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content strategy services

Explaining Our Content Strategy Services at Express Writers (4 Ways We Can Strategize & Save You Time)

This blog was originally written in 2015 and updated in October 2019.

This will hardly come as a surprise, but we love content. ❤

Our entire business is built on content, but it goes beyond that – it’s in our blood.

We know that great content is one of the most powerful ways to grow your business, find new leads, and stand out among your competitors.

You don’t have to take our word for it, either, the numbers speak for themselves:

Great content gives your business the attention it deserves, but just publishing without a plan is hardly what we’d call a solid strategy.

What you need is a sustainable, data-driven process, that can help you grow your business and keep giving you positive results over the long term.

You need a content strategy, and that’s where we come in with our expert content strategy services.

4 Highly Recommended Content Strategy Services to Help You Create Winning Content

1. A custom editorial calendar

2. In-depth keyword research

3. Topic planning for your blog and website

4. Expert content strategy consultations

We didn’t select any of these services at random. These are many of the same processes that we used to grow Express Writers to the point where it is today (I’ll talk more about this in a second!). Now that we know what works and why, we’re ready to share these services with you to grow your own business.

To have a working and winning content strategy, you need 4 components: a custom editorial calendar, keywords researched, topics planned, and expert guidance. Get these essentials with the help of @ExpWriters. 💥 Click To Tweet

Developing the Right Content Strategy Helped Us Grow — and It Should Help You Too

Here’s how I know just how effective a well-planned content strategy can be: it’s how we grew Express Writers to the point where it is today.

It took years to figure out and, more importantly, perfect the entire process, and I didn’t want to settle for anything less than perfection.

Within 2 years of implementing our content strategy, Express Writers boomed to 6 figures and then 7 in annual recurring revenue (ARR).

We weren’t doing all that bad before, but the growth was insane, and I can boil that down to two things:

1. Our content strategy. We’re not really into creating content for content’s sake. Instead, I developed a content strategy process that focuses on high-quality, authority-level content, guided by in-depth SEO research. Once I got clear on the six areas of content strategy we needed to clarify and implement, our real content success began to happen.

(My first foray into content strategy was when I built a simple team-only inner training on content strategy, as far back as 2015. Today, I’ve taken these cores and developed them into a $1,000 course with over 100 enrolled students, and a book that tops the charts on Amazon.)

2. The amazing team we have in place. FACTS: If you want to execute a winning strategy, you need expert, talented help in your corner. 💯

At Express Writers, we’re content experts first, a team secondly — not the other way around. We love what we do, and that has always come first.

We didn’t scramble for our expert hats and then market ourselves. We earned a real status by building real skills, and THEN sold services to our clients in our agency.

Read about our standards here.

I’ve talked extensively about the content strategy we implemented to grow Express Writers. However, if I had to sum it up in a few words, it would be these.

Stop wasting time with low-effort content. Instead, put real effort into high-quality pieces and SEO.

It sounds pretty simple when you put it like that. However, the amount of research, planning, and work that goes into executing a solid content strategy is mindboggling, particularly as your website starts to grow.

Remember how I mentioned it took us years to perfect the process? And that’s coming from people that do this for a living!

We have succeeded mostly because of the content strategy we've implemented throughout the years. The lesson: Stop wasting time with low-effort content. Instead, put real effort into high-quality and your #strategy. 💯 Click To Tweet

4 Ways We Save You Some Serious Time and Trouble with Our Expert Content Strategy Services

You already understand the sheer power of content when it comes to growing an online business, so let’s talk about how we can help you.

1. We Put Together a Custom Editorial Calendar that Fits Your Goals (📌It’s a Must-Have!)

You want your website to rank for as many keywords as possible, which means you need content.

A lot of websites focus on putting out as much content as possible at a breakneck pace, but that’s not a winning strategy. What you need is a plan and, as simple as it may sound, a calendar.

That means a week-by-week plan that outlines the content you’re going to publish. That way, you have a bird’s-eye view of what topics you’re going to target and when.

Here’s how it works: You tell us what your niche is, what your business is about, and what sets you apart. Our crack content strategists do their research, and here’s what you get:

  • A two-month editorial calendar, including perfect-fit keywords and topics your audience will love.
  • Tentative schedule dates designed to maximize the returns on your content.
  • An easy-to-understand report using an Excel template.

Those are the basics, but all our services also include plenty of extras. Our editorial calendars also include lists of influencers we recommend you engage within your niche, BuzzSumo content analysis reports, and an evergreen guide on the metrics we use.

Every single editorial calendar we send is put together by our team of content strategists. We use industry-leading software to help you make smart content decisions, but behind the curtain, it’s all humans.

Here’s a sneak peek at one we built for our clients in the clothing/retail industry.

Two months is the minimum we offer for our editorial calendar services because simply put, it’s the shortest period in which you can start seeing tangible growth. Content marketing is all about the long term, hence the calendar approach!

2. We Tackle Keyword Research for You (Using Industry Leading Software)

Do you want to know the secret behind websites that get dozens of thousands of visitors and shares on every article they publish?

Not a single page or blog goes live that doesn’t have a ton of research behind it.

If you want search engines to give your content the love and attention it deserves, you need to play by their rules. That means figuring out which keywords have the best potential ROI and using that information to drive your content decisions.

There are a lot of tools you can use when it comes to keyword research, and our team of content strategists uses the best software in the industry, including SEMrush and Mangools’ KWFinder. We spend the hours you don’t have to, to find amazing keywords that will help your content go to the next level.

Here’s what our keyword research services for blogs and websites get you:

  • Keyword research for blogs: You get a full SEMrush report that includes our top 15 keyword choices that can get you the best results for your blog. On top of that, we also include up to 200 additional keyword opportunities you should explore, as well as up to 3 headline suggestions for potential topics.
  • Keyword research for the web: Keyword research isn’t just for blogs, and our keyword research service for websites get you a report on 10 high-ROI keywords you should explore with your copy. You also get up to 200 high-potential keyword suggestions.

For both those content strategy services, you can let us know if you want your content strategists to focus on specific regions or audiences from around the world.

3. We Come Up with (and Plan) Topics for Your Blog and Website

If you like to keep things simple, we can start off by researching the best potential keyword for one (1) piece of content for your blog.

Our goal with this service is to find the keyword with the best potential ROI for your business. Then we come up with a killer content idea built around that keyword, including a headline designed to get attention.

One perfect topic at the right time can have a significant impact on your business. If you want to hire us to come up with multiple topics for your blog and website, we’ll put them together for you using one of our custom editorial calendars. That way, you can see how the whole content strategy comes together over the long term.

4. We Plan and Go Over Your Content Strategy (Via Live Calls)

A big part of a successful content strategy comes down to research and numbers.

We use the best possible tools and services to see where the data leads us, and we use our expertise to help you make the best decisions based on that data.

However, numbers alone often don’t paint a full picture. That’s why we’re also happy to hop on a call via Hangouts or Zoom to answer any questions you might have.

If you’re not sure where to begin, a call is a great place to start. You get to talk with one of our content strategists and ask any questions you might have regarding topic suggestions, concerns about your overall strategy, reviewing your content, and more.

I personally train every single member of our content strategy team, so when you hop on a call with one of them, I know you’re in good hands!

Let’s Implement a Winning Content Strategy Together

Creating and publishing industry-leading content is no small feat.

Now imagine how much work it takes to do it week after week, for years at a time.

It’s a lot of effort, but implementing a well-planned content strategy has the potential to elevate your business to the next level.

All you need is a great team in your corner.

Creating and publishing industry-leading content is no small feat. It’s a lot of effort, but implementing a well-planned content strategy has the potential to elevate your business to the next level. 💥 Read more about how we help: Click To Tweet

If you’re ready to start planning a long-term content strategy, check out the individual content strategy services we offer, and let’s get the ball rolling!

updating your old content

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Best Practices on Updating Your Old Content for More Results with Andy Crestodina

Quick question for you! Do you take the time to update the blog posts that are buried in the depths of your archives?

If not, you should be!

And that’s exactly what we’re teaching you how to do in this week’s #ContentWritingChat!

So, if your older content could use some sprucing up, let’s dive into the recap for some great tips!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Best Practices on Updating Your Old Content for More Results with Andy Crestodina

Our guest host this week was Andy Crestodina. Andy is a speaker, a content marketer, and the co-founder of Orbit Media. He shared some fantastic advice with us that’ll help you make the most of the content you’ve already published.

Q1: Why is it so important to keep you older content updated and fresh?

If you’re wondering why keeping your content updated is so important, it’s time to listen up! Check out these responses from the chat on why it’s a must for any content creator:

As Andy said, it’s worth updating your old content for quality and efficiency. Instead of creating something new, you can easily improve upon what’s already there. Sometimes that older content of yours is still great and therefore worth being updated.

Kristen knows that it would be pretty awful if a potential client stumbled upon an older piece of content that didn’t exactly give off the best impression. You risk sending them running far away from your website.

And as Andrea said, you never know when someone might find one of your older posts. You want to make sure it’s updated to your current standards.

Jason pointed out that sometimes the topic is still relevant, but the data could use some updating. You don’t want readers coming across a post that’s filled with outdated information.

Giving your content a refresh is a great way to ensure it stays relevant and shareable!

Julia said updating your old content is actually a great way to boost conversions, especially if those posts are already ranking well in search results.

As Mike pointed out, links can break, trends can change, and facts get outdated. These are all important things to look at improving in your older blog posts.

If it’s still getting traffic, Cristy knows it’s worth updating to keep it relevant for your readers.

Even if a piece of content is old, it could still be getting a lot of traffic. As Ashley mentioned, you might be surprised to see what gets the most traffic when looking through your analytics. It’s better to deliver those site visitors an amazing piece of content.

Q2: Which brands do an amazing job at updating their older content? Tag them and let them know!

Which brands can you learn from when it comes to keeping your archives fresh? Here are some great examples that are worth checking out:

Lisa Jenkins, Social Media Examiner, and Michele Linn all do a great job at keeping older content updated and fresh. Andy’s blogger survey even revealed 55% of bloggers update old content. Don’t you want to be part of that group?

Julia said Content Marketing Institute does a great job at updating old blog posts.

Cheval is a fan of Rebekah Radice and how she transforms blog posts into podcast episodes.

HubSpot is another brand that’s doing a great job according to Liliana.

Kristen thinks Campaign Monitor does an impressive job when it comes to giving their blog posts and infographics new life on social media.

Zala said Buffer is another brand that’s doing a great job at keeping their content fresh.

Q3: Once you’ve chosen an older post to update, what steps can you take to freshen it up?

You have your blog post all picked out… Now it’s time to actually give it a makeover, but you need to know where to begin! Here’s how you can get started with updating your old content:

Andy feels the purpose is to truly upgrade the content. He encourages you to add detail, examples, images, contributor quotes, video, and formatting.

He even shared some great statistics that show media and formatting are essential.

Jason shared some great ideas such as compiling new data, polling users, conducting A/B tests, and more.

These are all great tips from Andrea. Make sure you’ve gotten rid of old or irrelevant information, add useful information, update the visuals, and include additional multimedia.

Julia shared a pretty impressive list of things to do when updating your old content.

Don’t forget to refresh your links as well. As Ryan pointed out, you can link to other relevant content on your site and others, which gives people more to read.

Older content needs to be aligned with your current branding and strategy.

Cristy recommends updating links, any research or data within the post, and the publish date. For any post that received a major update, you can always republish it as if it were brand new. You can include the original post date and the date it was updated for reference.

Lexie said to make sure your post has a call to action (CTA). You need to get people to take action after they’ve read your content.

Q4: What are some great ways to repurpose older content for maximum mileage?

Once you’ve begun updating your old content, you might also want to think about ways you can repurpose it. A blog post can easily be transformed into another format based on what works well for you and your audience. Here are some great ideas:

As Andy said, if your content worked well as a blog post, you can always publish it in a new format. Try turning it into a video, an infographic, or an ebook.

Not only will a video be beneficial for those who prefer it over written content, but it’s a great way to boost views on your YouTube channel.

Leah suggests using a blog post as content for a Facebook Live broadcast.

Another great option, as Cheval suggested, is to turn your blog post into a podcast episode.

If you shared tons of valuable information in your blog post, it could become a great infographic.

Your blog post can easily become a video, a slideshow, or a podcast. It all depends what works best for you and your audience.

Q5: When you’ve finished updating your old content, how can you get more eyes on it? What promotion strategies do you use?

When you have a fresh piece of content, you obviously want tons of new people to check it out. How can you do this? Check out these promotional tactics for a boost in traffic:

Andy shared some helpful ideas for increasing views on your content. You can schedule it on social media, send it out as an email newsletter, link to it from the high traffic pages, add it to your homepage, link to it in your email signature, and pin it to your Twitter account.

Danielle’s advice is to treat your updated content like new content. The same tactics you normally use for a brand new post can still be applied here.

Make sure you’re sharing your content in relevant places. If your audience is there, it’s worth scheduling out a share to boost traffic.

Lexie said you shouldn’t be afraid of using paid social either. Boosting a post on Facebook can be very effective for getting more eyes on your content.

There’s no harm in running ads on content you’re really proud of!

Brent’s advice is to answer questions and share your content with people. You can do so through Twitter chats, on Quora, and many other ways.

Q6: How do you measure the success of older content that you’ve updated? Which metrics are important to track?

After your updated content is live, you’ll want to keep an eye on some key metrics to see how it’s performing. Here’s what you should pay attention to:

Traffic, engagement, links, sharing, and rankings are all important things to look at for Andy.

Lexie suggests tracking time on site/page. She also said to include a CTA to tell people what that next step is.

For Jason, he pays attention to view/open rate, page view duration, and how conversion rates have increased. These are all important things to track!

Julia is all about those conversions. For the team here at Express Writers, it’s a good sign when potential clients start a new chat with our customer service from a blog post.

Gaby said to measure engagement, traffic, shares, links, bounce rate, and feedback. You can compare those stats to how the post was performing before the update to see how much you’ve improved.

Q7: Do you use any tools to help you update and repurpose older content? Share them!

When updating your old content, there are plenty of tools out there that can help you get the job done. Check out these suggestions from the chat:

As Andy knows, Google Analytics is a must for any content creator.

Danielle agrees because Google Analytics is a go-to for her as well. It’ll show you which posts are worth updating because you can easily see how they’re ranking.

BuzzSumo is a great tool to see what’s popular within your industry. Andrea also like LumenFive.

Gaby suggests using BuzzSumo, Google Analytics, Photoshop, and social media.

Google Analytics and SEMrush are must-have tools for Julia.

Canva and Adobe Spark are both great tools to check out.

Q8: How do you choose which piece of content to update? Are there any qualifications?

Now that you have all these tips to go forward with, you might be wondering which posts are worth updating. To find out, you’ll want to keep this advice in mind:

If your blog post is written on an evergreen topic, but has some outdated information, then it’s worth updating.

Julia said to look for content that’s already getting views, traffic, and rankings. She said this is an indicator that it’ll be worthwhile to update.

Lexie’s advice is to find content that your audience connected with previously and improve it. If the content resonated before, there’s a good chance it’ll resonate again.

Content that sparked interested or conversation is often worth a refresh.

Chelsea chooses to update content that’s relevant to current trending topics or new projects that she’s working on.

If a piece of content did well before or has once again become relevant, it’s worth improving it with an update.

Sabjan said to choose posts to update based on the engagement it received. You’ll want to keep an eye on bounce rate, shares, and views.

Ready to join in on the next #ContentWritingChat? We’re hanging out on Twitter every Tuesday at 10 AM Central! Make sure you follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest!

content audit 2016

Out with the Old: Why & How to Do a New Year Website Content Audit

As we head into the New Year, it’s likely that you’ll be making resolutions. These resolutions often apply to our home and personal life, but they seldom apply to our online marketing and content writing or production.

Auditing your online content is one of the best ways to start afresh, with the groundwork for new and better online marketing, in the New Year. It’s a lot like out with the old. You can’t really bring in the new unless you get the old, outdated, and unnecessary stuff out, right?

As you head into the New Year, focused on starting fresh and doing away with the old things that aren’t serving you any longer, don’t let your website be the last thing on your list.

Let’s talk about doing a website audit, what it is, and how you can do it as you prepare to enter 2016 strong. Here’s what you need to know about a website content audit.

content audit 2016

What is a Website Content Audit?

A site content audit is the process by which you comb through your site, correct errors, locate outdated content, and replace it with something stronger. There are many benefits of a content audit, including identifying which pages need editing or updating, identifying which pages need to be consolidated due to repetitive topics, identifying which pages need to be removed from the site entirely and how doing this can help your page’s SEO rank, identifying which content needs to be prioritized based on metrics like conversions and visits, locating your content gaps and making a plan for how to fill them, determining which pages are ranking for which keywords, and identifying new content marketing opportunities.

When content audits are conducted regularly, they can improve the overall quality of your site and ensure that your content is up to date, relevant, valuable, and targeted for your customers and site goals.

What We Found When We Did An Audit

Recently, our team did a content audit on our own site. Our content audit service is done by our team Content Strategists, whom I train—in updated SEO, our favorite tools and current best practices.

The SEMrush Site Audit tool, one of the best audit tools we rely on in conducting website audits, gave us a list of missing or problematic content, including missing alt tags:

semrush missing alt tags

And which links were broken:

semrush screenshot broken links

Besides other issues we fixed. Some of the duplicate hits didn’t apply: the sign-up page was “duplicate” to the sign-in page, which can’t be helped—it’s just a login screen.

With the more manual part of our audit, we found several outdated posts, including:

  • Blogs that mentioned products that we no longer sold
  • Seasonal content that contained dates in the headers, i.e. “5 Tips for Better Content in 2014”
  • Poorly SEO optimized content

We made a list of all these items and have now revised and fixed these errors. Our content is more evergreen, applies more to the reader coming across it at a later date, and doesn’t contain misleading product information anymore. We’ve also improved SEO scores across the board.

Moz: Audits are Beneficial

According to Moz, SEO specialist Rick Ramos (of Inflow) conducted a content audit for Phases Design Studio in 2013. During the audit, Ramos developed a plan to remove many of the old, irrelevant, or stale blog posts from the site’s sitemap. He also used 301 redirect codes to point the traffic from old landing pages to newer, evergreen landing pages that were updated more frequently. Finally, he updated and refreshed many of the site’s pages. After their website content audit, Phases Design Studio started seeing eight times the amount of leads they typically saw in a month. How did Ramos manage to produce these results? The answer is simple: by updating content to make it more relevant and useful to readers.

Website Content Audit 101

If you want to produce results like Ramos did during his audit, you’re in luck. You can complete your own content audit without being a tech guru. Simply follow these steps: 

Step One: Develop a Spreadsheet

During a content audit, a spreadsheet is needed to keep your information organized as well as to provide a platform you can return to at any point in the audit. A spreadsheet also allows you to track what you’re doing and collaborate with other content specialists who may want to participate in the audit.

For an example, consider this template from Moz. If you’re relatively new to website content audits, you’ll be fine to begin in Google Docs, although many content specialists move their spreadsheets to Excel as they begin doing larger and larger content audits.

As a general rule, the main columns you want in your spreadsheet are as follows:

  • URL
  • Date audited
  • Title
  • Description
  • Content
  • Keyword
  • Alt Tags
  • Last Updates
  • Internal Links

Step Two: List the Pages of Your Site

In order to perform your content audit adequately, you’ll need a complete list of each page on your site. The easiest way to do this is to use Google Analytics. Specifically, you’ll want to navigate to the “all pages” section by selecting “behavior,” “site content,” “all pages.” For more detail on how to complete this step, consult this QuickSprout guide.

This step allows you to view a list of your site’s most-visited pages. This is an important step because it allows you to focus your audit efforts on your most popular pages and to ensure that you’re reaping results as soon as possible.

Step Three: Review Your Information

This part gets a little tricky because it varies depending upon which CMS you use. Since we’re partial to WordPress, this guide will offer instructions for WordPress users. Even if you don’t use WordPress, though, you’ll be able to edit these items nonetheless. As you move through your page information, you’ll want to review each of the following sections:

URL and Page Title: For each page on your site, your title should meet a few criteria. First, it should be no more than 65 characters long. It should also be unique, descriptive, and it should feature keywords.

When it comes to your URL, the URL should be text that clearly defines the page. If you have a URL that’s comprised of numbers or a random assortment of letters, you may want to set up a 301 redirect code in order to optimize the URL for more traffic.

Page Description: Your page description tells visitors what your page is all about and, as such, it’s important! To make sure each page description on your pages is optimized, check to be sure that each features less than 160 characters and is written in a way that makes it easy to read. This means that it should be interesting, descriptive, helpful and completely free of grammatical mistakes.

Content: The crème de la crème of a website content audit – your content! When it comes time to check your content, read through your page content carefully to ensure that it is valuable to readers, well-written, and free of grammatical, spelling, or factual errors.

Content auditors who are evaluating these traits today have a step-up over auditors that did this last year: Google recently released the complete version of its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines and, within them, auditors can find plenty of tips on what Google views as high quality content.

A few of the things to avoid include overly obvious facts (“A housecat is a feline”), poorly-written content, expert content that was not written by an expert, or content that is riddled with grammatical, spelling, or factual mistakes. Although the Guidelines don’t offer any specific rule for how long or short content should be, you’ll generally want to be sure that each page on your site offers at least 300 words of content. This applies to “about us” pages and the like as well as main content pages.

  • Keywords: In order to effectively evaluate your keywords, you’ll want to have a written list of your target keywords and phrases. As you comb through each page, you’ll want to be sure that you have a healthy number of targeted keywords (not too many or too few). You’ll also want to be sure that your keywords are correctly spelled and used naturally throughout the text.
  • Alt Tags: In order to make your site as strong as possible, every image therein will need to be tagged sufficiently. This means that each image on your page should feature descriptive tags that feature keywords as well as a descriptive, concise title. Add these things in if you find them lacking.
  • Updates: In order to keep your site fresh and current, every single page on your site will need to be reviewed or edited every two years. This keeps your content current and prevents old, stagnant pages from dragging you down. As you move through your audit, check the edit history of every page you feature. If the page is factually incorrect or has become irrelevant with time, edit or update it. If the page is no longer needed and doesn’t earn any site views, consider deleting it to make your site more streamlined.
  • Internal Links: Finally, each page of your site will need to be checked for internal links. Each page should feature at least two internal links that point at other pages in the site. For best SEO, these internal links shouldn’t point to shallow pages like your “contact” or “about us” page but should instead point to topic pages that will further a reader’s understanding of a complicated topic or idea. This helps ensure that your page is doing double-duty driving traffic for itself and that all of your pages are getting the attention they deserve.

The Tricks of the Trade

At Express Writers, we’re one of the very few content creation agencies on the web that handles content auditing. To do this effectively, we use a series of helpful tools that can make the process go faster and produce better results:

BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo is a great tool in both content auditing and planning. We love it because it allows us to see which web content is earning the most shares and which has the highest domain authority, as well as top influencers, the amount of content shares, and much more. This allows us to better plan our content. When used in a content auditing setting, BuzzSumo allows you to identify how you might be able to strengthen your outdated or irrelevant content to draw new visitors. Additionally, BuzzSumo offers a content analysis feature, which we use to analyze major topics in a given industry. This allows us to figure out where we need to target content and to re-work old content to fit current market needs.

SEMRush: SEMRush is our key SEO tool for researching and creating keyword reports as well as full website content audits. It can be helpful in the keyword optimization process as well as in creating topic reports and completing website audits. By using SEMRush, you can get an instant overview of how many pages are missing metas or are duplicates of other pages.

WordTracker: We also use WordTracker as a secondary keyword and topic report tool. This allows us to cover all of our bases and ensure that the SEO keyword research part of the audit is as effective as possible.

While the majority of your content auditing will rely on your knowledge of SEO and content creation, using these professional-grade tools can certainly help make your content auditing more effective.

When to Hire The Professionals

While it’s possible to take a D-I-Y approach to content auditing, many people simply don’t have the time or the skill to do it themselves. Content auditing can be an extensive process (each audit can take hours to days, depending on the amount of pages) and it requires a healthy level of tech skills to complete successfully. Fortunately, we staff several fully trained content experts who are knowledgeable about what makes a great site and can help you on the road to better content strategy quickly and effectively.

Conclusion

Think of a content audit as spring cleaning, or laying the groundwork for 2016 resolutions: it allows you to cast out the things you no longer need and replace them with what is more useful, relevant and valuable. Additionally, a website content audit ensures that your site is functioning at its highest possible level and that you’re bringing in all of the rankings and traffic that you truly deserve.

In order to keep it simple, consider doing a website content audit every few months. This cuts down on the level of inaccuracies or fixes you’ll likely find and ensures that your site never falls hugely out of date or behind schedule.

When it’s time to perform an audit on your website, don’t struggle through the process alone. Check out our content strategy services or get in touch to learn more about what we do and consider enlisting us to help make your site great again.

content audit

Have You Audited Your Content Lately?

The one thing you know that is absolutely vital for your company’s online presence is the need for great content. You have your website all laid out, you feel like you are writing top quality content all the time, but you might be lacking in social shares, decent Google ranks, and leads. Why is this? What can you do about it?

The best way to learn what is wrong with your content and what you need to do is audit it. This is great because you get to see your entire website outlined in an orderly manner and see what you need to do to improve your site and bring in more clients. I am going to look at what a content audit is, why you need it, and the two ways to do one!

First: What is a Content Audit?

Content auditing is something you may hear thrown around when you read content marketing sites, but you might not know what the writers mean. Just what is a content audit? How does one do an audit? Is it really that important? These questions are completely valid!

It is, in simple terms, a chance to look at your website to find anything that is missing, overdone, or broken. This is vital because you need to make sure your site is always working well in order to get the best results from Google. It gives you the chance to combine all of your existing content into a master list and look over it. How does this help? It gives you the chance to make sure your website is operating with the best quality out there because, we all know, high-quality content is key when it comes to copywriting. Remember, this is different from a content inventory. An inventory focuses on the amount of content and pages whereas the audit will focus on the quality existing content.

3 Top Reasons Why You Need an Audit

The main reason you need to use a content audit is to make sure you have the highest quality content possible. As I already stated, high-quality content is vital to have for your website. First of all, it helps you rank higher on Google and can bring in more people. Secondly, after it brings in people from the search engine, it helps retain them. No one wants to read poor quality material. By focusing on quality content, you will gain and maintain clients by making a content audit important to your strategy. Let’s look at a few more reasons why you need an audit.

  1. It Solves the Problem of an Uninterested Audience. Having buyer personas at the ready can help you when it comes to doing a content audit. This can help you see which parts of your audience will be more engaged with your content and which aren’t. If you have one persona that is only about 10% of your audience and another that is 60%, you want to make sure your content reaches out to the higher percentage the most. Of course you want to reach the 10%, but if you only have content for them, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of audience reach. A content audit can help you see this and improve your strategy.
  1. You Can Increase Social Shares. Since a content audit focuses on quality, you will be able to see which areas need improvement. This will not only help with your website but can also increase your social shares. People don’t want to share low-quality work, which means you need to know the quality of your existing content.
  1. Checking Out the Competition. Yes, a content audit of your own website can get very tedious, but you won’t have to stay there forever. You can even do an audit of your competition to see what they’re doing right and wrong. Researching your competition can help you improve your strategy by either gaining inspiration or learning which mistakes to stay away from.

Two Ways To Do Your Content Audit

Now that you know what a content audit is and why it is important, you are most likely wondering just how you can do one. Here are two ways you can do a content audit:

  1. DIY: Create a Spreadsheet and Use Google Analytics. A content audit is something you can do yourself. It is important to know that it will take a significant chunk of time so you will need to be sure to set aside enough. You can create a spreadsheet, use Google Analytics, and go over each page in detail to make sure everything is going smoothly. QuickSprout offers an incredible guide to help people do their own content audit by explaining how to set up the spreadsheet, using Google Analytics, and which details you need to look at.
  1. Hire a Content Auditing Service. While a DIY solution seems to be the easiest or the choice that saves the most money up front, it can be overwhelming. Many people don’t have the training necessary for a content audit and can miss important things, or take much longer than it really should. The best way to ensure you get the most out of a content audit is to hire a service that has trained professionals. While this will be money out of your pocket, you will notice that the professional audit can help you find pages that need to be improved. When this happens, you will be able to bring in more revenue than ever.

Audit Your Content for Incredible Results

Now that you know the importance of a content audit, now is the time to begin. Take a look at your schedule and carve out some time to look at what you’ll need for your content audit. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask! Professional content auditors can help you get the best results and give you the guide to improving your content. No matter what, a content audit is your key to a successful webpage.

Photo credit: BernardaSv / iStock

 

content audit

How To Do A Content Audit Before Google Does It For You

The word “audit” in general tends to put us all on edge. But don’t freak out—because we’re not talking about an IRS inspection. No, we’re talking about a content audit, which should be far less intimidating as it doesn’t involve a government employee combing through every debit and deposit you’ve made. Instead, it involves pulling out your Sherlock Holmes issue magnifying glass and carefully examining your website’s existing content. What’s the goal? According to Search Engine Journal, it is to determine whether your content is doing what you want it to and if not, fix it.

If it’s Broke, Prepare To Fix It

You’ll never find out if something is broken unless you inspect it. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, but if it is, you’d better fix it before Google does it for you. So just how do you conduct one of these frightening sounding tasks? What resources will you need, and how much time should you cordon off? While the extent of the audit depends largely on the size of your website and what you find, it doesn’t have to be a terrifying experience. In fact, it can be just the opposite if you prepare well. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Time: It typically takes one to two hours to complete an audit.
  • Tools: Search Engine Journal recommends using Google Drive Spreadsheet and Google Analytics, and they provide a handy how-to in case you’re unfamiliar with these tools.
  • Personnel: The only personnel you’ll need is you, but if you’re staring at a large amount of content, recruiting a few assistants with moderate skill and language facility is useful.
  • A list of target keywords: You must have created one before content creation. Dust it off! If you have multiple lists, consolidate them into a master to make the job a bit easier.
  • Technical skill: You don’t need to be tech guru, but moderate to low tech skills are required. If you’re on the low end, don’t fret. Once you tackle the first few pages, you’ll catch on. We promise it’s not brain surgery!
  • Writing skill: You need at least an average ability in the target language.
  • Patience: So, we’d be lying if we said this isn’t semi-boring work, but we swear it’s worth every moderately mind-numbing minute.

The Nitty-Gritty Guide To A Content Audit

Now that you’re prepped and ready for surgery, it’s time to understand exactly what you’re looking for and how to fix it. Search Engine Journal points out that this process will vary for every CMS. Instead of giving detailed instructions, we’re opting to give you a guide, which you can apply to your preferred CMS:

  • Check page titles and URLs: Your page titles should be 70 or fewer characters, unique, and contain keywords. URLs should be text. Avoid numbers or unintelligible gibberish. If you see a need to change a URL, be sure to have a 301 redirect in place.
  • Appraise descriptions: We’re talking about Meta descriptions. They should be 160 characters or less and written with appeal not mechanics (i.e. for humans, not search engines).
  • Assess content: It’s time to stare through that magnifying glass at your content. Is it readable, interesting, engaging, and helpful? How’s the grammar? You’re shooting for perfection. Each page should have at least 300 words.
  • Review keywords: Pull out your keyword list. It’s time to review your keywords for each page. The idea is to determine whether a sufficient number of targeted long tail keywords are present while also ensuring no keyword stuffing is sneaking in. Long tail keywords should never appear more than five times on any given page.
  • Evaluate Alt tags: Every image throughout your website should be properly tagged. If the “alternative” text is blank, it should be added. You goal is for every image to contain alt tags and titles. The tags should include relevant long tail keywords and strong descriptions.
  • Value internal links: All of your pages should include internal links excluding navigation menus, headers, and/or footers. At minimum, you should have two to three links per page, and they should point to other deeper pages, such as content-rich blogs or articles. Home, About, and Contact Us links don’t count and shouldn’t be linked unless necessary.
  • Check Updates: Investigate when your pages were last revised. Each one should be reviewed and/or edited at least every 2 years, but the more often you can do so, the better.

Once you’ve completed your first audit, you’ll want to schedule time to rinse and repeat regularly. How often is really up to you. Some perform an audit quarterly, bi-annually, or more frequently.

Regular content audits can help ensure your website stays fresh. They can improve rankings and encourage new traffic generation. Neglecting frequent reviews could cause your website to slip down the rankings, and that’s a consequence none of us want!