Simple 5-Step Guide to Successfully Getting Through Your First Website Content Audit
Congratulations! You’ve created enough content on your website to warrant some housekeeping (aka a website content audit). Conducting a website content audit is a crucial step in optimizing your online presence which is important for growing your practice.
What’s a website content audit?
A website content audit helps you evaluate and improve the quality, relevance, and effectiveness of the content on your website. Which can seem like a lot to tackle all at once. And that’s why I’ve put together this guide.
I want to show you how simple doing a website content audit can be and give you lots of examples so you can improve the content on your website in a way that helps you achieve your goals through meaningful data and actionable results.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Step 1: Why are you doing the audit and what do you hope to achieve?
The very first step is to get clear about why you’re doing the audit in the first place. If you don’t know why you’re doing it, it’s pretty hard to do it well.
There are lots of ways to think about optimizing your website and it can get kinda confusing if you don’t think about why you’re doing the audit and what you hope to achieve from it.
To help you get the clarity you need, here are a few common reasons you might want to do a website content audit:
Improve Your Site’s SEOBy analyzing your content, you can identify keywords, meta tags, and other SEO elements that need optimization. If you have an office or a specific area you serve, optimizing your content for local keywords (local SEO) can help attract more potential clients/patients in your area.
I use SEMrush when one of the outcomes I want from a website content audit is improving SEO. However, you could also use Moz or Ahrefs to get information about keyword usage and give you recommendations for optimization.
Enhance User ExperienceUser experience is a big deal. If people find your website to be difficult to read or navigate or just think it’s ugly, they won’t stick around on it long enough to learn about how you can help them. So, ensuring a seamless user experience is another great reason to perform a website content audit.
You can look at the user experience from many different angles, but probably the most important from an SEO perspective is to look at it from the standpoint of mobile devices. Google recognized several years ago that most people access the internet from their phones. So they decided to evaluate websites for how easy and fast they are to use on mobile phones.
If your site doesn’t work well on a phone, then Google will actually penalize your website in terms of search results. And nobody wants to have to deal with a Google penalty.
One of the things you might discover as you audit your content for user experience is that your website content lacks clear headings and subheadings, making it difficult for visitors to scan and understand your offerings. Or you might discover that your navigation menu is too long to work well on a phone. Or that your clients/patients find the site confusing.
Streamline Conversion FunnelFunnel conversion is just a geeky way of saying that people who come to your website do what you want them to do beyond just reading the content. Some examples of conversions are scheduling an appointment, downloading a special report, and signing up for your next event.
So, what you would do is evaluate how well your content guides visitors through the conversion process and identify areas for improvement. In marketing speak, you’ll often hear this referred to as removing the friction from the process. Most non-marketers think of it as making it as easy as possible for visitors to your website to take the actions you want them to take.
Content Gap AnalysisHave you ever thought about the content on your website from the needs of your clients/patients before? And if you have, when was the last time you did it?
Understanding what additional content your website needs to have to better serve your patients/clients is the end goal of doing a website content audit to identify gaps. When you take the time to look at the content on your site through the eyes of your ideal clients/patients, you’ll be able to identify the gaps and uncover opportunities for new content creation. This allows you to provide valuable resources to your audience and attract more organic traffic.
You might discover you need to create targeted blog posts or videos on the missing topics. And once you do, you’ll position yourself to expand your reach and establish yourself as an authority in your field.
Brand ConsistencyEvery business evolves its brand over time. A website content audit focused on making sure the brand is consistent throughout your website is a great goal. (And one I’ve had on my to-do list for a few months now.)
I find the oldest pieces of content usually need the most love. It’s really common for a successful practice to use different words and positioning for its content than it did when it first started.
So, you’ll want to ensure your website content aligns with your current brand voice, values, and messaging. And the biggest benefit to doing so is that consistent branding builds trust and credibility among your current and potential patients/clients.
Hopefully, you can see there’s a wide variety of reasons to perform an audit of your website’s content. And it’s only by defining your objectives (yes, you can have more than one objective for your first audit) and understanding the potential outcomes, that you can focus your audit efforts and set measurable goals for success.
Step 2: What are the parameters you need to look at?
Now that you know why you’re going to audit your site’s content, you need to decide how you’ll evaluate the content. I think of this as defining the parameters or variables you need to achieve your audit goal(s).
So, here are some variables you might consider evaluating include the following:
Content RelevanceChances are that not all of the content on your website is great. So, one of the variables you might choose to explore is content relevance. You’ll want to assess whether your content is still relevant, accurate, and up-to-date. This will allow you to eliminate outdated information and ensure your content reflects the latest research and best practices.
For example, if you provide nutritional advice, you might discover that some of your older blog posts no longer align with current dietary guidelines. So, obviously, you’ll want to put these pieces on a list to update and republish as an action item after you complete your website content audit.
Engagement MetricsGoogle Analytics is a great source of information to help you understand how visitors are interacting with your website. With it, you can analyze user behavior, such as “time spent on page”, “bounce rate”, and “landing pages”. And this data can help you identify which content resonates with your audience and which needs to be improved.
(Keep in mind there is a bit of a learning curve with Google Analytics.)
Keyword AnalysisThis is another place that I like to use SEMrush when evaluating keywords during a website content audit.
You can use it to evaluate keyword usage throughout your content and identify opportunities for optimization. You’ll also want to make sure you target the right keywords to improve search engine visibility and attract your ideal clients/patients to click on your website when they search for your services.
Content FormatLooking at content format can be an important factor in an audit aimed at improving the user experience or increasing conversions. You’ll want to consider the format of your content which might be things like text, images, videos, and interactive elements. Then you’ll want to assess whether the format aligns with your audience’s preferences and engagement patterns according to the information you get from Google Analytics.
For example, you may find that video content receives more engagement and shares than written articles. So you’ll want to experiment with incorporating more videos into your content strategy. That way you’ll be catering to your visitors’ preferences and hopefully, increase engagement.
Conversion AnalysisThe last example I’ll give is conversion analysis. This is part of what you might choose to look at if you want to increase conversions.
You could choose to examine the effectiveness of your calls to action, lead capture forms, and conversion rates. This would allow you to identify any bottlenecks in the conversion process and implement improvements to make the process easier.
For example, your audit might reveal that your lead capture form is too long, so people leave the page without entering their email addresses. Post-audit, you might choose to simplify the form or offer incentives, to see if you can increase conversions.
Obviously, these are only some of the parameters you might need to look at to achieve the goal you have for your audit. Hopefully, this list has gotten you thinking about exactly what you need to examine to get insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your website content.
Step 3: How will you evaluate each of the parameters?
Now that you know the data you want to collect to achieve the goal you’ve set for your website content audit, you need to decide how you’ll capture it.
Here are some ways to gather the data you’ve identified as necessary in Step 2:
To keep things simple, we’ll continue looking at the same examples I shared in Step 2.
Content RelevanceTo gather the content relevance data you want, you might conduct user surveys, use feedback forms, or conduct interviews to gather insights on content relevance. By analyzing user comments, questions, and engagement metrics you can also determine which topics resonate best with your audience.
As an example, you may find that your audience is highly interested in learning about stress management techniques. So you’ll want one of the outcomes of your website content audit to be prioritizing content related to stress management. That way you can meet their needs and hopefully, boost engagement.
Engagement MetricsI know I gave away this “how” in step 2, but it bears repeating here. You’ll want to use Google Analytics (or something similar) to track engagement metrics such as “time on page”, “bounce rate”, “landing page”, and other user behavior and engagement metrics.
This data will allow you to compare metrics across different pieces of content. So, you’ll see trends and patterns across the content on your website.
Keyword AnalysisYou can use a keyword research tool like SEMrush to find relevant keywords and search volumes. Then you can analyze your current content to make sure you’ve got proper keyword integration and even identify opportunities for improvement.
For example, you might discover that your website lacks content optimized for a specific keyword that has a high search volume. Or you might discover that by introducing a secondary keyword into an existing piece of content you can attract more organic traffic to it.
Content FormatYou can compare the performance of different content formats by conducting A/B testing. You could test variations of landing pages, calls to action, or content layouts.
For example, you may find that a shorter landing page with a prominent call to action generates higher conversion rates compared to a lengthier page. By implementing this insight, you can improve your conversions.
Conversion AnalysisYou can use Google Analytics to analyze conversion rates. There are probably other tools out there, but I tend to default to Google Analytics because it’s free and that’s a price my clients really like.
With Google Analytics, you can identify pages with low conversion rates and evaluate factors such as content clarity, visual appeal, or ease of navigation.
In an analysis of conversion rates, for example, you might discover that a particular service page has a high bounce rate and low conversion. Then you can do user testing or heat mapping tools to identify design flaws or confusing elements that get in the way of conversions.
By now you can probably see that the same data can be used in different ways to support various website content audit goals. And by leveraging these evaluation methods and tools, you’ll be able to begin planning how you’ll strategically improve your website’s content.
Step 4: How will you track the information you gather?
Now that you know what you’ll be evaluating for each pertinent piece of content on your website, you need to keep the data someplace that makes it easy for you and your team to store and analyze.
You might consider using the following tools to house the data you gather during your website content audit:
SpreadsheetsI tend to like to keep things as simple as possible. So, when I can, I’ll keep the data in a spreadsheet.
If you choose this method, you’ll want to create a spreadsheet to document key findings, metrics, and action items. This should allow you to organize and track the information you gather in a structured manner.
Depending on my client’s desires I’ll use either Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel to create a content audit template where you can log parameters, metrics, and corresponding actions.
Project Management ToolsIf you’ve got a lot of moving pieces to your website content audit, you may want to consider a project management tool. Trello, Asana, and Monday are all fairly easy to use and allow you to create tasks and assign responsibilities for the audit and any follow-on tasks.
Analytics DashboardsYou can also set up custom dashboards in Google Analytics to easily monitor the key metrics you need for your audit. The added benefit is that you can then track the impact of your post-audit content optimization efforts.
By using these tracking methods and tools, you can stay organized and make sure the information you gather during your easily translates into actionable next steps.
Step 5: Put together an action plan for improving the content on your website
Now that you’ve had a chance to take a deep dive into the content on your website, it’s time to develop an action plan to improve your content.
Some of the common action plans that arrive from website content audits include:
Content RefreshYou can refresh your content by revising and optimizing blog posts that generate high organic traffic but have outdated information or lack engagement. Or you might repurpose outdated content. You might simply choose to delete poorly written or inaccurate content.
Content Gap FillYou may discover there’s content your patients/clients want, but you don’t have on your website. You may also find that you’re offering services that don’t appear on your website, so you’ll want to add content for those services.
SEO OptimizationThis is my favorite type of action plan. I love using SEO to inform content creation and revision.
One of the most beneficial things here is to look at content that has a significant number of keywords Google displays it for, but the content isn’t getting traffic. By choosing to reoptimize the content for one of the keywords Google has associated with it, I often see the content start to get more and more traffic.
Visual EnhancementsIf you discover that visitors think your website it boring or even ugly, you’ll want to improve the visual appeal of your content by adding relevant images, infographics, or videos.
(And, yes, I know this blog post needs more imagery to improve its visual appeal. I’m working to a deadline and want to just get it posted first.)
Conversion OptimizationThis is another great outcome for a website content audit. Once you know what is and isn’t working, you can optimize calls to action, landing page copy, and even lead capture forms to improve conversion rates.
A website content audit is a powerful tool to optimize your online presence. I know this blog post is fairly long, but it’s really only 5 simple steps. And by taking your time and using these 5 steps, you can effectively conduct your first website content audit and make data-driven decisions to improve your website’s performance, attract more visitors, and achieve your goals for growing your practice.
Ready to take your website content to the next level? Schedule a consultation with me or one of our experts who specialize in website content audits and let us help you develop a customized strategy for your health or wellness practice. Your journey toward online success starts today.
Remember, optimizing your website content is an ongoing process, so regular audits are essential to stay ahead in a competitive digital landscape. Don’t hesitate to take the necessary steps to elevate your website’s impact and drive your practice’s growth.