How To Conduct A Content Audit to Improve Landing Page Performance
We live in a world where search engines are getting smarter, search queries are constantly changing, and potential customers are always out there. In this age of online marketing, the only way to keep attracting new customers is by staying on top of what they are looking for and making sure your website reflects those potential needs. This means that you should be auditing your website’s content often to ensure that you aren’t falling behind competitors and falling off the proverbial cliff that is the first few results pages in Google.
We recently decided to do an overhaul of our website where we audited all of our website landing pages and followed the steps that we outlined below. And as a result, we ended up seeing a 102% increase in conversion rate from our Paid Search traffic.
What is a Keyword-Driven Content Audit?
If you feel overwhelmed, underprepared, and all-around intimidated by the idea of a content audit, you’re not alone. We understand how frustrating it can be to look at your website’s content that you have painstakingly written with a critical eye. But if you are looking to improve your landing page performance, it’s a necessity.
So what exactly does a keyword-driven content audit look like? To start, you will need to know what keywords potential customers are using when searching for businesses similar to yours. You can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush to see what people are searching for related to your business. You’ll want to take note of commonly searched terms and see if your existing content implements those keywords. If it doesn’t, it’s time to make some changes and add those words and phrases to your landing pages! These are the basics behind a keyword-driven content audit.
Create A Content Inventory
The first thing to do when you are auditing your content is taking an inventory of what you have. When you inventory your content you are taking stock of all content assets you have for your business. This includes your main landing page, any secondary site pages you may have, social media bios, and more. The easiest way to organize this inventory is usually in a spreadsheet where you can easily comprehensively see all of your content.
It may be easier to understand a content inventory by thinking of how it differs from a content audit. When you audit your content you are looking at it as a whole, assessing quality and making changes based on keyword research and page performance. A content inventory on the other hand is done before an audit with the idea of knowing how much content you actually have for your company. When you have all of your content inventory, you might be surprised to see how many types of content you have that you hadn’t originally thought of.
When it comes to taking inventory of your content you can be as simple or as detailed as you want. It’s all about figuring out what will help you see your existing content in the best way for your goals. Typically, the data points you want to track in your inventory fall into one of the following categories.
- Technical Data Points: These are data points focused on how well search engines can crawl your site and index your content (meaning they are not visible to your site visitors)
- Content Data Points: These are data points related to the structure and format of the content on your site.
- Performance Data Points: These are data points related to your site visitors' engagement and analytics information.
- Custom Data Points: These are pieces of information unique to your business.
How To Create Your Content Inventory
- Use a tool like Screaming Frog or SEMrush to identify all of your content pages. You can find the most technical and structured data points with these tools and begin to inventory what you have and what you might be missing.
- It’s okay not to have every single data point possible. In fact, that can be overwhelming. Focus on the data points that you think will be the most impactful to improving page performance.
- Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to help identity performance metrics. These tools will help you continue to build out your inventory by honing in on specific elements like keywords.
- Speak with your team and stakeholders about what custom data points matter most to your business. Are you wanting to increase emergency service calls? Maybe you are looking to improve your organic Google ranking or Google Ads quality scores for your site pages? This is a great time to identify the goal of the content audit.
- Also, use this time to prioritize your goals. In a perfect world, marketers would have time to audit the entirety of their content every time, but the reality is that you will most likely have to put some pages on the back burner due to time.
- Make comparisons between your content and what the tools say you should be doing. In other words, tools like SEMrush will help identify any problem areas in your content such as too many long paragraphs or missing elements.
- It can also be helpful to look at what your competitors are doing on their sites. You never want to copy someone else’s content, but looking at your competition can help you understand the direction you might want to go in.
- Make the changes! At this point, you should feel confident in knowing what you want to change and have some ideas on how to change that. There’s no time like the present to dive in and work toward boosting page performance.
Audit Your Content
Now that it’s time to audit your content, you’re likely ready to dive in but might be wondering what to look at first. You’ll want to do keyword research to identify any crucial keywords you may not be included in your content or see if you are including keywords that are doing more harm than good.
Additionally, you’ll want to identify any errors or missing elements on your pages that may be leading Google to penalize your site. You will also want to evaluate each page’s performance based on quality score and conversion rates. After assessing these different elements you will be able to make recommendations and changes to your content to increase overall page performance.
Key Questions to Keep in Mind When Doing A Content Audit
- Are we targeting the right keywords?
- Are there any new keyword trends that need to be incorporated?
- Are you missing any Title Tags or Meta Descriptions?
- Are your target keywords in the H1, Title, and Meta?
- Has the search intent changed for these terms?
- Do you have well-defined goals and metrics for measuring success?
- Does your content include engaging calls to action?
- Did you identify new search terms that should be targeted separately?
- Are you speaking the language of the searcher and the search engine?
- Do you have any gaps in your content?
Content Update Do’s and Don’ts
DO put yourself in the position of the searcher.
To write keyword-rich content that attracts potential customers and leads to conversion, you should keep in mind the needs of the searcher. Anytime someone enters a search query into Google they are on a journey. Whether they’re trying to find mold removal services, emergency plumbing help, or are interested in having a smart thermostat installed, they have come to Google with an end goal in mind.
- EXAMPLE: If you own a mold removal business, rather than explaining all of the different types of mold problems someone may have, you should instead keep in mind that the searcher has likely landed on your page because they already have mold. Quickly, acknowledge that they have a mold problem and dive right into writing why you are the company for the job.
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DON'T overstuff your content with keywords.
If you are new to the keyword world, your first instinct might be to fill your copy with as many keywords as possible, even if the sentences don’t make a ton of sense. Unfortunately, Google is getting smarter and smarter every day and the days of keyword stuffing are long gone. To prevent your content from getting flagged for keyword stuffing, you will want to use keywords in meaningful ways, which often means picking the most valuable ones to focus on rather than trying to include every single one.
EXAMPLE: Instead of writing strings of keywords that you want to rank for, do your best to include those keywords in concise, easy-to-understand sentences. If you are struggling to include all of the words you want, consider using a bulleted list between paragraphs of content.
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DO keep in mind services and value propositions that make your company stand out.
Using commonly searched keywords to get potential customers to your site is step one. Step two is writing content that encourages conversion. In a time when almost every individual is going to turn to Google to look for anything from heating maintenance to local taco delivery, you want to write content that stands out. There are certainly elements of your business that set you apart from your competitors, right? Maybe you offer emergency services, have seasonal discounts, or perform hard-to-find boiler maintenance. These are the things you will want to highlight in your content in order to encourage potential customers to convert.
- EXAMPLE: Whether you want to highlight your 24/7 emergency services or are trying to attract new customers with a special you are running, using those keywords frequently and prominently can help improve conversion. Having a separate emergency page to send customers to or displaying your discounts as images is a great place to start.
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DON'T forget to think critically about keywords.
As an expert in your field, when you are writing content it can be easy to get carried away with all of your knowledge. But, it’s important to think critically about what people are going to be searching for when needing your services. In other words, someone in search of electrician services is more likely to search “Austin Electrician” than they are to search “mutual induction”. Focus on using those catch-all keywords in your H1 and meta tags and instead pepper your content with the technical terms where it makes sense to show expertise. On the other hand, it’s also important to think critically about the types of searches you don’t want leading people to your site. Whether there are some services you don’t perform or types of searches you’re not interested in ranking for, those terms can be added as negative keywords.
- EXAMPLE: A customer looking for light installation might search “electrician installations” whereas a customer who needs to pay their electrical bill may search “electrical bill payment”. You probably aren’t interested in targeting the latter, so you could avoid using keywords like “electrical” and “payment” in your content.
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DO implement local targeting keywords.
In our time learning about online marketing we have learned that “near me” keywords are highly valuable. More often than not people won’t search for a specific company and will search instead with terms like “plumbing company near me.” In order to catch these valuable searches, you’ll want to include local keywords as well as the name of the area you service. Keep in mind that if you were searching for a service in your area you’d likely include the city name or “near me” in your search, so that’s the kind of keywords you’ll want to include in your content.
- EXAMPLE: In addition to listing your city name and using “near me” terms in your body content, adding the city to your H1 helps to show Google that you are located in that area and should rank higher for searches there.
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Most Importantly, Don’t set it and forget it!
This is perhaps the most important and most frustrating part of digital content and online marketing. Once you have spent the time and effort to audit your content and update it accordingly you’ll want to release it into the wild and see how it performs. But you will always need to come back and make changes based on your pages’ performance and the evolving keywords people are searching for. It’s in your best interest to perform a full content audit every 3 to 6 months to ensure you are still targeting potential new customers. We also recommend checking your page performance regularly so that you can catch anything that Google might be penalizing you for and make sure you don’t have any keywords that are pulling in unrelated search traffic.