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How to Conduct a Content Audit: Secrets Learned from Crawling 100,000+ Sites

5 min read

There’s hope and prayer in every piece of content we publish. But the reality is that most teams publish content that doesn’t contribute to business goals.

But how can you spot that? Especially if you have enough content that is hard to manage in a spreadsheet?

In this conversation, Patrick Hathaway, Director at Sitebulb, and Jeff Coyle, Co-founder of MarketMuse, discuss how to conduct a content audit.

The purpose of a content audit is to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of your content. In this this discussion you’ll learn:

  • How to identify gaps and quick wins in your inventory
  • How content audits uncover the quality of your content compared to the competition
  • How to conduct audits regularly and efficiently 
  • The risks of avoiding this exercise


This session is about conducting a content audit and the lessons learned from doing hundreds of thousands of crawls and site analyses. The discussion covers the benefits of using a crawler tool for technical SEO audits, content audits, and improving a website’s content strategy.

Interesting Insights

  • Using a crawler tool can help build a content inventory, which is valuable for content strategy and understanding the makeup of a website.
  • Technical issues in a website often exist at the template level, so understanding the root cause of problems can help improve the site’s overall performance.
  • Duplicate content can be a problem for search engines and users, so using a crawler tool can identify and help resolve these issues.
  • Indexability is crucial for a website’s visibility in search engines, and using a crawler tool can help ensure that the right content is being indexed.
  • Structured data can help improve a website’s visibility in search engine results and provide additional opportunities for engagement.


Content audits and inventories are essential for identifying issues and opportunities in websites

Content audits and inventories help content strategists and technical SEO professionals understand the structure and performance of a website, identifying issues and opportunities to improve user experience and search engine visibility. By conducting a content audit, businesses can prioritize content creation, updates, and migrations, ensuring that their website is structured and optimized for both users and search engines.

“The first principle is that more content is not necessarily a good thing,” said Patrick Hathaway. “If you’re not measuring and analyzing things, you’re just making guesses at what decisions you’re making. Content audits are about finding issues and opportunities so that you can go, right, we’ve got a plan here, we’ve got a plan of action.”

“With a content inventory, you can start with a crawl and then take it in a lot of different directions,” added Jeff Coyle. “It’s not about prioritizing projects, it’s about knowing what projects you might want to take on with this type of technology.”

Technical SEO and content strategy should be integrated for maximum impact

Technical SEO and content strategy should not be treated as separate entities. Instead, integrating these two aspects of a website’s optimization can lead to better overall results. By using tools like Sitebulb and Market Muse, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their website’s structure, performance, and content, allowing them to make more informed decisions about improvements and updates.

“Technical issues almost always exist at the template level,” said Hathaway. “Understanding which templates are problematic, fixing those templates is the way that you can quickly level up your site from a technical perspective.”

Coyle added, “From a content standpoint, knowing your site structure and tendencies that pages have to be orphaned, for example, can help you build more appropriate pages for different intents and avoid issues like cannibalization.”

Consolidation of content should be done thoughtfully and strategically

Consolidating content on a website should not be done haphazardly. It’s important to carefully evaluate the purpose and value of each page before deciding to consolidate, ensuring that the resulting content remains relevant and valuable to users.

“Consolidation is when you have lots of content that is either loosely or directly targeting the same set of people, the same set of keywords, the same user stage of the user journey, the same persona,” explained Hathaway. “Let’s have one megapage that’s got all of the stuff on that’s targeting all the same people, all the same keywords, and let’s set a redirect from the weaker page to the stronger page.”

Coyle emphasized the importance of properly assessing pages before consolidation. “Don’t let people say that a second page or a third page on the same topic has to be cannibalization. If it’s on a different stage, as Patrick talked about, if it’s in a different part of the journey, if it’s focusing on a variant, if it’s focusing on a different industry or persona, you need it. It’s not optional and it’s definitely not cannibalization.”

Key Quotes

  • “I think a lot of teams get caught up with it’s. Almost like they don’t go into taking a content inventory or content auditing solution. Whether its purpose is technical, whether its purpose is something else in MarketMuse’s case.”
  • “I certainly don’t think crawler type products are only for technical people or SEO people. That is the primary use case for it. But then as soon as you move into any kind of strategy and you want to understand actually what is the makeup of the website, how does it hang together and how do we start making informed decisions about what we want to do next.”
  • “So there’s so many levels it can go into beyond just thinking about, oh, this is just tech SEO. Right. This is just the technical stuff. It actually really starts to bleed into what does the experience feel like to users?”
  • “When you’ve had a website that’s been hanging around for a few years and it’s had different people working on it, there will be muck all over the place that you just don’t know about.”
  • “The number one thing you can do wrong is to only ever look at the data and never look at the page itself.”

Featured Guest

Patrick Hathaway

Director, Sitebulb

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Patrick is responsible for ensuring Sitebulb’s customers are happy and successful, which includes a humorous approach to release notes that occasionally (often) err on the side of ridiculousness.

Stephen leads the content strategy blog for MarketMuse, an AI-powered Content Intelligence and Strategy Platform. You can connect with him on social or his personal blog.