A content inventory is a list of all your content. It’s the basis for your content audit because you can’t start auditing until you know what you have and where it is.
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How to create a content inventory
There are a few different ways to create an inventory:
- Use a tool to crawl your site and create the list
- Export a list of pages from your CMS
- Export pages from Google Analytics (but bear in mind this will only show pages people have visited – on big sites, or sites with poor navigation there are likely to be pages no one has looked at)
- Use your XML sitemap
- Export a list from Google Search Console
Screaming Frog is my preferred tool. I’ve included step-by-step instructions for how to use it in the next module. I’ve also included a list of free and paid tools at the end of this page.
What to include in your content inventory
As a baseline, your inventory should include:
- Title tag
- Meta description
You could also include:
- Publication date
- Last updated date
- Content owner
- Content type
- Word count
- Sentence count
- Header count
- Paragraph count
- Reading time
- Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level*
- Images alt text
- External links
- Internal links
Finally, you can also bring in metrics. What you include will depend on what tracking you have set up, but you might want to look at:
- Bounce rate
- Exit rate
- Time on page
- Page speed
- Events (for example: scroll depth, clicks, etc.)
- Goal completion rate (for example: email sign-ups, purchases, downloads, etc.)
- Total events (for example: call to action clicks)
- User feedback (for example response rate to a ‘Did you find this page useful?’ question)
How to get the data
If you’re doing a CMS download, you may be able to get some of this data from that.
An easy option to populate your inventory with a lot of data is to use a tool. I recommend URL Profiler, because it includes some helpful features like readability scoring, and integrates with Google tools like Analytics and Search Console, and SEO tools like Moz and Majestic. You upload your list of URLs, connect your accounts, choose the criteria you want to pull into your audit, and the tool does the rest. There’s a two-week free trial, which means you can probably get what you need for free.
If the two-week free trial doesn’t give you enough time, and you don’t want to or can’t spend the money, you can get some of this data for free by using scraping formulas in Excel and Google. You can use the formula/functionality to pull in data for each URL, like the title tag, meta description, date, etc. Big caveat: this can take a long time to load, and is not a workable solution if you have thousands of pages on your site. You can also use the VLOOKUP formula to match your URLs with data from Google Analytics.
Site crawling tools
*Correct as of December 2021