A blog audit is a great way to evaluate the direction of your blog as well as clean up some of your past mistakes.
While it may take a bit of time, the rewards are definitely worth it.
Cleaning up your blog, of content that is unrelated to what you want to write moving forward or combining related posts can help with SEO and the experience of your readers.
In this post, I’m going to share with you the x steps necessary to conduct a successful blog audit.
Step 1: Decide What Your Blogging Goals Are
Keep in mind that there are usually two sides to blogging goals. First, what you want your audience to achieve or the transformation you want them to experience. Second, what your goals are with your blog such as how much you want to earn and how.
Part of cleaning up your blog requires you to know what direction you’re headed in. If you used to blog about everything from your weekly wardrobe choices, to budgeting, and fitness tips and you now want to narrow down your focus (or your niche) it will impact how you perform your content audit.
This means you also have to make a decision about what you will do if writing what you like doesn’t align with the data of what is doing well.
Step 2: Look at the Data
Dig into your Google Analytics to see what posts or topics have done well for you and perhaps compare them to the kinds of posts you’d like to keep writing. If you’re lucky, what you want to write and what has done well will be the same.
While looking at the topic of the content in your analytics is great, it’s also good to look at a few other things. Including, they type of blog posts that do well – are they round ups? List posts? Video based? Reviews?
Even if, topically, you decide to switch gears, knowing the type of content that does well for you can help the new content to do better.
Another aspect of your data you should evaluate is if any content is counterproductive. What I mean by that is if you have two very similar pieces of content that would rank for the same keyword, they are likely counterproductive. They may both rank on page 5, but combined into one truly great post could rank on page one.
Step 3: Review All Of Your Current Content
This is definitely the most labor-intensive step, especially if you have a lot of content. The purpose of this step is to help streamline your site and it’s content so it can be it’s most useful.
For example, you may find when reviewing your content you have two posts that cover the same topic and make a lot of the same points. Rather than both of them doing moderately well with Search Engine Optimization, it’s likely better to combine them into one stellar post that could rank higher. Whichever post gets scraped will then need to be redirected to the new and improved post.
You might also find that you have tons of stellar content that you could link to other posts on your site. Internal linking is a great way to help keep readers on your site and demonstrate to search engines what content is best.
When reviewing your content, you might also find that some of it just isn’t relevant to what you’re currently doing and decide to delete it. Alternatively, it may be relevant but poorly written (we all become better writers over time) or outdated and need to be updated.
Step 4: Update Content
Decide on a plan to update the necessary content.
One way to do this would be to build the posts that need updating into your current editorial calendar. This ensures you continue to make progress without having to take a ton of time focusing solely on updating content.
One type of update you may want to batch before the end of the year is internal linking. If you’ve identified posts that you want to add internal links to, go ahead and do so.
It’s usually a pretty quick process and can be an “easy win” when it comes to improving your blog.
Step 5: Redirect Any Links, As Necessary And Delete Unrelated Content
If you’ve combined posts or decided to update URLs then you will need to be sure and redirect the links.
A plugin called “Redirect” works great for this. If you don’t redirect those links you’ll have broken links that lead to a 404 page and a bad user experience.
The only time you want a 404 page showing up is if you’ve deleted content for which you have no replacement. For example, if you delete content that is no longer relevant to your blog. In that case, you would not want to do a redirect.
Step 6: Adjust Your Content Categories To Ensure Clear Site Structure
The last step to cleaning up your site as part of an end of year blog audit is to make sure your site structure is clear. Once you’ve cleared the clutter it’s time to make sure that is reflected in your blog categories.
Delete or edit the blog categories and sub-categories you no longer want to use. However, before deleting you’ll likely want to make sure the posts in those categories (if still relevant) are categorized as something else.
Otherwise, they will default to being “uncategorized” which does you no good.
An end of year blog audit can be a great way to help you plan out your editorial calendar and kick off the year strong with a lean, mean, and clean site.
Follow these steps to make the most of your blog audit and you’ll be on your way to a bigger and better blog next year:
- Know what your blogging goals are
- Review your blog’s data
- Review all of your content
- Make sure to update content
- Set up any necessary redirects and delete irrelevant posts
- Ensure a clear site structure by cleaning up categories and sub-categories
Questions about conducting an end of year blog audit? Let me know in the comments!