015 How to Run a Content Audit With Kelsey Jones

Kelsey Jones is the Editor-in-Chief at Neil Patel Digital. In this episode, we talked about how to run a content audit analysis and how to use this data to guide your content marketing strategy. Kelsey shares her favorite tools when doing an audit, ways to identify content gaps and actionable steps to help you prepare content that your target audience wants.

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Episode Notes

In this episode, I interviewed Kelsey Jones, Editor-in-Chief at Neil Patel Digital. She has been a featured speaker at State of Search, SEJ Summit, SMX East, and Pubcon to name a few.

We talked about how to run a content audit analysis and how to use this data to guide your content marketing strategy. At the end of this podcast, you should be able to run your own content audit and know which tools to use, identify gaps and take away actionable steps to help you prepare content that your target audience wants.

Why do you need to do a content audit?

I am a big believer in content audit because it goes right alongside with SEO. I do think content marketers now really need to know  SEO as well and vice versa. So the content audit works hand in hand with any SEO work you’re doing on your site. So it’s basically going to let you look at the content that’s already on your site and see if you can identify any issues and content that you need to clean up.

When I joined Neil’s agency and was put in charge of his blog, which gets the site as a whole, I think it’s 20 million visits. In the blog, it’s 10 million, something like that. He had almost 7,000 blog posts on the site. So we did an audit to see, this blog has been going for five or six years.

There’s going to be posts that are outdated, have incorrect information. There was a bunch of posts about Google Plus, which as you know, doesn’t exist anymore like that. Things like that is what has really, really necessitated a need for an audit in our case. 

How often should you run a content audit?

It depends on how big your site is. So for us, we’re still doing work from issues I found six months ago we still have issues coming up and we just started doing another report. I would say quarterly is probably easier if you’re smaller. But if you have a huge site, every six months, if not, at least once a year.

One thing that is helpful, if that’s not doable is to put milestones in place as you make changes. So for us, we know going forward we’re not going to use this format anymore, or we’re going to start looking for places where we can put schema in our content to get featured in the SERPs better. One cool thing about the audit is it not only helps you find issues that you can fix with blog posts, but it also helps you set new standards for the new content you’re creating.

What are your favorite tools to get started with a content audit?

Ahrefs and SEMrush for Keyword Tracking

There are so many great tools out there that kind of help you gather the information you need. And so I think the process dependent is different for every site. But the first thing I did is I made sure that we were tracking the keywords that are important to us in our search tool. So we use Ahrefs and SEMrush.

Ahrefs and Ubersuggest for Content Gap Analysis

Then we also started doing a content gap analysis using Ahrefs and Ubersuggest. So basically you put in your competitors and your site and it shows you all the keywords that your competitors are ranking for that you’re not. And so we kind of use that as a jumping board to start off with because that’s gonna give us some gaps in our content. If there was a keyword that our competitors were ranking for, but we weren’t, but we had a blog post about it, then I know, we need to optimize that blog post to start ranking for those keywords.

Another thing we started doing right away is looking for those outdated blog posts. One project we looked at is anything that had years in the title. So like 2017 social media tips that obviously needs to be updated. Anything that has tools or practices that aren’t best practice anymore, like Google plus, we redirected all of those to a post that was about alternatives to Google plus.

Screaming Frog for Basic SEO Audit

And then also more basic things as well. Are any of your blogs not working anymore? 404s, images not loading, broken links, that kind of stuff needs to be cleaned up. So you can run those types of reports in a SEO tool or a tool like Screaming Frog.

Animalz Revive for Content Decay

Animalz, a content marketing agency has this really cool tool called Revive. It’s a content decay and it’s free. You connect it to your Google search console and it shows you a list of blog posts that had really good traffic. And then all of a sudden they dropped off. So let’s say, for six months you had really good traffic on a blog post, and then all of a sudden you had nothing. That’s also opportunities for you to look at, well, why doesn’t this post get traffic anymore? Do we need to update it? Is it no longer useful to our users? 

Is keyword cannibalization part of the content audit?

Ahrefs has a keyword cannibalization tool that you can use. They have a free template you can use in conjunction with their tool. It’ll show you blog posts that are ranking for the same keyword. So that was another report that we pulled and then pair the post together and you can look at search volume and look at the two blog posts that rank for the same keyword. And then you can decide, okay, do we need to combine these? Put all the useful information from one into the other and then redirect it to just that one. Do we just need to redirect it and not include any of the old information for one of them? Do we need to keep both and kind of change the scope?


How do you fix blog posts that used to rank well but lost traffic?

We have best practices for our posts going forward. So we make sure that the new content we’re updating follows that. So useful images links, revision internal linking, we make sure all the information’s up to date.

And then we also look at user intent. Another thing that is up and coming in the SEO world, that’s important for content marketers to look at is entity-based SEO. So this is just the idea that Google understands the history of a user searches based on what they’ve searched in the past. So if I’ve searched Paris, but I also searched Michael Jackson.  Michael Jackson has a daughter named Paris. And so Google can then piece together. Oh, I bet she means Paris Jackson, not Paris France. So that’s important to think about when you’re revising the content is like what are related things that maybe somebody already been searching for that would be useful to include in this article.


How can you bring your blog to the next level as a result of the content audit?

So a lot of times, if we go back to the content gap analysis from our audit, it’ll also show you topics that you haven’t talked about before. There are also specific categories that we want to write about that we haven’t. So we haven’t written a lot about paid search and e-commerce so we did separate content gap analysis for that.

For the competitors, we listed blogs that are only specializing in that topic. So then it pulled more specific keywords for that topic. And we have used that to come up with ideas. We also have been looking at, you know, the world of digital marketing changes so fast. So I look at what are some things that are happening in digital marketing that we haven’t talked about yet? Like the entity based SEO and research, or unified. 2.0. For your industry, what are some things that are developing that you haven’t written about?


What’s the most challenging part of running an enormous content site like Neil Patel’s?

It took a long time to get my process up and running cause Neil was handling almost everything. I had to create a whole process like on Trello and set all these automations up. And that was a big challenge.

I think another thing that comes with that is because we’re so big, we’re also under a lot of scrutiny. We have a lot of checks in place to make sure that all the information that we’re giving out is good information and is correct. So I think the bigger you are, t
he more you’re under scrutiny for your industry to make sure that you are giving the right information. That’s always a priority for us is that the information we’re giving is correct. At the end of the day, you know, we’re helping small business owners and small marketing teams with their strategy.

What three practical action steps can you share to help our listeners get started with their audit?

So I would say the first thing you can do even if you don’t have any paid tools is go on your Google analytics and pull the data of your top 50 or 500 blog posts and sort by lowest traffic at the top and look how many blog posts. If they’re getting less than 10 visits a month, do they need to be updated, redirected to something else? Do we need to rewrite them? That’s a really easy thing you can do.

If you do have those paid tools, run a content gap analysis to see what are keywords that my competitors are ranking for that I need to create content on or improve my existing content. Look at those keyword cannibalization issues and see do I have five blog posts about the same thing that I could just combine into one big blog post?  Because if you have too many blog posts about the same keyword, then Google doesn’t know what to display in the search results. So it doesn’t help you. It dilutes the chance of you getting a click from organic search. So those are three things I think probably make the biggest impact as part of doing a content audit.

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