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Written by Caroline Cox on Nov 12 , 2021

A content audit can ensure what you’re publishing is accurate, high quality, and relevant to your audience. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • What a content audit is
  • Why these audits matter
  • How to conduct an audit of your own content
  • Why regular content audits are key

You always want to be publishing the latest and greatest content. Not only does content provide value to your audience, but it helps illustrate that you’re a knowledgeable thought leader in your industry.

If you’re not conducting regular content audits, you may be doing your brand a disservice. Especially if you’ve got years of published content in your library, there’s likely information on your site that isn’t accurate or relevant anymore. 

We’ve done content audit exercises with several of our SEO clients and seen impressive results. One client actually saw a 61% bump in blog traffic alone after implementing changes uncovered during the content audit process. 

Ready to make a content audit plan of your own? Here’s where to start. 

creating a content audit spreadsheet

There’s no magic number when it comes to exactly how many words a quality piece of content should have. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Create a spreadsheet 

First off, crack those knuckles and pull up a new spreadsheet. (If you’re a “spreadsheet person,” you’ll love this part, but if not, you’ll get through it!) Then put all of your blog URLs into the spreadsheet. 

If you have a sitemap, you should be able to easily pull in the URLs from there. (If you don’t have a sitemap, we recommend implementing one for best possible SEO).

You can also head to Google and conduct a “site:” search for your domain. This should bring up all of the pages that are indexed in search results on your website.

2. Dig into the data

Now, it’s time to analyze your blog’s performance data. You can start by determining how many sessions each page had over the past six months or longer, depending on how much traffic comes to your site and how much content you have. 

You can do this using Google Analytics or your preferred analytics tool. Looking at how many sessions each post has will tell you how many people are visiting the page.

Next, see how many backlinks point to each page. You can use Ahrefs, SEMrush or other similar tools to gather that info. Checking out backlinks is important because not all posts are necessarily meant to drive traffic. 

There may be another reason you published a piece of content, and it may be benefiting you by earning high quality, high authority backlinks, even if it’s not necessarily driving traffic or visits. 

You may also find that there’s a big batch of content with zero or few backlinks and no visits. For these posts, you may want to ask yourself why this content is on your site, since it’s not providing any SEO value. 

By identifying that batch of pages, you can brainstorm ways to repurpose and make the most out of this content, since it already exists on your site.

3. Identify pages with “thin content”

There’s no magic number when it comes to exactly how many words a quality piece of content should have. 

Generally, longer content ranks better, but you shouldn’t be writing content just for the sake of hitting a certain word count. After all, it’s about providing value to the user, not beating the search engine algorithm.

Thin content is classified as pieces that don’t satisfy a user’s search intent. Pages with only 200-300 words probably don’t provide a ton of value to the reader (though there are exceptions, of course). Search Engine Journal reports thin content “can negatively impact your search rankings and on-site user experience.”

See how you can make this content more robust. Can you build it out and include related topics, or should it simply be removed for your site with the URL redirected elsewhere?

4. Look for posts with duplicate or similar topics

As time goes on, especially in niche industries, it can be hard to branch out into different topic ideas for your content. Even if you follow all the steps for keyword and topic research, it can get difficult at a certain point. 

This is especially true if a lot of people have worked on your site over the years. You might find you have posts that aren’t the same word-for-word, but that cover the same topic in a similar scope. 

For these posts, you can consider removing or combining them into one longform piece. Figure out which one is performing better or is better written, or combine both into one awesome piece that provides more value for your site. 

Want more content insight? Check out our 10 Steps to Creating a Content Strategy for SEO webinar recording.

content audit plan

It’s wise to keep a running list of posts that need to be updated on an annual basis so you don’t have to dig through and find the post later. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Identify posts with outdated content or older statistics

As more information becomes available, you want to make sure you’re updating these facts and figures in your content. Particularly in the digital marketing world, things change really fast. 

Think about it: If you’re searching around online and find a post from 2014 in 2021, you might think it doesn’t contain the most relevant or up-to-date info. 

See what posts contain data or statistics that have been updated, like results from an annual industry survey. You don’t have to totally rewrite the post, but once you update this info, make sure you mention that the post is updated or revamped. 

Adding a small note as the bottom of the content and updating the date it was published usually checks off these boxes.

6. Redirect posts as needed

Don’t forget to redirect posts removed from your site to avoid 404 errors. Depending on where you host your site, there should be a plugin that makes this relatively easy. 

If you find a bunch of pages that need to be removed, make sure you redirect those URLs either to the most relevant post or to the main blog page. 

You want to put redirects in place because you don’t want 404 errors or links to 404 pages. Unsurprisingly, Google isn’t a fan of having broken or dead links on your site.

7. Plan to repeat this process regularly

Digital marketing audits are never a one-and-done task. Usually, auditing your content once or twice a year is enough to ensure your content library is fresh and relevant. You can set a calendar reminder for accountability. 

The frequency for your company will depend on your bandwidth. This is a time-intensive exercise, depending on your content volume, but one that’s well worth it. 

It’s also wise to keep a running list of posts that need to be updated on an annual basis (like posts that reference the current year) so you don’t have to dig around to find the post later.

Need more help getting your content on track? That’s why we’re here.

The takeaway

Content audits are a great way to zoom out and get an overall picture of how your content is performing. You can see what’s resonating with your audience, what’s not, and what simply needs a refresh.

By prioritizing content audits, you not only set your site up for maximum SEO, but you can feel confident that you’re providing as much value as possible to your site visitors and content readers. 

This article has been updated and was originally published in August 2020.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Nov 10 , 2021

Quality B2B content is what your SEO strategy needs to succeed.

Here you’ll learn:

  • How to develop a B2B content marketing strategy
  • What to consider when creating your buyer persona
  • Top-performing B2B content channels
  • More expert B2B marketing tactics

More than half of B2B buyers are reportedly more likely to convert after reading a company’s content. 

If your B2B company hasn’t prioritized content creation, now’s the time to start.

Between competitors vying for the same customers and the B2B buying cycle tending to be longer than in other industries, the most efficient marketers rely on a variety of tactics to increase the chance of a conversion. 

Content not only boosts your SEO by gaining you more visibility in search results, but it can enhance your credibility while educating your audience, which leads to brand loyalty.

Let’s take a closer look at designing and revamping B2B content marketing tactics for SEO success.

person's hands typing on computer

Creating a buyer persona can help you focus on the audience’s needs when designing your content strategy. (Image via Unsplash)

How to develop a B2B content marketing strategy 

Whether you’re developing or tweaking your B2B content marketing strategy, these steps can help you stay on the right track.

1. Identify your target audience

You can’t create helpful, effective content for your audience if you don’t know who they are. Even if you think you’ve got a good idea about your target demographic, it’s worth digging into the data to make sure the picture you have in your mind is accurate.

Creating a buyer persona can help you focus on the audience’s needs when designing your content strategy. Depending on your niche, you can either have one or several segments of the target audience.

Try to build your persona with information like:

  • Demographics – including age, education, industry, company size, and job seniority
  • Communications – places where you can reach the persona (e.g. LinkedIn, email)
  • Hierarchy – who the person reports to and their role in the decision-making process
  • Decision drivers – what drives the person to make a decision, including business goals
  • Challenges – what keeps them from achieving business goals

And since your business is B2B, it’s helpful to know what kinds of businesses you want as your clients. What size are they? What’s their average profit or budget? What industries are they in? These questions can guide you during the content ideation and creation processes.

2. Choose content format and channels

Once you’ve identified your target audience and business types, you can consider the channels you’ll be putting your content on. For B2B companies, the key channels to leverage are often:

  • LinkedIn
  • Email
  • SEO
  • Paid ads

When it comes to B2B content, you don’t just have to stick to blogs. According to Lauro Media, the top 5 formats B2B marketers used to “distribute content for marketing purposes are email (93%), social media (92%), blog posts (79%) real-life and in-person events (56%), virtual events, and webinars (55%).”

Experiment with a variety of content channels, such as:

  • Blog posts
  • LinkedIn posts
  • Industry studies
  • Newsletters
  • Guides
  • White papers
  • E-books
  • Podcasts

Got content that’s performing well with your audience? Repurpose it! A popular blog post could be inspiration for a long-form guide. A social post with high engagement could be expanded into a podcast episode.

Not only does repurposing help you maximize your content, but it saves you money to boot.

3. Get organized

You may have heard the phrase, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It probably wasn’t about B2B content originally, but it applies nonetheless.

Identifying and planning relevant topics for your B2B content marketing strategy involves several stages, which can look something like:

A content audit will give you a bird’s-eye view of where your content stands (if you have any), what topics haven’t yet been addressed through content, and what needs updating, revamping, or consolidating. 

A competitor analysis will show how you’re stacking up against the competition. This is also a good opportunity to not only see how other B2B brands are marketing themselves, but you could learn about new tactics or content features that you can try out yourself (just make sure you’re not simply copying another company, of course). 

Creating key performance indicators (or KPIs) can serve as helpful benchmarks when you’re reviewing your content performance down the line.

Building some sort of content calendar will make it easy to keep track of what content has been created, what’s in the works, and what needs to be tackled next. Lastly, keyword research will illuminate the words people are using to search for your products or services, so you can fill out your calendar accordingly.

4. Create your content

Once you’ve planned and prepared your content strategy, it’s time to create the actual content. Depending on your team size, budget, and bandwidth, you can decide whether you want to create the content in-house or outsource it to a content agency.

No matter which avenue you choose, make sure you allot enough time to ensure the quality is top-notch. Not only will low-quality content not be helpful for your audience, but search engine bots may not rank it as highly as more well-written, thorough content.

Once the content is written, either let it “rest” so you can read it at a later time with fresh eyes, or have another team member give it a read to offer feedback or catch any errors the writer may have missed. 

5. Promote your content

Promotion is just as important as creation when it comes to B2B content. After spending all this time and effort on creation, you want people to see it! 

There are a handful of both organic and paid options for promoting your content. You can leverage:

  • Newsletters
  • Email marketing
  • Social media posts (organic and paid)
  • Paid ads
  • Guest posts
  • Internal linking from your own high-performing web pages

Need more help with your B2B content marketing plan? That’s why we’re here.

person writing out a strategy on a sticky note

You need to keep auditing your website and monitoring conversions to understand whether your strategy is working. (Image via Unsplash)

B2B content marketing pro tips

Once you’re in a good groove of content ideation, creation, and promotion, these tactics can take your strategy to the next level. 

1. Pay more attention to LinkedIn

Today, 61 million senior-level influencers and 65 million decision-makers use LinkedIn. 

LinkedIn is an excellent place to share high-quality content, including long-form articles, blog teasers, and exclusive posts. If you have a limited budget, LinkedIn should be your priority channel.

2. Leverage collaboration

Guest posts can help you achieve a variety of content marketing goals, including brand awareness and authority building.

Reach out and explore teaming up with other B2B companies who have a similar target audience but aren’t competitors. You can offer to share content for their websites or platforms while they do the same on yours, or you can create a joint piece of content, like an exclusive infographic.

3. Use paid social ads

While many B2B companies focus on SEO, paid ads promoting your content can be that boost you need to meet conversion goals. Along with LinkedIn Ads, it’s wise to pay attention to Facebook Ads as well.

When considering paid advertising, you can also explore content discovery (suggested content based on user behavior). While only 13% of B2B marketers use it, this tactic is highly effective on Facebook.

4. Measure content performance

B2B content performance changes over time. You need to keep auditing your website and monitoring conversions to understand whether your strategy is working. 

How frequently you conduct audits may depend on your industry, budget, niche, bandwidth, and content volume, but it’s a good idea to start by running content audits at least twice a year.

You can identify KPIs by content type and measure them accordingly. Common metrics to follow include:

  • Website traffic
  • User engagement
  • Bounce rates
  • SEO performance

The takeaway

Content is a key pillar for SEO, and it’s an essential part of a successful B2B marketing strategy. 

By coming up with a strategic plan to create high-quality content and distribute it through the right channels, you can achieve a variety of business and marketing goals for your B2B brand.

Not only that, but a successful B2B content marketing strategy can increase brand awareness, drive conversions, build authority, and cut marketing costs.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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