How to Do A Content Audit
Having high-quality and readable content on your site is crucial (central, really, though I’m pretty biased as a ***prose nerd***) for customer acquisition and conversion. A well-designed performance home services site on a stellar platform is great, but if content is missing, is overdone or is not educational enough, your site probably won’t convert as well as it could.
Are you looking for a solid process to evaluate your current site’s content? Great! Keep reading.
First, why do a content audit?
Taking a deep dive into the existing content on your site is a relatively time-consuming but necessary process for getting serious about enhancing your site’s SEO quality and improving site architecture. Seeing the total scope of content on your site allows you to pinpoint missed content opportunities, find places to improve, as well as use data to discover places to trim the fat.
Step 1: Take stock
If it’s been a while since you’ve crawled through your site’s content, the findings can be surprising. The first step to a content audit is to take complete stock of what currently exists on your site. Start by clicking through your site’s menu page by page, and compile a list of pages that exist. Then look at links on each page to see if there are other pages that exist but aren’t part of your site’s menu. Next, log in to the back-end of your site to check out any pages that exist but aren’t published (things like half-written blogs, inactive services, etc).
Compiling all of this information into something that’s actually useful is a bit tricky. Our team starts by creating a sitemap, a virtual “map” that shows all of your existing pages and where they live on your site (or if they’re unlinked), of your site’s existing framework. This provides a foundation on which to base improvements.
Before moving on to step 2, you should also take stock of two crucial elements of your site’s existing SEO value: calls to action (CTAs) and metadata. Check out #2 and #9 here for more info on those elements (the blog is HVAC-specific, but these SEO elements are really applicable to ANY company).
Step 2: Check out analytics performance
Without having some sort of sense of what is performing well on your site, it’s difficult to justify making improvements and changes. Google Analytics is our go-to for evaluating performance of content on sites we audit. If you’ve got GA set up, 1) good for you, and 2) these are the important metrics you should check out:
Pages leading to most conversions
Pages where users spend the most time
Pages with highest entries
Pages leading to most pages/visit
Conversely, you should analyze content with weak metrics:
Pages with least traffic
Pages where users are most likely to bounce
Pages with highest exits
This data helps shape what your new site will look like. Focus on strengthening the top-performing pages and making them prominent in your site’s architecture. Consider jettisoning (or making serious improvements to) the low-performing pages.
Step 3: Assess quality, page by page
If you don’t have Google Analytics to help you make data-driven improvements to your site’s content, don’t despair! The next step is to look at each page to evaluate its quality and effectiveness from a best practices standpoint. You’ve already evaluated metadata and calls to action; now it’s time to pay attention to:
Page Length/Educational Value
Search data findings indicate that longer pages rank higher. Are your pages long enough to provide educational value to users? Do they give an adequate explanation of your services?
Most users don’t want to see a huge chunk of solid text. If your page sessions are low and bounce rate is high, take a closer look at how the text is structured in your content. It should be broken up with headers, bullets, images and other components that can help make it easier to consume.
I’ve written about this topic before: strategic keyword use is crucial for page performance. Your content needs to incorporate phrases your potential customers are actually searching, otherwise it’s unlikely they’ll discover your content, your site or your company in general. By using a keyword tool (or two) to do some research, you can evaluate how effectively your site uses high-volume keywords and come up with a list of pages that could use improvement. Be sure to focus on your service pages here, since they are often the most lead-driving pages on your site.
Step 4: Consolidate & fill in gaps
Now that you’re equipped with content performance data and specific places to improve, it’s time to revise your sitemap!
First off, are all of your services represented? Are any missing? Are some of them over-represented?
For example, you probably don’t need 5 pages on mold remediation (unless that’s the core service you offer), but you probably should have a page for AC installation and another for AC maintenance. Trim the pages that are under-performing or of poor quality, or come up with a strategy for making them better if they’re important. Give more prominence to the pages that perform best and represent your core services. Your aim should be to strike a balance between granularity and readability, so going into detail without providing an overwhelming number of repetitive pages is key.
In addition to your core service pages, it’s important to make sure you have trust-building pages in place on your site. I’m talking pages like About Us, Testimonials, Certifications, Case Studies and the like. We often find these types of pages, particularly “About Us,” to be 1) some of the most visited pages, and 2) some of the least paid-attention to pages by content creators.
Lastly, does the organization of the pages generally make sense, or is there a rogue blower door testing page that somehow ended up in your about us menu? Grouping pages in an intuitive way helps users navigate your site more easily.
Nice! Now you’re rolling with an improved, data-based content improvement plan based on a solid content audit.