Simplify content audit process with content inventory

I’m surprised that not many companies or websites have an organised way to track their content. Often when I talk to a client, they don’t know what’s happening on their website or not sure what’s performing well. 

That’s why one of the first things I do when onboarding a client is to conduct a site audit and create a content inventory for them if they don’t have any. 

This article records how I create a content inventory and how I use it to improve your content strategy.

What is content inventory?

Content inventory is a database that contains detailed information about all the content assets (such as landing pages, blog posts, case studies) on a website. 

A centralised content inventory offers a clear-eyed view of what you have and helps you manage your content in an organised way. It allows you to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your current content, identify opportunities for improvement, and make informed decisions about future content strategy.

This is a template that I have and I customise for each client depending on our needs:

Content Inventory Template

What to include in a content inventory

When compiling your content inventory, it’s essential to gather detailed information about each piece of content to facilitate a comprehensive analysis.

Here’s a checklist of what I usually include in the content inventory:

  1. Live URL: Record the URL of web pages or titles of content assets to easily locate and reference each piece of content.
  2. Page Type: Categorize content based on its type and page template, such as blog post or landing page.
  3. Published Date: The date when the content was published or last updated to assess its relevance and timeliness. 
  4. Author: Identify the individual or team responsible for creating the content. This is particularly useful if you have a E-E-A-T strategy in place and you need to ensure you are using relevant experts for the content piece.
  5. Word Count: Record the word count or length of each piece of content to understand its depth and complexity.
  6. Primary Keywords: Include the primary keywords associated with the content.
  7. Title and Meta Description: Capture meta descriptions and titles for web pages to evaluate their optimization for search engines.
  8. Topic cluster: Organise related content around relevant topics.
  9. Organic search metrics: Gather data on engagement metrics such as Google Search Console Data. Usually I export the GSC data and use VLOOKUP formula to connect metrics with the respective URL.
  10. Content Status: Indicate the current status of the content, whether it’s published, draft, archived, or scheduled for publication.
  11. Notes or Comments: Provide additional notes or comments to capture specific observations or recommendations during the content audit process.

Some other information that you can include depending on your need:

  • Language: If you have a multilingual website, adding the language can help you filter the content in specific markets easily.
  • Target Audience: Define the intended audience, ICP or target demographic for each piece of content to ensure alignment with marketing objectives.
  • Stage of customer journey: Identify the stage of the customer journey so you can align your content appropriately
  • Schema: If you are implementing schema markup on your page, you can also include data about which structured data you have used. 
  • Multimedia Assets: Include links or references to associated content assets, such as images, videos, downloadable files, etc.

How to create a content inventory

Before you conduct a content audit and make informed decisions about what content to keep, update, or discard, you must first know everything in your content repository.

Follow the five steps below to set up an organised content inventory for your website.

Step 1: Define goals and criteria

Determine what you want to achieve with the content inventory and what KPI you need to meet. This will help you structure and organise your data.

If you are a SaaS company, for example, including the stage of customer journey and ICP helps align your content with business objectives.

But for B2C companies, categorising your content inventory by product type makes more sense.

Step 2: Gather the list of your content

To create a list of all the content, you can extract URLs from your sitemap if your sitemap is generated automatically in your CMS. However, as part of the content audit process, I recommend using ScreamingFrog to crawl your website instead. 

With ScreamingFrog, you can already collect information such as word count or set up custom extraction to pull author name or blog category (if they exist) automatically – so this saves you a lot of time when organising the information.

Also, in the ScreamingFrog crawl configuration, choose “Crawl the linked XML sitemaps”. In this case, you can run a “Crawl Analysis” to find out if you have any URLs not in the sitemap or other errors.

Crawl the linked XML sitemaps in Screaming Frog

Step 3: Create a content inventory and input required information

After getting the complete list of URLs, you can set up a system to categorise your content in a spreadsheet or other content management system. 

In your content inventory, include all necessary details such as URL, page type, title, topic, and any other information you need.

It can be a manual and daunting process at the beginning but it would be useful in the long-run.

Pro Tip:
Make sure the content inventory is saved in a shared location and is accessible for the wider team. It can greatly enhance collaboration and documentation, and can be used by other teams.

Step 4: Review and analyse

When you’ve finished cataloguing your content inventory, you should have a better overview of your content status and performance. From here, you can review and analyse your content, and develop your content strategy and action plan. 

You can start analysing your content by:

  • Looking at Search Console data and optimise pages that receive low clicks
  • Updating old pages that are published more than 2 years ago
  • Filtering by topic cluster and identify content gap and internal link opportunities

Step 5: Update your content inventory regularly

Manage content inventory should be part of your workflow – so every time when you have planned or published an article, make it a habit to update your content inventory.

This can save you a lot of time when auditing your content and you don’t have the repeat the same process all over again.

How to use content inventory to guide content strategy

With a well-maintained content inventory in place, you don’t have to start from scratch every time you need to audit your content. Instead, you can visit your content inventory and perform a few content audit tasks at ease.

1. Identify content gap

A content inventory can reveal any content gaps or overlaps in your existing content. This information is crucial for developing an effective content strategy that addresses the needs and interests of your audience while ensuring consistency and avoiding duplication.

When reviewing your content, ask yourselves these questions:

  • Are there topics or areas that are not adequately covered?
  • Are there opportunities to create new content to address specific needs or trends?
  • Are there irrelevant or outdated pages that can be removed to declutter your website and improve user experience?

Understanding what topic you have covered can also ensure you have a balanced yet diversified topic coverage. For example, you can use a Pivot table to see how many pages you have and how they are performing in different topic clusters and see if you need to strengthen any particular area.

2. Spot duplicate content

With the content inventory, you can group your content into different topic clusters and also include the primary keyword for each content piece. 

This helps you easily identify any duplicate content and take necessary actions such as merging, redirecting or updating to ensure only one authoritative page exists for each topic. This not only improves user experience but also avoids diluting your SEO efforts.

3. Facilitate content update process

When your site grows, it is hard to keep track of what you have published. However, content becomes obsolete over time or may need updates. 

Having a content inventory allows you to identify and eliminate any redundant or outdated material. This ensures that your audience is receiving accurate and up-to-date information.

For example, you can use conditional formatting to highlight the row with content that was published more than 2 years ago. In this case, you can immediately pick up any outdated content and decide if you need to update them. 

Spot outdated content with conditional formatting

If you use my template, it is already formatted to highlight rows that are older than 24 months. But you can also add and modify the Google Sheets custom formula:

=AND($E2<>"",DATEDIF($E2,Today() ,"M")>24)

4. Improve internal linking

Internal linking helps search engines crawl and index your content. A content inventory unravels internal linking opportunities and ensures that all relevant pages are connected in a logical manner.

You can filter the content in the same topic and determine which pages should be linked together and what anchor text you should use for each link. Aim for a balance between providing value to users and optimising for SEO.

If a robust internal linking is part of your content strategy, consider creating a separate tab in your content inventory document to track what links you have created already. 

Document internal link structure in content inventory

5. Pinpoint underperforming pages

A content inventory can be used to identify low-performing pages. By tracking key metrics such as clicks, impressions and rankings, you can identify which pages need improvement or should be removed altogether.

When creating the content inventory, I usually have a separate tab to store Google Search Console data, and use VLOOKUP to match the metrics with the URLs. Then I just need to export and replace the new data when I need to analyse their performance.

For example, if there are pages that receive no clicks or impressions at all (usually shown as #N/A and can be easily filtered), you can go and check if the page needs any optimisation.

Find under-performing pages with content inventory
Aubrey Yung

Aubrey Yung

Aubrey is an SEO Consultant with 5+ years of B2B and B2C marketing experience.