Tag Archives: Content Auditing

5 benefits of auditing your website content regularly

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Surprisingly, very few businesses and individuals realize the overwhelming benefits of auditing website content regularly. A big reason is that content isn’t yet considered as a valuable asset. It simply exists because, well, every website needs some text, some images and in many cases, some videos.

Or, people get website content for better search engine rankings. They hire an SEO writer or a regular content writer, get content written for their chosen keywords and search terms, and then move on. End of the story.

They don’t realize that they need to audit their website content regularly. Just like they need to take care of other business assets like machines, software applications, computer hardware, stationery and even human resources, they need to take care of their website content. They need to make sure that it is up-to-date, relevant and topical.

Why does a website audit seem like a daunting task?

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We like new things. New things are full of possibilities. New things are free of judgments. This is why we continuously want to create and publish new content while totally disregarding existing content.

Another reason why a website audit may seem like a daunting task is that normally there are too many web pages and blog posts to audit.

If you have been publishing content, in whichever manner you have been publishing it, over a period of years, you must have published hundreds of them. As you publish more, their number increases.

So, the mere thought of revisiting all those web pages and blog posts that you have published over all these years seems daunting. You know that it may take weeks, even months, to audit all those web pages and blog posts.

Undoubtedly, the process can be tedious and time-consuming. But given the fact that it can tremendously improve your organic search engine rankings and on-site conversion rate, not auditing your website content is a big waste of the opportunity that is lying right in front of you. You need to take the plunge. The benefits overwhelmingly outweigh the effort involved.

How to kickstart your website content auditing plan?

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First of all, you have to get hold of all the URLs present on your website. If you are using WordPress to manage your website or blog, you can use a plug-in that exports all the URLs onto a web page or into a comma separated file.

For a non-WordPress website, you can try the various URL crawling tools available on the Internet.

Then you can save these URLs into a spreadsheet.

In WordPress, there is also a plug-in that gives you a ready-made interface for content auditing but I prefer tracking your auditing progress in a spreadsheet because it is more flexible and you don’t have to install a dedicated plug-in for that.

Although you may have your own way of organizing data in your Excel sheet, I prefer that for every auditing exercise you create a separate worksheet in a single spreadsheet. For example, if you decide to start your content auditing in January 2018, you can have a “January 2018” worksheet.

In this worksheet you can have the following columns:

  • URL title (page title or blog post title)
  • Complete link
  • SEO keywords – keywords for which this particular link should be ranking high or is already ranking high
  • Conversion goal – why was this webpage or blog post created
  • Suggested changes – more content to be added, more optimization to be incorporated, old information to be updated, more or new images to be added, SEO tweaks to be done, and so on
  • Audit status – to be audited, being audited or audited, or whatever
  • Audit date – when the current audit is complete
  • Recheck date – decide the date on which you should check whether the changes that you have made are showing up or not. For example, whether this link is ranking for the right keywords or not or whether its conversion rate has improved or not

Having such a spreadsheet will allow you to track individual links, and also their progress.

If multiple employees or multiple content editors will be working on your content auditing project, you can also have another column titled “Assigned to” where you can put the names of people responsible for that particular link.

5 benefits of auditing your website content

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Benefits are a great motivation. Unless you understand the true motive of a thorough website content audit, you won’t be able to carry it out in its true spirit.

Listed below are 5 benefits of auditing your website content:

1. Make your content up-to-date

Are you still giving examples of MySpace and Google Wave? Are you still suggesting your clients to blog using Blogger.com? Are you still giving examples from companies that no longer exist? Is one of your web pages still telling people that Obama is the President? Is your web page copy still making references to Blackberries?

Then it’s time to update your content. The world these days changes very fast. The information that you used a couple of years ago doesn’t matter. The business tools you referred to 5 years ago are no longer available or they have gone through monumental changes.

2. Resubmit to Google

When was it the last time Google crawled and indexed your important links? Although most of the search engine crawlers do this automatically, you are never sure when your website’s turn is going to come.

When you audit your website content and make changes you can manually resubmit your link through the Google search console. This shouldn’t be done without making changes because if you try to submit content that has already been indexed, Google begins to ignore your resubmission requests.

3. Optimize your content for targeted keywords

Perhaps originally when you were creating/writing your content you didn’t pay much attention to its optimization aspect. Maybe now you have gained more experience. Your new links are faring well. You can use that experience to optimize even the older links.

Or maybe you have over optimized.

The Google ranking algorithm has gone through many changes over the years and SEO practices that were legit 5-6 years ago can get your content penalized now.

Maybe you have, unintentionally, overused your keywords. Maybe you have done lots of interlinking. Maybe you have used some black hat SEO tactics to gain better search engine rankings – back then you didn’t know that those were black hat SEO tactics.

Recently when I was auditing my own website content I realized that on many web pages I had stuffed my content with keywords even without realizing it. A few changes, some inclusion of LSI keywords, and suddenly my rankings began to improve for the same keywords.

4. Improve the overall quality of your content

Maybe you hired an ill-trained content writer back then because of budgetary constraints. Or you didn’t have much time to pay enough attention to the quality of your content.

When you audit your website content – provided you have assigned enough time to it – you get the opportunity to improve the overall quality of your content.

You can take care of grammar and spelling mistakes. You can simplify over-complicated sentences. You can organize various bits of content under headings, sub-headings and bullet points. You can link to other web pages and blog posts that can provide additional information.

You can also update the images. Is there a scope that you can reduce the size of the images? Can you use better images? Did you forget to insert the ALT tag information the first time?

5. Get new content ideas out of existing content

Getting new content ideas on an ongoing basis can be a big problem. Around 60% of content marketers re-purpose existing content. According to statistics present on this Smart Insights blog post, 60% content marketers find it very difficult to publish engaging and good quality content on an ongoing basis.

You may also like to read 15 ways you never run out of blogging ideas.

So, these are the 5 basic benefits of auditing your website content on a regular basis.

How regular you want to be, depends on your content marketing strategy, your budget, and the resources that you can employ to audit your existing content.

Having said that, auditing doesn’t always mean you need to change every single web page or blog post. You can also quickly check whether a particular link needs to be updated or not and you can leave it as it is if it does not need any sort of update.

Audit Website Content: 5 Reasons You Should Do It Regularly

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You should definitely audit your website content if, one way or another, your company has been publishing content on its website and blog for a few months or for a few years.

Why is it important to update your website routinely?

It’s because there are big chances that when you published your content for the first time, you didn’t get it right.

Maybe you didn’t optimize it for the right keywords. Maybe you wrote the content (or got it written) in a hurry and didn’t pay much attention to optimization and conversion. Maybe there are lots of spelling mistakes because someone who wasn’t a proficient writer worked on your website content back in those days.

Maybe you need to update anyway because your content is now outdated.

When you decide to or agree to revise your web pages and blog posts it doesn’t mean so far you have had inferior-quality content. Just like your office needs regular maintenance, so does your website. In fact, I’m pretty sure in the past 5-10 years you must have redesigned your website or blog multiple times.

Click here if you are looking for website content auditing services.

The same goes for your content. What you thought back in 2008 might be totally different from what you think in 2017. Your content should reflect your thinking.

Where to start?

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If you are auditing your website content for the first time it is but natural to wonder where to start?

What is content auditing and how to do it on your website

I use WordPress.org to manage my website and blog and there is a nice plug-in that allows me to export all the links into a text file that I later on import into an Excel sheet. You can create different columns to track your progress.

It is very important to know why your content exists. Does it simply fill up the pages because blank pages would look odd or does your content really have a purpose in life?

If you don’t know why you have published content on your website it will be very difficult to audit because then what’s the purpose of auditing it when you don’t know what to look for and what changes to incorporate to achieve what results?

So decide first.

Coming to a general question, why do people publish content on their websites?

Broadly there are two reasons:

  1. To have better SEO
  2. To have better conversion

Without content there is no SEO. It’s your content that tells the search engines what your website stands for.

For this you need to optimize your content using the right keywords. Whereas there is no need to obsess over your keywords, you should have a fair idea of what people are looking for on search engines to find businesses, products and services similar as yours.

You can decide for which keywords your chosen web page or blog post should get search engine traffic and then search for those keywords and see whether your link appears on the first or second page or not.

If it doesn’t, mark that link for a revision. Keep revising your links until they begin to rank well or at least you think that on the basis of your content, they should rank well. I say this because your rankings don’t just depend on your content; they also depend on the number of incoming links and many other factors.

So, before starting, prepare a list of keywords and search terms you think people are using to be able to find you (or your competitors).

Then you study how well the content converts. Is it able to convince people? Is your writing up to the mark? Is the tone professional as well as conversational? Do you have the right information? Are you linking to URLs that no longer exist or you shouldn’t be linking to?

content-auditing-checklist

Once you have all this information with you, you can start auditing your website content.

It can be a great advantage if you have been using something like Google Analytics to keep track of the traffic you are getting. Google Analytics tells you what sort of traffic is being drawn to your website. It will tell you if you are getting traffic for the right keywords or not. Google Analytics also tells you what links are getting traffic for what keywords.

5 reasons you should audit your website content

Although above I have briefly explained why you should routinely revise your website content, in this section I’m going to compile 5 reasons why it is beneficial to your online business that you routinely audit your website content and update it.

1. For repurposing your content

To stay ahead of your competition you constantly need fresh content. But content writing ideas are finite. Even content generation ideas for various formats are finite. But, you can get some new ideas from your existing content.

Go through your existing content and see if you can repurpose it – complete web pages and blog posts or some of their parts. Read How to repurpose old content.

2. For improving your SEO

Are your web pages and blog posts attracting traffic for the right keywords? If your important web pages and blog posts are not ranking well, maybe you can give it another try?

Maybe this time you can use a tool like Yoast or SEOPressor.

Maybe you could incorporate some longtail keywords. Maybe you can optimize the title and the description.

Maybe the first time when you created those web pages and blog posts you didn’t use alt tags with the images.

Maybe there are some inner web pages and blog posts you can interlink.

There are scores of things you can do to improve your SEO during your website content audit.

3. For improving visual appeal

This is something that I have been doing recently with my website content auditing. I’m revising almost all the web pages. I’m not happy with the images I have used with many web pages. So, I am now creating new images. In fact, I’m inserting many more images.

Previously I used to have just one image. Now I try to use at least 3-4 images.

The idea of using more attractive images came to me when I actively started using Instagram.

4. Improving overall quality

We are all constantly improving (at least I would like to think that). We learn new things. We realize that we have committed mistakes.

While auditing your website content you will realize that there are lots of quality gaps that can be filled. You can rewrite and rephrase paragraphs. You can remove unnecessary text. You can add some new text. You can make your paragraphs and sentences shorter. You can make the language simpler. You can remove difficult or needless words.

5. Streamline your information flow and structure

Even if your content is great, if it is not creating a story flow, it is not going to serve you well. For example, you have a home page or a landing page communicating a particular message. From there, are you linking to a page that takes your story forward. Have you organized your content according to your sales funnel? Is your content organized in a logical sequence? These things can only be improved if you have lots of content to audit.

Some content marketing experts believe that there is no sense in creating new content unless you have audited your existing website content, and I think this makes sense.

When you audit your website content you learn what you want to do and what you want to discard. If you don’t study your existing content you won’t realize what mistakes you are committing and then you will carry forward these mistakes into your new content.

How often should you audit your website content?

It depends on how much content you have. If you have thousands of web pages and blog posts it doesn’t make sense to audit them every month. Since auditing is an ongoing process, you can also mark web pages and blog posts that don’t need auditing so that the next time you audit your content, you know which links you shouldn’t bother with. Otherwise, I think once a year it should be sufficient enough to audit your website content.

How I’m using my old content to grow my business

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Your old content can be a treasure trove of opportunities. I have been adding webpages and blog posts to my website, credible-content.com, for years now. There was a time when I was just adding pages paying scant regard to their SEO. All I wanted to do was, cover as many topics as possible. These days I’m using my old content to improve my SEO and consequently, grow my business.

I manage my website with WordPress. Both the main website and the blog are powered by WordPress. There is a plug-in in WordPress that allows you to create a list of all the posts and pages you have published so far.

After generating the list from my main website (credible-content.com) and the blog (credible-content.com/blog) I copied the list in a text file.

Then I do the following:

  1. Open the URL
  2. Check its appearance on Google for the selected keywords and search terms
  3. If it doesn’t appear on the first page I start making changes to the text and the images
  4. After making the changes I run it through the SEOPressor WordPress plug-in
  5. In SEOPressor I normally aim for a score of 85-90.
  6. Submit the URL to Google and wait for it to appear in the search results with updated information
  7. Check the ranking again
  8. If the ranking has improved I delete this URL from the list and move onto the next URL
  9. If the ranking hasn’t improved I save the URL in another file to be followed on later on and then move onto the next URL
  10. I repeat these steps with all the URLs

There are two things though.

Being the only person managing my website, I know that it is a job that cannot be performed in a hurry. It may take me close to 6 months to analyze and improve all the links and I’m fine with that.

About SEOPressor and its score. I find it better than Yoast SEO. Call it superstition, my rankings have considerably improved ever since I started using SEOPressor.

Getting a score of 80-90 in SEOPressor doesn’t guarantee an appearance on the first page on Google. Despite this score sometimes the link doesn’t even appear among top 30 results or even top 40 results. It’s understandable. Your rankings depend on lot of factors, not just on-site SEO.

What I prefer in SEOPressor is that if you are over-optimizing, it tells you that. If you are over-using your keywords (when I am in the flow, I tend to do that) it tells you that. Then I make changes to make sure that the number of times a keyword appears in the text comes down.

I don’t like its LSI keyword alternatives which it appears to take directly from AdWords. Anyway, enough of SEOPressor.

Why do I save the URL whose rankings haven’t improved, for later?

This is my way of working on the website. Of course, when you are working on a client’s website you have to stick to a particular URL until you have done everything possible.

Have my rankings improved due to this exercise?

They certainly have. Over the past week itself my rankings have improved and I have gotten three business queries more than usual, just in the past week.

You can too use your old content to grow your business

This is, assuming that you have old content.

Whether you want to improve your search engine rankings or not, you should update your old content anyway. The things that you mentioned in your old content 4-5 years ago, may not be relevant now.

But the biggest benefit of updating your old content is that you can actually improve your search engine rankings for the keywords and search terms you were trying to aim at, initially.

Maybe at that time you were not experienced enough or you were not working with a trained content writer, but now you are (if you are).

I provide content auditing services. These services involve

  • Going through your existing content
  • Making a list of changes and improvements that can be made
  • Making those changes and improvements

Let me know if you would like me to have a look at your website. Contact me here.

What is content auditing and how to do it on your website

Image of auditing your existing content

Content auditing means going through your existing content and streamlining it according to your content marketing needs. You have been publishing a business blog for many years now, right? Even if not a blog, you must have created many webpages for your business website in order to describe your various products and services. You have your homepage. Then there is a company profile. Even an FAQs section. You may also have the testimonials page. And maybe many more pages talking about various aspects of your business and the sort of projects you have undertaken. The basic point is, there might be lots of existing content that needs to be revamped. Content auditing means creating a list of things that you need to do in order to bring your existing content up to the mark.

Is content auditing needed for every website and blog?

It depends. If you have always been careful about your content then perhaps you don’t need content auditing. The need arises when you have been creating content without paying much attention to exactly what you are trying to achieve, what sort of audience you are trying to target and what sort of results you are striving for.

If you take your content marketing seriously it doesn’t matter whether you have 5 pages, 50 pages or 500 pages, you need content auditing. Unless you have audited your existing content, you cannot claim to be taking your content marketing seriously.

Is there a precondition to auditing your content?

Totally understanding your content marketing is a precondition to auditing your existing content. For this purpose, documenting your content marketing strategy is of extreme importance because once you have started documenting your thoughts you know

  • What sort of audience you’re going to target
  • What sort of content you’re going to produce and distribute in order to target that particular audience
  • Which content distribution channels you’re going to use

Once you know what sort of content you need in order to make your content marketing effective you know what changes to carry out in your existing content.

What is the procedure of carrying out a basic content audit of your website?

What you need:

  1. Google Analytics
  2. A Spreadsheet Tool (Microsoft Excel, Google Docs or Zoho)

Although you can do content auditing on your website without using any tools but if you have got many pages and blog posts, using tools definitely helps and it also gives you a sense of things that need to be done. You can begin with Google Analytics. Of course if I suggest Google Analytics I assume that you have been using its tracking script on your website for some time and there is sufficient data in your Google Analytics dashboard to give you a picture of what sort of traffic your website is getting. What if you don’t use Google Analytics? Install the script onto your website and let it gather some data for at least a month.

Assuming you have some data in your Google Analytics account, go to the website that you need to audit (in case you are tracking multiple websites from your account). On the left hand side you need to go to the following section:

This will give you a list of the page views of all the pages. If your pages are arranged in descending order you will be able to see which pages are getting the maximum traffic on your website. These are the pages that you need to audit first.

In the “Page” column click the pop-up window link:

The page will open in a new window from where you can get the URL and then copy/paste the URL in the Excel sheet.

This way, one by one, you can transfer all the URLs to the Excel sheet. Mind you, if you have many URLs it may take lots of time so if possible, get someone else involved.

Once you have transferred all the URLs to your Excel sheet, you can start auditing them one by one. Again, it makes sense to audit the content of those pages that get the maximum page views.

Here are a few things you can change while auditing individual webpages and blog posts:

  • The web page title: Your web page title should preferably contain your primary keywords and it should be within the recommended length. For example the Yoast SEO plug-in suggest that your title should not contain more than 70 characters. Remember that it is your web page title or your blog post title that people see appearing as a hyperlink on search engine result pages and even on social networking websites updates. Make your web page title compelling enough.
  • The web page description: The description of your web page must be around 157 characters. Try to include your main keywords in the beginning of the description but make your description, logically, is as descriptive as possible.
  • The body text: Is your body text over-optimized? Is it under-optimized? Is there too little text on the web page or blog post? Can you include more links to other pages? Can you create more sections? Can you describe your products or services in a better manner? Is your content badly written? Are there typos, spelling mistakes in grammar mistakes?
  • The use of keywords: No matter what people say, the keywords still matter. So keep your list of keywords nearby while auditing your content. Make sure that your primary and secondary keywords are used in the body text strategically. Create multiple sections under headings and subheadings and make sure that these headings and subheadings contain your keywords. Create bulleted lists and make sure that these bulleted lists contain your keywords (at least a couple of times). Use your keywords in the hyperlinks. Make sure you don’t over-use your keywords. The most important thing is readability and quality of your content.
  • Alt tags for your images: Alt tags are very important – to make your website and blog more accessible to people with visual impairments, and also to tell search engines what these images contain. If you have omitted including alt tags with your images, now is the right time to go through all the images and add alt tags, while you are auditing your content.
  • Interlinking of webpages and blog posts: Interlinking means linking to webpages and blog posts that add more value and description to your existing web page or blog post. Suppose I’m writing this about content auditing. Above, I have mentioned that in order to audit your content, you also need to document it. Recently I wrote a blog post on documenting your content marketing strategy, which is a totally different topic. So instead of explaining it again, I have simply hyperlinked to it. It is not just good for usability, it also directs the search engine crawlers to this link in case this link hasn’t been crawled yet. When the search engine crawlers crawl your links they also crawl the links present on those links.

Auditing your existing content can be a lengthy process so be mentally prepared for it. It is not something that you can do in a day or two. If there are 100s of pages of content on your website or blog, you may need months to go through individual links and audit them. You may also need to hire external help. Go ahead, do it. Before you hire a content writer to write new content for you, it’s better to hire someone to audit your existing content first.