What Is a Digital Content Audit?—Your Complete Guide in 2024

A content audit is your first step to succeeding at digital marketing strategy.

Allie Grace Garnett


  • A content audit generates important information about your existing digital media
  • Digital content audits create digital marketing strategy options that you can pursue selectively 
  • Effective digital audits are strongly guided by your business objectives

What do you know already about digital content auditing? Content audits are like treasure hunts that can uncover intriguing opportunities plus reveal areas in critical need of improvement. A digital content audit produces a comprehensive dataset, analysis, and recommendations for your existing content.

Conducting a digital content audit may feel like a lot of work—but it’s also the first key step to developing an efficient and impactful digital marketing strategy. Let’s dig into digital content audits to learn more—much more!—about this core component of digital marketing.

What is a digital content audit?

A digital content audit is a comprehensive and systematic analysis of your organization’s existing content. A digital content audit can reveal some surprising results, including untapped opportunities, important challenges, and hidden trends. A content audit may also be a great tool to demonstrate the ways in which your organization is already excelling at digital marketing. 

You perhaps have one or several specific goals for conducting a digital content audit. An audit may focus on any of these components:

  • Your blog or website
  • Your social media presence
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Competitors’ content 
  • Your content gaps

Completing a digital content audit is a quantitative and qualitative exercise. Quantitative metrics are typically abundant while qualitative measures may assess content variety, accuracy, relevance, tone, or brand alignment. A digital content audit may also evaluate your content for compliance and its role in the user experience.

The deliverable for a digital content audit is typically a report. The report contains all the relevant data, a written analysis, a comprehensive set of options, and a shortlist of recommendations that are supported by the analysis. 

How digital content audits work

A digital content audit examines all of your existing content using a variety of information collection and analysis methods. Curious about how digital content audits work? The process to conduct a digital content audit goes like this— 

1. Plan your digital content audit

Your first step is to conceptualize the content audit that you want to conduct. What are your goals for the audit? What is the audit’s scope? What resources are available to you? Identify the software and humans who can support you to complete the digital content audit.

2. Collect and organize your data 

Your next step is to gather and organize all of the relevant data. Don’t get scared or lost—use the software that you identified during the planning phase to support data collection, and stay focused on the metrics that are most relevant to your business goals.

A full, accurate, and organized dataset is necessary to effectively conduct a digital content audit. Creating a comprehensive content inventory means building a list of all existing content and its associated performance data. 

3. Analyze the data 

With your data inventoried and organized, you’re ready to conduct an analysis. Digital content auditors can approach data analysis from many different angles, including—

  • Analyze the best- and worst-performing content
  • Evaluate the content’s alignment with current business goals and audience needs
  • Assess content variety, depth, accuracy, and value provided
  • Analyze keyword optimization, meta descriptions, and internal linking
  • Check for broken links and pages that load slowly
  • Identify content gaps

The same software that you used to gather data may be useful for your analysis. Many data collection tools, like Google Analytics and Semrush, can be configured to provide analytical insights.  

4. Identify potential actions

At this stage in your digital content audit, you’re making great progress. You’ve thoroughly reviewed and dissected your data, staying focused on the analyses that matter most for your marketing goals and business priorities. What’s next?

You can proceed by simply listing all of the actions that you can potentially take—ideally assigning a specific action to each digital content asset. Which actions might you consider? Let’s take a look—

  • Update content with current information
  • Merge similar content to minimize keyword cannibalization
  • Rewrite content to improve its writing quality, research, or keyword use
  • Improve graphic design and other creative elements
  • Enhance internal linking and call-to-action placements
  • Redesign content to better support the user experience
  • Remove irrelevant, duplicate, and low-quality content

5. Develop and implement an action plan 

Identifying specific courses of action is an important part of conducting a digital content audit, but that doesn’t mean that completing every action is the right strategy. Your resources to implement content audit findings are likely limited—and some actions may be significantly more impactful for your business than others. 

Developing a detailed action plan is an important step before implementing any changes. When deciding which actions to include in your plan, consider these key factors—

  • Impact: What is the potential for the action to increase your search engine rankings, provide customer value, or otherwise positively impact your organization? Highly impactful actions deserve to be prioritized.
  • Time commitment: Which actions can be completed quickly? Which actions would need to be completed over time? Pay attention to the time commitment associated with each tactic. 
  • Cost: Implementing simple content changes may be low cost, while a total digital content overhaul can be prohibitively expensive. You need an action plan that aligns with your budget. 
  • Complexity: Digital content improvements may be technologically simple or complex. Consider your technical experience and skills before committing to advanced actions that require specialized knowledge. 

6. Evaluate your results

Even while you’re still implementing your content audit action plan, you can begin to evaluate its effectiveness. You’ll need to collect and analyze additional information—but the good news is that you can likely use the same software and analytical processes that you’ve already adopted. The data from your digital content audit provides the baseline against which you can begin to measure your performance.

Every digital marketer hopes for fast results, but the positive impacts of your content improvements may emerge only over time. Continue tracking your digital content’s performance to identify trends and improvements as they develop. 

Pros and cons of digital content audits

Conducting a digital content audit is usually a solid move for marketers—but that doesn’t mean that digital content audits have zero limitations. Keep reading to understand the pros and cons of digital content auditing.

What to love about digital content audits

  • Facilitate data-driven decision making
  • High-impact tool that can identify “easy wins” for your digital marketing strategy 
  • May improve your digital marketing by better directing your focus  
  • Can drive significant business improvements if audit recommendations are implemented effectively 

Digital content audit drawbacks

  • Resource intensive— typically requiring some combination of time, money, software, and human support 
  • May use vast datasets that are overwhelming to manage and analyze 
  • Analyses may be subjective and vary based on the auditor’s methods
  • Recommended actions may not produce the intended—or any!—results

How to get started with your first digital content audit

Ready to perform your first content audit? Now is the ideal time to ask yourself some key questions about how you want to approach digital content auditing. 

Here’s what to ponder—

  • What are your goals for the digital content audit?
  • Which content types and distribution channels will you audit?
  • What performance metrics are most relevant?
  • How will you collect content data?
  • How will you effectively analyze the data?
  • What is your timeline for completing the digital content audit?
  • Who will support the content auditing effort?
  • How will you prioritize the content audit’s recommendations?
  • What is your plan for implementation?
  • How will you measure the impact of your digital content audit?

If this list of questions feels overwhelming, that’s extremely relatable. You likely have plenty else to do! Another way to get started with a content audit is to identify a talented digital marketer who can complete the digital content audit for you.

Should your organization conduct a digital content audit?

You may still be questioning whether your digital content needs an audit. The correct answer for your organization considers many factors, and should be based on your current business priorities and needs. If you don’t have much content already, then creating a digital marketing strategy may be the logical place to start. 

Conducting a digital content audit probably feels like a major task—and it is! Digital content auditing is also the first key step toward effectively using digital marketing to achieve your organization’s most critical business objectives.

What is a digital content audit?

A digital content audit is a comprehensive review and analysis of an organization’s online media. Digital content auditors catalogue and evaluate content to assess its variety, quality, relevance, performance, and alignment with business goals and audience needs. The purpose of a digital content audit is to identify content strengths, uncover gaps and technical issues, and provide insights that can improve an organization’s digital marketing strategy.

What are the goals of a digital content audit?

Your goals for a content audit should align to your top business and marketing objectives. The goals for a digital content audit may include evaluating content reach and effectiveness, identifying tactics to increase content visibility, and specifying opportunities to create new content. A digital content audit may support the development or total revision of your digital marketing strategy.

How can I conduct a digital content audit?

Performing a digital content audit starts with identifying your objectives for the audit, inventorying your content, and collecting data about its performance. Next you should thoroughly analyze the data to reveal your content’s strengths and weaknesses, including content gaps. Identify potential actions, develop a comprehensive action plan, and take the necessary steps to put your plan into action. Happy auditing!