How to Conduct an SEO Content Audit for 2024

Like a physical exam, a content audit assesses the performance of your content, uncovers areas needing improvement and helps you understand how to approach your strategy moving forward. 

In this post, you’ll learn how to audit your website’s content for SEO and the tools to help streamline the process. 

Keep reading or use the links below to jump ahead to any section.

What Is A Content Audit?

A content audit is a process of collecting and evaluating all the content assets on your website. It provides insights into the ROI of your content investment and informs your decision on which assets to improve, keep or remove. 

Content audits are often conducted from the viewpoint of SEO. However, it’s not just your search performance that benefits from an audit, as it can include other content formats outside blog posts. Depending on your business goals, you could audit the following kinds of content:

  • Core website pages
  • Landing pages
  • Guides 
  • Product descriptions
  • Whitepapers and other types of downloadable content
  • Videos
  • Slide decks
  • Podcasts 
  • Branded templates, etc.

Whichever content format you choose to audit, the goal is to figure out if anything is holding your content back and make necessary improvements. 

Why Do You Need to Perform Content Audits?

Content audits help your business in so many ways. First, they uncover areas of your content that are not properly optimized for search ranking. For example, you may have broken external and internal links, frustrating your visitors and increasing your bounce rate. A content audit is an opportunity to find and update those links, which in turn can significantly improve your traffic. 

Content audits also help you discover untapped content opportunities on your website. By giving search engines as much knowledge as possible about your site, you help the algorithm suggest your pages more accurately to searchers. Here are some more benefits of conducting a content audit.

  • They show the real numbers of your content performance to enable you make informed decisions with facts rather than assumptions.
  • They provide data-driven insights into your target audience.
  • They help you discover your best-performing content so you can squeeze more value from them in other areas of your marketing.
  • Content audits help you arrest content decay and cannibalization issues on time so you can preserve your search rank and serve your audience better.

Conducting regular audits is how you maintain your website. Without it, the bolts and nuts that keep your content engine running will wear down, affecting the integrity of your site. But by auditing your site, you can stay aligned with your content marketing strategy and plan for the future.

Now we understand why content audits are important, let’s explore the steps you need to take to audit your content.

How To Carry Out A Content Audit

Step 1: Set Your Goals and Metrics

The first step is goal setting because audits can easily get overwhelming. But knowing what to look for and the results you want to achieve prevents time wasting and keeps you on track. Setting a goal also clarifies the metrics for measuring the success or failure of your audit. 

Here are the popular goals to consider setting, along with relevant metrics you can match them with. 

  • Improve SEO performance. Higher search rank and traffic are some of the top reasons SEOs run content audits. Things like optimizing existing pages to better match user intent, refreshing old content to eliminate decay and improving your internal linking network can drive quick SEO results. The metrics to measure in this case include keyword rank and positions, organic traffic, backlinks, CTR in search, etc. According to DataBox, 75% of SEO experts say their top goal is to claim the top positions for their target keyword.
  • Improve audience engagement. As a direct consequence of improving your content, higher content engagement can help improve your ranking. The relevant metrics to measure are pageviews, bounce rate, scroll depth, social shares, mentions and comments. 
  • Improve content conversion rate. Your goal could also be to increase leads and generate higher conversions. To achieve that, check if your content provides a great user experience and is optimized for conversion. Analyze your content structure, readability, offer, and CTA. 

Once you’re clear on your goals and the metrics to track, move on to collecting all your content assets. 

Step 2: Create A Content Inventory

Are you auditing a few pages or your entire content library? 

Collect all the URLs you want to audit and organize them in a spreadsheet to create a content inventory. If auditing a small site, you can add the links manually. But if your site is large, use an audit tool like Screaming Frog or Sitebulb. They’ll crawl your URLs and analyze their titles, metadata, links and other onsite factor to find SEO issues.

Alt text: Screaming Frog dashboard showing data on 500 URLs

Once you’ve collected all your URLs into a spreadsheet, add extra columns to your sheet and categorize the URLs by the following page details:

  • Page title
  • Content type (e.g., blog post, case study, guide)
  • Content purpose (e.g., use case showing results achieved after using InLinks for 3 months)
  • Content format (e.g., text-only content, images/video included)
  • Focus keyword
  • Word count
  • Average ranking position of the focus keyword
  • Buyer journey/funnel stage (awareness, consideration, decision, post-purchase)
  • Backlinks
  • Bounce rate/time on page
  • The product or service the content supports
  • Publication date or last modification date
  • Linked CTA
  • Author
  • Social shares (you can break it down by social networks and then total)

While you can add these details manually, some audit tools can do it for you. You can also add metadata like meta descriptions and heading tags to the spreadsheet to make it more comprehensive. The list is not exhaustive, and the details you include will depend on the type of audit you’re running and your goals. However, this categorization will help you stay organized as you determine your action plan.

Once you have all your pages sorted out, move on to tracking content metrics and analyzing data.

Step 3: Analyze Your Content Data 

It’s time to dive deep into your content’s performance to see the state of things. Usually, this is the most time-consuming part of an audit since you have to manually analyze different data sources and add your findings to the spreadsheet.

These analytics tools will help with your review.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics will show you overall site information on traffic, engagement and conversions over a period of time. You can review performance for the past 12 or 3 months, depending on how far back you want to go. This data will help you identify traffic and conversion sources, including top and underperforming pages, so you can gauge the effectiveness of your content.  

Google Search Console

GSC will show you minute details about content performance. You’ll see the number of clicks, impressions, average CTR and position of individual pages, including the queries they show up for. You can filter the date range as far back as 16 months. From here, you can discover pages that are declining and those exceeding expectations. 

Alt text: GSC showing traffic analytics for a given page

Position Tracking Tools like AccuRanker

Tracking SERP positions for specific keywords helps you know when traffic is declining or improving so you can take necessary action. Position-tracking tools like AccuRanker come in handy here. If rankings for important pages/keywords are declining, you can plan to update or revise the content.

Alt text: AccuRanker dashboard showing keyword positions tracking data

Tracking backlinks is always a great idea since they significantly impact your ranking. A tool like Majestic will help you see the quality and quantity of backlinks each page has generated. This way, you can spot low-quality or spam links and remove them before they hurt your rankings. 

Alt text: Majestic dashboard showing backlinks analysis data

As you analyze all these data sources, take note of the following:

  • Top-performing content, so you can figure out why they’re excelling and expand those measures to your strategy.
  • Under-performing content, so you can determine the best course of action to improve their performance
  • Outdated content, so you can decide whether they’ll benefit from a refresh or need pruning.
  • Missing content, so you know where you’re not meeting the needs of your audience.

Add all these data points to your spreadsheet. You can keep them in a Notes column and use them as your guide when deciding on your action plan. 

Step 4: Interpret the Data and Take Actionable Steps

Once you’re done gathering and analyzing all the data, it’s time to clean it up and determine next steps.

Start by interpreting the content audit data. Look through your metrics for trends, patterns and issues. For example,

  • Are there pages whose backlinks or traffic has spiked in the past few months?
  • Are there pages consistently experiencing a decline?
  • Do some pages have high traffic but low conversion rates, and vice versa?
  • Do you spot general issues with bounce rates and engagement?

High-traffic pages with low engagement and high bounce rates could mean your content isn’t addressing the reader’s needs. Low conversion rates on high-traffic pages are an indication that your CTA isn’t well-optimized. 

Similarly, low-traffic pages with high conversion rates could signify content that needs to be optimized. 

Of course, these interpretations would differ according to the initial goal/purpose of your audit, but you get the idea. From there, add a new Action column to your spreadsheet and assign your content assets one of the following action steps. 


If a page is performing well and still relevant to your target audience, there’s probably no need to touch it yet. So, leave it as is. These kinds of pages can be GAQ pages, evergreen content, success or core web pages.


Pages that have started showing signs of decay may need an update. Sometimes, all you need to do is update old information or statistics, add new links, improve formatting or make some other kind of lightweight changes. Done right, an update can drive results almost immediately.


If you find high-intent pages performing really poorly, a complete rewrite may be a better course of action. Rework the content to make it more comprehensive and better match search intent. Try a new point of view, format or content angle, and include third-party insights to make the page more valuable. 


Sometimes, all you need to do is remove the dead weight from your site. Prune irrelevant, duplicate or old pages on services or products no longer in circulation. Some low-traffic pages that would not improve after a refresh can be cut off, too. That said, consolidating is also a good idea for pages with low clicks but covering relevant topics.


Finally, note the areas where content is missing as you work through the spreadsheet. Make a note to create new content to cover gaps in your strategy and reach new/existing audiences at their point of need.

In this infographic, SEO consultant Jess Joyce details her workflow for planning and executing the above action steps. 

Alt text: Jessy Joyce’s workflow for planning and executing a content audit

Step 5: Prioritize Your Actions and Implement Them

Now, it’s time to prioritize your actions according to your goals. Refer back to your goal in Step 1. 

For instance, if the purpose of your audit was to improve SEO performance, then you should focus on increasing traffic to underperforming pages. Achieving this goal may require various efforts, e.g. revisiting your internal linking network, improving content, building backlinks, content promotion, etc. Hence, it’s best to weigh the efforts required against their expected results before prioritizing your action steps.

After you’ve done the weightings, add a Priority column to your spreadsheet and prioritize action from 0-3, with 3 being the highest priority.

Start executing your action steps in their order of priority. As you delete pages, set up 301 redirects to preserve SEO value and avoid broken links. If you update old pages, notify your users and search engines about the changes. As you implement, keep track of your efforts and their results so you know where and how to make improvements along the line. 

Remember to promote your content. Redistribute old, well-performing content on social media to your email list and other channels. Do the same as you update and create new content. 

Finally, use the insights from your content audit to adjust your content strategy and inform new content plans.

FAQs on Content Audit

1. How Often Should I Conduct a Content Audit?

You should audit your website’s content regularly. However, how often will depend on your business, its industry, the size of your site and your publishing schedule. A good rule of thumb is a run a content audit at least once a year.

But if you’re in a constantly changing industry or have a large site, consider doing it more often to keep your content fresh and effective.

2. How Can I Measure the Success of a Content Audit?

You’ll know if your content audit was successful by tracking content performance before and after. If you see significant improvement in site traffic, engagement or conversion after a given period, then the content audit was worth the time and resources.

3. How Can I Do an SEO Content Audit Step By Step?

  • Start by clarifying the goal of your audit. This could be to improve SEO results, content engagement or conversion. For every goal, determine the metrics you’ll use to evaluate your content to make an informed decision on its performance.
  • Gather all the content pages you want to audit into an inventory. You can do this manually if your site is small or use Screaming Frog.
  • Analyze your content over a given period, e.g. 12 months, using those predetermined metrics to evaluate its performance. Use tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to see performance data.
  • Based on your analysis, decide on which content to keep, update, refresh or delete. Also, note the areas where you need to create new content to cover content gaps.
  • Start implementing the decisions from your audit and track your efforts and results as you go.

4. How Can I Use the Results of a Content Audit to Inform My Content Strategy?

By implementing your action steps. Don’t just do an audit for the sake of it. Use it to improve underperforming content by implementing those measures you’ve confirmed are working well for top performers. Also, use insights from your audit to access your content distribution strategy and create time to produce new content to fill gaps in your strategy. 

Now you know how to run a content audit, including the tools you need to do it successfully. Try to make content auditing a part of your workflow. Do it as often as possible; it’s the most efficient way to keep an eye on your site’s overall health. 

This post was researched and drafted by Juliet John and reviewed and edited by Dixon Jones.

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