This sponsored article was written by Jeremy Dietz, Executive Digital Editor at Coffey Communications. Coffey works exclusively in the healthcare industry and provides services such as healthcare SEO and website design.
Your website's content is never done.
Service lines add new technologies. Providers come and go. Search algorithms change. Competitors add freshly optimized content that leapfrogs you in search. These are just a few of the things that can make your content outdated or cause a drop in performance.
Even if you're managing to keep up on all these changes as they happen, it can help to take a step back once in a while to look at the big picture. This is where a content audit comes in.
A content audit can help give you a sense of how your content is performing, show you areas of success and offer insights for places where you could be doing better.
You should plan on doing content audits regularly. Check everything on your site at least once a year. And check high-value content or services that have tight competition more often.
Four questions to ask during an audit
Asking the following questions can help you audit your content and get a sense of how your site is doing.
1. Is the content accurate and complete?
Your content should always provide a complete and up-to-date reflection of what your organization offers the community. This includes things like services, locations, providers and events.
How to answer the question:
- Do an internal review. Your review team could be a combination of marketing staff and subject matter experts from key areas such as service lines, human resources and the foundation. Makes sure to give your subject matter experts context about what types of things you're looking for in their review. This helps keep feedback focused and actionable.
- Check your site search data to see what people are looking for. Make note of anything people are searching your site for that you offer but that isn't reflected on your website.
2. Is the content performing well in search?
Organic search is the leading source of website traffic for many healthcare organizations. Even if you didn't follow search engine optimization (SEO) best practices when you created your website, your content probably still brings in some search traffic. SEO can help you identify areas where you can improve.
How to answer the question: Evaluating organic search performance requires looking at a lot of data. Here are three tools that can help:
- Google Analytics. Look at the amount of traffic your key pages receive as the landing page for organic search visits.
- Google Search Console. Review the search terms that are bringing people to your site and where you rank for them. This data can help you identify areas where a little bit of improvement could move you from page 2 to page 1. If you're like most healthcare organizations, you'll find that most of your search traffic comes from branded searches and your biggest areas of opportunity are for service- and provider-related searches that don't include your brand name.
- Your keyword research tool of choice. Keyword research can help you find out the words people in your community use when searching for your brand, providers and services. You can use this data to inform content creation and optimization.
There are a number of free and paid tools out there. Choose one, such as KeywordFinder, that allows you to get data specifically for your community. Other helpful features to look for in a keyword research tool include search results previews and a ranking difficulty score that gives you an idea of how much competition there is for a phrase.
3. Is the content meeting my goals?
When you created the current version of your website, you probably had a list of goals in mind. Your audit should help you see how well you're doing at meeting those goals.
How to answer the question: If you don't have goals and measurements set up, it's not too late. Here are some things to think about:
Be as specific as possible. Getting more traffic to your website is an OK goal. A better goal is to increase traffic to your service or provider pages. And even better than that is a goal of increasing online appointment requests.
Set up tracking in advance. This is especially important if you're using Google Analytics. You can track things like clicks on links there—but you can only gather data after you put the tracking in place.
Use a dashboard to pull together data. Google Analytics is a great data source. But you'll probably also need to review information from other platforms, like social media channels. A custom dashboard that pulls in all your data will save you time and let you focus on analysis instead of pulling reports.
4. Is the content engaging my readers?
Your content can be up-to-date, tied in to your goals and backed by detailed keyword research, but none of that matters if it doesn't meet your readers' needs.
How to answer the question: Again, you'll want to look at the data. Some things to check:
Are people finding what they need? Checking Google Analytics reports like bounce rate and time on page that can help you answer this question. Make sure to consider the context, though. For example, a high bounce rate on your contact page likely means that people found what they needed and moved on. But a high bounce rate on your home page might mean that people were confused by the navigation or that the site didn't work on their device.
Are people taking action? The right action can vary depending on the goals of the page. Possible action steps include things like scheduling an appointment online, calling an office, clicking on a link for directions, signing up for an e-newsletter or registering for an event.
Are people coming back? Repeat resources on your site include things like your blog, calendar and online health library.
An outside perspective
You don't have to audit all the content on your website at one time. But even smaller audits can be daunting—especially if your marketing team is already stretched thin.
Outsourcing an audit can take some of the pressure off of your team. And it can also give you an outside perspective on your content from experts in the industry.