Content marketers are often so focused on their next piece that they leave behind pages of outdated, under-optimized content while they work on an upcoming hero post that will (fingers crossed!) get them to page one.
But the beauty of digital publishing is that nothing is static, giving content marketers the ability to review their content inventory, conduct a content audit, then update posts for accuracy, relevancy, and comprehensiveness.
Given our nature as content marketers to look forward instead of back, taking inventory of content and performing the necessary updates often falls by the wayside – to the detriment of your content marketing strategy, whether you realize it or not.
Why Do a Content Inventory?
The danger of housing shallow or outdated site content is twofold: 1) Google’s Panda algorithm update penalizes sites with “thin” content; and 2) even if your content is broad and deep, outdated information or an old time stamp usually lead to a high bounce rate for that post. You can forget about getting conversions on stale content.
Meanwhile, the benefits of taking a content inventory and updating old posts are innumerable. First, it’s easier to update old posts than to write new ones, and you can build on existing rankings and authority instead of starting from scratch. From your user’s perspective, fresh posts signal that you are on top of your game (hello again, conversions) and a true expert in your industry.
Plus, adding new sections to your already-ranking content can only further boost your rankings. Just check out this case study we did on Neil Patel’s blog.
No one will argue that it’s a bad idea to take inventory and audit content, so why do so many content marketers fail to do it? Because it’s tedious and time consuming. That is, unless you leverage artificial intelligence.
How to Simplify Your Content Inventory Process
In a piece I recently wrote for the Content Marketing Institute, I talk about topic modeling and how software can not only fast-track content optimization but do the job better than any human brain. Platforms that use topic modeling – like MarketMuse – can quickly and effectively conduct semantic analysis and tell you which topics to include in your content strategy.
MarketMuse can also analyze your entire site, telling you which of your existing posts are lacking breadth or depth, and how to update them. Additionally, it can determine which topics still need to be covered on your site in order to gain topical authority.
As part of MarketMuse’s managed services, we will enter your site’s focus topic (and you can do this more than once if you have a few main subjects to cover) into our Site Audit solution. The software then analyzes all your site content, resulting in a list of all the topics you have covered satisfactorily, those that have gaps, and those with absolute gaps.
Additionally, the platform will point specifically to which pages cover which topic, a list which can then be downloaded for easy inventory management and further analysis. A MarketMuse Site Audit will tell you:
- The topics covered deeply on your site, and which related topics need pages
- The quality and comprehensiveness of each page
- The priority in which pages should be updated
Once your Site Audit is done, we’ll generate content briefs for pages that need to be created or optimized, using data-based recommendations. This takes a lot of the guesswork out for you and results in consistent, predictably high-ranking posts.
If you’re not quite ready to sign up, the CMI piece on topic modeling gives instructions on how to conduct a site audit manually. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely doable for teams with limited resources. You may look into other inventory management tools and apps as well, but most are not capable of big-picture planning and generating site content outlines.
The factors you’ll want to account for during your audit include the topics covered, breadth, depth, user intent, and whether a post needs to be updated. For a more technical audit, or depending on your goals, your inventory list may also include the file format, author, meta description, keywords, category, tags, and date.
Ultimately, what you include in your content audit will depend on what you’re trying to achieve, so determine your goals from the outset. Additionally, you’ll want the right tools on hand when it comes time to analyze the results of your audit, so think about what tasks you’ll need to accomplish and how tech can help.
Once you’ve completed your web content audit, be sure to track the results using Google Analytics or another analytics platform. The whole point of doing content inventory and auditing is to gain better results, so set yourself up to show ROI.
We know it’s tempting to push your content inventory and audit off to the next quarter, but it’s an easy win for marketers who have a lot of posts but have trouble seeing the forest for the trees. Get in touch with us today to talk about how we can help you refresh your content strategy.
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Written by Rebecca Bakken