Do you want to know how to increase your blog performance? Blog audits are an excellent way of finding out what is working and what isn’t. Blog audits can help you find ways to improve content marketing, SEO, or SEM efforts. This article will cover the different tools that you can use for a blog audit as well as how they work.
What Is A Blog Audit?
A blog audit can be an excellent way of finding out what’s working and what isn’t when it comes to content marketing, SEO or SEM efforts on your site. To do so you’ll want to start by looking at things such as website traffic, social media engagement, and conversions. You might also consider the type of analytics that are appropriate for your particular blog – some blogs may require different types than others due to their target audience size or location- particularly if they have audiences outside of their country.
Blogs can use different types of analytics tools- some will be more appropriate than others depending on what type of blog you have and the target audience size or location, particularly if they have audiences outside their country. Some common blogging analytics include: Google Analytics For Bloggers (a global tool that is great for blogs with international readers), All in One SEO Pack plugin by Yoast, SEM Rush which is an excellent tool for analyzing search engine optimization efforts on any site including blogs, HotJar. Blogs might also use a suite like Google’s Webmaster Tools or Bing Ads Intelligence Suite to track how well various campaigns are performing over time. These suites offer data points such as the number of visitors received by a blog, which is tracked in Google Analytics For Bloggers. Blogs that use Blogger.com or WordPress should also make sure to install and activate a SEO for WordPress plugin which will help them track their Blog’s SEO performance over time.
The Goal of The Blog Audit: Establish a baseline from which we can make informed decisions about how content should be managed and what changes need to happen over time through an ongoing process of monitoring and analysis that involves all aspects of your blog including social media channels as well as other platforms like Adwords or Bing Ads if you have experience with them already.
What Are The Key Blog Audit Considerations
A Blog Audit is a great way of finding out if your SEO, SEM or content marketing efforts are working and what you can do to improve them. Here’s some considerations that should be part of any blog audit:
– Blog Audience Size – The size matters when it comes to the type of analytics tools used since different types will work better depending on the audience size (i.e., Blogger vs WordPress). A small blogger may not need a suite like Google Webmaster Tools while bloggers with larger audiences might find this helpful for tracking their site performance over time.
– Geography – If you have readers outside your country then make sure to use an international tool such as Google Analytics For Bloggers which provides data points specific to that country.
– Blog Audience Type – Blogs with different audiences might find it necessary to use a suite like Google Webmaster Tools or Bing Ads Intelligence Suite for data points specific to their type of audience, such as tracking the number of visitors received by Blogger sites and Blogspot blogs in Google Analytics For Bloggers vs WordPress which tracks post views and more traditional blog statistics over time.
A blog audit can help you work on SEO, SEM or content marketing efforts so make sure you include these considerations when auditing your site!
Blog Audit Tools
While there are any number of available tools you can use, and generally alternatives to all of the following, these are my preferred tools for auditing and improving blog performance.
Google Sheets offers a simple and straightforward way to track Blog SEO performance over time. Your blog content can be exported from WordPress or other CRMs in the form of a CSV file that includes the post title, URL and other key factors, which can then be imported into a Google Sheet.
Once you have your posts in a Sheet, you can begin to note when they were published and updated, whether they’re optimized for SEO, the last time they were reviewed, and when you want to remind yourself to review each post again.
Thus, your blog’s Sheet should be an integral part of your long term blog and business performance and content marketing efforts. This is something I reference often throughout The Blogging Planner.
Google Analytics tracks the number of visitors received by sites and blogs, while also providing data points such as content views and more traditional blog statistics over time. Bloggers who use Blogger.com, Blogspot or WordPress should also make sure to install and activate a SEO for WordPress plugin which will help them track their Blog’s SEO performance over time.
SEO for WordPress by Yoast
A plugin for bloggers who use Blogger, Blogspot or WordPress to promote content and SEO ranking over time with data points such as post views and more traditional blog statistics offered by Yoast SEO Plugin’s Google Analytics integration.
This is an excellent tool for analyzing search engines optimization efforts on any site including blogs! SEMRush provides data points such as how well various campaigns are performing over time like what keywords were used (and where they rank) and how many visitors they received.
This suite offers bloggers data points specific to their type of audience, such as tracking the number of visitors received by blogs in Google Analytics For Bloggers vs WordPress which tracks post views and more traditional blog statistics over time. SEMRush also features a Content Marketing Intelligence Suite that allows you to track how effective your content marketing strategy is on SEO performance (including Page Views), social engagement, traffic from organic search engines and paid ad campaigns. This can be helpful for bloggers who don’t have experience with other types of digital advertising platforms like Bing Ads or Facebook Advertising.
Google Search Console or Webmaster Tools
This is an excellent tool for analyzing search engines optimization efforts on any site including blogs! Google Webmaster Tools offers a suite of tools that can be used in tandem with SEMrush as well as other data points such as keyword usage statistics, backlink information, the number of indexed pages (which may need to be optimized) and more!
Google established these tools in order to help webmasters monitor their sites’ performance when it comes to search engine rankings. It is a free suite that offers tips on improving your site’s rankings while also allowing you the opportunity to submit sitemaps, verify ownership of domains/subdomains, test pages like crawl errors from mobile devices (which are hugely important) and track other aspects of your site’s performance including impressions per day, click-through rate as well as average position on SERPs.
Hotjar offers a suite of tools that can be used in tandem with Google Webmaster Tools such as their heatmap tool which shows you where your visitors are clicking on those pages. This is an excellent way to see how they’re interacting with the content on your site and what might need to be changed!
While it may seem odd and self-serving to include a social media management dashboard in this mix, particularly one that I work for, hear me out. Your social audience is an integral part to achieving success in content marketing and therefore you need a tool to not only promote new posts, but measure the results of your efforts over time.
Using Agorapulse reports in tandem with your other blog audit tools will give you a full picture of how your audience is growing over time.
How To Conduct A Blog Audit
The first step in any Blog Audit is to take a look at what you’re doing right now.
– What are your current goals?
– How’s the performance of your content marketing strategy over time?
– Does it seem like people are visiting and engaging with all your blog posts on average or just some of them?
After taking stock of all that, then it’s time to start identifying where things might be going wrong:
– Is there anything happening outside of your blog that we need to consider such as social media channels for example – Facebook advertising campaigns, Google Adwords ads or Bing Ads if you have an experience with those platforms already?
This will help us establish whether our Blog Audit needs to be a larger than the blog platform itself.
Next is analyzing your current search engine optimization strategy:
– What keywords do you use? How many of them rank for that keyword on the first page of Google SERPs? You can set up SEMRush to track your site’s performance and ranking against your most important keywords, and monitor that over time.
– Have any posts received traffic from organic search engines but not social media channels like Facebook Ads or Adwords? If so, which ones are they and how much has it contributed to their success in terms of visitor numbers according to tools like SEMRush, Hotjar or Agorapulse?
– How often are you publishing new content?
– What is the average length of your posts?
Note all of these points in your Sheet routinely.
The next step in Blog Auditing is analyzing audience engagement on social media channels and other platforms:
– How many followers do you have across all social channels combined (both organic and paid)? And how engaged are they with your blog’s content according to likes, shares, comments etc.?
Finally we’ll take a look at how successful our blog is in terms of visitors and views by taking stock of the following metrics:
* Number Of Visits Per Day On Average?
* Projected Visitors To Date For Current Month Compared To Previous Months This Year? Are Views Going Up Or Down Over Time? What’s The Trend Like As A Whole?
* Bottom Line Business Results
Getting more views on our content is great, but that’s seldom the real goal of the business. In your case that might be sales, subscriptions, leads, ad views, or something else.
This is something that you need to measure and compare against your blog’s performance so that you can accurately gauge how the performance of your content impacts the performance of your business. And then adjust accordingly.
Blog Audit Template
Here’s a free blog audit template you can use for your blog post audit. Simply copy the Google Sheet to your own Google Drive and start filling in details from your own site and data tools.
Here are the fields:
- Title – the title of the article
- URL – the link to the article
- Category – the main category of the article
- Date Published – when it was published
- Author – the author of the blog post
- Content Summary – a brief summary of the article
- Call To Action/Conversion – the intended CTA of the content
- Status – the current intention for the article, a drop-down list that includes:
- Keep posts that have a high audience engagement and content quality.
- Fix posts that have SEO errors.
- Revise posts that are low quality.
- Update posts that have outdated information.
- Republish posts that are relevant and high quality but were published in the past and have low engagement. (You can give new life to a post by refreshing the content and republishing it on your website or using it on third-party sites like LinkedIn or Medium.)
- Delete posts that have low content quality, relevance, and engagement. (If you remove these posts, remember to set up link redirects so any traffic is directed to a new page of relevant content.)
- Due Date – when any changes or updates are due
- Assigned To – who is responsible for the change (if not you)
- Visits – current traffic to the post
- Bounce Rate – current bounce rate of the article according to Google Analytics
- Inbound Links – current number of inbound links according to SEMRush
- Conversions – current number of conversions generated by the content (must have a Goal indicated in Google Analytics)
- Comments – current number of comments
- Social Shares – current number of social shares
- Word Count – how long is the article?
- Uniqueness – Content that is very similar to content published on other sites or your site will usually have a lower content quality score.
- Timeliness – If the content has outdated information, it will have a lower content quality score.
- Relevance – Content that is very relevant to your products, services, and industry will have a higher content quality.
- Overall Quality – Give a score of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the highest) to rate the content quality based on the other factors.
- Keyword – What is the target keyword of the content?
- Meta Title – What is the meta title of the blog post?
- Meta Description – What is the meta description of the blog post?
- Keyword in Content? – Yes or No
- Keyword in Headline? – Yes or No
- Keyword in Subheading? – Yes or No
- Keyword in Image ALT? – Yes or No
- Internal Links – Yes or No
- External Links – Yes or No
If you sort your Sheet by Date Published, you can easily add new articles from your blog CSV export.
While in Google Analytics, you can view your content performance by whatever date range you wish and export that data directly into a new tab within your Sheet. You can then sort both tabs of data by URL to create identically sorted sets, and then copy & paste entire columns of data for visits, bounce rate and conversions.
Boiling your content down to these important criteria will help you determine which posts are performing well and which ones need attention.
Blog Audit Tips & Best Practices
First and foremost, a blog audit, if you’ve never done one, is going to seem like a massive task. And it would be if you needed to do it all at once, but you don’t.
The key to a truly successful blog and content marketing strategy is to always be monitoring your blog’s performance – essentially auditing constantly – so that you can make little improvements day after day.
More importantly, if you’re monitoring your blog’s performance regularly, and trust me on this, it will be so much easier to spot important developments. Maybe an article is suddenly ranking higher and driving more traffic that you can leverage, or perhaps a plugin broke and is fouling up your site – these are important data points and events that, if you only look at your blog metrics once a month, could be missed opportunities or catastrophic occurrences.
What are some other blog audit best practices?
- You should perform an audit of your blog’s performance each time you add new content to it, which is usually once per week or every other day depending on the amount of posts that you’re posting.
- It’s also a good idea to do an audit of your blog at least once per month. Blogs that are more popular or are receiving millions of monthly views will need to be audited on a much more frequent basis, such as every few days!
- You should always have someone else give you feedback on whether the content is written appropriately for SEO and what keywords could potentially rank higher. You can use any number of tools like Google Analytics or SEMrush for this purpose so long as they’re reliable sources with accurate information about organic search engine traffic (not paid ads).
- Blogs in industries where social media has become critical may want to include Agorapulse reports in their blog audits since it gives them insight into how well posts featuring on their various social media channels are performing, and whether the content needs to be changed or optimized.
- Lastly, no matter what you do as far as blog audits go – always take time for introspection. Blogs that have been around for some time need not only a periodic audit but also an analysis of their current performance in order to determine if they’re keeping up with rapidly changing SEO trends and technologies that will ultimately make them obsolete (or at least affect traffic).
Blog audits are also one of the best ways to identify trends in visitor data over time (i.e., what posts have been most popular?) which helps you develop future content ideas while also being able to pinpoint areas where visitors might not find valuable information within your blog posts – this is why it’s absolutely essential as part of blogging best practices!