Your Baby is Ugly: Why Auditing is Key to Content Strategy

woman's hands writing in notebook

Marketing is an ever-changing field. Going back to the “Mad Men” era and beyond, you’d still notice that marketers were always on their toes. And it’d be hard not to with different products emerging, competitors flooding markets, and consumer needs constantly changing.

Fast-forward to the digital age and you have the internet, smartphones, wearable tech, and other products constantly rocking the marketing boat; with change happening at an even more alarming pace. Don Draper’s content was broadcast on a grainy television screen, supported by one of a handful of networks. Now content is globally accessible, and you don’t have the luxury of a captive audience.

It’s been preached that once something’s on the internet, it’s there forever. While your content may be embedded deep in the world wide web, it is possible to change it – and you should. The marketplace isn’t the same as it was a few years ago, and it won’t be a few years from now.

Remember MySpace, Infoseek, and AOL? Like Darwin said, adaptation is key to survival.  

It’s Google’s World; We’re All Just Living in It

Google started out among the ranks of AskJeeves, Yahoo, and even Dogpile, when internet indexing was reliant on few criteria. But even in 1996, Google’s predecessor, BackRub, was already incorporating a focus on users with authority-based rankings and backlinks. In fact, while search competitors were already delving into monetization and paid rankings, Google’s user-based algorithm was the foundation upon which they built their throne.

Newsflash: Google doesn’t care about your business. Your customers are their customers, and they know the same thing my Finance professor knew: Focusing on customers before investors leads to higher profits.

Users have adapted to Google’s user-centric world, and Google’s technology increasingly appeals to them. As a beacon of industry-wide change, continuous algorithm updates (think: Mobilegeddon, Penguin, Hummingbird, and Panda) mean your SEO strategy – and, as an integral component, your content – should keep up with the times.

Your Baby is Ugly

No, not literally. I’m talking about your content baby. Whether you’re working for an agency, or directly on a brand’s internal team, what once was cute and exciting content may have taken a turn for the worse – I’m talking about the teenage phase. It’s not performing as well as you’d like in school – or on the SERP – and what Google once saw as a flawless complexion has sprouted blemishes overnight due to algorithm updates and user expectations.

Don’t panic; your content is going through some changes, and it needs your help. Before you get upset that your baby somehow ended up with your crooked teeth after all, just know that this isn’t your fault and, well, you should’ve expected it anyway. Stop complaining and start investing in some braces.

“But my baby is perfect!” Don’t be one of those parents. I know it’s hard to look critically at something you’ve created, but just because you refuse to see those faults doesn’t mean they’re not there. Enter: the content audit.

A Hard Look in the Mirror

A content audit, as with almost any critical audit, should be performed by a third party that’s impartial, knowledgeable about content marketing, and will ultimately be transparent with you. You’ll want someone who does a page-by-page analysis of your website and who – unlike your middle school English teachers – will read the extent of your content, down to the last punctuation mark.

But grammar isn’t the only thing a content audit should uncover. This service should fully analyze and evaluate your:

  • Keyword use
  • Brand consistency
  • Formatting
  • Linking errors
  • Calls-to-Action
  • Imagery
  • Overall user-experience

Not only that, your auditor should provide recommendations for how to address any unearthed concerns. An audit shouldn’t crush your spirit like the 7th grade music teacher who wouldn’t let you into choir. It should provide actionable results. Because, in the end, your partner should want you to succeed and help you get there.

The Content Audit Cycle

Your content isn’t just going to have a teenage phase, though. Like everything else, it’ll have a quarter- and mid-life crisis, and yes, even content dies. Your content should be audited every few years or so to determine what updates – or rewrites – need to be made. Because what once was perfectly pristine and functional will, at some point, need an adult diaper or two.

At Go Local, we have no problem saying that your baby is ugly. But, our content marketing experts won’t stop there to help achieve your goals. Our auditing process is extensive, exhaustive, and effective. Not only are we trained to speak Google, we know how to appeal to your customers. Contact us today to experience the best of both worlds.

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