If you don’t regularly evaluate your content after it’s published, you may be missing valuable insights about your website’s current state and performance. In most cases, even if sales are trending upward, there are always some aspects of your website that need attention. A content audit can help pave the way for what you should focus on next.
Web content is very much alive, and it requires ongoing maintenance. Even if you’ve done a solid job of managing your content development efforts, doing an audit of your site is always a good idea.
While establishing a content audit frequency is helpful, there are several other instances in which you should run a content audit. Keep reading to learn what they are.
Your Organic Traffic is Down
A significant drop in organic traffic is frequently a result of loss in organic search rankings. There are many reasons why this could be happening to you. The uprise of new and existing competitors, internal website changes, and Google algorithm updates are amongst the most obvious.
Because there are so many different factors, it may be challenging to pinpoint precisely what’s causing your organic traffic to drop. The good news is that these sorts of problems are almost always reversible.
If you seem to have lost organic traffic to some of your top-performing pages, it’s time to do some digging.
Now, before you start spinning your wheels, take a look at your Google Search Console (GSC) and see if you can spot any major drops in your impressions or the average positions for the pages that lost traction.
A quick reminder, your impressions are the number of times someone sees a link to your website in their search results. Your average position is the average position of a given page of your website in the search results. When it comes to your organic traffic, both are wildly important.
Back to checking the performance of individual pages in GSC. You can do this by going to GSC >> Performance >> Search results. Then, change your report settings to show you the Total Impressions (represented below in teal) and Average Position (represented below in purple). Next, click on the “Page” tab and search for the page you’re curious about. This should look similar to this:
After selecting that page, you’ll want to switch to the “Queries” tab – which represents the search queries that page is ranking for.
Once you’re there, adjust your date settings to compare the current search queries results to the three months prior. This time frame will help you catch any major red flags. This should look similar to this:
From this view, you’ll be able to determine what search queries you’ve lost–which will ultimately be the starting point of your content audit.
Your Content is Out of Date
Any piece of content that’s been up on the site for 2+ years should go through an audit.
Content updates are especially important for sites that want to be authoritative in their space. To be authoritative, you must be relevant. And to be relevant, you must have an ongoing conversation about which content you need to update, archive, or delete altogether.
If this sounds tedious, I promise you that the pay off is well worth it. When you keep your content up-to-date, not only are you providing a positive user experience but you’re also helping that content rank better in search results.
Every time an old piece of content gets updated and receives a new publishing date, search engines recrawl and reindex that content.
In summary, here’s a direct quote from Google’s Publishing Center, that explains just how valuable content updates can be:
“From the moment we discover a new article, we’ll keep recrawling it looking for changes. Since we noticed that most changes to articles occur just after they’re published, we revisit articles most frequently in the first day after we’ve found them. After that, we visit them less often.”
You’re Out of Content Ideas
It’s not entirely unusual for companies to feel as though they’ve said all there is to say about their brand, product, or service. After all, how much content could you possibly produce about something as straightforward as “air filters”?
Content audits inspire new ideas, or at the very least, give you a new perspective on the work that you’ve already produced.
If you can’t think of a single new content idea, audit your content to see what you’ve actually written about. Once you have this information, it becomes easier to see where your missing gaps are. And then be sure to check out this blog post for some tools that can help you write great content.
You’re Adding a New Product or Service
When adding new product or service pages, you must be mindful of how these pages are going to flow within the rest of your site ecosystem. Regardless of whether this update is core to the entirety of your business model, or it’s just another variation of something that already exists, you need to ensure that the new information fits in flawlessly.
If you don’t quite know where to start, think about the user journey and ask yourself the following questions:
- When visitors arrive on the new landing page, how are they getting there?
- Does the path make sense? Or do you need to add more copy to help the pages flow together?
- If a visitor arrives on the page from organic search, are the contents of the page sufficient enough for them to take action?
To answer these questions thoroughly, you must have a good understanding of your content inventory and should, therefore, start with a content audit.
You’re Going Through a Site Migration
Whether you’re finally moving your site from HTTP to HTTPS, experiencing subdomain or subfolder changes, moving to a new server, or undergoing a site redesign, you must start with a content audit.
The key to a smooth site migration is planning. Before you get started, you must know what you’re going to migrate and when.
Think of the site migration as a real-life move where you go from one house to another. It doesn’t make sense for you to pack up everything in your sight, move it to the new location, and only then start the cleanup process. If you do this, you’ll require extra boxes, a bigger U-Haul unit, and many more helping hands.
Content audits work in the same way. A content audit is your opportunity to declutter, consolidate, and get rid of any redundant or trivial content on your site. Sure, you will not need to rent a U-Haul for a site migration, but if a content audit can save you extra dollars on labor, you’d be smart to take advantage of it.
Your Competitors are Outranking You
At times it may feel like new competitors emerge overnight. Yesterday you were ranking first in organic search results and today, a competitor, whom you didn’t even know existed, is outranking you.
Losing rankings is not at all uncommon. It happens to the best of us. You can’t always stay on top, especially if you’ve been neglecting your content development efforts.
Competitors get ahead because they do their research. In other words, they audit you. And once they know what’s worked well for your site, they do everything in their power to one-up you.
To fight back, you must beat them at their own game. First, you’ll need to do a content audit of your website. Then, you’ll want to run the same audit for your competitor. While this can be a manual process, using the tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush mentioned earlier can cut your labor by half.
In doing so, you’ll have a clear understanding of what they’re doing that you’re not and how to go about filling the most glaring gaps.
You Established a New Voice and Tone
In short, your voice and tone is your brand personality. It’s the way you go about expressing your value proposition and is key to the type of audiences you wish to attract.
If you’re a law office, a hospital, or any other type of an institution, your tone and voice will likely be assertive and informative. Most importantly, it will be the exact opposite of say, an amusement park. While this voice and tone comparison is rather obvious, it’s not always this easy to figure out what you want your brand to sound like.
For example, if you are a software provider or an art supply shop, your voice and tone can fall almost anywhere on the silly to serious sides of the spectrum.
At times, companies get so caught up on their product or service, that they forget about their voice and tone. In some instances, it could take months to years before a company has a clear direction. Does that sound familiar? If so, you might want to check out Portent’s Tone of Voice Generator tool.
Once you finally have one, you’ll need to do a content audit to ensure that your voice and tone is consistent throughout the site. If there’s one thing that’s more important than content quality, it’s content consistency.
Don’t let your audience think, “wait, what did I just read?” Instead, audit, audit, and audit.
In summary, a content audit should be an ongoing part of your content development efforts, as it is the key to helping you stay at the top of organic search results. The content on your website should never be stagnant or out of date. And it must be audited anytime you add a new product or service to your website.
An audit is especially important when you make any significant changes to your site. And through it all, your content should always have the same look and feel to it.
So, iterate on your current work and leverage old content topics to create new once. If you don’t, know that your competitors will find a way to use your top-performing content against you.