A Beginner’s Guide to Content Audits

Content Strategy Strategy
Angie Carson
03/09/21

Content Audits: Where to Begin, What to Do and Why it’s Important

Content audits can help marketers and website owners understand what’s working on their website (really!), thereby providing the insights you need to take your content marketing strategy to the next level. 

I can’t tell you how many website redesign projects start with a client saying, “We have no idea what’s on the website and where it came from.” This is why we start with a content audit. A content audit involves reviewing ALL of the content on your website, evaluating the quality and determining how it supports your website and overall marketing goals. 

It’s best to revisit your website content once or twice a year to ensure that everything is still relevant and valuable for your audience. However, depending on the size of your website, the idea of collecting every piece of content can reduce even an experienced marketer or content strategist to tears. 

Trust me when I say that your future self will thank you for doing the work now and providing a good roadmap for your content and website strategy.

How to perform a content audit: 

  1. Define your goals for the audit
  2. Collect your content into a content inventory
  3. Add data like analytics 
  4. Evaluate the content
  5. Make an action plan
  6. Rinse and Repeat!

Step 1: Define Your Goals

Before auditing your content, it’s important to determine and define the goals of your website and why you are performing an audit. These goals provide a measuring stick as you begin to evaluate the content. 

Common goals for audits are: 

  • A website redesign. A content audit will help you determine which content you’re transferring to the new website and what will be archived. 
  • A rebrand. A content audit allows you to review content for new brand guidelines and the correct voice/tone. 
  • Search engine optimization. Auditing content will help determine how pages are ranking and what should be optimized.

If your goals are unclear, a goal-setting workshop can help you and your team get aligned. 

Step 2: Start a Content Inventory

You will need an exhaustive list of all the content on your website. This can include webpages, documents, videos and/or images. 

There are many crawling tools that can help pull this list together for you. Our tool Sitka Insights, for example, can show you all of the pages and documents on your website. Screaming Frog is another website crawler that gathers all the URLs from your website in addition to SEO elements like each page’s title tag, meta description, and H1. 

No matter what tool you use, the basics you’ll want to include in your content inventory are:

  • Page name
  • Page URL
  • Optional: Organize by page hierarchy, so that it matches your current website’s navigation structure
  • Optional: Include information such as the page’s title tag or meta description

We recommend compiling all of this information into a spreadsheet that can easily be shared with your team members for easy collaboration. Google Sheets and Airtable are two of our favorite tools to use for content inventories and audits.

Pro Tip: We like to create separate tabs in our spreadsheet for Content Pages, Documents, Images, Videos, Redirects, etc. to help break up the information and make it more digestible.

Content organization in Airtable

Depending on how large your website is, conducting and compiling a content inventory can take up to a few or several hours. Although a bit tedious, the reward is great: Knowing what is on your website can help you quickly and efficiently update content to make sure users are connecting with relevant information.

Step 3: Add Data

After you compile a spreadsheet of your content, add in data that will help you evaluate the value of the content. 

Here are some metrics from Google Analytics that will provide a snapshot of what’s happening on your webpages: 

  • Pageviews
  • Unique pageviews
  • Average time on page
  • Bounce rate
  • If you’re auditing for SEO, you should also include organic sessions 

Other useful data, if you’re able to include it: 

  • Who updated the page last
  • When it was last updated

Step 4: Evaluate Content, Determine What to Do with It

Now comes the auditing part. 

Using the inventory as your guide, you will audit every page by: 

  • Reviewing content
  • Reviewing the data
  • Taking notes
  • Determining what to do with that content

We recommend using the C.R.U.D. method when reviewing content. It stands for Create, Reuse, Update and Delete. These are the actions that you determine for each page. 

First, evaluate the quality of the content on the page. 

  • Is it relevant? 
  • Does it uphold your communication/marketing goals?
    • If the answer is no, then mark it as delete. 

Next, evaluate if the content supports your brand.

  • Does the content follow brand style and guidelines? 
  • Is the voice/tone brand-compliant?
    • If the answer is no, then this content needs to be updated.

Finally, evaluate if the content follows a good structure. 

  • Is it optimized for the web?
  • Is it a single topic? 
  • Is the content accessible? 
    • If the answer is no, then this is content that needs to be updated
    • If the answer is yet, then the content can be reused as-is. 

Throughout your audit, you may also find content that is missing. You should add this content to your content inventory as pages that need to be created. 

A flow chart describing the CRUD method of content auditing

Step 5: Make an Action Plan

Congrats, you’ve completed the content audit. But don’t go popping the champagne yet, there’s still work to be done. 

Throughout the audit, you’ve made observations, taken good notes and should now have a clear idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the content on your website. Align this information with your goals of the audit to create an action plan for each category (create, reuse, update, delete) of content. 

Let’s revisit common content audit goals and what the next steps might be: 

  • A website redesign. A content audit will help you determine which content you’re transferring to the new website and what will be archived. 
  • A rebrand. A content audit allows you to review content for new brand guidelines and the correct voice/tone. 
  • Search engine optimization. Auditing content will help determine how pages are ranking and what should be optimized.

Step 6: Rinse and Repeat

Content audits are valuable for helping you plan, provide a roadmap for future content workflows and provide insights on what is performing best on your website. It’s best practice if you audit your website at least once a year to ensure that everything is as valuable as the day you published it. 


Ready to take your audits a step further? Fill out our contact form below. We’ll reach out to learn how our team of content strategists can help you plan for content on your website and beyond.

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