Content audits help identify areas for improvement, gaps, and inconsistencies in a website or client’s content. In this episode, Erika Varangouli gives a lesson on Content Audits.
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💡Conducting a Content Audit
Erika Varangouli emphasizes the significance of conducting a content audit when working on a website or with a client. She highlights the importance of understanding what to improve, identifying what’s working and what’s not, and gaining insights that guide the content strategy.
💡Client Mindset and Perceptions
Erika delves into the varying mindsets of clients regarding content audits. She stresses the need to comprehend where clients are coming from, their past experiences, and potential skepticism. Exploring scenarios where clients may resist another content audit, she discusses strategies for justifying the necessity based on changing dynamics and the evolving landscape.
💡Two Elements of Content Audits
Erika provides insights into the two essential elements of content audits—quantitative and qualitative data. She highlights the need for quantitative data obtained through tools and analytics platforms, and qualitative data driven by expertise and analysis. Erika shares the importance of integrating both aspects to derive comprehensive insights for effective content strategy.
Quantitative data provides evidence of performance and qualitative data offers insights into why certain content is or isn’t working.
💡Faceted Navigation for E-commerce
Erika Varangouli highlights the importance of faceted navigation for large e-commerce sites with extensive product catalogs. She talks about the need for dropdowns, categories, and subcategories to effectively organize and navigate through a plethora of products.
💡Key Metrics for Evaluation
Erika highlights crucial metrics for evaluating content performance, including crawl depth, internal and external links, referring domains, backlinks, and organic clicks. She discusses the significance of these metrics in understanding a page’s visibility, user engagement, and overall impact on search engine rankings. These metrics provide a holistic view of content effectiveness.
💡 User Experience Analysis
The user experience section of the content audit focuses on qualitative aspects, such as readability, engagement, and the presence of distracting elements. Erika introduces the idea of assessing whether a page includes appropriate calls to action and evaluates how easy it is for users to navigate and discover content. This user-centric approach ensures content aligns with both user expectations and search engine algorithms.
Erika Varangouli 0:02
Hi Onize. Nice to see you with the camera on it’s great. All right, okay. Love this. All right. So, so look, you know, I have contested slides, and I’ve declared my hatred for them. So today’s lesson is not going to have slides, it’s going to be. Hello otter pilot how I was okay. It’s going to be a workshop. Alright.
So what we’re going to do is we’re going to talk about content audit. And for me, this is a big one as well, like, if you remember in the first class or lesson and the the initial like Deck, the free content marketing strategy. The big things, let’s say the heaviest workload is in the first part, right? To where you need to audit is where you need to put your plan and strategy together.
After that, the other kind of heavy lifting comes after launching the content, which is monitoring, reporting and adjusting. Okay, so, so today, I wanted us to talk about content audit, and I started like thinking about how to talk about it. And I remember when I was putting like that, a while back, I was trying to think how to do it.
I was like, I don’t like slides about this, it’s a content audit is not something I believe you. You talk about, it’s something you show, and you do. So we’re going to do a workshop. It is a bit weird, because we’re all remote. So I’m not sure how it will work out in real time. But I’m going to show you what I have prepared and we can discuss it.
All right. Essentially, I have built a template for a content audit. And I will share with you and this will be the next assignment, which is not going to be for a week can be for longer. But you’re going to have the template and then you’re going to take your client and and do a content audit based on this template.
But here’s the caveat. This is only a template templates are there, you can find tonnes of them as well online if you if you search right even for mine, like there’s, I’m not reinventing the wheel. Like there’s things that you will probably find across other content audits. But the idea is that everyone’s client is different.
And every time every client’s needs are different, so don’t just take templates and see them as filling exercises, kind of like this is something to to start with. And then you need to build your own, you can change it as you see fit. You can omit things as you see fit.
So it’s only to get you started and to provide some guidance as to how to do a content audit. Okay, so let’s start with it. So I want ideas, why are we doing a content audit, when we start working on a website or with a client?
Roshni Shaikh 3:15
If without doing an audit, you don’t know what to improve on? Or what to work on what’s working, what’s not working, you’re not going to find out without conducting an audit. So that’s why we do it.
Erika Varangouli 3:25
Okay, great. Any other ideas?
Onize Muhammed 3:34
Let’s just get an overall idea of what’s happened and websites that this is the challenges and just get an idea of what’s your proven, like you said,
Erika Varangouli 3:49
Chitra Iyer 3:50
And you can also identify gaps, like what’s not there? Or what’s outdated, and what’s not serving the brand anymore. What’s inconsistent? And because they’re often is so you know, yeah, stuff like that tone of voice and all of that.
Erika Varangouli 4:08
Okay. That’s great. So imagine so I’m Claude, right? I have hired you. And, um, you say to me, Look, I’ve looked at your website, competitors, and nothing we should do a content audit. You all have websites. Some of you have bigger websites or older websites, some others have newer websites, maybe.
So you’re telling me Claude, we need to do a content audit to understand where to take things next. And often, Claude will be like, No, I don’t think so. All our content was done recently. We did a content audit last year. Why do we need to do it again? What is the answer?
Roshni Shaikh 4:59
The company loves was a
Chitra Iyer 5:01
sorry Roshni, you go.
Roshni Shaikh 5:03
Yeah. Okay, cool. So one year is a long time. And you know, the pace at which technology is changing the pace at which serves as a sort of algorithms are changing is, you know, terrific. If you can say, you know, what the things that worked last month won’t work this month because of the algorithm changes. And so if you’re following our data trends, and the content audit was conducted one year back, then it won’t hold good today.
So all of the budget that you’re allocating all of the efforts that you’re going to do without doing an audit is going may go to waste if you are not, you know, aware of what’s happening in the Content Marketing World right now. So
Erika Varangouli 5:46
Chitra where you’re going to say something else.
Chitra Iyer 5:48
Yeah. So just know what to add to what Roshni said And three things mainly do change very quickly. One is the algorithm one is the competitors and what they are doing. And of course, third is the audience itself, their needs change, new opportunities come up new kinds of questions, they are asking that they want answer new problems to be solved. And we might be missing some big opportunities. If we, you know, we’re still stuck in last year with your content.
Erika Varangouli 6:14
Okay, great. These are all fine. I can tell you now for sure. Let’s say Claude says no, we did a content audit three months ago, we don’t need a new one, would your answer remain the same? Or would you say Okay, three months is not a long time. So no need for another one.
Roshni Shaikh 6:33
I’ll probably go audit and conduct a SWOT analysis, look at what’s happening. And you know, if it’s still relevant, and then come back with my own analysis and say, okay, you know, here is the gap that we can fill, and,
Erika Varangouli 6:54
but the gap is not an audit, the audit is on things that exist, the gap is what comes after that. So the gap is coming as part of the strategy in my books is like, Okay, I do an audit, and then my competitor analysis, those things can also lead into the gap and strategy based on the findings. But yeah,
Onize Muhammed 7:18
Okay I think that’s for somebody who is new. You would want to like get a holistic idea and overhaul it, what happened. So like what someone else has already done, might not just be enough for you to build on might just want to do your so that you can know where to start from.
Erika Varangouli 7:39
Perfect. But here’s the thing, because this is a real world. I don’t I’m sorry, don’t take me wrong. I don’t disagree with you. Perceptions audits are just theoretical work, we need to get going, we need to create content, I’m not paying for an audit, we had one. So we know everything we addressed it maybe a year ago, maybe three or six months ago. We need to create more content, because someone told me we need to publish like every week, so I don’t care. Yes Chitra?
Chitra Iyer 8:15
I don’t think the outcome of a content audit has to be to create more content, it could just be to update your existing content or repurpose, you might have some really good long format content sitting there and not being used that we could repurpose and get a lot more ROI than what you paid for it. So content audit is to really identify opportunities as much as it’s certainly not about just creating more content.
Erika Varangouli 8:39
That’s what I’m saying. But, in many clients’ heads an audit is is about the things they already have. And it’s like for them. It’s what am I missing? I need to create content. There’s there’s a lot of that out there, right. Here’s, here’s my two cents. So first of all, when someone tells me, you know, we did a content audit, we don’t need another one. We just need to get started with a plan and create new content. Right? My answer is great.
Can I see that audit? Like the you cannot miss by looking at what someone else before you suggested what they found their analysis, you know, all of that, because it also shows and you ask Claude, you know, have you been following Have you implemented these things? What did you do after that? Right. Roshni? Yes. Yeah.
Roshni Shaikh 9:32
So when I mentioned about the gaps, it is after taking a look at the audit as what I meant. What I said is, you know, Can Can I look back and have a look at the audit that was performed or three months ago, and because I’m aware of what’s going on in the Content Marketing World, I’m going to point out the gaps.
You know, like this has changed, this hasn’t changed. So we may have to do an audit, again, to really understand how the keywords are performing how you’re going just performing against the keywords that we need to focus on.
Erika Varangouli 10:05
Perfect. So first of all, that’s what I would say like, if you don’t, your clients will have different mindsets, alright. And some of them, maybe they have spent a lot of money and not seeing results. So you can justify them if they’re a bit sceptical around, oh, we are going to do another content audit. Oh, wow. You know, sometimes when you get a client that says I want 100 pieces, and I just need you to give me the titles. They’re not right.
That’s not necessarily what they need. But you need to try to understand where they’re coming from what they have done, what kind of distance they’ve covered already, to get to that stage, how much bad advice they’ve received in the past, or how much good advice but they haven’t been able to implement it. I don’t I don’t know. So, remember, they’re also people and humans, they probably are struggling to, you know, get their own targets met, or their business grow us as fast as possible. So they need and you need to be there for them.
If they succeed, you succeed, right. And that needs to be clear. So in my experience, either agency side or in house, the amount of times I’ve had to work on content strategy, right? And the side would have a lot of content. And the idea of a content audit was out of the question. It was like, No, we just need a strategy. And, and that’s it, take it or leave it. And I’ll be like, Oh, I’m, I’m literally had very strong feelings, but then digging into it and sort of putting together a bit of planning a bit of, of my own work to say, Okay, I’m gonna do the strategy. Look, I just had a look at some things and and I found this so at some point, maybe he should do a content audit, because you’re wasting resources.
And gradually eating into that perception that we only need new content, our old content is fine. So one, remember to to understand where your client is coming from or your manager, right? If they’ve done a content audit in the past, ask for it, like ask, have you ever done a content audit? No, okay, we definitely need to do on, or definitely, I will put in brackets. Or if you’ve done one can have a look at it. And then that leads you to the next stage, which is us before diving into a bit of the template and what we’re going to do in the workshop.
All Content audits, right, they have largely they have two elements. Part of of the the information you’re looking at is quantitative data, right. And the other party’s qualitative data, especially if we’re talking about content audits, you know, for websites, and whether they have the right content to rank, for example, to bring in a lot of organic traffic to engage people, you will need both elements, you will need the quantitative data and the qualitative data.
The quantitative data, you need tools and platforms to get from like nine out of 10 things there are taken from software, they’re taken from analytics platforms. And oftentimes, you will either need to work with someone on the client side to give it to you or to give you access to those tools. Or you will have to like show your client why you need it and how you’re going to get there. The qualitative data now is the usual problem with content because it’s qualitative, you have to to inform those areas with your expertise with your analysis with your knowledge of the landscape and all the analysis you’ve done before as well. But also it can be very subjective.
So it’s harder to say, Okay, I’m suggesting, let’s say I’m suggesting we update this whole piece of content, because I don’t like it. Right. And then you may have their own content writer, they may have their own SEO manager or Claude himself, they’re like, No, I think it’s a fine piece of content. And it’s it’s doing okay, why should we update it? So with a qualitative data, a lot of have the backup evidence that you need to change things or you need to do something comes from the quantitative data, right?
From the quantitative data, many things that you have to work on become very apparent. So if, for example, you have a piece of content that is performing very well, probably you don’t need to do anything or you don’t need to do much right. And that is a direct result of looking at at its performance and how it’s set up. Other pieces of content use Started with quantitative data and you say, Look, its performance is dropping, it’s not ranking people are not engaging, you know, anything that you can see from from the tools and the software you use and the analytics platforms.
And then you go into the why that’s the qualitative analysis, like, why is it not performing? Why is it not doing this? So the template I’ve built, kind of addresses those things and invites you to fill in as much as possible. The caveat is, I don’t know if you can fill all the information in. So I want you to have this as a template in general as like, okay, you know, I’m working, we are already working with clients, if you have access to their data, you can use it if you like it, or any part of it that you like.
And it’s more like a guidance of like, do I have all this information, because for me, this is the kind of information that then leads me to understand what I need to do. I’m going to show you the document, and then I’m going to tell you what we’re going to do. But as we go over the document, we’re going to be talking about the fields and how to get the data. And I want you to be asking me questions, if anything is unclear, okay. And in the end, if you have other things that you do in your content audits, if anything is missing, if you’re wondering about something, you tell me, we add it, or we explain, like why it’s not there, okay. All right, I’m gonna share my screen.
Erika Varangouli 16:32
Share, can you see my screen? I’m gonna take this as a yes. Okay. Let’s start with this tab, you’ll see there are three tabs in the content audit. One is toolkit, this is where I kept track of, like what tools you showed, or you can use to fill in as much information as possible from the quantitative data, right. But you can have your own toolkit, you can add more, there’s tonnes of free tools out there that you can use it or have an added here, if you know them, and you like them, feel free to do that.
So the tools that I would suggest is like Search Console, especially for the organic content audit, and Google Analytics data. Now, in different settings, you may be given access, or you may just not be given access to be given you can then you should request the data from the client as well. All right, we have SEMrush access, but it can be similar. So you know, if you prefer working with se ranking, or in the future, you know, you have Ahrefs, for example, you know, similar tools for kind of like some of the information. So that’s also fine. If you have access to Screaming Frog, or the client does that, say they have an SEO manager perfect.
If they don’t Screaming Frog gives you up to a certain level of crawling for free. So you can crawl some pages with Screaming Frog for free. And then there are some free tools that will help you with specific parts of the analysis, right. But stream has a free SEO meta title and meta description extractor. So that is to help you for free, you upload a list of URLs. And you can then export in CSV, like their title tag and their meta descriptions, instead of having to do it manually page by page.
I don’t know there’s a limit to how many URLs you can upload, like I’ve never hit that limit. But maybe there is. Um, then as the ranking has a free title and meta description checker. What this does is that you put the URL of a page and it tells you like if it’s long enough, or if it’s short, how it’s displayed in the SERPs, you know how many characters or pixels it is. And you can also get this information from there. And you can also their test new titles and descriptions if they’re going to be fitting in well or get truncated.
And some of the data you will find I find the SEO pro Chrome extension very useful, it’s free, you sign up you downloaded. And then you acquire it pretty much on every page you want to review. It gives you tonnes of data it also includes like title tags on all of it, but if you want to export many in bulk, that’s why I put the Buzzstream thing here. It shows you like how many internal links it has External links, any broken links so it’s, it’s useful for kind of like some elements on the page and showing you whether they work or not. Okay. Any questions about the toolkit? No, okay. Now I cannot see you because I’m on a different tabs and I have only one screen so if anyone wants anything just shout because I cannot see if you want to ask something.
Now let’s go sorry. Let’s go to the actual Will content audit, I’ve split it in two tabs. And this is only because I like to keep like something’s a bit different, a bit separated Coresight pages, and then as your content audit. So core site pages, I’ve put some examples here. What I mean by that these are, for example, your homepage, product or category pages or service pages, right? If I, for example, take you to maybe you will not see my screen. But if I go here, so for example, SEMrush homepage, then, you know, if I go on the menu, like features, this is a core page, I can access it directly from, from the main navigation, right, and then maybe some pages here, like important ones are not changing.
But keyword research, that’s a different page, it has a different URL. So it is important, I can reach it quite easily. And it’s linked from up here pricing is one of the top links in the navigation. So what is LinkedIn in navigation or early on? Right? If it has a drop down menu, like the blog, right, it comes at the top? These are all indications that this page is our core pages for for the website, they’re important pages. That’s why they are prioritised up here, company about us. Right? It’s at the top. So also another important page. Some of these pages may not necessarily be linked at the top, don’t just stay at the top. But like if you have an E commerce site, for example, right? Tell me an e commerce site.
That’s not Amazon. I think of any let me right, just past your okay. One second, I’m sorry. Okay, sure. This, let’s say you have any commerce client, right or someone with with faceted navigation, a lot of products, you see that? Things here in the menu, like they have their categories, right. They have furniture, flooring, bathrooms, and plumbing. All of those things are indications that for this store, these pages are super important. They’re the category the big category pages that people go to start browsing. And then probably for E commerce, you need to go a level down so furniture separate. Or you see Christmas is coming up.
I don’t know, I’m assuming Christmas is not always the first link in the navigation, which is actually quite good that they’ve done is like seasonal, but it’s prioritise now, right? Would I put it in a content audit, if it’s something very seasonal? Probably not. Right? So just so I wouldn’t, but it doesn’t mean, that’s the only way to do it. So, so you need to start, I start, you don’t need to do that. But I start by singling out the most important pages. So these are like homepage product category pages, pricing, it can be your blog, it can be like if it’s a website that has a lot of press releases or announcements for new products, and they publish them in a specific section like a newsroom.
It can be like a landing page that has a lot of buying guides or user guides that can be webinars about contact us. And these pages, some of them may be important because because they are integral to the brand, right? So careers page unless I don’t know your indeed.co.uk, maybe it’s not the most important page in terms of bringing you a lot of traffic or payments. But it is important that it’s a category it affects like the whole business like whether he manages to hire good people or not so good pricing twice I realised. So these are just examples. And in the end, like I’ve put a certain type of page. So a 404 page, right? What does that for a four page look like?
That’s the page you get. When when that there may or may not have been a page at some point. Someone may have missed out that URL, for example, right? So they go to an error page, it returns an error page that says sorry, I cannot find this page. What is that page look like? What what does it say to people? What does it help them do? And then other pages that are important maybe for user experience? Are you know login pages or subscribe page if if it’s a site that is based on let’s say subscriptions and people are Are there to subscribe.
So these are just ideas, but it was I was putting some of them here to give you ideas of what I mean by page type. And like what I mean by core site pages. You’ll see that here. All of these sections with things to fill in are colour coded, right? So technical, for example, is everything here in purple, performance related is in blue, your user experiences in yellow, content is in green, and then the actions that you’re be recommending are and whatever, red, orange. So this is just to keep, keep it a bit tidy.
Like it’s a different type of data or information that you will be inputting here. So then for every page that you review, you know, your start page type is a homepage. Okay, what’s the URL? I’m just put the URL, what’s the HTTP status? That is like, if it’s 200, which should be, especially if you’re able to see the page, it’s, you know, it’s live, that page is absolutely fine. But then if, for example, let’s say your client gave you a URL for a newsroom, right, and that URL may be redirecting somewhere. So it might be 301, redirect to another page.
So that’s where you put the status. These are like server, HTTP service, statuses that indicate what is the status of that page, if it’s live, if it’s redirected, if it’s not found, if there’s any kind of error there. You can get these kind of manually if you want, there is a nice extension allotted to the toolkit that shows you the status of the page. And it’s a Chrome extension. You can get it also from like, if you’re using Screaming Frog or SEMrush, the Site Audit and you put those pages into be crawled, it will also show you their HTTP status, right.
Any questions because I know the technical ones may be a bit out of have the usual kind of like typical content stuff, but it’s a pretty easy thing to find any questions? No, I’m gonna think no. And then you have your title tag, what is your meta meta title? In case you know it as is I’m going to write just in case so there’s no confusion. What’s the character length? Remember that in Google, Google doesn’t show or truncate the title tags based on character length, it’s based on pixels. But because we as humans do not perceive pixels, were kind of like going by character length. So just an indication of what’s the character length? word length? Yes. Someone has raised a hand. Yeah,
Chitra Iyer 27:54
so this is Chitra. Here. Sorry to interrupt you. I just wanted to ask you, is there a tool that where we just enter the URL of the of a page and it will give us all of this? Yeah, so
Erika Varangouli 28:09
one of the one of the tools here, I think it’s the SE rankings, one, where you put where you put so for example, you can put both streams free tool, right? To get what the title tag and the meta description is. And then you can put that in SE ranking’s tool. Let me open it. Now. Let’s look at
Chitra Iyer 28:33
all the fields, all the fields that you have on the first step, like the http status and then maybe
Erika Varangouli 28:41
not everything. But let’s let’s do a bit of the live demo about the title tag. So let’s put, like SEMrush Mm hmm. Okay, let me just try something else. Because I don’t know if something that’s broken here or Okay, so SEMrush blog. All right, I just put the URL of that page. And this is the this is the title tag, right? The SEO sem PPC and content marketing blog. SEMrush shows you the characters is 54 characters pixels is 270, which is which is absolutely fine. This is a meta description.
And this is what it looks like on desktop and on mobile. So I can see it’s not getting cut off. You know, when you get a lot of like a long title or a long description, you may get cut off if Google doesn’t rewrite it. This is what you get from SEO rankings like free widgets. So you can get your title tag you can get your characters and the same for meta description and characters as well. Okay, for HTTP status. What I I wanted to show you so I set up like a quick Site Audit for some of the SEMrush pages right in the in the semrush Site Audit, let me share this tab instead.
So we can discuss if you want help like how to set up a site owner, you’ll have access, and I would recommend you try setting up a site audit. And, and it’s a similar, not as similar. But also you can set up a crawl with Screaming Frog if you have access to Screaming Frog, which is an amazing tool. But let’s say for now, for sure you have access to to SEMrush. You can we can set up another one together if you want before the end of the lesson if we have time. And what you get right is once the site audit is complete, you get here, when you open it, you go to the site audit, you get this page, if you go to the crawled Pages Report, right, you can see all the pages that you crawled, just needs a bit of time to load one second and
Erika Varangouli 31:03
this is embarrassing, I think I broke it because it was on the same page for like days now.
Erika Varangouli 31:30
Okay, let’s wait because I broke it. I’ll show you another tool in the meantime, that it’s a Chrome extension. Let me see if I can do this instead and I’ll go here, share this tab is gonna go give me a page, tell me just a URL. So don’t go to SEMrush. Again, check out SEMrush. Let’s say I’m on the SEMrush blog page. All right. Can you see my screen? First of all? Can someone say yes, just because I’m on a different window altogether? So if you’re here
Erika Varangouli 32:25
this extension right here is called redirect path. I’ll add it to the toolkit. Alright, what it shows you this is the status code, right? It shows me that it has been redirected a couple of times from this to this and now to this, which is essentially like variations that are redirecting to this one. And this one, which is
Chitra Iyer 32:48
I don’t think we’re seeing what you’re seeing, Erica we’re seeing the type of blog
Erika Varangouli 32:56
you cannot see that oh, okay, because it’s like an extension. Let me i allotted to look you will get but essentially, let me come back to our window and where you are, and see if I can share here. Can I attach anything here? No cannot attach anything here. That’s useful. Okay, I’ll put it in the toolkit. And then you can download the Chrome extension as well.
And once you’re on any page, you can try it on the page to see the status codes showing. All right, and you can send me a message on slack if you if you download the Chrome extension, and it doesn’t work for some reason, or you’re not sure how to use it. Let me get back to do the Site Audit. Right. Sorry,
Roshni Shaikh 33:49 I think I missed something. What Chrome extension are you talking about? Is that the one that you mentioned in the? The template?
Erika Varangouli 33:58
No, I need to add it sorry, I forgot. It’s called redirect path. And it shows you essentially, it shows you the status code for every page you’re on. So it’s an extension, you put it on when you’re on any page and it shows you like if it’s a page has a status 200. So it’s live if it’s been redirected, or if it’s like some kind of has some any other kind of problem with that. So it’s just a free chrome extension. And you can very quickly check the status of that page, regardless of you know, whether you have access to semrush or any other tools.
Okay, so all I did, I didn’t know anything extra sorry. Um, so if I go again, back to SEMrush. Now that it’s loaded again, you can see that okay, I’ve curl some pages. This is the curl Pages Report, right? And I can filter here by HTTP status code. So these are all the pages are crawled. They’re returning 200 Which is okay, that means the page is live, right? Which is great. That’s exactly what we want to get And if I want to, let’s say, because all of them are 200. If anything, if I reorder, I don’t see any issues, right? So for any given page here, you can filter for HTTP status code, and very quickly see if it’s 200. So you’re good.
Luck me go back to this one. Right? Then you have your title tags, your h1, what’s the h1? The Meta description? And is the page linked from the main navigation bar? That’s, like things in the in an audit that I phrased like this, usually it’s for me, I usually put just why or, and yes or no? Because why am I asking this here? Because if I consider this to be a core page, let’s say category page, right? Furniture, bathroom furniture for a bathroom, ecommerce store? isn’t linked from the main navigation bar? No, maybe that’s a problem. Maybe that can lead me to then say, okay, you should add a link higher in your menu. Yes.
Roshni Shaikh 36:08
Let’s say for an E commerce site, like IKEA, or something like that, you have hundreds and 1000s of products. Yeah. Yeah.
Erika Varangouli 36:17
So that would be your faceted navigation. That would be you know, your drop down. And then you have your categories and subcategories. Yes. For E commerce. It’s not as like a simple as as this. So Main Navigation may apply to a certain type of of sites. If we’re talking about ecommerce or a massive side with tonnes of let’s say, an educational site as well may have tonnes of products there, right? Then it would be a case of Is it a separate like category or subcategory under your your main menu? You can.
That’s what I mean, like in a template, you cannot account for every scenario. And that’s why you always need to bring it to your specific needs on your clients needs. Right? So you’re what I would rephrase if it wasn’t commerce is like, is it part of the the main drop down in navigation? Right? And then I would know that it’s okay, it’s a separate category, or it’s not a category on its own?
Roshni Shaikh 37:15
If, if it should? Okay, one more question, Erica. So if it is a very large site like Cisco, or an enterprise Enterprise site, basically, how do you conduct an content audit for such a site where most of the information is also present in their intranet? For example? And is it necessary to include that information as well? I mean, during like too many factors, too many things going on,
Erika Varangouli 37:47
on how do I do a content audit on a website that has different cons, or has a lot more content but not shown publicly?
Roshni Shaikh 37:57
Yeah, like intranet. For example, of course, you know, it doesn’t need a ranking. But sometimes, let’s say you need to do an analysis of employer branding. intranet content is a part of studying employer branding. And
Erika Varangouli 38:15
I understand, I think, obviously, this is a this is a different kind of thing. So because with that, one, you cannot use any of this, or not anybody, like none of this so far makes any impact. So I think this is a completely a very specific type of audit. Of course, it makes sense to do it. If a client came to me and said, We need a content audit for all our content and their content was like, accessible or accessible via login, I will do two separate audits, and not together in one and how you do like an intranet or employer branding, or how do you review content that maybe is behind a login is very different to how you do the content that is there for ranking purposes?
For example? Yeah, yeah. Okay, great. All right. So let me let me go back. Alright, so let’s go into the performance. We’re stealing the quantitative data, you can, you can see so far, there’s nothing here that that you’re adding an opinion or your own kind of expertise in terms of how something works or looks. And the same remains here. So in the performance data, I usually maybe look at traffic pageviews, depending on what tool you’re using.
You can take past 30 days, but six days, again, the windows can vary. The simplest one, or let’s say the shortest period you should take is 30 days, I wouldn’t take less than that for sure. You can then look into organic clicks. Again, whatever timeframe you take here, I would suggest you keep it consistent, right? I think that goes without saying but just to make sure. So organic clicks would be something that you get specifically from Search Console. Right? And what has those, what have these been for the last 3016 12 months, whatever. And then organic clicks. The other thing I do is one of the things there is, you compare the same timeframe, here over a year.
So maybe you have a page and the organic clicks in the last 30 days were 1000. How do you know if this is good or bad? Like for someone who may sound like a lot, for someone else, it might sound like very little. So this is a kind of thinking you go into to get context, right, you’re comparing year over year. Some cases, maybe you’re not able to do that, because like the site may be too fresh or that page may not have existed a year ago.
But generally where you can do the comparisons for exactly the same period, year over year, because that means that you avoid tricks, like if you compare with the previous month or the next, or quarter over quarter that I see a lot or something else, maybe good if someone’s like head of growth, and the ones who prove it’s growing quarter over quarter. But it also doesn’t take into account seasonality. So imagine like comparing the the Christmas section in the commerce side that we saw before this quarter, right? Including like Christmas versus the summer, you wouldn’t you wouldn’t be like oh my god, it’s doing amazingly well.
It’s skyrocketing. Its traffic, but it’s not it’s purely because of seasonality, or maybe something else happened, maybe there’s been a relevant big event and people have gotten very interested in something so year over a year is quite a good context is quite a good comparison to get context around whether you our content is performing better or worse compared to to a year ago. Also, you get the average CTR from Search Console. So that means like, Okay, people see it, how many clicks on it versus how many impressions and then you get your CTR Search Console, unless, in case you haven’t seen it gives you that metric ready for the URL you want.
And another thing we need to always look into is, is that page promoted via paid channels, right? I didn’t include tonnes of details here. Because I also know that none of us will have access to the actual websites were viewing. If you’re working with with a real client on this, and they are doing paid promo, obviously, you can add things here like, Okay, what’s the traffic? What are the payments, what’s the conversion rates from these ads, so you get a more holistic idea on how a page and its content is performing across different channels.
Because I’m telling you this, I’ve seen it even recently, you know, from an organic point of view, a team did a content audit, and they suggested Okay, let’s kill those pages. That’s let’s just kill them. And they hadn’t looked at whether these pages are used in paid promo and in pay, they were actually doing really well. So if they had killed those pages, they would have probably killed also revenue coming from those pages. So So you need to have this idea because because it shows you again, the the path as to how to treat that content. If it’s in paid promo.
It can be very quantitative as well. But it’s very often you don’t even have access to the right tools. So does the page include internal links, and you can get that from the also the the Chrome extension that I’ve included here in the toolkit, which is free, doesn’t include external links. So linking out to other to other websites or pages, are any of them broken? So testing or even getting it from the extension? Are those links all working fine, or are they broken links? Does it include appropriate call to action? Right, if for any side you are every page? Every page should should have some sort of action, right? You create content on the web. because you want people to do something, right?
Even if it’s a simple let’s say blog post, what is I don’t know. Tell me like food. I’m terrible with what is a hot dog? Right? For that to be on your website, you’re probably relevant to something right? Maybe you’re you’re selling your you have recipes, or maybe you’re selling like cookware. Even a simple top funnel blog post should have some sort of CTA call to action to say, Alright, did you like to read more recipes? I’m buying a device to make hot dogs and five minutes, read our guide on how to make the best hot dogs call to action doesn’t mean? Does it have a button to make you buy or not? It means does it show the user? And next step what it wants the user to do?
Okay, please don’t do that. I’m clarifying. Because many times I’ve seen audits where people say no, it doesn’t have a call to action. And it’s because it doesn’t have like a button at the bottom saying, okay, buy our product. But if you look at it, in the end, it’s like, okay, if you like this, read this other guide, or read further on this topic on this, and this article, this is still call to action. And the other thing with user experience, which is also very important for ranking and for users, is does it contain distracting elements, so like pop ups, or ads coming up all the time, as an interstitial, you know, interrupting you as you go down? Or maybe there’s a lot of ads on the sides.
So here or you will just mark as yes or no, if if they’re distracting or not. And then you go into the content. So here is where I think we’re going to be a bit more qualitative, right? Some of it can be quantitative to does content address the main intent, right? I’ve put scores usually scored, because it’s easier for me to then sort by scoring so I can start, let’s say, with the ones I want to address first, right? You can do it differently.
You can write things instead of scoring. But I like scoring because then any, as much of it as it can be numerical, it means you can easily filter stuff as you go. So does it address the main intent? Is it easy to read and digest? Here? You can also use things like on on SEMrush, that I know I don’t know if Se ranking has a similar thing on SEMrush that I know. Do you have access to the content marketing toolkit or not?
Roshni Shaikh 47:44
No, no, even the Position Tracking like it is one tool that I check often to check the position of a URL or something like that. And somehow I don’t have access to it.
Erika Varangouli 47:57
Right okay, that’s weird. Okay. Can you can you please email? The FCDC or someone? Not the access is content marketing toolkit. Yes, I’m sorry, because it’s no longer part of the platform. So probably you were not given access to it. But let me Sandra, do you want to ask something?
sandra Tabansi 48:27 Yeah, I just wanted to see that the also for the site Audits. I think it’s only limited to 545 searches I guess. Is that?
Erika Varangouli 48:42
it should be projects because the site, you need to set up a project. But probably you will have a limit as to how many pages you can crawl. Yes, that that is dependent on the plan you’re on. So I’ll tell you shortly what your task will be. I’ll go through. Yeah. I’ll go through the rest of it quicker because I think it’s now more obvious and I’m zooming in a bit. So canon is easy to read and digest. Many of you may already have access even to things like Hemingway app or Grammarly.
You can you can use the readability scores from there. Right. And that is a very quantitative way of assessing it right. So you can say, okay, readability score is five out of 10. So you know, that’s not great. Or, if you have no access to no tools about that, it’s it’s up to you to be as objective as possible. You know, is it easy to read and digest? Does it have like bullet points? It’s not just about how it’s written. It’s also about formatting. Is content engaging? Do people want to read it? ”
You could also use like, things from good do analytics, if you have access to this data and sort of see, okay, they’re spending on average four minutes on the page. Or you can do it on your own purely from from a content analysis point of view. So these are the things that now we’re treading on a bit of quantitative and qualitative, but because I wanted to keep it realistic for us as well, like none of us has access to any clouds, GA or Search Console, then we’re gonna go with, with what we can see.
Does it contain spelling and grammar mistakes, which you can also if you’re using Hemingway, or me, yeah, you can get from If not, it’s a simple like, read through and see if you can spot them is the content on brand. This is where you’re going to need as well to have from Claude or from your client, not from Claude. In this case, like if they have any brand guidelines, all the things you asked for in the discovery phase that we talked about, right? And then does it contain imagery or videos?
And are they appropriate? Are they good? Are they doing a good job? Based on what the page is about? And then you go into your actions based on everything you’ve collected? And added here? What if split the action so nothing gets lost into Okay, based on the technical elements audit? What are the actions needed? Maybe you say, Okay, we need to optimise title tag, or fix the five broken links on this page. What are the actions needed for user experience, right? If there’s a lot of popups on the page, or, you know, something is missing, we need to add it in because this is not a great user experience. What are the actions for content and here is where you should have most of the actions listed.
And then if you like, just so you remember, remember, sometimes a content audit may go to another writer, right? You may be the strategies on something, and they may be using other writers as well to write and update the content. So here, you can sort of use a direction that says, okay, here are similar type pages, I usually will pick any competitor or relevant industry players, if they’re doing a good job, but it’s not restricted, right, if you like, a page from someone that has a similar kind of function to the one you’re auditing, and you want to suggest that this looks nice, the content here is amazing. You could transfer that to what you’re doing, I will include it here, I would say, Okay, look at this URL, and that URL, and any other nodes that do not fit here, I would put in here.
And very quickly, let me just tell you the difference with an SEO content audit. So here’s where you have the rest of your pages, right. And let’s say when you work with a client, maybe they will give you a list of like 100 URLs to audit or 1000. Like I’ve done content audits with 10s of 1000s of pages. So here, you could have all your URLs, I’m hoping that your client, you know, it’s not something you would do manually, like go URL by URL and put it here is like usually should come as an expert from the website from something like Screaming Frog or an SEO manager having all the URLs that they want audited, ready for you. And then here, the differences are we’re reviewing this pages purely in terms of organic search. So how good are they to rank organically and engage people from organic search? Alright, so here you need I clarify the page type first, right?
What is is a blog post, it can be a feature a product page, it can be a PDF, can be anything right? I’ve just added some examples to show you the the thinking behind it. Again, you see the same things as before, so I’m not going to mention them. Crawl depth here is directly taken from the Site Audit again. So here you can see it here crawled up this how many clicks from the root domain does it take to go to this page? Yes, from the homepage. So if for example, you see a crawl depth, provided you want to keep it right. As I said, any metric here any kind of review is up to you whether you want to keep or not. But if for example, let’s say to get to a blog post, I need 10 clicks.
That is a lot and that means that it will make it very hard for both search engines probably also for humans to find. So this is something that we need to look at. Going 1234 levels down is fine. It’s okay. Like it’s typical site architecture. But if a piece of content takes 10 clicks to find from the root domain from the homepage, right you You can see the path, the URL path is probably going to be a bit harder to discover. Then the number of interesting common internal links, so how many pages on this on the same website? Link to this page? Right? You can all of these things here you can get from the Site Audit. How many links to pages on the site you have on this page?
Specifically? And how many do you have on the page that link to external websites? Alright, so how many pages on the site point to this page with a link? How many of these page points to on the site and how many to external? All of those things are important? Because one, they can affect also user experience? Number two, maybe there are pages that you don’t you see, you know, number of external links may be I don’t know, 20. And it’s a 200. Word. Page, something is off.
Right. So that’s why I put also number a not like, anything qualitative, is is a quick assessment of does it have too many? Or does it have none. So it doesn’t have no internet, no other pages linking to this page. That is a problem, right? So it’s to give you an idea how well connected this page is and how analogical it looks in terms of like how many links it has coming in and coming out. And then again, any broken links that need addressing, because that is also not a great experience for users like clicking on a link and then being taken to a page that doesn’t exist. In terms of performance, I’ve included again, number of referring domains, number of backlinks, organic clicks, the comparison of organic clicks and the average CTR.
So number of referring domains and backlinks you can get from like, summarise, you can get from Moz, as he ranking H refs, depending on which tool you’re using, and these metrics here from Google Search Console, user experience, funnel stages, a new one here, because when we’re assessing whether it works or not, and covers intent, it is good to have an overview of okay, is this page for people that are top of the funnel awareness, we want to generate awareness of this content? Or is it like for conversion?
So it’s people further down the funnel that we’re looking to convert? And based on this also, you can think does it include an appropriate CTA? Right? If if I want people to convert, do it at least have a CTA to to lead them to conversion? Because if you say here, conversion stage, and here, there’s no CTA, or it’s not appropriate, that’s automatically affects that you need to be proposing with your content audit doesn’t contain distracting elements again? And is it easy to find the page for you as a person?
Right? Is it easy to discover this page on the website? Like if you go to the main menu? Or if you’re in the blog, and this is a blog post? Does the blog have breadcrumb navigation? So you can go back find more content of this type? How easy do you find to discover this content on the website? Maybe it’s very easy, maybe not at all. Up to you maybe also here? No, it’s not one to five. So you can you can. I’m trying to use conventions every time. So maybe it’s like easy, very easy, hard, very hard and unused. The same kind of methodology for all of them the same wording.
Erika Varangouli 58:38
Sorry, I’m running a bit late optimization. This is where we’re looking at what it’s targeting in the search. Okay, so what is the primary keyword? What is it search volume? What is the intent? What is the position that it has that URL for the target keyword? Is it ranking with the right URL? Because maybe you have a page that targets? I don’t know, SEO tools, right? I have a page on the blog that says SEO tools. And it’s not ranking. What’s ranking is my homepage. So then what I would put here is like, Okay, this blog post targets this is this. But is it ranking position for the target keyword? Maybe it’s 20. But are, am I ranking with the right URL? No.
So then again, I need to look at that and it shows me that automatically I need to do some actions to get the right URL to rank. Does my title tag contain the primary keyword? Does my h1 contain the primary keyword or a variation? And what are my secondary keywords here you can never put an exhaustive list so what I usually do is like proposed two or three of them that are like giving me a good idea of what are some secondary keywords I can optimise for.
And here you get the same kind of approach for content? Like if it’s doing a good job, is it addressing the main intent on all of it? With the addition of date published or modified? I only fill it in if it’s a blog post, or if it’s a page that has a date on it, not every page will have it. And what is word count, which just gives me an idea, again, like if it’s a blog post, and it says, like, 100 words, maybe it’s okay. But again, it’s something that makes me think, okay, maybe I need to look a bit more into that, because it doesn’t have a lot of content, although it should be addressing the intent better. So I’ve already understood that I need to write more things to address the intent. And then, because this is a long list, we get to actions.
All right. And here for this what I am doing, first of all, for every page, remember, you may have like 1000s of page to audit, I propose you have an initial kind of mapping of what is the primary action. So typically, what you will need to do, it will fall under this four actions, keep the page, update the page consolidated with another one, or kill it, like you don’t need it anymore, it doesn’t bring anything, no one is using it in page, so we can just get rid of it and nothing matters. So I suggest that, you know, if you do it, the more pages you do it for the better it will work because then you can group and say, okay, out of 20,000 pages, we can kill 200, we can redirect 1000.
And then we have like 20,000 to work on or whatever the number is. And then it’s again, the breakdown of what needs to happen specifically based on what you found. Okay. So this is what, like some top things that I’m looking at when doing a content audit. Again, this is a scenario where you don’t have access, none of us has access to any Google Analytics or Google Search Console data for clients. So you can keep or not keep any of that that you want. Where it says clicks, organic clicks or page views.
You can choose traffic, like the traffic data that SEMrush shows you in organic research. And you can say, Okay, for this exercise I used the traffic data from from just SEMrush, because that’s what I had. But it is it is to give you an idea that a content audit, it’s not just about the words, it’s not just about you going in and saying I don’t like this page, or your competitor has a better page, you’re not ranking well. So you should change the con, sometimes they will not be ranking well, because there’s a technical problem, or because they don’t have a lot of content on the subject.
And they need a lot of content to create the topical authority. So remember that content, you’re coding for your expertise. But it’s also sometimes it becomes too much a matter of opinion. And that is what causes problems. So you need to combine quantitative and qualitative data to back up even your own ideas. Like sometimes I don’t know what to do with the page until I start looking at all this data. And I start understanding where the problems are. Roshni.
Roshni Shaikh 1:03:23
Hi Erica, thank you so much. It was such a good session. I have a couple of questions. So do companies come to SEMrush to get something like this done?
Erika Varangouli 1:03:38
no, we’re not a Content Agency. We’re not an SEO agency. We’re a SaaS platform.
Roshni Shaikh 1:03:43
Okay. Okay. And do you have an intake questionnaire that you send clients? For example, you said, brand guidelines is something that you should be asking the client before you conduct an audit. So do you have a set of questions that you send the client to get the right prerequisite information before you start conducting an audit?
Erika Varangouli 1:04:06
You mean myself or semrush?
Roshni Shaikh 1:04:08
In general, like if I have to conduct a content audit for a client, I need a set of information like brand guidelines, and you know, the past conduct audits or anything like that. So do you have intake questionnaire or intake form? No.
Erika Varangouli 1:04:27
Usually I would, I would do that during the discovery phase with a client and then depending on the client, you know, some things yes, maybe repetitive? I don’t, I don’t haven’t templated that to be honest. When I was working at agencies, we did have like questions for discovery phase that that we would use and reuse. Okay. And then when it comes to the content audit, big part is is access to the data. So you know whether you audit the whole site or part of the site, what are you going to work on Who’s going to give you the data?
If you’re given access to get it yourself, you need to know how to use it. So be careful. Don’t ask for something, if you cannot handle it, it’s better to ask the client like, Okay, we’re going to do a content audit, I’m going to need a list of all your URLs with this, this, this and this from Search Console or Google Analytics. And I think it’s fine to ask that your your, you know, doing an analytics job is not necessarily what you sign up for, especially as a freelancer, if you know how to use this tools as well. That’s great. Because given access means you can dig deeper if you want to
Roshni Shaikh 1:05:37
Okay, thank you.
Erika Varangouli 1:05:39
Chitra Iyer 1:05:40
I’m sorry, this whole sheet that you shared just now, if you’re doing that for like, like you said, sites where hundreds of URLs, maybe even 1000s of URLs, like what it looks like it’s gonna be healed.
Erika Varangouli 1:05:58
Chitra Iyer 1:05:59
yeah. Because not all of it is automated in one place, each of these data has to be taken from different sources. So it seems really intimidating to me as a non technical person.
Erika Varangouli 1:06:12
I understand. So? So look, again, just for me, this is me trying to open it up quite a bit, and not give you a very short version? Because I wanted to show you that these are all things that affect the performance of content, right? How often do I think you should get this data yourselves? I hope not very often times, let me get parison. Many times the client will give you that, right. If you don’t have access to tools, some of that you will never be able to get no matter what you do. Okay, anyway. So it looks, it looks overwhelming. It doesn’t. You can skip or not skip, like if, for example, you’re looking at a client’s website.
And let’s say you’re paid to do just content audit, just just look at the content. Okay? Just tell them what to change what not to change. Maybe you can look at just like the target keyword, if they’re ranking if they’re not like how to optimise. There are variations of these that you can create. But what I wanted to to get across is that these are all things that inform decisions for content. And more, there’s more things that informed decisions, how a content audit looks at the end depends on the budget that the client has, the time you have the access to data you have what you’re trying to achieve.
So some of it may be completely irrelevant. One content audit, but very relevant to a different one, right? It’s not to be every content audit should have all of these things and before you make any decisions. No, it’s there to open up the options for you. And then you can build on it or you can trim it down as you see fit. Yeah. I don’t know Roshni. Yeah. It depends on some things.
Chitra Iyer 1:08:20
Now, based on what you’ve shown us, I changed my answer to what you said earlier, if if a client says we did the audit three months ago, I’d like grab it and say let me just have it haha.
Erika Varangouli 1:08:32
Haha. if they say that and you you you want to look at the same URLs, right? You can get what they got. And, and maybe you already have like, Okay, what was the search? The the clicks at the time, right? It was 100. Okay, what was a year ago at the same time? 50 All right, what is it now? 2000 amazing, that page is doing great. Or it can be like, the previous content audit was just based on a person’s personal opinions. Right? I don’t have a problem with opinions. I think we’re experts were called in for our expertise.
But sometimes on my own we’re, we’re capable of saying stupid things. And I’ve done it many times. I’m like, Well, I think you should do this because I like it better. And I heard and I learned through practice, that my criteria does not necessarily mean that the performance will get better if we do what I say. So, so we need to also be able to look objectively at things so you keep or not keep whatever you want from this. What I will invite you to do right this is the this is the task and I want you to have two weeks for that.
So please the weekend not next week, in two weeks from now. So our class on the first As of November, I would like you all, if possible to have turned it in. And what are it’s, it’s not going to be big like, what I want you to do is take, let’s say, the top 20 pages from your client, not a lot, because I think 20 pages can be enough to give you kind of a variety. If 20 is not enough, please take 50. And don’t audit all of them. If all if some of them are very similar in terms of intendant type, use your judgement and audit a different page, take the top pages from SEMrush is organic research, right where you have the Top Pages Report, put them into Site Audit, or put them in your spreadsheet and audit them audit those pages, those top performing pages from your clients website.
audit them it will be a challenge because to be top, maybe they’re already super well optimised or maybe not. And also, it will probably be important pages for your clients. So keeping them to perform well and improving their performance is probably important for the business. Right? I’m not gonna say take the bottom ones because maybe some sites are so small performance is so bad that that you will get nothing for them. But yeah, do this, if you want to approach it like okay, I went to the Top Pages Report and I picked 30 that I thought were interesting for me to look at do that I’m not precious about whether you pick the top or any others. But But take a number of pages and do this kind of analysis. See what you keep see what you don’t use tools, try tools. ping me on slack if you’re struggling with any tool, right, and I will try to answer you as fast as possible. And, and yeah, let’s see what happens. Your What’s your turn back in? In two weeks from now. Okay. Sandra, I want to say something
sandra Tabansi 1:12:07
I wanted to mention that I had when we were first doing with the first assignments. I use the site audits feature on SEMrush
Erika Varangouli 1:12:24
I’m sorry, I have to go. I’m late for another meeting. Oh my god, I’m so sorry. I’m Sandra, please send me a message on Slack. Okay, and I’ll upload the template so you can all start working. I’m so sorry. I thought he was exactly what it was quarter two. Thank you all. Speak soon. You
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