Key takeaways in this post:

  • Content audits allow you to evaluate the performance of existing content, identifying strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement.
  • You can uncover opportunities to optimize existing content for better search visibility, user experience and alignment with current marketing goals and audience preferences.
  • By analyzing the findings, you can make informed decisions about future content creation, prioritizing topics, formats and distribution channels.

When was the last time you performed a content audit?

As marketers, it’s easy to get overwhelmed keeping up with seemingly never-ending to-do lists and competing internal requests. Have you felt caught in a cycle of creating and publishing content “just because” instead of following a purposeful strategy? Do you feel like you’re moving so quickly you’re not sure what the real impact or ROI of your content efforts may be?

A content audit gives you the breathing room and insights to better respond to evolving market needs, prioritize your resources, and get the most value from your existing content assets.

Content audits analyze the performance of all existing content on your site. It helps you decide what content to update, keep as is, consolidate, delete or create. The outcome of an audit helps inform future content strategy and can guide your editorial calendar.

Content audits have three main goals:

  1. Identify trends in existing high-performing content
  2. Make website page improvements to enhance content quality, SEO and user experience
  3. Uncover gaps in your current web content

The amount of time it takes to audit your content depends on how much content belongs to your brand and how often it is audited. If it’s been a while since assets were revisited or refreshed, an audit may take more time to bring it into compliance with your latest brand guidelines and the newest SEO best practices. Bringing in an outside expert can deliver invaluable, fresh perspective whether you’re new to content auditing or have deep familiarity with your content.

If you’re thinking about or starting a web redesign, a content audit is critical. It will act as a guide for your redesign and anchor your new information architecture.

But you don’t have to wait for a redesign or major overhaul to get value from a content audit. In fact, according to Semrush’s 2023 State of Content Marketing Report, 61% of marketers conduct content audits two or more times a year.

The key to content strategy success is good governance: set a cadence for content audits and stick to it. Depending on the amount of content you’re publishing, the size and age of your existing content library, and other factors, you may decide to conduct comprehensive audits twice a year or quarterly, in addition to ongoing, more high-level monitoring happening daily, weekly, or monthly.

The first step to conducting a content audit is creating or reviewing a comprehensive list of all the content your brand “owns.” If you don’t have an existing governance document, your website sitemap, CMS, or tools like Screaming Frog and Google Analytics can help you take stock.

The three main parts of a content audit

Put your target user at the center of your strategy. To determine if your content is serving your users (and, in turn, your business goals), focus your audit on the following pillars:

  1. Search engine optimization (SEO)
  2. Engagement and key performance indicators (KPIs)
  3. General content quality—is the content timely and meaningful

A successful content audit requires researching search performance and finding opportunities to help more people discover your content. SEO audits involve looking at your website’s existing content and finding ways to improve it, so it performs better in search results. These analyses look at keywords, content quality and technical aspects of your site.

To complete an SEO audit, you can use a tool like to crawl your website and analyze your pages for errors or missing SEO elements. You may also want to gather URLs using your sitemap and Google Analytics 4.

A mock-up of a Screaming Frog SEO audit spreadsheet (click to see larger).

A mock-up of a Screaming Frog SEO audit spreadsheet (click to see larger).

Google Search Console can also show you the pages on your website that Google indexes and how your content is performing in search. You can see which pages have shown up in search over the last few months (impressions), the keywords they’re ranking for and the clicks through to your site. This data may be able to help you pinpoint pages that should be updated to be more relevant or robust.

We won’t get into the technical aspects of an SEO audit, but the SEO pros over at Moz have a guide to SEO content audits that we recommend checking out.

There’s a lot you can look at when performing an audit. However, you’ll want to make sure you find and diagnose any errors, missing content and duplicate content.

Here are some essential items you should look for:

  • Indexed content pages: A page that isn’t indexed may have low-quality content or isn’t crawlable, so you may need to adjust the content on the page. Check out these Google guidelines.
  • Missing metadata: Make sure every page includes metadata, including title tags, meta descriptions (page descriptions) and header tags (H1s, H2s, etc.)
  • Duplicate metadata: While you don’t want missing metadata, you also don’t want duplicate metadata. Make sure all of your page descriptions and title tags are unique, and ensure your title tags are not the same as your H1s.
  • Response code or HTTP status codes: Do you have pages that are coming back as 404s (page not found) or another error code? Ideally, you’ll want your pages to come back as 200 (successful HTTP request). Too many errors or redirects will throw up red flags for Google.
  • Internal links: Does each page link to another part of your website? Try to avoid orphan pages.
  • External links or backlinks: Are other sites linking to your content? The more reputable backlinks you have, the better your content will perform in search. Tools like Semrush or Moz can help you find these and pinpoint new opportunities.
  • Low-quality content: Some of your pages or blog posts may not rank well in searches because they are low quality compared to similar content on the web. Quality can be defined by factors like keyword use, content length and content relevance, to name a few. You can look around to see what other sites are doing, or you can use a tool like Semrush to make recommendations on how you can improve a piece of content.

Content audits: Engagement and KPI review

While SEO is critical, you also need to determine which content performed well against your organization’s goals and KPIs (key performance indicators). These can include metrics that track reader engagement or conversions for your organization.

The metrics you choose to evaluate will vary depending on your organization’s goals and the channels you manage. However, your objective will always be the same: Discover which content engages readers and helps you meet your goals.

Some data points you can track include:

  • Unique page views: How many unique viewers does the page get over a period?
  • Average time on page: How long are users staying on a particular page? Are they staying for just a second or two, or several minutes? If the time seems low, you may need to improve the page content so it keeps readers engaged.
  • Bounce rate: Are users clicking around your site after visiting a page or immediately leaving? Ensuring you have plenty of relevant content and internal links can keep users engaged.
  • Conversions: What do you want a user to do when she visits your site? Do you want her to fill out an appointment request? Make a donation? Take a health risk assessment? Track which content is converting for you.

Content audits: General content refresh

As you’re doing the heavy lifting and reviewing all of your web content, be sure to check each page for general areas to refresh. Look for opportunities to improve:

  • Reader experience: Can you make any big blocks of copy more skimmable? Add more compelling visuals? Add more titles and subheadings? These are all characteristics of well-ranking, high-performing content.
  • Accuracy: Change is inevitable, so make sure the content is still accurate. Did your location name change, or the way you refer to the service line? Is the provider in that blog post still employed at your hospital?
  • Cross-linking: You’ve likely added a lot of new content to your site since the last time you read all of those pages. Can you add any new cross-links to new articles, services, locations or providers?
  • Freshness: Keeping content fresh and useful is key and updating all content every 6 to 12 months is considered best practice by many. So, even if the content is still accurate, are there opportunities to update statistics, examples, quotes or links?
  • Tone of voice: Read through the content and ensure it still represents your current brand values and has a consistent tone of voice with the rest of your content.

As you can see, content audits are comprehensive and require a time investment to pay off. But you don’t have to tackle them alone. The writers and content strategists at WG Content can help you tackle even the most robust content audit, as well as help you craft relevant, search-friendly healthcare content that speaks to your specific audience. Drop us a line anytime to learn how we can help you find content success.

Note: This blog post was updated on December 11, 2023. It was originally published January 16, 2019.

Conducting a content audit is essential for businesses because it helps evaluate the performance of existing content, identify optimization opportunities, and inform future content strategy to achieve business goals.

Key steps in conducting a successful content audit include inventorying existing content, analyzing content performance metrics, identifying gaps and opportunities, and developing a plan to optimize and prioritize future content creation efforts.

Businesses can benefit from the findings of a content audit by making informed decisions about content optimization, improving search visibility, enhancing user experience, and aligning content strategy with marketing goals and audience preferences to drive engagement and conversions.

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