How To Do A Blog Content Audit And Get Magic Benefits

How To Do A Blog Content Audit And Get Magic Benefits

I’m sure you’ve heard about Marie Kondo, the Japanese minimalist superstar, and her life-changing magic of tidying up and decluttering. But how about if I told you that you can get similar transformative benefits if you tidy up your archives by doing a blog content audit?

Dare I say “magic benefits”?

Here’s how to do a content audit for your blog.

Who is the blog content audit right for?

Has your blog traffic plateaued?

Did you experience a decline in organic Google traffic?

Nothing works and you are running out of ideas for where to take your blog next?

If you’re unhappy with your current blog performance, you can do a content audit to optimize your content and get your blog back on track.

The idea of the blog content audit is to review your entire content archive and get a clear overview of your current content.

Your blog may be bloated with hundreds if not thousands of articles:

  • Some articles may have been published years ago and may now feature outdated and completely irrelevant information
  • Some may have no visitors and zero social media shares
  • There may be several articles covering the same (or closely related) topics
  • You might have duplicate content on several pages
  • You may have articles featuring links to some dodgy and spammy sites

What are the benefits of doing a content audit?

It may seem counterproductive but spending some time tidying up your old content rather than focusing on the creation of new content can bring some transformative benefits to your blog and your whole content marketing.

Benefits of doing a content audit include:

  • Happier visitors that easier find quality content and stay longer on site
  • More website traffic and more subscribers such as the 106% increase that Hubspot experienced
  • Or tripling the traffic by deleting a third of the content
  • Higher rankings on Google and 260% more Google traffic like Backlinko
  • Or 500,000 new visitors in 5 days for 88 updated posts by Vox:

So we changed the text to be up-to-date and accurate. We changed the headline if the writer felt the old headline didn’t work very well. We added new information. We added new ideas. We rewrote sections that dragged. The result was that some pieces went up virtually identical to their original form. Others bordered on unrecognizable. Our articles have always had “updated at” rather than “published at” adjacent to our time stamp, so we simply changed the “updated at” time. Everything got tweeted from the @voxdotcom twitter account and some of the stories went up on our Facebook page.

In a five-day period, we ran 88 of these stories, and collectively they brought in over 500,000 readers. That was great to see. The articles generated a lot of positive feedback, and some pieces that writers really put a lot of work into but that didn’t attract much readership the first time around became hits.

What was interesting — though not completely unexpected — was that no one even seemed to notice that we were flooding the site with previously published content. A lot of the articles were enthusiastically shared by people who had shared them the first time around, too. No one seemed gripped by a sense of deja vu, or, if they were, they didn’t mention it.

So I can get more traffic without creating new content?

What happens with a content audit is that by reducing the amount of bad and uninteresting content, your visitors will enjoy their experience on your blog more.

  • They’re likely to enter your blog through a post of higher quality
  • They will have an easier time finding other quality posts too as your blog will be more focused
  • This means that they will spend longer time on your blog
  • There’s less chance of them bouncing back from your blog straight away
  • They will view more pages per visit
  • They might even be more likely to convert into a loyal follower or customer

These user engagement signals are something that Google considers in its WordPress SEO algorithm too.

And some algorithm factors affect the ranking of an entire website so by pruning the bad content you are left with great content only which strengthens the rest of your blog and improves its quality in Google’s eyes.

All this means is that by doing a content audit you will get happier visitors and Google will be happier to send more visitors to you too.

Content audit checklist

Blog content audit checklist

Take a content inventory of all the posts you’ve published

The first step towards putting your blog in order with a content audit is to take an inventory of all the posts published.

Your blog posts can be counted. Do a search on Google for “site:yourdomainname.com” to get a list of pages within your domain name that Google knows about. Alternatively, you can look at your sitemap for the full list. Some may prefer to just go in their WordPress admin and start with the first post published.

Review all the posts in detail and do the full audit. Consider quality and relevance of each and every one of your posts. Presume that every post you have published is “guilty” of something until proven innocent.

You need to look at each of your posts, one at a time, and decide whether to keep them and consider what next actions you are to do with them. Be tough and very critical. Focus on quality and not quantity. Look at it as choosing what posts you want to keep, not what posts you want to get rid of.

Split all your posts in these three categories:

Super Stars

Which content is this?

Content that drives traffic and engagement to your blog now.

How to identify this content?

Go to your Google Analytics (or whatever analytics software you’re using) and find your top content by page views. In GA it’s in “Behavior” menu called “All Pages” within “Site Content”. I usually look at the period of last three months.

You may just find that fewer than 20% of your posts drive 80% or more of your total blog traffic.

What actions should I take?

  • Keep the post as it is
  • Or improve calls to action to convert a higher number of visitors into subscribers or customers
  • Or insert internal links to other relevant posts to funnel more visitors deeper into your blog

Rising Stars

Which content is this?

This is the currently underperforming content:

  • Content that is moving up and has potential to break through in search results. It ranks between position 4 and 20 in Google. Top 3 results get more than 50% of all clicks between them so you do want to get these posts higher up
  • Content that ranks high in Google but has a low click-through-rate
  • Content that used to drive traffic and engagements but no longer does if the topic is still relevant and useful

How to identify this content?

  • Look at Google Analytics and find content that has seen a decrease in traffic. Look at the same “All Pages” report within “Site Content” but this time compare it to the previous period and look at posts that have seen the largest decrease
  • Look at Google’s Search Console and find content that ranks between position 4 and 20 in Google for relevant keyword phrases
  • Look at Search Console and find content that gets lower than average click-through-rate (CTR) for its position

Here’s how: In Google’s Search Console select “Performance” in the “Status” menu. Tick on both the “Average CTR” and “Average Position” for these data points to be shown in the table.

You can then filter the different queries you rank for by their average position and download all those that you rank between position 4 and 20.

Do the same for average the click-through-rate and get all the posts that are clicked below average. The average CTR in Google’s search results are like this:

  1. 28%
  2. 14%
  3. 10%
  4. 6%
  5. 4%
  6. 3%
  7. 2%
  8. 2%
  9. 1%
  10. 1%

What actions should I take?

Upgrade and improve the posts by adding more recent info, more useful examples, better imagery and more media such as videos and podcasts. Basically, aim to make the post an in-depth ultimate guide on the topic.

One way to understand what quality you should aim for is to search for Google and look at the posts that show up on the first page of results for that keyword phrase. How long are those articles? What topics do they cover? What media do they include?

  1. Upgrade the post and aim for it to be longer, more informative, more interesting and easier to understand than everything else that ranks on the first page
  2. Activate Easy Table Of Contents plugin as it inserts the table of contents on the top of a post automatically and gives you a clear overview of your post as it is at the time. You can get the same in your post editor by using the WordPress Gutenberg. This makes it easier to figure out what you’re missing
  3. Optimize the page for the exact keyword and phrases you are trying to rank higher for
  4. Include the keyword, variations and synonyms naturally within the post
  5. Some locations to include the keywords are the post headline, post URL, introduction, headings and image alt attributes
  6. Create a stronger and more inviting description tag in order to get more searchers to click
  7. Check for broken links
  8. Improve the headline, check grammar, add images and videos. See How To Write A Blog Post
  9. Republish the post so it is dated with a new date
  10. Do a new round of marketing activities to promote this blog post including:
  11. Repost your updated article on your social media profiles and send them to your mailing list like you would any brand new post
  12. Reach out to relevant bloggers and influencers telling them about your “new” post in order to build links
  13. If you have a budget, use social media paid advertising to promote the new post
  14. Add internal links to the new page from several of your older but relevant posts. Use this Google search to find old but relevant posts:

site:yourdomainname.com -site:yourdomainname.com/your-new-post/ intext:”main keyword of your new post”

Aging Stars

Which content is this?

These might have seemed good when you published them but are no longer of much worth. Your job is to get rid of anything that does not make any real contribution to your blogging goals:

  • Are there posts that get little or no traffic?
  • Are there posts which have low visitor engagement such as little time spent on them or high bounce rate? (Bounce rate is the percentage of readers who navigate away from the site after only viewing one page.)
  • Are there inappropriate posts that have nothing to do with the topic you’re covering or the audience you’re looking to attract?
  • Are there any very short and shallow articles that don’t really answer any user questions?
  • Are there bad and unsubstantial guest posts that you have featured that link out to some irrelevant and dodgy sites?
  • Are there any duplicate posts that you just copied from another site on the web?
  • Are there several posts that cover the same or similar topic?

How to identify this content?

  • Look at Google Analytics and find content that got fewer than 100 visitors over the last three months (you can decide on a more appropriate visitor number and timeline for your blog)
  • Activate the Word Count WordPress plugin and identify those very short and shallow posts (fewer than 700 words)
  • Use Siteliner to find duplicate content on your blog

What actions should I take?

Don’t be afraid to remove any bad, shallow or irrelevant content. Delete or merge any interesting parts of this content with another relevant aging or rising star in order to create something of more value.

  1. If there’s some hope you can merge and combine the post with other posts to create a more substantial and higher quality post. Do all the other actions you would do for a “Rising Star” too
  2. Delete it from your blog
  3. 301 redirect any merged or deleted post to the new version so the user experience doesn’t suffer. You want any visitor who tries to visit one of the deleted or merged posts to be automatically redirected to the most relevant great post that you have. Redirection WordPress plugin is perfect for this
  4. Remove any links you might have pointing to the no longer existing posts from your other posts. In your WordPress posts list, search for the old URL to find the posts linking to it.

That’s it. Your content audit is done and you now have a much stronger blog overall. Your visitors will love you more and you may just see a spike in search traffic coming in the weeks following the content audit. Now you can focus on moving your content strategy forward.