Content Audit Best Practice That Work

Content Audit That Works

It’s easy for prolific bloggers, copywriters, and content marketers to write over 2000 words of a blog post, or article in 2 hours these days.

Most are committed to a regular writing practice, making consistency the key to their success in blogging.

Some too have succeeded with about 38 blog posts since they started their blogs 5 to 6 years ago.

Brian Dean had only about 32 posts on Backlinko as at 2015.

With all the effort, they make no mistake: at the back of their minds they know quality, useful content still rule as king.

We create content for users only, not search engines anymore. The user determines how far your content will go.

So, you’re encouraged to get this content audit checklist handy to give users value.

You may use it to audit your old pages, or when you think it’s about time to hit the publish button.

Before we begin, let’s consider…

The blogging CMS in Use: It’s of the WordPress content management system.

And the SEO plugin to be used in the audit process may be any of these two: Yoast SEO or All In One SEO Pack.

The Content Audit Begins

We will start with the 3 crucial areas to audit, and later look at some blind spots that are often ignored in the infographic by Aweber.

Here are the 3 crucial areas to look at in the audit process:

First Check Your Page Heading and Title to Tell the Big Story

The content of your title and heading may be varied depending on how you want it, but must all be garnered towards one compelling message to tell a big story.

Page Heading:

First impression counts.

To get the rest of your content read, you must make the headline compelling – telling the big story.

The heading is the most important part of your copy, so ensure it answers the question that has to do with holding your audience’s attention, addressing and identifying their needs with clarity.

Startle your audience by triggering a conversation to take place in their minds that will propel their desire into the introduction, then to the sub headlines for them to continue reading.

The headline alone informs your audience what to expect and do.

Simply write headlines that work!

Page Title:

Also, every post on a page must have a unique title that should include your primary keyword.

If a searcher stops at the title, you’re finished – tell the big story here too.

It’s one of the 2 meta tags that exist in your site’s code. These tags need to be customized for each blog post.

Content audit best practice that work meta tags

The title can be seen in search engine results pages. Its work is to  simply inform users and search engines about your blog pages.

Now:

You may ask, do I have to start it with a target keyword?

Google will regard your page title as heavy if your keyword is nearer to the beginning of the tag. It’s not a must to always let it be the first.

My take is, try to let your keyword be the first, if not, then place it as the second or third word. Never allow it beyond the third word.

Title Length:

Finally, look out for the required number of characters for your title’s appearance on search engine result pages, usually not more than 55. This ensures full appearance of your title on Google.

The characters for the heading may exceed this limit, but not too much.

Modifiers:

Don’t forget of specificity. Use numbers in your title to do magic.

Use a word, phrase or a figure that modifies or identifies the meaning of another word in your heading and title. This approach makes everything comprehensible and will help you rank for some long tail keywords.

Leverage SEO-Friendly Permalink URLs:

This is very related to the title and heading.

Most choose to let it appear exactly as i.e. the title, or the heading, whiles others choose to use only the target keywords as their URL.

See in how Neil Patel chooses to make it appear exactly as the title and heading in the screenshot:

How Neil Patel chooses to make URLs appear exactly as the title and heading

And look at how Copyblogger chooses to use the target keyword only in this screenshot too:

How Copyblogger chooses to use the target keyword only

Let’s now check out the right way to go about our URLs…

I still see long URLs like: gallople.com/2015/12/06/your-ads-are-getting-ignored-5-smart-strategies-to-overcome-banner-blindness/ and I wonder.

It might not look ugly like: gallople.com/?p=123 but would definitely make typing difficult without a reference.

The ugly default URL doesn’t look friendly at all. The unfriendly URLs contain numbers and combination of useless words.

So try to change it from the “Common Settings” on your WordPress to either “Post Name” or “Custom Structure”.

Correcting it, use a short URL that consist of your relevant target keyword only, which will make sense to the reader.

Users would understand and easily remember after seeing it once.

Since the first 3-5 words in a URL are given weight by search engines, range your keyword within those first words.

Lastly, don’t alter the URL when your page is live.

The second area to look at is…

Use the “visual” view tab in your WordPress edit page Audit from Introduction to Conclusion

Create white spaces:

Is your blog post readable, and well formatted?

Let’s answer partly with this question: have you created white spaces?

Reading online is different from reading a book.

I often click away to look elsewhere when I don’t find the information I need on web pages. I first scan web pages before anything else follows, and that’s exactly what most web users do.

It’s difficult to read a page that has big blocks of texts. So you’ve got to create white spaces around texts.

Consider creating short paragraphs of sentences. Also have one-sentence paragraphs thrown in your posts once in a while, at least with a variety of sentence lengths.

Avoid using unnecessary words that have no purpose or make no sense in your sentences. The number of sentences in a paragraph should be not more than 4.

Sub headlines:

The second most important user-friendly elements with which you can create white spaces are sub headlines.

A subhead introduces new sections.

They mostly break up your content evenly spacing them at every 3-5 paragraphs.

Readers are engaged with this feature that acts as “mini headlines”. They also highlight “major” and “minor” benefits of your posts.

Your subheads should be written in such a way that will make a scanner comprehend your topic if he chooses to read only the headline and sub headlines.

You can focus your attention to this technique: write your headline and subheads first before the rest of your content.

Mini headlines are vantage opportunities to use keywords. Drop your target and latent semantic index (LSI) keywords in them.

So, let the points in the outline you create for every post serve as subheads in your posts.

Bullet or numbered lists:

Another crucial addition is, make good use of bullet lists or numbered lists in your post to highlight multiple points in a scannable format. Like the subheads it will break up your post and create white spaces.

Numbers in content has the power to attract attention: example is a list post.

Emboldening important points or emphasis:

Bold important points or emphasis for readers and scanners. At a glance users should be able to pick out key points.

Make your blog posts more interesting. Not elaborate:

Have you broken any grammar rules yet? If yes, cool!

Keep breaking them.

No teacher is going to mark you. Observe how I start some of my sentences with ‘And’

Writing blog posts have to be conversational with no big words.

Many won’t have time to open a thesaurus for answers.

Contractions?

No worries if you’ve used contractions.

Blogging is you. So write like you talk.

Your writing must be informal. Online reading and writing is totally different from the traditional ones.

To make everything much more interesting, use the inverted pyramid style:

Start with your conclusion first, narrow down with the main body, a step to the other and then move in deeper to your target point. It engages readers to stay and interact with your blog pages.

The third area is…

Link Internally and Make Your Blog a Resource Hub with External Links!

Reduce bounce rate by keeping people on your blog with a minimum of 3 to 4 relevant internal links.

Link back to old blog pages.

It’s not a good idea to link to the About Page, Contact Us and even the Home Page unless deemed necessary.

To demonstrate you’ve researched a topic well, link out to authority sites. External linking adds value to users.

The 5 common areas that are often missed or ignored in content audits

Use this infographic by Aweber to find the 5 content blind spots:

Content audit infographic by aweber

Watch it!

Google will rank well blog pages that focus on users.

Repeat this exercise regularly to freshen up your outdated content, and before hitting the publish button.

What’s your take on content auditing?

Please share this post with your friends if you like it.

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