Avoid these 5 crucial content audit blunders

Want to optimize your content for SEO and business success? Then don’t commit these common snafus when auditing your website.

Content audits of websites and marketing campaigns are essential, but most business owners despise them.

This is not a post on how to conduct one, though. You can read guides from Quick Sprout, Mightybytes, Majestic, and Duct Tape Marketing if you want step-by-step content audit instructions.

Instead, let’s focus on content audit mistakes people make. These five blunders are common but easily avoidable:

Mistake 1: You have no concrete goal.

Before you begin the process, establish why you’re doing the audit in the first place.

Maybe your sales and marketing departments aren’t playing well together, which is costing you potential business.

Perhaps you’re seeing plenty of traffic arriving at your site, but it’s not creating leads and revenue.

Maybe your content is failing to attract a crowd.

Whatever the reason, identify it beforehand. Do you want to analyze SEO, assess quality and user experience, examine conversions or weed out weak content?

An audit is a means to an end, not the end unto itself. Unless you plan to use the data collected to inform your content decisions and marketing strategy, a content audit is a waste of time.

Mistake 2: You focus on the wrong metrics.

If your audit lacks clear direction, you’ll have no idea what to look for when the data pours in. Establishing specific audit goals lets you focus on metrics that matter without wasting time on superfluous data points.

For an SEO-centric audit, for instance, you’d want to examine keywords, title tags, meta descriptions, inbound links, images, average time on page, headings and more.

Looking for weak content? Then look at the number of sessions, bounce rate and conversion rate.

If your concern is overall quality and user experience, analyze metrics like social shares, word count, content type and quality, calls to action, comments, spelling and grammar, accuracy, scanability and tone.

Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew in a content audit. Home in on the data you need and ignore the rest.

Mistake 3: You’re trying to do it all manually.

You can get away with collecting and organizing data yourself if you have small website. If you have a more complex operation, though, there are tools galore to streamline the audit process:

For site crawling, you can opt for Screaming Frog (free up to 500 URLs), Beam Us Up SEO Crawler (free with no limits), URL Profiler (paid plans) or the subscription service Content Analysis Tool.

You can use SharedCount to monitor shares and likes, and Google Analytics to track data on your traffic, sources and pageviews.

Whatever your audit goal is, there’s a tool out there to make it easier. It’s worth spending money to get fast, accurate, reliable insights.

Mistake 4: You have no documented audit process

Your audit process should have a written plan that’s accessible to everyone. An audit open to interpretation means inconsistent data points and metrics, which can obscure your data and thwart your ability to track performance over time.

Use the same format, metrics and tools for each goal to prevent confusion.

Mistake 5: You’re confusing content inventory and content audit.

An inventory is a list of the content on your site, usually with just the title and link. Any crawler can compile this for you in minutes.

An audit collects data on a slew of other metrics—with the aim of highlighting where you need strategic tweaks.

A content inventory is often the first step in a content audit, but far too many businesses stop there. An audit should expose specific changes you need to make and help guide your content strategy moving forward.

These missteps can all be costly, but the worst content audit mistake is not conducting one at all. Make it a regular feature of your content strategy to gauge success and see where you can improve.

Have you tried your hand at a content audit? What advice would you give those thinking of taking the plunge? Leave your comments below.

Aaron Agius is the CEO of Louder Online. A version of this article first appeared on Duct Tape Marketing.

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