The Dreaded Content Audit

20 August 2021  

A Guide To Running A Site Audit

Large scale websites can grow out of hand and become confusing fast! 

Confusing to the website owner and your site visitor.  You don’t want your search results to be full of out of date or underperforming content. 

Take it from us - when you’re the owner of a blog archive as old as ours, it’s important to take some time out every couple of years to run a blog content audit.

This is something we did at Brightspark in summer 2021.

The blog has been running since 2001 - so that’s 18 years of posts - and some of them were  awfully cringeworthy. We did a significant blog content audit back in 2013. But we felt that the time had come to address this issue again, and tidy up the blogs in order to improve site performance.  Best practice is to perform site audits every 2-3 years. 

The Process

Reviewing old and dated content is something that affects every website. Things change so quickly, especially in our area of digital marketing, we found that many posts had outdated fast. We had a lot of early social media posts explaining the difference between a page and a post. Or excitedly announcing that ads had come. Making sage predictions that they’d come to Instagram, and fast!

If you are the owner of a website or the manager of one that is untidy on the back end, follow these steps and you will feel great at the end of it. More importantly your site will be leaner, and populated with high quality content that users want to see, and more likely to drive those all important conversions.

  1. To begin, we downloaded a list of the blog posts titles and set to work categorising each one. We used general categories such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  2. Then we grouped each category by theme. For example - in Facebook we had a lot of posts on Pages. Ads. Content. Etc.
  3. Next we categorised the individual posts! This was the most tedious part of the content audit. We uniquely identified 24 themes of blog posts and categorized them accordingly. This process was necessary because we had to do an inventory check on what we had to know we wanted to delete or what wasn’t performing well. We had approximately 20 blog posts under our smallest theme and over 100 for our most popular themes. 
  4. Then we used a tool called Ahrefs to get an indepth look at the organic search traffic and backlink profile for each post. We ran each blog post through Ahrefs to understand the engagement, which we noted. And this helped us determine whether posts were generating enough views to keep or delete it. 
  5. Once this was done, we simply went in and deleted or redirected all the old blog posts that were too old, underperforming or didn’t generate enough traffic.

Very proud to say that we removed or redirected 500+ posts

It was interesting to see how the nature of the blog posts changed since 2007!

Prior to that, we didn’t really have social media. It was the time of blogging, so there were lots of posts that would now be just status updates on social.

We also discovered a treasure trove of high performers that just need some tidying up and updating. So we made a little list of those and got to work on the updates.

The Bottom Line

Content audits are not fun but they are completely necessary to maintain clear and consistent content across your website, blog, and social media respectively. Much thanks to Ethan Gillham, our intern at the time who did a lot of the hard work and made it all quite painless. 

What you will end up with is a much cleaner and more understandable website that is easily navigable and able to be searched in seconds. You want your site visitors to be able to find what they need immediately. You don’t want to leave them confused and frustrated.

We hope we don’t have to perform this blog content audit again now for many years.

Wishing you all the very best if you are about to embark on such a project. 

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