Updated: May 1
We all know by now that writing highly valuable content is super important for SEO, this is why we create tons of in-depth articles, hoping to capture both users’ and Google's interest. But how can we measure our content’s effectiveness and success over time?
The answer is by performing a content audit.
If you are intimidated by the names of these tools, don’t be. As it turns out, you don’t have to be a marketing professional to understand how to analyze specific reports and how to navigate them. For the purpose of a simple but insightful content audit, two crucial reports will be enough to give you the answers that you are looking for.
But first, why is a content audit important for your business?
The ability to measure your content’s success can give you insight into what to write about next and what your audience wants to hear from you.
You can stop wasting resources on content that is not performing well and diverting resources to content that has a higher potential to rank in search results.
Understanding which content can perform better can help you focus on improving existing content vs. working endlessly on new content ideas.
Let’s dive in.
Google Analytics: Acquisition Report -> Channels -> Organic
Or How to measure which landing pages are getting the most sessions organically, during a specific time frame.
Set a specific timeframe to work on. For content audits, I recommend choosing anywhere from six months to a year, to have a bigger picture of how your content is doing over time. Since it takes at least a few months for each page to rank, evaluating content performance too soon won't give you an accurate picture of its full potential.
Go to Acquisition report, click on All Traffic, and choose Channels.
3. Inside the Channels report, click on Organic Search. This will filter your results and only show you users and sessions that come organically to your website.
(Note for the advanced: You can also dive deeper into other channels like Social, Direct, Paid, and Referral, for additional insights using the same techniques, explained in this blog post.)
4. In the Primary Dimensions field, select Landing Page.
How to Analyze this report?
Now that you have gathered all the data about organic landing pages for a specific time frame, it’s time to examine each landing page more in detail.
You can immediately see your top visited pages by the number of sessions and users. The higher the number of users and sessions is, the better the page is performing.
Another parameter to look at is the bounce rate, which is the number of users landing on a specific page and leaving your website immediately after, without clicking on any other pages. The general rule is: low bounce rate means good performance and high bounce rate can indicate that the user didn’t find what he was looking for or didn’t have a clear direction of how to proceed to convert and stay on your website. Thus, a high bounce rate means that a specific landing page needs revisions!
The average session duration tells you how much time a user spent on a specific page. The higher the number is, the better. If you see that users leave your page after 15 seconds, it means that either there is no valuable content on the page, or something else is amiss - it is worth investigating pages with a low average time on page.
Export all URLs to an excel or a CSV file.
1. Identify high and low performing pages by the number of sessions and users.
2. Investigate pages with a high bounce rate.
3. Investigate pages with a low average time on page.
Google Search Console: Performance Report -> Pages
Or How to measure which pages are ranking the highest by examining the number of clicks, impressions, and positions in Google.
Set a specific timeframe to work on. Again, as with Google Analytics reports, for content audits, I recommend choosing anywhere from six months to a year, to have a bigger picture of how your content is doing over time.
Go to the Performance report, click on Pages and choose Search type: Web/Mobile, and make sure to check the boxes on Total Clicks, Total Impressions, and Average Position.
3. Filter your results by the Pages tab and click on Position to take a look at average positions in search results for your chosen time frame.
How to Analyze this report?
Now that you have gathered all the data about clicks, impressions, and positions for a specific time frame, it’s time to examine each page more in detail.
By looking at the number of clicks, you can see how many users clicked on your website directly from search results. The higher the number of clicks, the better your page is performing.
When examining the number of impressions, you can understand how many users have seen your website in search results but haven’t clicked on it. What does it mean? It could mean that other results appealed more to them, or ranked higher than your page. It could also mean that your title and meta description is not enticing enough, and needs a rewrite.
Finally, when looking at the position column of each page on average in search results, you can see which page is performing well by simply having a lower position than 10. Any position that is higher than 10 means that you are probably left behind to rank on the second page of search results, or below.
Export all URLs to an excel or a CSV file.
1. Identify high and low performing pages by number of clicks and impressions.
2. Investigate pages with low clicks but high number of impressions.
3. Investigate pages that their average position in search results is above 10.
Ready, Analyze, Go!
After you have gathered all the information from the reports in a spreadsheet, it’s time to go over each page and analyze content performance:
Pages that are performing well - Keep as is
High number of sessions and users
Low Bounce Rate
High average time on page
High number of clicks
High number of impressions
Average position in search results in lower than 10
Pages that are underperforming - Take action (Rewrite/Redesign/Consolidate)
Low number of sessions and users
High Bounce Rate
Low average time on page
Low number of clicks
Low number of impressions
Average position in search results in higher than 10
What to do if a page is not performing well?
Try to identify the reasons behind a bad performance.
Is there enough valuable content for the user on-page?
Do you offer highly valuable content that answers specific questions or queries?
Does the page load fast or it takes time to unveil all the information on-page?
Does the content direct the user towards an action? (conversion/signing up for a newsletter/logging in/etc)
By answering the questions, you will be able to understand which page needs a rewrite, a redesign or maybe a clearer user experience flow.
Possible solutions for low performing pages:
Adding more valuable content with relevant keywords to each page.
Making sure all the pages are SEO optimized in terms of a good SEO title, meta description, alt images and more. Check out this post for making SEO friendly content.
Rewriting content on pages that rank on average on the second page of search results.
Improving page speed load to decrease bounce rate
Understanding which topics users find valuable and creating new content based on these new insights.
Now, you too know how to perform an in-depth content audit using Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Interested in professional SEO help? Schedule your free SEO consultation today.