In this post, I will share everything you need to know about doing a content audit for your blog. I'll guide you through the steps that I take to transform my content from 'great' to 'awesome.' Let's get to it!.'
I'm updating this post in January of 2021, but things have been fairly quiet around here. I'm just getting back into the swing of blogging again after a three-week break.
Every two years, I begin a full content audit for my blog. I actually started auditing back in the summer of 2020, and I'm almost done.
Yes, it's taken me over six months to complete. I have many blog posts, around 300, and each post has over 1,500 words.
If you don't need to learn what a content audit is, just skip this step altogether.
For clarity, I refer to 'content audit' in the online world. It is best described as the process of evaluating content elements.
In blogging, that simply means evaluating all of your posts and pages that contain content and then deciding what you'd like to do with that content based on the assessment of some critical factors.
You cannot successfully audit any piece of blog content without looking at key factors. Here is a list of some of these factors -
In short, some these critical factors will help you decide whether you'd like to -
There are many reasons why a blogger would want to do a content audit. Let me tell you why I do it for my own blog -
I audit my content regularly because I want to ensure that my blog continues to provide value and updated information for my readers. I also want to make sure my search engine ranking positions stay strong.
Most bloggers just want to make their content better to improve rankings and increase organic traffic. Remember, a blog that contains updated information is bound to attract new readers. A blog that contains out-of-date information can give the indication that the blog is dead.
Before you start editing a single blog post, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself about your blog.
Before I decided to audit my blog content, I spent some considerable time reading my old posts. I highly recommend doing this, as it will give you some ideas on how you can improve each post.
Reading old posts will give you an indication of how far along you've come with your blog. For me, it was strange reading some of the posts I wrote almost ten years ago. I could see how my writing style has evolved over the years too.
One more thing, whilst you are reading your old posts, you can make a list of the posts you'd like to audit and the ones you feel are OK to leave out.
Right, before I finally share with you my process for doing a full content audit (I promise you it's coming), let me talk about something vital.
If you want your content audit to be successful, you need to have two essential things.
Seriously, you'll pull this off successfully only if you are better organized and better prepared. And, it goes without saying, with a plan of action.
Patience is critical too. I don't want you to start off well, only to lose interest in your content auditing process a few days later.
Again, all of this takes time and preparation, so please, please, please be patient.
I've already given you a list of the factors you need to include when auditing each of your posts. You can use something like Google Docs Spreadsheets to help you track your progress.
Remember what I said earlier, it's about being well-prepared and organized to not lose focus. It can get, and will get, tedious at best of times, but hang in there.
And finally, here are the three steps you can take to successfully audit the content of your blog. Let's go!
First thing's first, and that's to do a full URL dump of all the pages and posts for your blog or website into a spreadsheet.
As I mentioned, you can use Google Docs, MS Excel, or if you're on a Mac, you can use Numbers.
It is entirely up to you, however, you really don't need to include categories and tags.
Now you're probably wondering how you gather all the URLs of your blog posts and pages?
Well, I used my blog's sitemap to find all of mine. I then just copied and pasted them in a Document file.
If you have an XML Sitemap generated for your WordPress site, you can do this too. If you don't yet have a Sitemap, install the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.
If you're using WordPress SEO by Yoast, there's a Sitemap feature included with this plugin you could use.
You can also export a list of URLs via your Google Webmaster Tools console if you have one. Simply navigate to your blog URL > Index > Coverage > Valid > Submitted & Indexed > and in the top right corner, you'll see options for Export.
If you don't use WordPress, or even if you do, to save a huge amount of time, there's a great tool you can use via the Screaming Frog web app.
The free version of the SEO Spider Tool will allow you to crawl up to 500 URL's. Click here to access Screaming Frog.
After finding all the URL's using Screaming Frog, you can then export them to use in a spreadsheet of your choice.
OK, so going back to dumping your URL's, I used Numbers Spreadsheet for the Mac to do my URL dumping and organizing.
Here's a snapshot of what my URL dump spreadsheet looks like. Pretty basic stuff, right?
Now that you have all our URLs in a spreadsheet, it's time to start organizing them.
What I do is first put all the URL's in one column under the heading 'URLs.' Next, I added some simple categories.
Using categories will help you make a quick decision about what to do with each blog post or page you want to audit.
I added the following categories to my URL dump spreadsheet.
Again, you can use this process if you wish, or add your own set of categories.
Let me dive deeper into each of the categories above and explain their main purpose.
1. Keep As
This category is for any evergreen content that I have on my blog. For the articles and pages that don't need much adjusting and articles and pages that are already ranking well and getting good traffic.
2. Make Good
In this category, I would add all the URLs of posts and pages that need improvement.
These would include posts and pages that are getting decent traffic and has good search engine rankings but have poor conversion rates.
All the URLs of posts and pages on topics that are more or less the same would be dumped into this category.
I would then find a way to combine these articles together to create a long-form, pillar article.
4. Remove (Add 301)
In this category, I would place all the URLs to pages and articles that clearly needs deleting.
These would include 'thin content' posts and pages that offered little to no value and received no traffic, zero comments, engagement, and poor conversions.
To avoid creating too many 404 error page-not-found errors, I would add 301 redirections to each post I removed so that they would point to another relevant piece of content on my blog.
Sometimes if I can't find a related post, I would just redirect to the category page.
I also use a purpose-built 404-error page on Magnet4Blogging, which helps users find the page they're looking for quickly.
5. No-Index, (No-Follow)
This category would be reserved for posts and pages that I did not want to delete.
These would be long-form blog posts such as interviews with bloggers, cornerstone posts, case-study articles that attracted a lot of comments, shares, and engagement at one time but no longer receives much in the way of traffic.
I would make these posts good again, keep them as no-index, and maybe promote them again from time to time.
So, as you can see, simply adding categories like this makes the whole process of auditing blog content much easier, but not necessarily quicker.
Now the fun really begins.
If you're going to make, and use a URL dump list for your blog's content auditing, go through each piece of content with a fine-tooth comb, and again, take your time.
I can't stress enough how important it is to take your time with this. Yes, it will be extremely time-consuming and tedious going through each individual post, reading line for line.
It's not a quick process at all, but, it will all be worth it in the end. The rewards from doing a content audit can include a host of bonuses -
Go through each post with your list of auditing factors close by. Once you've successfully gone through a piece of content, place it in the relevant category in your spreadsheet.
I spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour auditing each post or page on my blog.
On many occasions, if I have to completely update a piece of content, rewrite certain parts, update videos, podcasts, screenshots, etc., the process can take even longer.
Tip: Set yourself a daily minimum goal. I set myself to audit a minimum of 4 posts per day, just so that I wouldn't get bored stiff doing it.
Don't forget that as you go through each post with a fine-tooth comb, to evaluate some, if not all of the auditing factors I shared with you at the start of this post.
Put each post or page in the category you think it should be in, based on the data and information you gathered and analyzed.
If you want to, you could start with the most popular posts on your blog and work backward to the least popular. This way, you can ensure the best content is always relevant to your readers.
To finish off this post, I want to share some of the tools that I use to help me carry out my blog content audit successfully. Here they are -
So there you have it, a detailed breakdown of how to audit content on your blog.
You don't have to be an advanced marketer to do this. I did this for my own blog with zero knowledge or prior experience. Once you do it, you will be able to do it over and over again.
The very best of luck.