You conduct a content audit.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the key things you need to know to run an effective content audit (with a little help from SiteGuru).
An SEO content audit helps you pinpoint weaknesses, strengths, and opportunities for improvement so that you can assess how your content is performing, spot underperforming pages, revamp stale content, grab top SERP positions, and much more!
All of these are valid content audit goals. Just make sure you don’t try to do everything in a single sitting. Choose one or two complementary goals at a time.
For example, you may decide to run quarterly content audits to assess your content performance and identify stale content you should update.
On the other hand, you may have so much content on your site that you’re exhausting your crawl budget. It’s worth reviewing your content to decide which you should expand, merge, or remove.
Website data from Google Search Console and Google Analytics will cover all the bases for a thorough content audit. Use Comparison reports to identify performance changes over time easily:
You could put all of that data in a spreadsheet with a list of URLs, target keywords, and the keywords they rank for.
Or, make your life easier by adding your website to SiteGuru, and running your entire SEO content audit in a single dashboard.
Look at your pages with the following questions in mind:
- How is each of your pages performing in Google?
- What are your top pages?
- Which pages are currently going down in the SERPs?
- Which ones are going up?
- Are any of them closer to reaching the top 3 spots?
- Are there any immediate red flags like internal competition or duplicates?
If you use SiteGuru, answering those questions is much faster than using alternative methods (e.g., performing manual content audits on each individual page).
Just open your dashboard and go to Insights > Content.
You’ll get a comprehensive overview of your top pages and any shifts in their performance, including top #5 keywords and competing content.
If you want to identify the pages that need to be optimized to reach the top 3 spots in one go, use the Keyword report in SiteGuru.
Navigate to the Insights > Keywords section to see all your keywords, plus:
- Keywords that improved
- Keywords that declined
- Keywords where the page appears in the Top 3 spots on the SERP
- Keywords where the page appears in the Top 10 spots on the SERP
- Keywords where your pages aren’t in the Top 10 spots
Click through on each keyword to get specific details with impressions, clicks, positions, and more. This gives you plenty of low-hanging fruit to tackle during your next audit, especially if you focus on the content that’s in the Top 10.
A few optimizations (and perhaps a few strong backlinks) may easily lead you to the Top 3!
Content naturally decays, especially as new information pops up and your SERP competitors update their articles. Unfortunately, this means you can lose out on plenty of traffic that used to come your way regularly.
Take a look at your content’s historical performance and its performance in the last few months. Are there pages where you’re noticing a traffic or keyword position decline?
If you’re using SiteGuru, you’ll see it in the “Content requiring attention” report, along with statistics on the changes and the page optimization score:
Look into potential reasons behind the sudden poor performance:
- Is there seasonality? Make peace with it, and consider how you can boost your content when it’s in season. (For example, if you own a BBQ online store, you’d create commercial content six months before the BBQ season approaches so it has the time to rank properly.)
- Are competitors suddenly outranking you? What’s changed? Have they improved their content, acquired more backlinks, increased their authority, or something else?
- Is the content outdated? Stay in the loop on industry changes, and refresh your content with new info accordingly.
- Do you need to increase your E-E-A-T score? Implement author boxes, build up your digital footprint, and work with qualified contributors for your content.
- Do you need more backlinks? Get in touch with websites in your niche, from big websites like Forbes to small mom & pop shops with lower Domain Authority but high relevance.
- Do you need to optimize page elements like the meta description or speed? Check it in your SiteGuru to-do list and perform the enhancements.
- Has the algorithm changed? Review the changes, read up on other webmasters’ experiences, and make the changes to your content and strategy.
You can also get a handy page improvement checklist in SiteGuru by clicking on Page Score (the yellow-green bar on the right).
With the pages gathered, look at the following aspects on a per-page basis:
- Are there any informational gaps?
- Does your content still match the search intent?
- Is your content still relevant, factually correct, and up-to-date?
- Are you using enough visuals, videos, and other engaging media?
- Is your content readable, with a logical flow and proper formatting?
I’ll be upfront: unless the algorithm changed, the cause behind your declining content is usually the content itself.
You’re either missing some coverage (check the pages that outrank you), or the content isn’t easy to read for a searcher on the go (check readability and formatting).
Go the extra mile with your content: be more comprehensive than your competitors and add an additional oomph – whether that’s an interesting graphic, a conversation with an expert, or your experiences and examples. It makes for a good reading experience, and the algorithm will reward that!
Read more: Optimizing for the E-E-A-T Score.
Another thing to pay attention to is your word count. Sometimes, brevity is the soul of wit – in other cases, your readers will want you to go into more detail.
Review your SERP competitors and their results:
- Do they offer too few details?
- Are they reaching the Mariana Trench depths?
- And, ultimately, what do searchers expect of you?
Typically, we fall into the trap of creating content based on the SERP’s average word count. But if the average result is too verbose and fluffy, you might want to create a shorter content piece with more examples to stand out.
Pay attention to thin content, too.
If you have pages with a low text-to-HTML ratio, Google might perceive them as thin-content pages. Check it with SiteGuru’s Word count report:
One of the leading causes behind content’s performance suddenly dropping (if it’s not the substance itself) is an ambitious competitor who’s acquiring backlinks left and right.
Check the SERP competitors’ Domain Authority and backlink sources with tools like Ahrefs.
Then, compare them against your backlinks to the page: Do they have more links? Are their sources more reputable?
Read more: How to Acquire Backlinks (the right way).
When you properly interlink the pages on your website, any backlinks you acquire are spread more evenly. Plus, it’s much easier for Google to crawl and index your content when it’s connected with links.
Check if the affected content has internal links to other relevant pages and from other pages.
If you want to give a new page a quick boost, consider linking to it from other relevant, top-ranking pages with a performance track record.
A spreadsheet usually works, but if you use SiteGuru, just navigate to the Links -> Internal Links report.
You’ll see pages without internal links flagged and the internal link count for the pages that do have them.
Read more: Best Practices for Internal Links.
Quick refresher: your page title is the “storefront” of your page. It looks like this:
It affects your click-through rate in the SERP. If the title isn’t enticing, the chances of searchers clicking on your result will decrease.
A winning page title should:
- Front-load relevant keywords
- Be as unique as possible
- Be between 50 and 70 characters
- Get you more clicks, of course
- Not be a duplicate of another page title
How are your page titles looking? Do they need to be longer? Shorter? More unique? Your Page titles report has got you covered!
And if you need inspiration, you can have AI suggest a fitting page title. All you have to do is click AI Suggest in the right-hand corner.
Learn more: Optimize your page titles.
If your page title is the storefront of your page, your meta description is the friendly greeter who welcomes you in. It also affects your CTR, so you’ll want to make sure it’s engaging and reflects what the searchers want to see.
(Definitely get inspiration from your competitors. In the past, we used to write sales-style copy. These days, Google is auto-creating meta descriptions by putting the information from the article front and center.)
A winning meta description should:
- Briefly and uniquely describe the contents of the page
- Include relevant keywords
- Be between 120 and 170 characters
- Get clicks!
Again, you can audit your meta descriptions yourself, or use SiteGuru’s Meta descriptions report. You’ll see how many of your descriptions are missing, how many of them need work, and the ones looking good:
You can also click on SERP to see how they’ll appear and use AI Suggest for quick description ideas.
Learn more: Optimize Your Meta Descriptions.
Searchers use headings to skim-read through the content and find sections they’re most interested in. For example, if you were skimming through this article, you would’ve landed on this section if you came out with the intent to optimize your page headings specifically.
Plus, correctly structuring your heading tags help search engines crawl your website.
If you have a headings problem, you’ll see higher bounce rates and shorter dwell time, showing that visitors leave your website almost immediately after clicking through on it in the SERP.
Make sure your heading hierarchy uses the following practices:
- Only one H1 per page (the headline)
- H2 for sub-topics, H3 for sub-sub topics, ordered by importance
- Stick to 10-70 characters per heading
- Use keywords as needed
The Headings report in SiteGuru will show you if you’ve improperly structured the heading hierarchy on any one of your pages:
Click "See headings" to view your heading structure for a particular page. If you need a hand, you can always use the AI Suggest!
Learn more: The Right Heading Hierarchy.
Adding ALT texts to images helps search engines like Google and visually impaired visitors better understand what an image is about. Plus, it increases your chances of ranking in the image search.
Check all the visuals – especially your original ones – and ensure their ALT texts contain:
- The relevant (target) keyword
- A comprehensive description
It’s okay not to add ALT texts to stock photos. But any infographics, diagrams, and the like need to have the right attributes.
You can check them manually or use the Image ALT texts report to see pages with missing ALT texts:
Learn more: ALT Text and SEO.
OpenGraph (OG) tags give links an engaging, descriptive preview with an image, title, and description, like in Rory's example below.
While OpenGraph tags don’t directly affect SEO, it's a good idea to add them to your pages for better click-through rates on social media, which we know can affect your SEO indirectly through unlinked mentions (and potential backlink opportunities).
Lean on SiteGuru again and review the OpenGraph tags report to spot missing or improperly implemented tags.
If you click on "Some OpenGraph tags are missing," you’ll see exactly the ones you need to add.
If your content is declining, but there aren’t any issues with the previously-mentioned items, review the page’s technical performance.
You can use these checkers for hreflang and canonical tags, or keep an eye on your SiteGuru audit report. It’ll automatically flag these problems, so you can respond to them when they pop up – without worrying about the rankings.
If you’ve used redirects in the past, make sure you’ve implemented them correctly. Create a column in your spreadsheet as a redirect map.
With all your declining content and optimizations in a handy list, choose which pages to start with first. I recommend focusing on your top earners (which is where the GA conversion data comes in handy).
From there, perform the optimization actions based on your content audit findings.
All the while, pay attention to patterns and industry changes. For example, at the time of writing this article, E-E-A-T score is a big factor, so you may want to implement changes to your general content strategy. You might talk to more customers, interview experts, add videos, and more.
Finally, save yourself the trouble of redoing these audits every few months by tracking keywords and getting notified when there’s a performance problem. In SiteGuru, you can do it with the Keyword Tracker and the automated weekly audit that surfaces any problems with your content.
At the end of the day, the Search is changing – and so are consumer preferences. It’s great to publish new content, but don’t forget about the content that’s brought in so many conversions in the past.
Keep it fresh with content audits, and always go the extra mile!