it as best suits your needs. Depending on your organizational style and the size of your content collection, you might have columns by content type, or a whole tab within the spreadsheet dedicated to each type.
How to Evaluate & Analyze Content
You’ll need to determine the criteria and data that matter most to you, to evaluate how well your content performs to achieve your goals, and to measure, track, tweak, and add content to move the needle on your inbound program.
Regular keyword research and updates should help you review your topic clusters, to make sure your blogs, pages, and downloadable content reflect the needs of your audience, and that keywords match user intent.
Use analytics to evaluate the performance of blog posts and advanced content over the previous one-year period, based on key metrics including:
We rely on HubSpot for analytics, but SEMrush, Screaming Frog, and other third-party applications can put the data you need easily within reach to conduct a more extensive content analysis for marketing value.
Save a step! Get our sample content audit worksheet.
Act On Your Audit Results
Once you’ve accounted for every page and piece of content, and collected the relevant performance data to see what’s delivering strong results and what’s dragging you down, it’s easy to make decisions and take the appropriate actions:
1. Remove What Doesn’t Serve You
Get rid of duplicate articles or content offers and posts that promote past events or highlight products or services that have since been discontinued. Redirect those pages to better-performing blog posts or pillar pages that cover the same topic.
2. Improve What You Can
Next, identify articles that could be technically optimized for better performance, for quick-win improvements. Take a few simple, big-impact optimization steps, such as:
Updating H1-level headings, meta titles, and URLs with target keywords
Making sure high-performing blogs are linked to and from pillar pages
Keyword-optimizing blogs that rank at least 10-19
Removing dates from blog headings
Analyzing and improving CTAs on high-traffic, low-conversion content
3. Consolidate Untapped Value
Several lower-performing articles can be combined into one longer, more in-depth article that will likely get better results. It’s smart to incorporate these assignments into your editorial calendar, since they demand extra research and writing.
4. Keep What Works
Give articles and content published in the past year time to accrue value. Solidly performing articles with keyword rankings between 1 and 9 can stay without intervention or optimization.
5. Mind the Gaps
Finally, take a close look at what may still be missing. Even the biggest, broadest content collections can leave spaces where users’ searches and needs have not been fully addressed. Those are the new opportunities your content audit and analysis can help you unearth. Build those new articles and advanced content assignments into your next editorial calendar.
The content audit is an essential, fundamental first step in ensuring you have the content you need, and you’re doing all you can to leverage that content for the best possible inbound marketing value.
With a few additional steps, you can realize even greater performance and inbound value from the content you already have. Our tipsheet, Your How-To Guide to Repurposed Content, can help you get started making the best use of the content you’ve worked hard to create. Click the link below to claim your copy.
Posted by Mary Rockman Mary is responsible for providing support for inbound marketing campaigns, content distribution and data analytics to improve client results. She has a passion for creating excellent events, organizing details and asking insightful questions. She is also the Appleton HubSpot User Group leader and champion of Weidert Group's flagship annual event, Experience Inbound marketing & sales conference.