Content auditing may not be the most exciting part of your content program this doesn’t detract from its importance. Knowing exactly what content your website contains allows resources to be allocated effectively, in addition to this it enables the quality of your website content to be analysed and adjusted accordingly giving you the opportunity to focus on the areas which require improvement. Content expert Kristina Halvorson suggests a number of benefits offered by auditing a website’s content such as
- Help you to scope and budget for a content project
- Give you a clear understanding of what you have and where it lives, even if only to being thinking about maintenance or content removal
- Serve as a reference for source (or existing) content during content development, making it a highly efficient tool for writers and other content creators to keep track of what they have to work with
Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach: Content Strategy for the web(2012)
Moz.com suggest further advantages which are detailed below, the difference in the advantages is due to the different focus of Ms Halvorson who is a content strategist and Moz.com which is a SEO based website and service.
- Determine the most effective way to escape a Panda penalty
- Determine which pages need copywriting / editing
- Determine which pages need to be updated and made more current, and prioritize them
- Determine which pages should be consolidated due to overlapping topics
- Determine which pages should be pruned off the site, and what the approach to pruning should be
- Prioritize content based on a variety of metrics (e.g. visits, conversions, PA, copyscape risk score…)
- Find content gap opportunities to drive content ideation and editorial calendars
- Determine which pages are ranking for which keywords
- Determine which pages “should” be ranking for which keywords
- Find the strongest pages on a domain and develop a strategy to leverage them
- Uncover content marketing opportunities
- Auditing and creating an inventory of content assets when buying/selling a website
- Understanding the content assets of a new client (i.e. what you have to work with)
Different Types of audit
Halvorson identifies a range of different audits some of which have a complementary role to play in the detailed auditing of your website’s content. These are as follows:
Quantitative content inventories are a comprehensive top to bottom records of all the content in your website. Automation has a role to play in the creation of Content Inventories, as this could be a very long winded process otherwise, a quantitative audit is used to get an idea of what content is present on your website determining whether it is fit for purpose is the role of the other type of audit, the qualitative audit.
Qualitative audits are used to examine the quality of your website content, is it good enough to use or will further effort be required to bring it upto scratch? The Qualitative audit will highlight content which requires removing from the website. This should be part of your on-going content maintenance efforts.
I’ve already started auditing the content of this website and the initial quantitative audits have highlighted relatively minor issues (both of which are now rectified), as a website evolves its easy for content to fall out of date or by the wayside, I’m confident the qualitative phase will highlight content which doesn’t make the grade, My intention is replicate the 4 grades of content which moz.com use when reviewing their content which are “Keep As-Is”, “Remove”, “Improve”, or “Consolidate”, this will enable the quality of content to be maintained and where necessary improved. Furthermore the content audit is the starting point of developing a cohesive and realistic content strategy which is what I will be examining with next weeks post.