Quality content is more important than it's ever been before, especially with the rise of AI produced content.

I'm going to use this page to explain in more detail how our content audit service works, what goes into it, and you'll have the opportunity to download part of our template.

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Much of what you find here will give you some ideas on how to create your own content audit process, if that's something that you'd like to do. I'm going to explain all of the elements I've organized into our process so you can get a good idea of why they should be there in the first place.

A lot of what is included in our content audit is subjective. It will take a real human to sit down and grade the content on the page from a few different angles. Because of this, it is incredibly different from what you might see done with our Technical SEO Audit service, for example. With our technical audit, there is 0 subjectivity. Either something needs to be fixed or it doesn't.

But a good content audit starts with one thing...A list of URLs you want to audit.

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We Focus On Your Most
Important Pages First

We use Ahrefs mostly at Marketer's Center but honestly other tools like SEMRush or Majestic will work just fine.

The idea here is we like to start with the most important pages for a website first. Usually, these will be the most trafficked websites that are currently grabbing the most organic traffic.

It’s imperative we keep these pages winning… It’s not a good idea to allow your most important pages to languish in the SERPs or become stale with outdated information.

Grabbing the most trafficked pages is pretty simple.

We’ll search the domain in Ahrefs…

Domain search on Ahrefs

The Top Pages screen will show us the top pages by traffic… That is, the pages that get the most organic traffic. Usually, these will be very important to the client to upkeep because the bulk of their traffic comes from these pages.

Top pages search by traffic

This section will even show the keyword that delivers the most traffic to each URL…

Using this page, we’ll grab the URLs that we think are worth auditing. Usually 10 (or more if needed).

Next, we set up the Content Audit Spreadsheet…

Download Our Content Audit
Spreadsheet Template

If you’re doing this yourself, you’ll naturally want to bring all of the URLs you want to audit over to some kind of spreadsheet so that you can track your work. Feel free to copy and use our audit spreadsheet template here:

Download Content Audit Template!

Once you have the URLs ported over to a template like this, then you can start auditing these pages one by one.

Let me go into detail what each column talks about and why it exists.

The Page-Level Content
Audit Checklist

You’ll see some different columns at the top of the spreadsheet such as H1 Tag, Word count, and more.

We’ll go through each column individually so you understand everything that goes into these content audits we complete.

As you can see from the spreadsheet template, anything that needs fixing is denoted with a red highlight and anything that’s is OK is green:

Spreadsheet template

With that out of the way, let’s get into some specifics.

1. H1 Tag

First, we’ll make sure there even is an H1 tag set (sometimes there isn’t!).

The H1 tag should contain the primary keyword or topic the page is focused on.

As long as there’s one on the page, we’ll note what the H1 tag is

2. Title Tag

Same here. We’ll make sure there’s a title tag and note it in the spreadsheet as long as one is there.

3. Meta Description

The meta description summarizes a page's content and presents that to users in the search results. It's one of the first things people will likely see when searching for something, so optimizing it is crucial for SEO.

But of these 3 (title, H1, and meta), meta description seems to be the most common element SEOs seem to leave out. I think because Google will set a meta-description for you if one isn’t set, but generally it is best to set one for the page. So you can be more explicit about what the content on the page is about.

4. Word Count

As a general rule of thumb, the more content a page has, the better. But it should be quality content.

For colors here, we set any word count under 400 to have a red color fill, 400 - 750 will be yellow, and 750+ and above will be green. But ideally you’ll want a page to have at least 1,000 words or more, in my opinion.

5. Is the page up-to-date or does it need updating?

Here, we start looking at some of the information the page shares and see if it’s still current and relevant.

This is where we start putting together a separate “Notes” document that will show screenshots and notes of our findings. If something is out of date, we explicitly write down what we found.

Notes document that will show screenshots and notes of our findings

Notes will be organized in a document separate from the spreadsheet so we can give suggestions and mark places that need improvement.

6. Is the information accurate?

Similar to what we’ve just done above, we’re looking for inaccuracies with the information.

It’s important to remember with these content audits that when we’re taking notes for improvements, we don’t just say what’s wrong, we also tell you how to fix it.

7. Do all of the links work on the page and is the linked content appropriate?

We will open the links within the content into new tabs so we can quickly check if they’re working.

We sometimes also think about adding more related references to other sources if needed, or removing sources that simply aren’t relevant to the content anymore. We try to use your own judgment here and take any notes you deem necessary.

8. Are there typos, grammar errors, etc?

Naturally, you’ll want to make sure your content on the page is error-free and doesn’t contain any weird or embarrassing spelling or grammar mistakes.

9. Is the information structured clearly with subheadings, bullets, tables, etc..?

Here we’re going to start gauging if the content is structured well.

We’re looking for multiple subheadings, bullets, and just checking to see if the overall organization seems put together well or could use improvement.

It’s helpful to point out here, we’re using our own creativity to make suggestions on how to make the content better. Ultimately, that’s what we’re trying to do here with the Content Audit.

10. Is there too much information or too little information?

Although this is a bit subjective, we’re just going to try to use our best judgment for the page.

Please don’t take it as gospel, but rather a second opinion. We’ll try to make any good suggestions if we have them.

11. Suggestion (Keep, Improve, Delete, or Archive)

Next, we’re going to make a suggestion on what to do with this piece of content. Keep in mind, sometimes we get this wrong, so you should definitely be the one who has the final say here. However, here’s what each option means…

  1. Keep. Keep the content as-is. No changes necessary. While content might rarely meet this standard, sometimes it does.
  2. Improve. The most common option we select. Usually pages are important for traffic, look good, but just need a few improvements so it can be a much better pages.
  3. Delete. If the page needs to be merged with another page or totally deleted, we will select this option.
  4. Archive. If the page is totally outdated and there’s no point in keeping it on the website anymore, we will select this option. Usually if content is far from being evergreen or is based on something that is no longer relevant, we will recommend to Archive the content.

Don’t Forget Your
"Content Inventory"

Good SEOs will have somewhere they keep their "content inventory"... If you haven't heard that term before, it is exactly what it sounds like. An inventory of a websites content.

SEO used to work like this.

You would publish a blog post one time for a targeted keyword, point some links to it, say a little prayer, and move on to the next keyword.

Over time, hopefully the page would rank. But, over the years, the post might get stale. Without any attention, the information would become outdated and the post not useful to visitors.

What ends up happening is you'll have a website full of old posts that just aren't very great. Having so many old, outdated posts can drag the quality of the entire website down. Even worse if this content is valuable to the business, maybe if it's a service page or some other page with commercial value to a business.

Keeping a content inventory can help combat this natural attrition of a websites content.

You can do several things with a content inventory like keeping track of the last time a page or post was updated. As well as grading how important a piece of content is for a site. I like to prioritize my "pillar posts" and service pages so that these get a little more attention than others.

If you want to download my Content Inventory spreadsheet, it's here:

It's not incredibly complicated and frankly, it doesn't really have to be.