If you’re wondering how to move the needle on your website’s performance in search, conducting an SEO content audit is an essential first step. 

This systematic review serves as a comprehensive health check for your brand’s online presence, surfacing issues that may be impeding your visibility and uncovering opportunities to make fast gains.

There’s a reason why, according to research from Semrush, 61% of marketers conduct content audits two or more times per year. Actually, there are several reasons!

What is the purpose of a content audit?

A content audit is essentially an SEO analysis of your website that focuses entirely on its content ecosystem, as opposed to technical factors and the like. This process is intended to help organizations manage, consolidate, prune, update, and add content to their website in order to provide a better experience for visitors while sending clearer signals to search engines. 

An SEO content audit generally consists of eight primary steps:

  1. Define your goals
  2. Compile a content inventory
  3. Perform Keyword analysis
  4. Assess content quality
  5. Evaluate Internal linking
  6. Check for duplicate content
  7. Perform content gap analysis
  8. Develop an informed content plan

Why is a content audit useful for today’s organizations in a competitive digital environment? Here are some of the key outcomes and benefits that you can achieve by going through this important strategic undertaking.

“Whether your site is massive or tiny, a content audit can help you understand what you have, what you need, what you don’t need, and what actions you can take in the future to make sure your ecosystem of content is contributing to your goals.”

Julia McCoy, Search Engine Land

5 key practical benefits of a content audit

#1. Simplify and improve your site’s user experience.

The most important quality of any business website is that it reflects well on your brand and makes a strong impression on visitors. Many of the same improvements that will enhance your SEO impact – removing low-quality content, streamlining navigation, addressing content gaps – will also create a better experience for the people who arrive on your website. 

This makes visitors more likely to explore the depth of your content, and engage with your site more extensively!

#2. Strengthen SEO performance

Of course, bringing more people to your website is a crucial goal alongside engaging them once they arrive. Content audits play a big role here as well, improving your visibility in search by making your site and its pages easier for engines to find, understand, categorize, and contextualize. 

These are some of the actions driven by a content audit that can meaningfully impact your website’s SEO performance:

  • Removing duplicate content that makes it harder for your pages to rank
  • Implementing on-page optimizations for key pages
  • Updating pages that are ranking for valuable keywords, but not highly, to move them up on the SERP
  • Consolidating pages on similar topics and keywords to reduce self-cannibalization
  • Identifying content gaps and whitespace to unlock new organic traffic opportunities

53% of marketers say updating their content helped increase engagement, while 49% saw an increase in traffic and/or rankings. (Semrush)

#3. Realign with business goals and priorities

If your company has been in business for any length of time, it’s likely that your messaging, offering, or priorities have shifted. Conducting a content audit helps ensure your website is conducive to meeting your goals and objectives. 

This might involve verifying topical authority around critical subjects, assessing relevance to your audience, or evaluating SEO performance against a refreshed keyword glossary. 

Content audits are especially useful for this purpose when companies are going through a website migration, a rebrand, or a new product launch.

#4. Maximize conversion opportunities

One thing that companies will often discover during a content audit is that they have pages ranking for terms and driving substantial traffic they were totally unaware of. As a result, these pages aren’t doing nearly as much for the marketing strategy as they could be. 

Savvy marketers use this process as an opportunity to revisit these pages and maximize their value, adding new relevant CTAs or cross-linking to key resources. 

#5. Ensure content accuracy, consistency and compliance

In order for your content to convey credibility and build trust, it needs to be accurate. But for organizations with a large amount of content on their websites spanning many years, it can be tricky to keep things up to date. 

Content audits are a great way to ensure that the brand voice, messaging, and information on your website are consistent while meeting your current viewpoint and guidelines. For example, if your company decided to sunset or rebrand a particular product or service, audits can quickly surface all content referencing it so you can make changes and updates as needed.

For businesses that operate in regulated industries, content audits can also be extremely helpful for remaining compliant, helping you quickly flag and address potential risk points.

Get more out of your content by auditing your website

The biggest overarching benefit of conducting a content audit is that it helps companies get more out of their existing content. So many organizations our agency has worked with are swimming in legacy content, which was often planned and published in different phases, by different people, under different strategies. This can lead to a confusing, inconsistent experience for visitors and search engines alike, impeding both reach and engagement.

Content audits can do wonders for your website and its content ecosystem. Learn about this and other SEO services from TopRank Marketing, and request a free SEO scorecard to start your journey!

About the author

Nick Nelson is our friendly neighborhood writer-man. As the Associate Content Director at TopRank Marketing, he is on a mission to energize brand narratives with smart, fun, sharp wordplay. In his free time, Nick enjoys basking in the misery of Minnesota sports fandom, making cringeworthy puns, and smothering all types of food in buffalo sauce.