Performing a regular content audit is a great way to make sure all of the content on the your law firm’s web site is performing as well as it possibly can. A content audit involves taking a full inventory of all of the content on your domain and analyzing it based on a variety of performance metrics to decide which content pieces can be left as they are, which need to be improved, and which might need to be removed.
Overall, the purpose of a content audit is generally to improve the overall quality of content on a domain and thereby increase the trust given by search engines and, of course, improve search result rankings and SEO performance.
The basic process for a content audit can be divided into three main areas:
- Inventory of pages and content
- Analysis of content
- Plan of action
Following are the basic steps for performing a content audit on your own firm’s website:
Gather All URLs On Your Website
Putting together a list of the URLs on your website might sound like a huge task, but if you know where to look, it shouldn’t be too difficult. Third-party software exists to crawl your site and report findings, or some site management software will allow you to export a list of URLs.
If your site won’t do this, you should also be able to put together a list by consolidating data from your sitemap.xml file and/or Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools. It should be relatively easy to arrange and organize the list in a spreadsheet.
Gather Additional Metrics
For each URL on your list, you’ll want to try to gather as much of the following data as you can. You will need to use third-party auditing tools to get some of this information. The more information you have available, the more informed your decisions will be. If possible, you’ll want to add each of the following to your spreadsheet:
- Number of internal and external links
- Traffic from search engines (last 90 days)
- Bounce Rate
- Social media shares
- Relevant keywords
- Date published
- Number of words
Turn Your Spreadsheet Into a Dashboard
Once you have all of your data gathered, you can turn your spreadsheet into a dashboard by simply adding a few columns. As a minimum, you’ll probably need to add one column to set a course of action for each URL, as well as another to record more specific details of what needs to be done.
Generally, each URL will be given a status of “Improve”, “Remove”, or “Leave As Is.” From there, details can be filled in to provide specific instructions on what needs to be done for individual pages. Depending on your goals, you may find that one or two more additional columns can come in handy with keeping things organized. For a large organization, you might want to add a column showing who work was assigned to, or due dates, just to give a few examples.
Analyze Your Data
Once you’ve got your dashboard set up, it’s time to start analyzing what you’ve found and make decisions about individual content pieces. High performing pieces should usually be left alone. It will become obvious that some pages are doing ok but can probably be pushed to perform better with a bit of tweaking and tuning. And then there will be pages that seem to be dead in the water, which you should strongly consider removing altogether.
It’s difficult to tell you exactly what to look for. Your individual data is going to tell its own story. It will be up to you to decide exactly what it all means. Low traffic from search, for example, could mean that a piece needs to be reworked for relevant keywords. A high bounce rate could mean that a page is ranking well, but lacking enough real information to keep readers interested. Results, in the end, will be very site specific.
Make A Plan
Once you’ve done your analysis, it’s time to decide what, exactly, you want to do with your content. After you’ve separated content into the three general categories of improve, remove, or leave as-is, you’ll need to fill in the specific details for what needs to be done with each piece.
Here are just a few examples of what those details might include:
With high performing content, it can be well worth your time to find a way to reorganize, combine, or otherwise reuse the content to attract even more readers. You can do anything from creating a PDF e-book to putting together an overview or FAQ type blog page that links related articles together.
If you have content that is still relevant, but a bit behind the times, you may be able to get away with updating it rather than going for a full-on rewrite. Google loves to see pages getting regular updates. Don’t be afraid to go back to old content and freshen it up if things have changed since it was written.
Add Videos or Images
Maybe you’ve got a great article that’s looking a bit dry by today’s standards, or, as time’s gone by, you’ve created some videos or pictures that go along well with it. Adding these visual props can help revitalize the content and bring in traffic from new search avenues.
Add Internal Links To New Articles
If you take a little time to skim through old articles, you’ll likely find plenty of spots where you can insert links to newer articles. Adding more internal links can do great things for your SEO as well as make it easier for human readers to find related topics. It’s well worth the time and effort to go back through older content and do this on a regular basis.
There’s no way around it, performing a content audit is going to take some time and effort, but the results will be worth it. No other process will give you such a detailed view of exactly how your site and content are performing. When you’re done, you’ll know exactly what is working, what’s not, and what you can do to improve. The final result will be more traffic, better SEO results, and higher conversions. Making the commitment to audit your content regularly will ensure that your online content is always performing as well as it possibly can.