We’ve all been trained to shudder at the mention of an “audit.” Whether it’s a government agency combing through your taxes, or a boss checking all the records in your workplace, audits are usually stressful and time-consuming.
In reality, an audit is nothing more than a checkup to make sure everything is working the right way. If it’s not, then you expose the issues so you can fix them. Today, I’ll show you how to audit your blog posts in a simple but effective way. This will help you catch any issues with optimization or site performance and fix them immediately.
Auditing Your Blog: A Step-by-Step Guide
When I first decided to audit my blog, I didn’t know what I was doing. I went to Google, as countless others do, to search for answers. I came across an amazing article from Neil Patel that streamlined the process immensely. After running the audit and making some quick changes, I immediately noticed things moving in the right direction.
Here’s my step-by-step guide on how to audit your Blog’s content to craft the perfect blog post.
Step One: Make a Spreadsheet
You can use your program of choice for this, but I find that Google Drive is the best place to create your spreadsheets. Once you’ve logged into your account, create a spreadsheet with the following columns:
- Date Audited
- Yoast Plugin
- Alt Tags
- Internal Links
The final layout should look like this:
This spreadsheet will help you keep everything organized and track your progress in case you need to come back and finish the audit at a later date. If you have more than one person working with you, this will also help you work together while keeping everything organized.
Step Two: Compile the URL List
Now that you’ve set up your spreadsheet, you need to place your page and post URLs into the sheet. An easy way to do this in WordPress is to head to the Posts/Pages list and select the published filter so it only lists live posts.
From here you can right-click the edit option for each post and then select copy link address. Paste this into your spreadsheet for each post. These links will immediately take you into the edit screen for each respective post or page.
The process looks like this:
Once you’ve done this for your posts and pages, you’ll have quick and easy access to them in the WordPress dashboard so you can move forward with your audit.
Step Three: Check Your Page Permalink and Yoast Plugin
Click on the first link in your spreadsheet and dive into the edit screen. Let’s start at the top of the page with your permalink. This is everything after the domain in your URL.
When looking at this, make sure these rules are all being obeyed:
- No more than 65 characters in length
- Unique and relevant to the page’s content
- Utilizes keywords
- Text only, no numbers or random strings.
Keep in mind, if you change any of these on a live page, you’re going to break any and all links pointing toward the page/post. You’ll need to set up a 301 redirect if you make any changes. If you find a permalink you absolutely hate, you can mark it and come back later to change it and implement the 301.
Once you’ve finished checking the permalink, scroll to the bottom of the page and check your Yoast Plugin. If you don’t have this plugin for WordPress, download it now. This beautiful tool gives you everything you need to ensure that your content is optimized to the fullest potential.
This is what the latest version of the plugin looks like:
As you can see, it allows you to put in your primary keyword. From here you can modify the page title and meta description with ease. Beneath this you’ll see a detailed analysis of the content. In this step, look at the page title and the description:
- The page title should be relevant and eye-catching with the keyword present inside it.
- The description should be written for readers, not Google’s bots. It should also be at 160 characters or less so it all appears on the search results.
Step Four: Check Your Content and Alt-Tags
Before we move on to the next URL in your list, there are a few more things to audit. Now that you’ve checked the off-page elements, it’s time to look at your on-page SEO. We’ll start with the content. Make sure your WordPress view is set to visual so you can see the page with all the formatting in place. It should like this:
Now that you can easily see your content, start from the beginning and read through looking for these characteristics:
- It should be easy to skim or read.
- Check for spelling and grammatical errors
- Make sure long-tail keywords are being used
- Eliminate any instances of keyword stuffing (no keyword should be used more than 5 times per page)
- Make sure everything is organized into headers, sub-headers, and bullet point lists.
Crafting the perfect blog post involves taking steps like these to ensure your content is well written and organized. Now that your text is checked, it’s time to look at your Alt-tags. These are the descriptions used for your images. They are crucial for optimizing your images, so don’t neglect them. Select your images and click the edit button. This will pull up a screen that looks like this:
Your alt-text should describe each image in detail while also using any long-tail keywords that are relevant to the image. This text is used by Google to understand and index your images since the spiders that crawl web pages can’t look at a picture and know what it means like we can.
Your First Page is Done, Keep Going!
Once these steps have been completed, mark all the relevant information in your spreadsheet and move on to the next page. By keeping everything organized and simple, you’ll have your audit finished in no time. These minor changes may not seem like much, but they can make a huge difference in your rankings.
How do you audit your blog’s content? Share your own tactics and tips in the comments below!
About the Author
Matt Banner is the author of On Blast Blog, a website that teaches you how to start and grow a blog. You can follow him on Twitter @blastyourblog.