Conducting a content audit regularly on your WordPress site is quite necessary. As you may have been adding new content every day to gain more traffic and better search engine visibility, it’s time to review all the existing posts especially the old ones to make sure they are optimal for both search engine rankings and user experience.
This tutorial will provide some simple tips to conduct a content audit on a small or medium sized WordPress site with a few hundred posts and pages in total. To complete the audit, you need to be patient because it might take several hours. However, you can rest assured that the entire process does not require many technical skills.
Why You Need to Conduct a Content Audit
Most bloggers pay much attention to the planning and production of new content while leaving the old posts alone as soon as they were published. This is a common mistake because the neglect of the optimization of your old posts makes you miss out great opportunities of being ranked well and visited more.
A content audit, however, saves you from this mistake by letting you look back and find the chances hidden in the existing content on your site. You can easily figure out the weaknesses and strengths, as well as what needs changes. As content is the soul of your WordPress site, a content audit helps you improve it.
Generally speaking, a proper content audit is useful due to the following primary reasons.
- Improve your search engine rankings. By taking a careful look at the SEO elements of the existing content on your site, including the rankings, keywords, meta description, image alt tags, etc, you will be able to identify the weaknesses of your SEO strategies.
- Improve your content marketing strategies. With the analysis about the social shares, content length, visits, etc, you can determine the achievements of your current content marketing strategy and add new strategies accordingly.
Therefore, a content audit is all about optimization. By updating the old posts, you can make the most out of them and get the maximum SEO benefits, loyal audiences and revenues.
Now, follow the steps below to conduct a content audit by yourself.
Create a Spreadsheet for Content Audit
To conduct a successfully content audit, you have to create a spreadsheet which includes all the information you collect, for example, the URL, SEO metrics, title length and keywords. In this case, we suggest you use Google Sheets for the creation because this service is free of charge, and makes it easy for team collaboration. Of course, if you want to do everything on your own, you can also create a local spreadsheet with Excel only.
After creating a blank spreadsheet with Google Sheets, make sure to include all the basic columns in it, including the URL, Title, Description, Keyword, Visits, Google Ranking, Content and Date Audited. Depending on what information you want to collect, you can also add other columns you like, for example, Title Length, Word Count and Social Shares.
When the basic columns are added, the next thing to do is to fill in the “URL” column with all the available pages on your WordPress site. If you like, you can also include the most viewed pages only.
To get the URLs of all pages, you can take advantage of a crawling tool named Screaming Frog. This tool has a free version supporting the crawling of up to 500 URLs, which is enough for most small sized sites.
By using Screaming Frog, you can get your page URLs as well as the analyses of page titles, meta data, broken links, etc. After receiving the reports, export them as CVS or copy the information you need to your spreadsheet.
If you only want to audit the most viewed pages, you can collect the URLs by using Google Analytics. In your spreadsheet, click on “Add-ons”, add Google Analytics, and then choose “Create new report”.
In the dialog box, you can set the metrics and dimensions. In our example, we selected the “Unique Pageviews” as the metric and “Page” as the dimension. Of course, you can add whatever you want.
Then, you can configure the report to tell Google to show certain results only. For example, if you only want the report of pages with 100 or more unique pageviews, add ga:uniquePageviews>100 in the “Filters” section. Besides, you are able to decide the maximum number of results.
When these are done, select “Run Reports” from the “Add-ons” menu. In the reports that are returned, you will get all the URLs that meet the criteria you set. Simply copy the URLs to the audit spreadsheet.
Audit Your Content and Improve the Spreadsheet
Now that you have got the spreadsheet and the URLs you want to audit, the rest work is to manually go through all the pages to check the metrics in your spreadsheet. After reviewing a post for each metric, you can add a background color or a check mark.
There is no shortcut for the detailed audit, so you may spend hours to complete the somewhat “boring” job. However, the results will be certainly worth the time.
In below, we will introduce some basic metrics that you should take care of regardless of the type of your WordPress site.
The page title
A good headline increases the pageviews and conversion rates effectively. Therefore, for each post or page on your WordPress site, you have to make sure that the length of its headline is limited to 65 characters, the headline is unique, and it contains the proper keywords.
This refers to the permalink of a post/page. You should check whether it is concise and includes keywords. If you want to modify the permalink, don’t do it right now. Instead, leave a note in the spreadsheet for a later job. Besides, make sure to create a 301 redirect after making any modification.
If you have installed Yoast SEO, then you can audit the meta descriptions easily. Simply read through the meta description of each post to ensure it has the proper length, contains keywords, and is well written for humans instead of search engines.
Use of keywords
You may have noticed in the screenshot above that Yoast SEO makes it super easy to check the keyword uses in your post. The plugin detects the keywords in the page title, URL, content and meta description automatically so that you don’t have to check them manually.
For the keywords, make sure that you are using long tail keywords, and they appear in your content for the sufficient times. At the same time, keep an eye on the keyword density to prevent the keyword stuffing issue.
As the most important part of the audit, you have to read the post/page content carefully and pay attention to the following things.
- Word count – A minimum of 300 words should be guaranteed.
- The content doesn’t include any grammar errors.
- The content is readable to human beings and includes helpful information.
- There is no duplicate issue.
Image alt tags
Each image used in your posts and pages should have its own title and alt tag. And for better SEO, the alt tag must be descriptive, with the relevant long tail keywords included, too.
Internal links deliver a good user experience and bring more traffic to your site. Therefore, when auditing the content, make sure each post includes a minimum of two or three internal links. Besides, the internal links must point to content-rich posts instead of the about page, homepage or other less-relevant pages. Also, the anchor text should be accurate, too. If you need any help, read these internal link optimization tips.
Collect other data
In addition to the basic aspects analyzed above, you may also need to collect data like bounce rate, page ranking, pageviews and outbound links if your future optimization plan involves these things. For such data, those helpful tools, such as Google Analytics and SEMRush, should help much.
Make a Content Optimization Plan
If you have made a good content audit spreadsheet, you will be able to work out an optimization strategy based on it. To make your life easier, we recommend you to add the following three columns to your spreadsheet and finish them when auditing the content in detail.
- Page Score. After reading a post or page, you can give it a score from 1-5 or 1-10 so that you can categorize them later and decide what to do with them.
- Action. This is a short conclusion. You can pre-define some choices like “Good”, “Improve”, “Consolidate” and “Delete”, and then select one for single posts and pages based on their quality so that you will know how to deal with them.
- Strategy. This is where the detailed instructions for “Action” are located, so all the optimization suggestions are noted down here. For example, for a post marked for consolidation, you need to leave the URL that this post will be merged and redirected to under the “Strategy” column.
Conducting a content audit is a time-consuming job. If you run a large business site, we will suggest you hire a professional to do the job for you. However, the guides above are still suitable for most bloggers. Hopefully, you can get some new ideas about SEO and blog content during the content audit. Simply have a try.