School marketers generate a substantial amount of content, which means we’re spending an exhaustive amount of time on content creation.
How well is your content performing? Do you track each page or blog post and make adjustments to your editorial calendar based on the metrics?
Your content might be high quality, but that doesn’t mean you’re producing the right kind of content your readers want to see.
Most schools have weaknesses in their content. Either content isn’t performing as well as it should be or the topics and keywords aren’t the best.
Website and blog content that isn’t performing well is an opportunity to make improvements. The trick is knowing what content is weak and what to write about instead. In this post, I'll teach you how to conduct a content audit for your school website.
What is a Content Audit?
A content audit can help you keep track of your content and provide an analysis for the impact each content piece is making on your target audience. In addition, a content audit provides insights into how to improve weak content, including how to update pages for higher conversion rates.
The content auditing process collects and analyzes your content assets, such as webpages, blog posts and landing pages. A content audit generates a content inventory and provides insight into how to tweak each asset, such as:
- Creating new content
- Updating existing content
- Re-writing existing content
- Deleting existing content
Benefits of a Content Audit
A content audit can help increase traffic to your website as well as enhance the experience of visitors to your site. It will help you:
- Determine which pages on your site aren’t optimized to help your site in search engine rank
- Find posts that need specific SEO improvements
- Identify posts that don’t adhere to new SEO rules
- Suggest content topics that will elevate your blog/website
- Suggest ways to improve reader comprehension
- Find content that needs to be updated
- Help with site navigation
- Identify errors that need to be fixed
How to Conduct a Content Audit
Here are 5 steps you need to take to complete a content audit for your school marketing.
Step #1. Generate a list of your content
The place to start is to take stock of your current content assets. You will need to compile a list of your site URLs and put them into a list format (preferably a spreadsheet). If you don't have many pages on your site, you can do this manually. But if you have a larger site, you will need to use an app like Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider Tool.
Screaming Frog is free for sites with up to 500 links. If your site is larger than that, you will want to invest in the premium version, which is worth the investment.
Once you’ve downloaded the software, enter your URL at the top of the tool. When your search is done, set the filter to HTML and export the results.
Delete any rows that don’t have a 200 Status Code (these are not indexable URLs).
If you find you have a lot of rows without URLs (which can happen if your internal linking isn’t working well), you can use another option like sitemap generator.
This will provide you with a list of your URLs, which you can transfer to a spreadsheet.
Step #2. Measure and categorize content
Now that you have a good idea of what content you have, it’s time to figure out how well it’s performing.
Here is a list of metrics you might want to track. Add a column to your spreadsheet for each one. You can also add other metrics you want to consider.
- Title – collect from Screaming Frog
- Length of title – collect from Screaming Frog. Titles should be between 55-60 characters long to show up on Google. This can affect your click-through rate (CTR).
- Category – to what category did you assign this post?
- Focus keyword – what is the focus keyword for this page (you don’t have to have one for all pages)
- Focus keyword ranking – if you have a focus keyword, what is it ranked?
- Search volume for focus keyword – This will help you prioritize your SEO effort in the future. Get this from Google Keyword Planner or another keyword research tool
- Average organic search traffic per month –Go to Google Analytics > Behavior > Select your page. Add a secondary dimension of “source”.
- Average overall traffic per month – Select a time period of 3-12 months. Go to Google Analytics > Behavior > Select your page. Calculate the average.
- Meta description – you can get this from Screaming Frog. If your traffic seems low, consider rewriting your meta description to attract more clicks.
- Bounce rate of organic search traffic – go to Google Analytics > Behavior > Select your page > add a secondary dimension of source. Look at the Bounce Rate metric beside the Google row.
- Average time on page of organic search traffic – Use the same report as above, but look for the average time on page metric.
- Number of backlinks – Use a tool such as Majestic, Ahrefs, or Moz to get the number of backlinks to each page (do this in bulk).
- Number of linking root domains – you should be able to get this when you get the number of backlinks. This will tell you whether backlink numbers are inflated (i.e. 10,000 backlinks from one domain).
- URL rank – different tools have different metrics to judge the overall quality of links. Run a report to get a rough idea of your page’s authority.
- Total social shares – collect these metrics by network from Sharetally. Or check to see if your social scheduler will generate this info for you.
Note: If a collection tool isn’t listed, you will need to go into the backend of each page (if you have WordPress, go to the Dashboard > All Posts or All Pages) and collect the information. If you have a large site, doing this much work manually may not be feasible. You may want to consider hiring a programmer to build a simple tool that will pull all this data from different APIs to save your team hours of work.
Step #3. Identify potential topic ideas for future content
I recommend starting a new spreadsheet to track content topic ideas, keywords, and search volume (look them up in Google’s Keyword Planner).
Step #4. Conduct a gap analysis
A gap analysis identifies content you’re missing or is not performing.
What you need to do is compare your existing content list with your topic ideas list.
- Matching or similar content
- Missing content (you have a gap)
- The amount of traffic your content is receiving
- High or low search ranking
- Potential search traffic
Step #5. Create a new content strategy
The final step in a content audit process is to create a new content strategy based on all the information you’ve collected and analyzed.
Assign an action label
Start by adding a new column to your spreadsheet. I suggest adding it at the very beginning of your sheet. You will use this column to record an action label based on your assessment of your content.
Here is a potential action label key:
- Keep – this is content that is performing well and you want to keep it as is
- New – this is new content that needs to be added to your blog
- Merge – sometimes you find similar content that should be merged together to create one best version
- Improve – use when content is underperforming and you want to improve it
- Delete – sometimes content is so old and just not relevant anymore. It might be best to just delete it from your site altogether. A clean site will rank higher than a site with lots of content that isn’t performing at all.
The next step is to establish priorities.
We do this by establishing criteria to determine which gaps are the biggest and should be fulfilled first. You will assign a priority from 1 to 10 based on the metrics you collected, such as the potential for SEO traffic, search volume, etc.
Add another column to your spreadsheet (next to your action label) and fill in your priorities. Assess your content marketing goals, tasks, and resources so you can start filling in these gaps one by one, in order of priority.
Now that you know how to conduct a content audit, continue to assess your content by conducting a follow-up content audit on a regular basis (I suggest annually).
A content audit, done correctly, is a lot of work and leads to even more work in the form of taking action on your results. However, it is an extremely effective way to consistently improve your ranking on the search engine results pages, which will help you gain more prospective families.