In 2019, a few months before launching Minuttia, we created a tool for conducting content audits.
It was more like a template with the ability to add basic recommendations on a page level when auditing content (redirect, update, delete, etc.).
Since then, we’ve audited thousands of content pieces, shared thousands of recommendations on a page and content inventory level with our clients, and figured out what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to content.
During these experiences, we completely updated our processes and developed tools and proprietary methodologies that have a single goal:
To connect content performance to revenue generation.
Enter: Content Audit 2.0.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through our process and explain what Content Audit 2.0 is all about.
Let’s get started.
What is a Content Audit?
A content audit is the process of improving content performance by identifying opportunities for optimization on a page and content inventory level.
Most people who conduct content audits focus on page-level recommendations, meaning that they want to improve the performance of a certain piece of content that underperforms or that (generally) has the potential of performing better.
While that’s important, there’s a whole new level when you analyze not only the micro (aka page-level performance) but also the macro (aka content-inventory-level performance).
And, of course, someone has to implement the suggestions and recommendations that come out of the content audit.
Based on this, we can say that a successful content audit consists of three main pillars:
- Recommendations on a page level.
- Recommendations on a content inventory level.
So, let’s uncover where the traditional content audit approach falls short with regard to these pillars.
Traditional Content Audit Process & Limitations
The traditional content audit process involves evaluating a website’s content pieces against specific performance metrics.
These evaluations, suggestions, and recommendations, referred to as “Actions,” are made to determine the course of action for each content page.
While this approach is commonly used by most SEO professionals, it has certain limitations:
- Reliance on vanity metrics (e.g., traffic);
- Overreliance on SEO tools;
- Page-level recommendations.
Let’s see what each of these limitations is all about.
Reliance on vanity metrics (e.g., traffic)
The first limitation of traditional content audits is their reliance on ‘vanity metrics.’
The metrics that most content audits consider are:
- Word count;
- Bounce rate;
- Number of backlinks;
- Number of organic keywords;
- Traffic-focused metrics like the number of page views.
There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with any of these metrics.
There are two issues we need to address, though:
- They have to be used in conjunction with other metrics to describe the performance of a piece of content.
- Paying too much attention to any of these metrics and not weighing them against other metrics can lead to wrong decisions due to a myopic view of content performance.
The word ‘vanity’ usually has a negative connotation, and rightly so.
Using metrics like page views or bounce rate to describe performance, without context as to how each metric contributes to the bigger picture, is wrong.
That’s why we include it as the first thing that’s wrong with traditional content audits.
Overreliance on SEO tools
Another critical consideration is the overreliance on SEO tools.
While SEO tools are undoubtedly useful in analyzing various aspects of content performance, they have limitations.
And there are three key arguments to highlight.
The first is that content performance should be tied to business performance.
Many SEO tools provide recommendations based on changes in keywords, estimated organic clicks, or other metrics, but they often fail to connect these changes to broader business performance.
Content doesn’t exist solely to rank for keywords; it should ultimately contribute to revenue generation, user acquisition, or other strategic business objectives.
The second argument is that a proper content audit should include recommendations on a content inventory level and, of course, on a page level as well.
Most SEO tools do not offer this comprehensive perspective, focusing primarily on page-level insights.
And thirdly, a proper content audit should combine data with human opinion to make the right decisions.
Obviously, most SEO tools cannot do that (yet).
Page level Recommendations
Traditional content audits predominantly provide page-level recommendations, focusing on evaluating content pages created explicitly for SEO purposes (aka content for a search audience or SEO content).
At Minuttia, we believe that a content audit process should go beyond page-level recommendations.
Our approach extends to content inventory recommendations, which go way beyond recommendations on a page level.
We recognize the significance of evaluating all types of pages, ensuring that your content strategy aligns seamlessly with your business objectives.
In short, the traditional content audit process comes with inherent limitations.
Content Audit 2.0 is our response to these limitations, offering a more comprehensive, business-oriented approach to content performance.
Introducing Content Audit 2.0
The way we do a content audit now is after many iterations and after many updates.
Now, we’ve introduced other things in our process, such as content inventory recommendations.
For example, the user experience may not be optimal, and we have to improve it in the context of a content audit.
So we aren’t limited only to page-level recommendations, and, of course, all of these have an opinion—a human perspective that considers not only quantitative metrics but also qualitative aspects that contribute to overall content quality and user engagement.
1. Page-level Recommendations
Starting with page-level recommendations, our process consists of the following:
Let’s analyze some of the most important elements listed above.
At Minuttia, we’ve developed a metric called the Content Score, a proprietary metric that describes the performance of a piece of content or, in other words, a page that we audit.
The content score is calculated by weighing various metrics, including:
These metrics are directly proportional since they contribute to the Content Score, which offers a more holistic view of content performance at our audits.
Content Score helps us make data-driven decisions and prioritize actions based on the final outcome.
The Recommended Actions tab is where we pull all the data from various data sources, like Ahrefs, Google Search Console, Google Analytics, product analytics software like Mixpanel, Amplitude, and more.
We take all this data, bring it into the tool, and according to the weighting we have given each metric that contributes to the Content Score, we come up with a content score for each page, and we assign actions for each page.
On some pages, the action can be “Live as is,” and others may be “Redirect”. In this case, we will give directions as to which page should be redirected.
When we bring the data in, one thing we do next is assign a target keyword on this page only in cases where the scope is SEO.
Even in relation to how we give page-level recommendations, we go much deeper:
- A page could have technical issues, so we would address those.
- A page may need a table of contents, which we would create and add.
- The page may not have images or graphics, so we would add those.
We leave up to six recommendations on a page level for each page.
Search Intent, Lifecycle Stage & CTA Mapping
In this stage, we gather data to identify and better understand the intent that brought people to a piece of content in the first place, the lifecycle stage they may be at, and finally, the main CTA we can attach to that piece to match the visitor’s intent and lifecycle stage.
In short, the process we’re following in this stage is:
This approach ensures that content aligns with users’ intent, caters to their specific journey stage, and strategically incorporates calls to action for effective engagement.
Finally, something that is very important and separates the way we see and do things at Minuttia from our competitors’ methods is the ROI forecast, which is taboo in general for content marketers.
So, we’ve built a forecasting machine in order to help our clients communicate the value of our actions and the potential to generate actual business impact.
And everything is based on and linked to actual data, meaning:
- What is the View-to-Lead Conversion Rate?
- The Lead-to-Customer-Conversion Rate?
- What is the Average LTV?
And we do this not only at the page level; we also do it at the content inventory level.
In short, the ROI forecast is essential, and it’s missing from most content audits.
2. Content Inventory Recommendations
As we mentioned earlier, one of the main limitations of traditional content audits is that they only provide suggestions on a page level.
We’re going beyond that since we provide recommendations on a content inventory level by looking into glossaries, knowledge hubs, and more.
We categorize content inventory level recommendations by:
For example, when examining UX, we’re looking at:
- Above the Fold Experience
- Headings & Body Size
- Recommended Articles
- In-Post Call-to-Actions (CTAs)
At Minuttia, we go way deeper than traditional audits in order to provide a holistic view.
3. Technical SEO
In most cases, organic growth doesn’t come from fixing 404s and adding title tags and meta descriptions on pages.
In fact, technical SEO can contribute to organic growth mostly for bigger websites and when something is fundamentally wrong or broken.
However, Technical SEO is one of the pillars of our Content Service and this is an overview of the things we audit as part of it:
Since we provide recommendations regarding technical issues, we proceed to the next part of our Content Audit, which is content briefing.
4. Content Briefing
A content brief is a document that includes a set of instructions, a complete outline, and guidelines for preparing a piece of content for a search audience with the goal of reducing the time to first draft and improving the overall quality of the final draft.
Content briefs are part of the execution process and are the last components of our content audits.
Since we’ve gathered all this information from our tool and identified opportunities for improvement to the existing content inventory, we provide detailed briefs to update pieces, rewrite others, and more.
Now, let’s get into the last part of our process – execution.
5. Prioritization & Execution
Last but not least, we execute based on our findings and monitor performance to further identify opportunities for optimization.
Let’s see the steps we usually take:
The reasons we follow that order are to give early validation to stakeholders, reassure them that everything’s proceeding according to the plan, and get some quick wins.
Content Audit Principles
At Minuttia, we have a set of fundamental principles when conducting content audits for our clients.
These principles guide our approach, ensuring that our content audits are as impactful as possible:
The first one to focus on, because it’s extremely important, is content performance should be tied to business performance.
If our work doesn’t result in business outcomes, then we should take a step back and reevaluate the way we do content.
We use data to make our case but at the same time, we need to be realistic about the results.
A clarification here is that improving content performance is much more than content optimization.
We saw that there are so many other things that you should take into account, such as UX recommendations, recommendations to improve conversion rates, or to make your content more inclusive and accessible, etc.
When it comes to execution, if you are not ready to take action right after you finish a content audit, it’s better not to do it at all (we have seen several examples of this.)
Companies are usually excited about doing a content audit and receiving recommendations from an agency like us, but when it comes to execution, they lack the discipline and focus to execute on what we recommend.
After all, when it comes to getting results from a content audit, you have to prioritize and act on the recommendations straight away because many of the recommendations may be irrelevant, say, three months after conducting the content audit.
And last but not least, obviously, if you don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself, you should always ask for help.
Work can be way more meaningful and impactful by having the right partner to guide you and hold your hand through different parts of the process.
Now Over to You
Our content audit process started as one that was heavily focused on organic search, paid too much attention to certain organic search performance metrics, and had a myopic view as to actions that should be taken at a content inventory level.
After many iterations and updates, we now see things more clearly.
We’re focused on the micro as much as the macro.
We give metrics as much weight as we should when making decisions.
No more. No less.
Above all, we connect content performance to pipeline and revenue generation.
If you’re interested in learning more about our content audit service, feel free to request a call with one of our team members.