How to Conduct an SEO Audit

A content audit is a structured review and analysis of a company’s existing content. This allows the company to look for strengths and weaknesses in the content and make any adjustments needed to ensure that the content serves the company’s marketing goals.


Performing regular content audits is a good way for a company to ensure that its content is relevant, up-to-date, and performing well. Identifying weak points allows marketing teams to fix these issues to get better results. 


They can also benefit from reviewing and updating existing content. Even content that was great when it was published can become outdated. An audit is a good time to check on this and make sure that all of the company’s content is high quality and effective.

Conducting a Content Audit

A successful content audit starts with setting goals and includes gathering and analyzing data and then making changes based on that data.

1. Set Clear Goals

A company should start the content audit process by clearly defining its goals. When setting goals, the team working on the content audit should start with a solid understanding of the company’s overall content marketing strategy. 

They need to know what the brand’s big-picture marketing goals are in order to determine whether the content they review is working in support of those goals.


Then, the team needs to set specific goals for the audit. For example, SEO focused goals could include optimizing the company website’s internal links or picking out pages that have the best potential to rank on the first search engine results page. 


Goals could also focus on conversion rates or user engagement. The goals that a team wants to accomplish by conducting a content audit will inform which metrics and data they need to focus on.

2. Dissect Content

An audit team should start by inventorying and cataloging the content they will be analyzing. 


Depending on the goals they set in the first step, they might look at all of their content, including blog posts, landing pages, social media posts, and product descriptions. 


If the goals are narrower, they might only need to look at a smaller pool of content.


Goals can also direct the best way to organize the content inventory. A team can sort by the type of content, the point in the buying process that a customer sees the content, the format of the context or the piece’s author. 


If the team’s primary goal is to increase traffic, it might decide to organize a list of web pages to pick out the ones with the fewest views, since these are the ones that will need to be updated.

3. Gather and Organize Data

Most teams will use either a spreadsheet or a specific content analysis tool to collect and organize their content audit data. This spreadsheet can include all the information from the content inventory as well as additional data and metrics.


Teams should also include metadata like titles and meta descriptions for each page. Once a team has put together this content audit spreadsheet, they should keep it up to date with details about newly posted content to make future audits easier.


Some content audit data is straightforward internal information, like the author, publication date, topic and metadata for a blog post. Teams should also use Google Analytics metrics, including session length, number of sessions, page views and bounce rate.


Content audits should also cover data like the number and quality of comments on posts, social media shares, organic traffic and backlinks.


Gathering and organizing all of this information can be time-consuming, but it is worth spending this time to improve the company’s content marketing results.

4. Analyze Data

Once a marketing team has collected and organized their content data, they need to perform a thorough analysis of that data. 


They should look at what the data show overall and specific points. 


For example, if a section of a website is getting a lot of organic search traffic and has a high bounce rate, that page is probably about a relevant topic but is not giving the user the information they are looking for.


A content audit team also needs to consider the context when looking at their data. For example, content posted recently will naturally have fewer views than older evergreen content.

5. Plan and implement changes

Once the team has analyzed the audit data, they should know what changes and updates they need to make. Sorting content into categories to keep, update or get rid of can be a good place to start.


Content that is performing well and still contains relevant information should probably stay as is. This often includes general information about the business and other evergreen content. 


Some content can clearly be deleted. This includes descriptions of out of stock products, outdated information, old seasonal advertising, and repetitive content.


The category that requires the most work is content that needs to be edited or updated. 


A blog post from a few years ago might contain useful information but need its statistics refreshed with the latest numbers. Pages that aren’t keeping users engaged for very long could answer search queries more effectively. 


Some content could be consolidated to streamline the website. Marketing teams should also take action steps like optimizing metadata, making use of internal links and adding 301 redirects to pages that have been removed from the website. 


There may be a large number of potential steps here, so the team should prioritize based on which actions will lead to the biggest improvement in their SEO results.


The specifics will depend on their overall SEO and marketing goals.

6. Plan for future audits.

A content audit is not a one and done process. Companies need to perform them regularly to make sure that their content is effective and relevant. 


Keeping the content audit spreadsheet or online tool continuously updated will make future audits simpler. Marketing teams should also schedule their next audit when they complete the current one.

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