Why Does Your Website Need a Content Audit and Consolidation?

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@nateneadNate Nead

Nate Nead is the President & CEO of DEV.co, a custom software development company based in Seattle.

These days, most businesses have a website, and most businesses with websites have a content marketing strategy. By developing onsite and offsite content, you can improve your company’s reputation, increase its visibility in search engines and other platforms, and ultimately generate
more traffic to your site (while improving conversion rates).
But over time, even the best content strategies show signs of weakness. They begin to flounder, with declining results, or simply fail to reach their true potential. If you want to recover, and maximize your website’s performance, the best approach is to use a content audit (along with content consolidation).

What Is a Content Audit?

What, exactly, is a content audit? A content audit refers to a collection of procedures to measure and analyze the performance of your content—in this case, onsite content. With a content audit, you’ll first generate a list of URLs on your website, then evaluate the function and performance of each page.
For example, you’ll want to know how much traffic each page generates, where it ranks in search engines for various keyword terms, the average user’s behavior on this page (including whether they convert), and how it fits into your overall strategy. You’ll look at objective factors, like conversion rate, and subjective factors, like whether this content is still relevant.
Content audits can be used as the foundation for multiple other strategies, but they’re almost always focused on improving your content production in the future.

What Is Content Consolidation?

Content consolidation is the perfect follow-up to a thorough onsite content audit. The idea here is to adjust your content so it better serves your long-term website goals.
Depending on your needs, you might:
  • Delete obsolete or irrelevant pages. If a piece of content is simply bad, you can remove it. Chances are, it’s probably doing more harm than good.
  • Improve or update old posts. If an article is obsolete or outdated, this is your chance to update it with new information (or other improvements).
  • Collect and edit related posts. Sometimes, you’ll be stuck with several posts all related to a single topic that aren’t especially strong on their own. With consolidation, you can stitch them together (and edit them) into a single, more comprehensive post on the topic.
  • Reassign target keywords to avoid cannibalization. If you have two posts ranking for the same keyword phrase, you’ll likely suffer from keyword cannibalization; if you rework them, you can get them ranking for separate phrases, boosting your overall inbound traffic.

Why Should You Use a Content Audit and Content Consolidation?

Let’s get into the reasons why content auditing and content consolidation are such a strong pair of strategies for the average content marketer:
  • You need a better understanding of your content’s performance. Too many content marketers simply churn out content and assume it’s working. A content audit will prove to you, definitively, which of your posts are performing well and which ones are struggling. With this information,
    you can calculate your return on investment (ROI), and target better topics in the future.
  • Some of your content is obsolete. If you’ve been blogging for a few years, I can practically guarantee that some of your posts are now obsolete. The statistics you cited in 2012 have likely been updated. There are probably new technologies that make your phrasing sound antiquated. This is the perfect opportunity to clean up those inconsistencies.
  • Most of your content could stand some improvement. Is every post on your website flawless? I wouldn’t believe you if you said yes. Take a sample of your best posts and worst posts and compare the gap between them; are there some simple changes that could close that gap, and bring your underperforming posts closer to your ideal standards?
  • Quality beats quantity, every time. In content marketing, quality matters more than quantity. It’s much better to have a handful of very detailed, well-written posts on a topic than dozens of poorly written, thin entries. This is partially due to the law of diminishing returns when it comes to rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs); one rank-one post is worth dozens of posts that never make it to the first page.
  • You’ll earn higher search engine rankings. Speaking of which, one of the aims of content consolidation is higher search engine rankings overall. Your content audit forces you to examine instances of keyword cannibalization, and identify areas where you could be ranking higher. With more comprehensive posts and better keyword targeting strategies, you should have no trouble getting more organic traffic.
  • You can min/max your individual pages. Min/maxing is a high-level strategy in games designed to maximize your strengths while minimizing your areas of weakness, rather than trying to “even things out” by boosting your areas of weakness. You can apply this strategy to your onsite content. Here, the idea is making your top-performing posts perform even better, while eliminating the underperformers entirely.
  • You’ll streamline your website navigation. Content consolidation will eliminate hundreds, or even thousands of URLs from your site, and yes, that’s a good thing. Some pages will be eliminated, while others will be merged. In any case, your visitors will have fewer pages to visit, and they’ll likely find the entire site easier to navigate because of it.
  • Readers will be more likely to convert. Finally, understand that better, longer, more engaging content is going to increase your onsite conversion rate. Readers who find your work both authoritative and interesting will be more likely to contact you to get more information (or buy your products outright).
Starting a website content audit isn’t particularly difficult. If you have Google Analytics set up, you’ll already have access to many of the metrics you’ll need to evaluate your content’s performance, including time spent on page, organic traffic, conversion rates, and more. Analyze the performance of each page on your blog, and make note of pages that simply aren’t pulling their weight—as well as your top performers. From there, you can begin the process of organizing your onsite content and
polishing its effectiveness.

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