Revamp Your Content Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting an SEO Content Audit

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According to Ahrefs, 96.55 percent of all blogs receive no traffic. If you analyze the content on your website as well, it’s likely that many web pages don’t receive much traffic.

This indicates that either your content doesn’t rank on the first page, or what you’re writing about doesn’t match the search intent. In either case, these pages represent a huge lost opportunity.

By improving them or removing them from your website, you can make your website more relevant for topics that your audience wants to read more about. That’s where an SEO content audit can help you.

An SEO content audit involves a comprehensive analysis of all the content, including blog posts, landing pages, service and product pages on your website. It also offers insights into how your content is performing on the search engines and determines which content needs to be updated, merged with other pages, or deleted.

Follow our tested step-by-step guide below to run your SEO content audit for your website.

How to Perform a Content Audit?

Before you start, you’ll need:

  • Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel
  • Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, or Semrush
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console

Note that while the Google services are free, the others require a subscription or license fee.

Step #1: Define Your Goals

Start by clearly defining your content audit goals and what you want from the process. You need at least one clear goal to run your audit and decide the metrics for measuring success.

Get as specific as possible. Do you want to…

  • Improve your SEO results?
  • Increase audience engagement?
  • Improve conversion rates?
  • Remove redundant or outdated content?
  • Decide a new structure for your website?

Once you have laid the goals down, move on to the next step.

Step #2: Gather Your Data

Gather the URLs of all the pages you want to analyze for the purpose of this audit. But how do you decide which pages to analyze?This will depend on your goals. For instance, if your goal is to increase conversion rates, you may want to focus more on landing pages, whereas if you want to create a new structure for the website, you’d want to consider all web pages.

You can collect data in two ways:

  • Use the XML sitemap or use your website’s dashboard to see all the published pages.
  • Run audits using tools like Semrush, Screaming Frog, or Sitebulk, which will give you a list of all the published pages along with their metadata. You can then export them into a spreadsheet.

You can add URLs manually if you have a small site. Conversely, if you have more than 50 pages to analyze, auditing tools can save a lot of your time.

Note: Once you clean up your spreadsheet and have a definite list of URLs you need to analyze, open your Google search console and export the data of these URLs for the last 3 months. This will give you most of the information that you’ll need for the next step.

Step #3: Categorize Your Content

Once you have all your data, create a spreadsheet that lays out all your URLs, along with their corresponding metrics.

This will help you spot patterns like, which types of content are performing well and which aren’t. Think of this spreadsheet as a place where you can organize your findings and plan your next moves.

Important items to include in your spreadsheet:

  • URL
  • Page title
  • H1 tag
  • Category
  • Author
  • Word count
  • Date of publication
  • Canonical Tag
  • Meta Robots Tag

You can typically get all of these from a crawler and a set of custom extraction rules. If you have these additional data points available in another spreadsheet or other source, you can also add:

  • Product/Service
  • Team/Department
  • Content type (guides, tutorials, etc.)
  • Focus keyword
  • Content Format
  • Average ranking position for the focus keyword
  • Is it a content hub or a cluster
  • Number of backlinks pointing to the page
  • Meta description
  • Social shares

Note: Content audit spreadsheets can look different for everyone, depending on individual goals. For instance, if you are looking at aligning your content with the current search intent of a search query, you’ll probably also need to update the meta tags accordingly. So, it’ll be helpful to include those in the spreadsheet as well.

Here’s a screenshot of one of our basic content audits for a small site:

Content Audit Screenshot For Content Audit Article Revamp Your Content Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting an SEO Content Audit Vizion Interactive

Hat tip to Search Engine Journal for providing a free content audit template in Google Docs you can use here.

Step #4: Analyze The Collected Data

Analyzing the data you have collected is the most time-consuming part.

You will have to manually analyze each content and add your findings to the same spreadsheet that you created.

Some of the tools and ways to help you analyze the data include:

1. Google Search Console

Google Search Console tells you how Google views your site and provides insights into indexing, visibility, and more.

You can track metrics such as impressions, clicks, average CTR, and average position of each page through the search console.

Additionally, you can see queries for which each page is showing up.

To analyze the pages, you can set a filter from date ranges to as far as the last 16 months and export them into a Google Sheet.

GSC Impressions Screenshot For Audit Article Revamp Your Content Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting an SEO Content Audit Vizion Interactive

2. Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides vital stats such as page views, bounce rates, conversions, engagement, etc.

You can also use this data to figure out your top-performing pages and judge the effectiveness of content.

By setting the right filters, you can export the data to a csv file.

3. Position Tracking Tools

Tracking the positions of your keywords will help you understand if the traffic is declining or increasing for each of your web pages. If your content’s average rank is going down, it can indicate that your content doesn’t match its target keyword’s search intent or needs to be updated to be more relevant.

Tools like Ahrefs or Semrush allow you to track your keyword rankings over time.

Picture1 Revamp Your Content Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting an SEO Content Audit Vizion Interactive

Image source: Ahrefs

Once you have this data, these are the things you want to analyze:

  • Are your target keywords moving up or down in search results?
  • How do your rankings compare to those of your competitors?
  • How do your competitors’ backlinks, on-page information, and content compare to yours? Is their content significantly better or provides a better UX?

4. Site Audit Tools to Identify Technical Issues

Sometimes, even the most helpful content can’t salvage your web page because your website itself has underlying technical issues.In 2024, there’s a base line UX every website needs to provide— failing which, its SEO performance is likely to suffer. Google is less likely to even index websites which fail to meet this basic criteria. For instance, Google prioritizes “mobile-first” indexing, so if you don’t have a responsive website, your web pages are less likely to be indexed.

You can use the Ahrefs or Semrush’s site audit features to discover technical issues. Here are the basic items you should pay particular attention to:

  • Broken Links
  • Page Load Speed
  • Mobile-Friendliness
  • Meta Tags

5. Backlink Analytics

Backlinks are important for SEO, but not all backlinks are equal. Low-quality spam links can affect your authority and rankings, and it’s better to disavow them.

Use the backlink analysis tools inside Ahrefs or Semrush to analyze and filter the links each page has generated.

Your backlink analysis should contain:

  • How many backlinks does your site have, and from which domains?
  • Are the backlinks coming from authoritative sites?
  • Are anchor texts varied and natural?

Over the years Google’s emphasis on backlinks to be used as a ranking factor has declined. As people have abused this, Google has updated their algorithms to detect links that were not naturally built. At a recent search conference in Bulgaria Google’s Gary Illyes commented that Google has made links less important. But backlinks are still important for indexing and to help Google discover all of the content on your site. If you have a very large site, getting deep links is also important to help those pages get discovered and indexed.

Step #5: Create A Content Action Plan

Once you have analyzed the data, it is time to create an action plan. The plan should be as per the goals you set in Step 1 and the conclusion you have drawn in the 4th step.

When analyzing the URLs, look for patterns and trends, such as:

  • The pages have high traffic but low engagement and conversions
  • Pages with traffic or backlinks spiked in the last few weeks
  • General issues with engagement and bounce rate

A high-traffic page with lower conversion could indicate that your CTA isn’t well-optimized. Similarly, a high-traffic page with a high bounce rate could mean that your content isn’t answering user queries.

Note: The interpretation of the data would vary according to the goals. The above statements are just an example.

As you create a spreadsheet, you’ll encounter a variety of URLs, each requiring different actions. Here are the criteria to decide which pages you should keep, update, revamp, merge, or remove.

Pages to Keep

If your page is relevant to your target audience and performing well, there is no need to touch them.

Pages to Update:

Check out for URLs that show a sign of decline in traffic and rankings. Updating can be done by changing outdated information to the latest, updating statistics within the content, improving formatting, analyzing other ranking content, etc.

Pages to Revamp:

Some URLs may have valuable content but need a thorough rewrite to improve relevance, readability, or SEO performance. Consider rewriting to update the content by adding new information, optimizing keywords, or restructuring the content for better flow.

Tip: If you’re rewriting/revamping content, you can ask your writer to use these writing tips to write engaging content that answers user queries.

Pages to Merge:

Sometimes, some URLs have somewhat similar topics and it would be more valuable to merge them into one long blog to avoid the posts competing with each other. For example, you can merge “5 UX Designs Trends for your Website Redesign” with “7 UX Design Trends Taking the Industry by Storm.”

Tip: You can look for a redirection plugin so that when readers access the old blog links they are redirected to the updated version. This will ensure you still retain your SEO rankings and ensure anyone clicking on links to the merged post don’t end up at a 404 page.

Pages to Remove:

Identify URLs with low-quality or outdated content that no longer add value to your user. These could be thin content pages, duplicate content, or old blog posts with little traffic. Additionally, you should consider deleting them if they’re no longer showing any results, even after updating them.

Note: This advice doesn’t apply to service pages that are critical to your website or play an otherwise important role in how users reach out to you, such as the contact page. It’s not likely your contact page will have a great SEO performance anyway, but it doesn’t make it any less important.

Next, add a column for “Action needed” in the spreadsheet you created and categorize the URLs based on the segregation given above. Also add a “Priority” column so you can work as per the priority of each URL.

Step #6: Implementation Stage

Lastly, create a detailed plan outlining the steps required to implement these changes. Assign responsibilities, deadlines, and track progress regularly.

Continuously monitor the performance of your updated content by tracking the number of clicks, impressions, CTR, ROI, bounce rate, etc. Make adjustments as needed so your site remains optimized for both readers and search engines, while keeping long-term goals in mind.

Final Words

We recommend conducting an SEO content audit at least once a year to make sure your content strategy is effective. If your industry’s SERPs are especially volatile and change frequently, you will want to audit your site’s content quarterly or bi-annually.

Remember, content auditing goes beyond determining the performance. Implementing it the right way can help you understand your overall website health, explore new opportunities, and get you closer to your goals.