Content audit checklist – here’s how a content inventory works

Does your website content help you achieve your business goals? Only a content audit can really answer that question reliably. Optimize your UX, performance, and ROI using our content audit checklist!

A content team works together to conduct a content audit.
Image: © REDPIXEL / Adobe Stock
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Why conduct a content audit?

Websites and blogs are not static, or at least they shouldn’t be. Instead, they should be regarded as long-term projects that constantly grow and change. Over time, the following situations are inevitable:

  • Content becomes less relevant.
  • Content is no longer harmonious.
  • Different kinds of content are optimized for the same keywords and therefore cancel each other out.
  • Content is not organized in a user-friendly way, categorized, or linked.

A content audit, also called a content inventory in the past, means taking stock of all the content on a website and is a part of quality management. It’s ultimately about critically assessing the quality of processes and content. As part of a content inventory, content therefore needs to be systematically analyzed, both in quantitative and qualitative terms.

A content audit forms the basis of your content strategy, since its sole purpose is to identify what content is contributing to the attainment of defined business goals and what content is of negligible importance.

To learn how to audit your content in the easiest and most effective way possible using a systematic content analysis, download our free content audit checklist.

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A nuisance but worth it: 8 reasons for conducting a content audit

Conducting a comprehensive content audit is particularly resource-intensive and anything but fun and exciting. However, the time and effort usually pay off for the following eight reasons:

  1. You can determine whether your content and tone are suitable and sufficient for reaching your desired target group.
  2. You can identify errors and inadequacies in your website architecture, duplicate content, missing links, unoptimized textual elements, and other factors that are negatively impacting your rankings from an SEO standpoint.
  3. You can identify what content is really helping you achieve your business goals and facilitating the communication of your desired brand identity. These findings will enable you to define future focal points for your content strategy.
  4. You can detect weaknesses in your website’s navigation that are negatively affecting the UX.
  5. You can plan your content budget in a targeted way by analyzing the audit results.
  6. You can determine early on whether the resources available to you in terms of personnel, quality, and technology are sufficient to achieve your specific goals.
  7. By conducting a content audit within your company, you can form an in-depth understanding of good content and its value.
  8. Not only does the result of a content inventory enable you to assess the success of current content, it also gives you valuable inspiration for creating future content.

A content audit is essential for working effectively with your content, optimally using it for the purposes of your goals, evaluating the success of your content marketing activities, and ensuring that success over the long term.

In our free content audit checklist, we walk you through how to methodically conduct an audit of this kind without wasting precious resources and overloading your content team. Don’t miss out:

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When and how often should a content audit be conducted?

You’ll struggle to not find a reason for putting your website content through its paces. However, you should establish a precise frequency and routine for auditing your content using one of the following three variants:

  • Full content audit comprising all pages and content.
  • Partial content audit that only covers predefined categories, page types, content forms, or publication timeframes.
  • Focused content audit for individual content such as articles, teasers, or metadata.

Particularly in the case of large-scale website projects, it is advisable to conduct at least one annual content audit and use it as a basis for further strategic and financial planning. A content audit is also incredibly useful in the following six scenarios:

#1 Website relaunch

A full content audit will provide you with a starting point for planning your content concept and related issues, such as the navigation structure.

#2 Website migration

If you want to migrate your website from one content management system to another CMS, conducting a full content audit beforehand will help you devise a suitable migration strategy. For example, you can directly eliminate old or duplicate content and prioritize frequently visited pages.

#3 Partial website redesign

If you want to redesign and optimize just certain parts of your website, i.e. individual topics or single pages, you should first make sure to audit the areas you want to revamp.

#4 Introducing new formats, features, or pages

Do you want to incorporate new topic pages, a tagging system, or a new content feature? Or do you want to rework all SEO-relevant textual elements of your website? In both cases, a content audit will show you how and where it makes the most sense to integrate new content and where there is currently room for improvement. Especially if you are adopting a content automation strategy, it is wise to regularly monitor the performance of the pages in question and run a content audit on them.

#5 Reshuffling responsibilities within your content team

If, for example, you want to commission a new content marketing agency to manage your website content, it makes sense to conduct a content audit first. The results from this will be key to drawing up a briefing for the new agency so that it can carry over content types that are performing well, continue successful methods, and avoid mistakes.

#6 Realigning your content marketing strategy

Are you planning to completely realign your content marketing strategy or adapt it to the needs of changed target groups or buyer personas? Then you should be sure to conduct a content audit beforehand so that you can subsequently evaluate the effectiveness of your new strategy.

Content audit checklist: target setting, implementation, and tools in one

Download our free checklist to create a content audit template for systematically checking off everything you need to consider when preparing and conducting a content audit. The checklist will help you define your content audit goals, generate a content inventory, use the right content audit tool, and conduct both a quantitative and qualitative content audit.

Download the checklist