Publishing high-quality content will give your website an advantage over its competitors by increasing its performance in the search results, but you need to audit your site’s content regularly. According to a survey of over 1,000 professional marketers by Curata, 37 percent of marketers have never conducted a content audit, restricting their ability to create and maintain an authoritative website. In just a few simple steps, however, you can conduct a thorough and complete audit of your website’s content.
Review On-Page SEO Elements
When auditing a page on your website, review all search engine optimization (SEO) elements to ensure they are accurate and aligned with your goals. Each SEO element should be optimized to promote higher rankings for the page’s target keywords. If an SEO element is missing or optimized for the wrong keywords, you can use this opportunity to add or fix it.
On-Page SEO elements to look for during a content audit include:
• Title tags
• Meta descriptions
• URL slugs
• Alt text for images
• Target keywords in headings and content body
Proofread for Typos
Statistics show the average person’s typing accuracy is about 92 percent, meaning for every 100 words a person types, he or she will make eight typos. Even if you’re a skilled typist, you’re bound to make mistakes when creating long-form content for your website. Whether it’s a misspelled word, incorrect punctuation, a repeated word or improper capitalization, typos will hurt your website’s credibility while discouraging search engines from giving your site a first-page ranking.
Using a grammar-checking tool like Grammarly can help you identify more typos in your website’s content. Available to install as a browser extension at grammarly.com, it automatically scans text displayed in your web browser for errors. If Grammarly discovers a critical error, such as a misspelled word, it will underline the error in red. Clicking this newly created element will then explain the reason why it’s wrong while also providing recommendations to fix it. Grammarly shouldn’t be used as a substitution for manual proofreading. Rather, use it or a similar grammar-checking tool after you’ve proofread the content.
Inspect for Dead Links
In addition to proofreading for typos, inspect links included in your content to ensure they still function. If a link is dead, it won’t guide visitors to the intended page. When a visitor clicks a dead link, he or she will see an HTTP 404 “not found” error page.
Dead links can occur if the intended URL was typed incorrectly or if the page of the linked URL is deleted. If you skipped a letter when typing the URL of a link, for example, it will result in a dead link unless the mistyped URL is coincidentally the same URL as an active page. And if you deleted the page to which a link points, it will also result in a dead link.
You don’t have to click each link in your website’s content to see if they are dead. Several web-based tools, such as brokenlinkcheck.com and drlinkcheck.com, are available that automatically scan your links while checking them for errors. If you have hundreds of pages of content, each of which with dozens or more links, using one of the tools can save you countless hours of tediously clicking links.
Check for Mobile Compatibility
A content auditing step that’s often overlooked by webmasters is checking for mobile compatibility. Some webmasters assume all their content is compatible with mobiles devices just because their homepage passes Google’s mobile-friendly test at search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly. Different pages may render differently when accessed on a smartphone than a desktop, however, so you need to check all your website’s pages for mobile compatibility. Your homepage may function correctly on a smartphone, but other content-rich pages could suffer from technical issues when accessed on a mobile device.
Rather than running each of your website’s pages through Google’s testing tool, use Google Search Console to perform a site-wide mobile-compatibility analysis. After verifying ownership of your website and logging in to Google Search Console, select “Mobile Usability” under “Enhancements” on the left-side menu. At the top, you’ll see the total number of pages with mobile-compatibility errors alongside the total number of pages without such errors.
Review Visitor Comments
If you allow visitors to leave comments at the bottom of your website’s content, you should review those comments as part of a content audit. Too many spam or low-quality comments devalues your content, so you need to ensure all comments are legitimate and high quality.
Spam comments are easy to spot. They typically contain anchor text keywords as the user’s name, as opposed to a real name, and links pointing to a commercial website or e-commerce store. Low-quality comments, on the other hand, are more discreet. Visitors may post them under their real name and without links, requiring you to read each comment to determine if its worthy of being published.
Granted, you shouldn’t remove a visitor’s comment just because it’s short or contains a typo. Only remove comments that fail to add any value to the respective page of content. In 2014, one of Google’s lead search engine specialists, Matt Cutts, revealed that misspellings and other typos in visitor comments won’t affect a website’s performance on Google. Instead of correcting typos in comments, Cutts advises webmasters to focus on improving their own content.
The final step in a content audit is analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs). By digging into data-based metrics, you’ll see exactly how well your content performs. If a particular page is outperforming all or most other pages, you can optimize the underperforming pages with a similar format.
Here are some of the top KPIs to analyze during a content audit:
• Search rankings (keywords and placement)
• Number of unique visitors per month
• Average time on page
• Number of social shares
• Number of backlinks
• Bounce rate
• Conversion rate (if applicable)
Conducting a content audit of your website offers crucial insight into the quality, effectiveness, and performance of your site’s content. Neglecting this evaluation process will only hinder your ability to create a successful website. So, mark your calendar to perform a content audit at least once every 12 months.
Content Marketing: How to Conduct a Content Audit of Your Website
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