Content Audit is the first half of the Content Analyzer (the other half is Post Tracking) and it allows you to audit a website's content by analyzing content within the subfolders of a website and finding the pages that need improvement.
Configuring Content Audit
Content Audit runs on a subfolder level, so all you have to do is select the folders that you’d like to audit with the checkboxes. Semrush will look at your sitemap to determine what subfolders have the most URLs to audit and list them in the start page. Select the subfolders that you want to audit with the checkboxes and start your content audit!
The tool currently has the following limits for each subscription level:
- Free: 50 pages per audit
- Pro: 50 pages per audit
- Guru: 20,000 pages per audit
- Business: 20,000 pages per audit
Please note that the tool shows how many pages each subfolder contains. When selecting a new subfolder, you can monitor the increase in the number of URLs that you are going to audit.
If you see URLs without subfolder, these are pages that Semrush found from your sitemap but did not belong under a specific subfolder. You can choose to audit them to see which pages they are, and if you don’t need to audit them you can always remove them from your audit and change your chosen subfolders from the Content Audit Settings button at the top right of the tool’s interface.
If for some reason Semrush can’t find the sitemap from your URLs or your robots.txt, you will be asked to provide a link directly to your sitemap. Once you provide the link to your sitemap, we will allow you to choose the subfolder of your website to audit.
If the sitemap is in progress or inaccessible, you can submit a list of URLs for analysis. The file for upload should be a .txt, .xml or .csv, less than 10 MB in size:
You need to make sure that URLs in the file match the project domain and there is nothing more in the file besides the list of URLs that match the domain name.
To change the scope of your audit, the sitemap address or upload another file after you’ve started, click on the ‘Settings’ button and select ‘Restart Audit’. You will be brought to the main screen of the tool where you can re-enter the data for your audit.
Once Semrush audits your pages, there are two main tabs to use in this tool: Content Sets and Table.
Analyze Your Content in Sets
All pages from the subfolders you’ve chosen will be grouped together in the ‘Content Sets’ tab based on specific criteria. This data is available after you have connected your Google Analytics account and will provide insights about user interactions with your content.
There are four categories your pages will be grouped under:
- Rewrite or remove. Pages published more than 24 months ago and viewed less than 15 times in the last 30 days are stored here.
- Need to update. Pages published more than 6 months ago and viewed less than 15 times in the last 30 days are stored here.
- Quick review. Pages published less than 6 months ago and viewed more than 150 times in the last 30 days are stored here.
- Poor content. Pages less than 200 words long are stored here.
Click on the ‘Start Analyzing’ button in each category to analyze your content pieces one by one. You’ll get a preview window to look at the content and see sessions/pageviews, bounce rate and other data from GA as well as the top 20 searches from Google Search Console (if you have also connected it) for each page.
Create tasks for your articles and send them to Trello or Google Calendar, make decisions about how to improve your content and make it more attractive and useful for your target audience.
As soon as you add a task, note, or take any action to work with the article, it automatically switches to “In progress” status. Or you can change the working status from “Not analyzed” to “In progress” or “Analyzed” manually. The changes are saved immediately.
Integration with Google Docs makes team collaboration easier - submit an article to Google Docs and share the file with your teammates. This way you can work on improving content together even if your colleagues don’t have a Semrush account.
In addition to the ability to rewrite the text by yourself, you can also use the option “Order an article rewriting", which will direct you to the Marketplace. There you’ll be able to order content writing services.
Click on the ‘Next URL’ button on the bottom to start analyzing the next article.
Custom Content Sets
You can also create customized content sets. By clicking on the add set button you can manually name this set and determine the parameters that you want to group your set of pages by. You can select the target number of words, shares, backlinks, sessions, pageviews, bounce rate, search queries, content update, status, subfolders and tags to organize your content analysis in any way you’d like.
Customizing Your Table View
Go to the ‘Table’ tab to get your website content breakdown.
Semrush gathers data about Pages (the number of audited pages), Shares (how many times your content was shared on Facebook and Twitter) and Backlinks (how many links point to the content you’re auditing). Data on shares is taken from a trusted 3rd party provider and data on backlinks is sourced from our Backlink Analytics database. You’ll be able to look at this data and more for all of your URLs in the Auditing table.
The table is customizable, allowing you to remove any columns that you don’t need for your audit. Use the “Manage columns” drop down to remove any unwanted columns from your table. Every column can be removed and also used to sort.
You can also add custom columns to the table by selecting the add custom column button. This will let you add your own personal metric to measure.
Connect your Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts, if you haven’t done so, to the Content Analyzer to boost the level of your data.
After connecting Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see additional metrics for each URL (over the last 30 days).
- Sessions show the total number of Sessions, where a Session is a period of time a user is actively engaged with your website;
- Avg. Session Duration demonstrates the average length of a session;
- Pageviews is the total number the page viewed;
- Avg. Time on Page shows the average time a user spent viewing a specific page;
- Bounce Rate is the percentage of users that left the particular page without visiting any other pages on your website.
Integration with Google Search Console will allow you to see:
- Search Queries - queries your page was displayed for in a search;
- Clicks - how many times a user clicked through to your site;
- Impressions - how many times a user saw a link to your site in search results;
- Average CTR - the percentage of impressions that resulted in a click;
- Average Position - the average position of your site in search results, based on its highest position whenever it appeared in a search.
Data from your Google accounts represents the last 30 days.
You can select which metrics from Google Analytics and Google Search Console you want to see at the top of the table.
Sort and Identify Weak Content
The quickest way to find the weak spots on your website is by sorting the table by quality metrics such as:
- Sorting by lowest social shares or backlinks to find content that is not getting as much recognition across the web as your other pages.
- Sorting by the content update to find pages on your site that are the oldest and could be improved with an update.
- Sorting by word count to find light web pages that could be expanded with additional information.
- Sorting by search queries to find the pages that are currently not attracting any organic search traffic and could be improved with SEO.
The next step after identifying weak pages will be prioritizing which pages need the most attention and should be updated first.
You can use filters to make your sorting more specific and decide on your priorities. Filters in this tool include:
- Word count
- Sessions (after connecting GA)
- Pageviews (after connecting GA)
- Bounce rate (after connecting GA)
- Number of search queries (after connecting GSC)
- Content update
- Status (2xx, 3xx, 4xx, 5xx status codes)
For example, you can take pages with the number of words slightly below that recommended by Google and add more text to have them indexed. Or you can pick out the pages that already have multiple backlinks and try to acquire more.
Anytime you enter a filter you have the ability to save its view for quick use in the future. This can save you time and make your auditing process more fluid.
After entering your filters you can save them by selecting the "Save as new filter" section. Once a filtered view is created, you can switch between them by utilizing the filters drop-down menu. These filter views can be reset at any time.
To further customize sorting for you, we’ve introduced the option to tag each page of your audit. Create your own tag by pressing the ‘Add tag’ button under a particular page and assigning owners or deadlines (or any other information) to pages and folders that require attention.
Set Tasks and Track Progress
You can assign “Tasks” to do for each page. Things like “optimize header tags,” “re-write meta description,” or “add another paragraph about x” would allow you to keep your plan organized and never lose track of how you want to improve your website content.
When you start working with an article, for example, add a task, or a note or save the current metrics’ value, the article goes into "In Progress" workflow status automatically and saves the current version of the content. Within 14 days, the tool tracks changes you’ve made to the article and saves the new versions of the content. After 14 days you can make a comparison of different versions and track changes in each metric’s value over time.
After the workflow status has been assigned to your URLs, you’ll be able to view all of your working URLs in their own table — “Not Analayzed,” “In progress,” and “Analyzed.” Use these to keep track of which pages on your website have been updated or are being worked on as a result of your audit.
After a 14-day article’s monitoring, you can continue tracking the article for 14 days more or move it to the “Analyzed” mode.
Exporting Your Content Audit Results
To export the audit, go to the Table view and find the “Export XLSX” button above the table to the right.
In your export, you’ll get a list of all of your pages to audit and all of their metrics. In the export there will be some columns with links to jump back into your Content Audit as you review your content from Excel. See below an example of how an export would look:
To improve the quality of these pages, you can use the On Page SEO Checker, SEO Content Template and SEO Writing Assistant to get actionable suggestions and help rewriting your content.
After your audit, take the URLs that you want to improve and enter them into the On Page SEO Checker. With that tool, you’ll receive actionable ideas for improving your strategy, semantics, technical SEO and more.
After auditing your website content, use the Post Tracking tab to measure your guest posts and follow your off-site content. If you want to audit another folder on your website, you can hit the “Restart campaign” button at the top right of the page and go back to the start page where you select the subfolders to audit.
You can also send the content that you'd like to update or rewrite to Google Docs and use the SEO Writing Assistant to help you with optimising it. Alternatively, use the Quick Checker in the Semrush interface.