A content audit is imperative to the success of your website, especially when you realize that your organic search traffic has been going flat or that the ranking of your keywords in vital search terms haven’t been cutting it. In essence, a content audit is an assessment that examines the web content assets of your company for SEO value, relevance, messaging and quality. Not only that, by using a content audit tool and sitemap generator like DYNO Mapper users will be able to make sure their meta descriptions and their lengths are on point, thanks to the tool’s highlight feature.
Taking a comprehensive approach towards examining the nature of your website’s content goes a long way in enhancing your website for significantly better results. An audit can be time-consuming and boring, especially because you are not spending your time on content creation and promotion. However, when completed appropriately, it can be very effective in revolutionizing your online presence.
A content audit becomes a critical practice when you migrate a site to a new Content Management System or when rebranding, revamping your website. An audit makes it possible for you to ensure that all of the pages on your website are relevant, up-to-date and helpful. Additionally, if you are working toward improving the ranking of specific keywords or commanding better website authority, then you can rely on this analysis to identify the problematic pages on your website.
This process will help you remove unnecessary duplicate content and help in updating content. Broken links send an indication that your site has been abandoned and as such, the links appear to be spammed in the eyes of search engines. If, for example, you cite an article on a page that has been deleted or moved, your website could be potentially experiencing negative SEO. A website content audit will help you identify any broken links in your site and consequently replace them.
While it’s possible to manually create a content audit for project management and organizational purposes, it will take quite a bit of time and it will be extremely boring as you will need a spreadsheet and at least four to five hours of uninterrupted time.
Throughout the website audit you will need to take note of the following:
The Page Title (or article)
Incorrect Meta Length
URL of Website
Date Originally Posted
Date Last Updated
Page Views for the Past One to Two Years
Bounce Rate (How many people leave the page in ten seconds or less?)
SEO Keywords (What are the focus words for the page?)
SEO Meta Description (How is the page described for search engines results on Google, Bing, Yahoo!?)
SEO Title (Is the SEO title distinct from page title?)
Page Description (i.e. What are the topics covered by the page? Who is the page’s intended audience? What is the message you’re trying to communicate on the page? What is your call to action?)
Content Owner (Who is the author of the content? Who is responsible for updating the content?)
Content Status (Is this content that will stay as is, be updated, deleted, rewritten or planned?)
Files Associated with the Page (What pictures or downloads are associated with the page? Are there separate statistics for them?)
Next Audit Date? (When does the page need to be checked again?)
Depending on what kind of website you run, having to track more than the above (even this alone) can be overwhelming and labor-intensive. And frankly, who has the time for all that? As a website owner you should be focusing on what matters most—growing your business! Luckily there are quite a few online applications and tools that can make the process of auditing and project management much more doable (and less painful), such as DYNO Mapper.
In addition to the above, many website owners are unware that Google’s recent redesign increased the font size of result titles, while keeping the overall container the same size. Take the example below, for instance, which shows a search result before and after the redesign:
Notice the difference? The top result is the old design and has a small amount of space to spare but after the redesign—the bottom result—it has lost six full characters. It might not seem like losing six characters is a big deal, but it is. The old meta guidelines no longer apply, which is something that a content audit tool will help users discover.
So, what is the new rule of thumb regarding meta descriptions? Unfortunately, the concept of length is not as easy as one might think—another reason a content audit is important. Arial is a font that is proportionally spaced, while other fonts are not, resulting in completely different search results. The titles below, for example, are both 40 characters long—but look how different their search results are.
Is this really a big deal? Of course it is—having incorrect meta lengths can be detrimental to your website. Meta tags are a great way for website owners and administrators to provide search engines with information about their website. They can be used to provide information to all sorts of clients and each system processes only the meta tags that they understand. This means that those they do not understand (and those of improper length) will be ignored.
Any and all of your meta tags should be accurate, relevant and descriptive, and they need to be the proper length. It’s also very important that you don’t focus all of them on just one keyword. However, at the same time, you shouldn’t think “meta tags” until you’ve thought about topic or user-experience—hence the overall importance of a content audit. Anyway, satisfying all of these is key to building your online reputation, one that will boost your sales and your success.
Regardless of what your website is about, search engines recommend sensible use of meta data and if you’re writing useful, descriptive tags it will be more unlikely that a major search engine will penalize proper use. Most search engines use or have used meta information to help classify a document, but just because a search engine uses meta-descriptive tags doesn’t necessarily mean that they are using it to factor where your page ranks in the search engines (SERPS).
Over the years, many website owners have asked over and over again if meta tags and descriptions even help SEO—and of course they do. However, in the same instance, ranking in Google is more about relevance, reputation, user satisfaction and popularity than it is about meta tag optimization, but when used properly, they can still be very useful in a number of areas outside of ranking pages.
If your page is informational in nature, for example, you can make it relevant to a valuable query that you’re focused on—but it’s important to write this description for humans, not just search engines. If the keyword phrase you’re optimizing the page for is found in the meta description, it’s likely that that description will show up in search engines. However, in the same instance, if the keyword in the search query is not present on the page, it’s more than likely that your meta description will not show up.
And again, this all comes down to your meta description having the perfect length. A lot of newbies are lost when it comes to meta tags and the importance of them relating to their website being ranked in the search engines. While meta tags do tend to seem robotic, a content audit with the help of a content inventory tool will help to ensure that your meta data is the proper length—all you need to do is work on writing meta tags that work.
Despite what some might think, it’s actually possibly to be creative when writing the description of a website, but meta tags are best used when they are accurately describing the page. Your tags should be accurate, relevant and descriptive, and it’s important to be careful focusing on one keyword. But it’s also important to think about topic and top-notch user-experience. This is what will help build the credibility you’ve been seeking.
As you already know, a solid (credible) web presence is imperative for the success of any business because, in most cases, the website is the first point of contact. In addition to that, a credible website that provides users with an exceptional experience will change that user’s behavior, enticing them to register personal information, complete e-commerce purchases and to return to the website much more often.
Credibility is a perception that’s based on trustworthiness and expertise—the absence of either factor will reduce your website’s credibility. Thankfully, website owners have the ability to ensure they are credible and reliable, delivering only the best of the best for its users by performing a regular content inventory and content audit utilizing a content inventory tool and a sitemap generator.
The importance of sitemaps doesn’t require much emphasis because it’s important that every webmaster creates and submits a sitemap to the search engines. A sitemap is basically a list of URLs that describe a website’s sections and pages—the most common being HTML, but XML sitemaps are also very common.
Essentially, a sitemap is supposed to ensure that users and search engine bots find specific content irrespective of their location on the website. Naturally, websites are crawled periodically by bots but this is unpredictable. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that even during the crawling, all pages will be identified and indexed by the search engines.
There are two main ways to create a sitemap: manually or with the use of a sitemap generator. As you can imagine, creating sitemaps manually is not only time-consuming and tedious, it requires average to advanced knowledge of targeted markup languages such as HTML and XML. More than 95% of website owners have very basic IT background and therefore might not be in a position to manually generate sitemaps.
Due to the importance of sitemaps to websites, developers sought to simplify the process of creating, submitting and updating sitemaps. This led to the introduction of sitemap generators—a software that will assist users to automatically create, validate, submit and update sitemaps. These tools are amazing at not only speeding up the process but guarantee increased accuracy. Irrespective of the tool you use, there are two main types of sitemap generators; free/limited and premium sitemap generators. Note that there are many sitemap plugins as well but they also fall under the above two broad categories; you are either paying for the service or getting it for free. As you run the sitemap generator, you can engage in other important business activities, waiting for the process to be completed.
Creators of sitemap generators such as DYNO Mapper normally offer a free version targeting some users, say those who own small websites or would like to try out the service before paying for the same. Mostly, the limited versions have very basic features.
In most cases, the number of websites and web pages you can include in a single sitemap is limited. Due to this, they are not very reliable for individuals with websites with many pages. Furthermore, they may not include other features that are reserved for premium users.
Up to 50,000 pages for each sitemap you create. This makes it an ideal choice for websites with many pages constantly updated
You can create any type of sitemap you like; XML, HTML, mobile sitemaps, name it. There are other extras you might be interested in for creating sitemaps for images, videos, news, RSS feeds, among others.
Ideal for large website by having a certain number of URLs, such as 50,000 per sitemap and adheres to the Google sitemap protocol like creation of a sitemap index.
The generator will detect and report any broken links that can be harmful to the site’s ranking because they interrupt the crawling process. This way, you can proceed and fix such links fast and retain the robots.
The sitemap generators notify the search engines automatically after the sitemap has been created.
They are compatible with different types of websites such as forums, blogs, ecommerce websites, portals, plus many more.
Auto-refresh capability which ensures that your sitemap can be updated whenever you want.
All of the above will help to ensure that your website is accessible, reliable and user-friendly. In addition, website owners will be able to make sure every aspect of their website is on point, even down to the nitty gritty of meta descriptions for search engines. If you would like to learn more about how you can perform a website audit with a sitemap generator, you can sign up for a free 14-day trial of DYNO Mapper.
Create, edit, customize, and share visual sitemaps integrated with Google Analytics for easy discovery, planning, and collaboration.