In the rush to produce great content, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself and skip the basics. A content audit is a foolproof way of ensuring that your content is relevant and targeted at the right people, and also optimised from an SEO point view. Carrying out a content audit involves going through your site and examining all of the key aspects.
The more thorough you can make your content audit, the better – there are no short cuts! Here’s our step-by-step guide to carrying out a content audit – doing them regularly should be an integral part of your content strategy.
1. Make a list
The first thing to do is to put together a list of URLs/pages of your website. This will give you an at-a-glance view of your site and the total number of pages to check. It makes sense to categorise them by section, rather than having a jumbled list. Once that’s done, it’s time to look at the detail.
2. Your brand voice
One of the most important parts of your content is your brand voice. It’s absolutely crucial that all content on your site reflects your brand voice accurately. Is your tone corporate and professional or informal and friendly? Do you have strict rules on how certain words/phrases are used? For example, our style for WooContent is one word with a capital ‘W’ and ‘C’ – not ‘Woocontent’ or ‘Woo Content’.
Refer to your style guide to check that all of your copy is on brand and in keeping with your tone of voice. If you don’t have a style guide, writing one should be your next task!
3. Internal links
If you’re not currently maximising the use of internal links on your site, there’s no better time to start. Internal links are a big factor in how Google views your site, so a well-planned internal link structure is a must. When checking your site’s pages, look for internal links embedded in text and body copy, not a list of links at the bottom of each page. You should aim for at least two internal links per page (preferably more, however).
4. Anchor text
Another must-have on your site is good use of anchor text. This is the clickable section of a link, and choosing relevant, clear wording for each piece of anchor text is another SEO winner. If you’re linking to, say, a page about holidays to the Caribbean, then ‘Caribbean holidays’ is a much better piece of anchor text than just ‘holidays’, for example.
5. Word counts
When you’re doing your content audit, you should also carry out a word count for each page. There is no hard and fast rule on word counts, but Google views any piece of content under 300 words as ‘thin’, so it’s a good idea to beef up any landing pages to 600-800 words (minimum). Detailed pages can go up to 1,500-2,000 words, too – but don’t pad out copy for the sake of it – the people who have to read it won’t thank you for it.
For anything keyword-related, Moz is your friend – it’s a quick, easy way of checking that your headers and meta descriptions are all in order. Your H1 (title) and H2s (sub-headings) need to be optimised based on the content of each page, and your meta description should contain your keywords for that page, too. The ideal character count for meta descriptions is 157 – if you go above 160, some characters won’t be visible on Google – something to bear in mind when writing them.
Big, weighty images can really slow down your site, and with site speed another key Google ranking factor, it’s important to check all your image sizes – a maximum of 250KB is a sensible rule. Take the time, too, to check that your images are relevant and accurate – if you’re a retailer, it’s imperative that you don’t mislead your customers with incorrect images.
Carrying out a content audit takes time, and it can be a laborious process. But do it well, and you’ll be well on your way to producing better, more effective content. You’ll gain a clearer idea of what you want to achieve and how to go about it – and your website will be all the stronger each time you do it.