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Part 2: Content marketing audit – Taking your content to the next level

Now that you know what a content audit is and why regular reviews are critical to your business (see Part 1: Content marketing audits – What are they and why do you need them?), it’s time to take things to the next level to get the most out of your content.

Step 3: Integrate analytics

While traditional content audits focus on content volume, which is also useful for most businesses is the effectiveness of the content in meeting business growth goals. Finding out which content is most effective requires integrating analytics data into your content audit using the tools described below.

Strategy recommendation: Integrate analytics results into your content audit

We recommend using Volume-Quality-Value-Cost (VQVC) measures to audit content. There is a tendency to focus on Volume, but it’s Quality, Value and Cost that matter most. You could also segment these KPIs by referral channel. For example, comparing social media to SEO to Google Ads.

BEST PRACTICE: Choose the right interval for reporting analytics for a content audit

1. Traffic volume measures. These show the power of content to attract visits via different traffic sources such as search marketing, social media or email. Google Analytics Key Measures from the standard audience overview report include:

  • Unique visits – the total number of individuals who visit the site in the specified period.
  • Visits – the total number of times different individuals accessed the site.
  • Unique Pageviews – the total number of pages viewed by unique individuals.

BEST PRACTICE: Segment visits from different sources in your content audit

For example, organic visits can be useful to assess SEO effectiveness, and it’s helpful to know how these vary through time. You can focus on organic or social media visits, for example, using a filter.

2. Quality measures. To improve digital marketing results, you need to go beyond volume measures to understand the quality of traffic AND the content on site. The reason? It’s challenging to deliver relevance to web users; they’re impatient if the content, design and experience don’t match their intent as they search for a product or service, or their expectations based on visits to other sites. Use the measures below to determine how a visitor has engaged with your website.

  • Bounce rate – The percentage of visitors who leave immediately after viewing only one page. Generally, a high bounce rate is a sign of poor-quality traffic and/or experience/content.
  • Duration (the dwell time) – measured as Average Time on Page or Average time on site.
  • Pages per visit – We find this more useful than dwell time since it gives you an idea of how many pages your visitor views on average. It’s opportunities for a marketer to communicate their messages.
  • Conversion rates to lead and sale. These are the most important of the quality measures since they show what proportion of visits convert to commercial outcomes.

For a content audit, you may not want all of these, so: simplify. It’s common to use bounce rate or duration. Note that conversion rates to lead and sale are typically only available for entry or landing pages in Analytics.

BEST PRACTICE: Ensure goal tracking is set up

For an eCommerce site, this is straightforward, you can look at measures like sales transactions and average order value. However, it’s less evident for the many non-transactional sites, like many B2B sites. Once goals are set up, you can use the techniques shown in the tools sections to assess how different landing pages influence conversion to lead and sale, as shown in the Google Sheets example in the tools section.

For B2B sites, it’s necessary to set up customised goals for your business in Google Analytics to track when user actions are completed. For example, to track eBook downloads you would specify the thank you page address and give the goal a name to set up tracking. Many will do this, but often not set value against it based on the conversion of brochure download to sale and their average order value.

3. Value measures. Value shows the communications effectiveness and commercial contribution of our digital marketing to a business through leads, sales and revenue. In a content audit, you’re looking for outcomes that show intent to purchase or purchase itself. Once you have an E-commerce or Goal tracking setup, you can then use these Value measures. It’s vital to review these if you’re serious about improving content marketing effectiveness, by seeing which online campaigns and site pages are working best for you in terms of value rather than visits and those that aren’t.

Goal value per visit

If you assign a value to a goal such as a download, you can then compare how different visitor sources contribute value to the site. For example, how does social media marketing compare to email, is LinkedIn more or less valuable than Twitter – this is very powerful for checking your marketing investments.

Revenue per visit

For sites with eCommerce tracking, Google will report revenue per visit which enables you to perform a similar analysis to that for goal value.

Page value

If you review this measure for your pages, you can work back to see which pages are prompting the creation of value, enabling you to improve customer journeys and messaging.

BEST PRACTICE: Ensure goal tracking is set up

For an eCommerce site, this is straightforward, you can look at measures like sales transactions and average order value. However, it’s less evident for the many non-transactional sites, like many B2B sites. Once goals are set up, you can use the techniques shown in the tools sections to assess how different landing pages influence conversion to lead and sale, as shown in the Google Sheets example in the tools section.

4. Cost measures. Cost measures are historically limited in Google Analytics, although you can import Facebook Ads costs and using Google’s Universal Analytics, you can import information about product costs. For long-form content, you may have costs of production you can also add to your audit.

Step 4: Assess the current qualitative effectiveness of your content.

The final step is to assess the quality and effectiveness of each page of your content to understand the following to make improvements:

  • Is the language clearly understood what is being communicated on each page?
  • Is the information on this page accurate and up to date?
  • Assess whether each page is correct and up to date. You can access Google Console to get a more precise picture of your pages and broken links performance.
  • Is the content on each page useful to the reader?
  • Is the content valuable to the reader, to support the digital strategy and broader business objectives

This section identifies some key questions to ask once you have created the audit to identify improvements.

1. Review content against content strategy objectives. The purpose of this review is to define your core content strategy objectives and assemble all the internal stakeholders to agree on them.

Every content project has restrictions and non-negotiable requirements which are needed to enable it to work. Below lists some of the considerations:

  • Budget. (important) What budget is available?
  • Staff and resources. A significant challenge is underestimating the team required to write, design and deliver your content strategy effectively.
  • Critical for ongoing content activities like measurement and social media deployment.
  • Timeline for delivery? When and for how long?
  • CMS and technology restrictions? Investigate whether the restrictions exist within your current CMS? Do you have existing templates available in your CMS? Can you manage meta-data through your current CMS?
  • Brand tactics. There may be tactical features and functionalities that simply have to be there for one reason or another. An example might be integrating customer helplines or appropriate brand messaging on an eCommerce site.
  • Legal requirements. Privacy policies, footnotes, trademarks and cookie policies will need to be considered especially for larger companies.
  • Existing agreements. There might be current business agreements or contracts that impact on content recommendations.
  • Is your web content accessible to people with disabilities? Most government websites and not-for-profits are required by law to make all their content accessible.

No effective content marketing strategy can live in its own isolated bubble within a business, so this requires you to get all stakeholders to agree on project objectives, assumptions and any risks. It must deliver value and, to do so, it must work alongside other strategic initiatives, such as integrating with your overall business goals.

Your content strategy objectives should help you reflect your overall business goals and take into account the insights from the quantitative (step 1) and qualitative (step 2) audit findings.

Content objectives might include the following:

  • Update our website content better to reflect our status as a dynamic industry leader
  • Create our website content structure which is flexible enough to accommodate our ever-expanding product portfolio
  • Better educate our users about our products, use content to improve the content journey and make it easier for them to buy our services online.
  • Better align our current content organisation with our customers’ journey.
  • Align our website with the other sites in our corporate family
  • Create content that is more shareable on Social Media
  • Align the content strategy with our SEO business goals
  • Acquire 10,000 new online customers through content marketing initiatives this financial year at an average cost per acquisition (CPA) of $30 with an average profitability of $7.50.

  1. Is the content useful for our audience and driving results for our business?

Do you know from the analytics tracking data and VQVC measures how many people are visiting and reacting to this content? What evidence do you have, for example, via your Google Analytics tracking to prove that your audience is spending time on this content and converting to your business outcomes?

Is the content written in a professional style and tone of voice for our defined audience personas?

When reviewing the content check for the following,

  • Grammar, word usage and spelling,
  • The content voice and tone reflect that of the company guidelines.
    • Is the content user-friendly?
    • Does it use too many internal buzzwords or acronyms, or is it written to engage and delight the target audience so that they understand it, relate to it and empathise with the meaning?

BEST PRACTICE: Use Google Content Groups to report on grouped content

As mentioned earlier, you can use Content Groups in Google Analytics to produce reports to give you the bigger picture for each content type.

  1. SEO: Is our content findable?

It is likely that SEO represents a key component of your content requirements and the auditing process and thus may require you to add specific information about your content.

There are three considerations in the context of quality assessment and SEO performance:

  • Is the content findable

What are the most relevant keywords for your business? If you have an SEO strategy in place, you should have a list of keywords to feature in your header tags, metadata and body text. You can use a column in your inventory list to record which keywords are optimised for which page. 

  • Content readability

Make sure to check that the keywords are blended in a naturally readable with the content.

  • Metadata

Metadata is the information about your content. Correct metadata is especially important for SEO because it is the attribute we assign content for search engines to find and index our content. Your site search also uses metadata, or internal search and content management systems to organise and deliver content when and where users need it. We recommend using Screaming Frog software for a metadata scan of your website to understand which keywords Google is assigning to your pages.

Ready to review your content marketing campaigns and improve your return on investment?

Need some help? We love content marketing audits! There is no one-size-fits-all solution here. Content audits come with many different approaches and scopes. It all depends on your needs and your goals. Simply complete our contact form to discuss a tailored content marketing review that works for you.

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