How to Perform a Website Content Audit (+ Free Template)

Performing a content audit helps you identify your strongest and weakest pages. And alerts you to technical issues that could affect site performance.

This can increase traffic, leads, and conversions.

Keep reading to learn how to perform a content audit in three easy steps. 

How to Perform a Website Content Audit (+ Free Template):

What Is a Content Audit?

A content audit is the process of analyzing all the content published on your website, including your landing pages, blogs, and product or service pages. 

During a content audit, you inventory your core content pages. And evaluate each page’s performance.  

The goal of a content audit is to assess how well each piece of content is performing. And determine which pages should be updated or optimized to get better results. 

Why You Need a Website Content Audit

Nearly 80% of marketers conduct content audits at least once a year, according to Semrush’s State of Content Marketing Report

Semrush’s State of Content Marketing Report


Because they ensure your site’s content is high quality, relevant, and optimized.

More specifically, content audits let you:

  • Identify your top-performing pages: Gain useful insights into what drives successful content by finding your best-performing pages
  • Find and diagnose weak content: Identify low-performing pages and analyze them to understand why they aren’t ranking well (low-quality content, poor topic coverage, not enough backlinks, etc.).
  • Address technical issues: Identify and fix issues that could affect your website’s performance and user experience. Such as site load speed, mobile responsiveness, broken links, and duplicate/competing content
  • Keep your content fresh: Update existing pages to ensure your content remains helpful and relevant. And replace outdated information with more recent data and sources. 
  • Optimize pages to rank better: Check whether your content follows current on-page SEO best practices. Like optimizing title tags, keywords, heading formatting, image alt text, and more. 
  • Identify content gaps and opportunities: Discover weak or missing keywords to inform your future content strategy.

How to Perform a Content Audit in 3 Steps

1. Create an Inventory of Your Existing Content

The first step in your content audit is to inventory your content pages. Including blog posts, landing pages, and other content assets like reports and ebooks.

Why is this important?

Because an inventory ensures you don’t miss any important pages. And helps you get a complete and accurate picture of your content’s performance. 

This way, you’re less likely to overlook opportunities to improve and optimize your content.

To begin, create a spreadsheet of your main content pages. How much information you include about each page is up to you. But at a minimum, each entry should contain the page’s URL.   

Try using Semrush’s free content audit template to follow along with the steps in this article.  

Open the template and click “Use Template” in the top right-hand corner. This will save a copy to your Google Drive.

Semrush free content audit template

If your website only has a few pages, you can collect and enter this information manually. 

But if you have a larger site, using Semrush’s Site Audit tool will save you a lot of time. 

Open the Site Audit tool and enter your website’s URL. Then, click “Start Audit.” 

Semrush Site Audit tool

If you’ve used the tool before, your screen will look a bit different. 

In this case, click “+ Create project.” 

Site Audit / Create project

Then, enter your domain name (and optionally, a project name). And click “Create project.”

Create project button

Next, you’ll be asked to configure some basic settings. Aside from the first step, all of the other steps are optional. 

Specify how many pages to include in the audit. 

The number of pages you can audit depends on your Semrush subscription level. But it’s best to audit all of your pages—or as many as possible. 

When you’re ready, click “Start Site Audit.”

Semrush Start Site Audit button

If you want to specify subsections of your website to include or exclude, you can do so using the “Allow/disallow URLs” tab. 

For example, if you want to focus on your blog and other content-rich resources but exclude your product descriptions from your audit, you might include “/blog/” and “/resources/” while excluding “/products/.”

When you’re ready, click “Start Site Audit.”  

Site Audit Settings

You'll receive an email when your audit is done. Depending on how many pages need to be crawled, a site audit can take a few minutes or up to 24 hours.

Next, open the report and navigate to the “Crawled Pages” tab for a list of all the pages found by the tool’s crawlers. 

Crawled Pages tab

To add these pages to your audit spreadsheet, click “Export” > “Export to CSV.”

Export button

In Google Sheets, click “File” > “Import” > “Upload” > “Browse.”  

Add the CSV file from your “Downloads” folder and click “Open.” Or drag and drop it into the upload window. 

Select whether you want to import the file to a new spreadsheet or insert it in your audit spreadsheet as a new tab. 

Then, click “Import data.”

Import data button

Now, select and copy those URLs.

page URL

Then, paste them into the URL column of your audit template copy.

Semrush seo content audit template

2. Analyze Content Performance

Now that you have a list of all your content pages, the next step is to analyze their performance. 

Assuming the goal of your audit is to improve your website’s SEO performance, you’ll collect and evaluate data about the following:

  • Organic traffic
  • Keyword rankings
  • Backlinks
  • On-page SEO
  • Technical SEO

Go through each of these and add them to your audit template.

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic refers to website visits that come from organic (unpaid) search results. And more organic traffic means more chances at conversions. 

The best way to get accurate data about how much organic traffic your pages generate is by consulting Google Search Console (GSC).

To start, sign in to Google Search Console for the site you’re auditing. 

If this is your first time using GSC, you’ll need to set up your property. For step-by-step instructions, check out Semrush’s guide to Google Search Console

To get an overview of your site’s performance data, including overall organic traffic, click “Search results” from the navigation menu. 

Semrush Google Search Console

Underneath this chart, you’ll find a table with information on your top queries, pages, countries, device types, and average search position for each query.

website traffic report

Click the “Pages” tab to explore the data for each individual page. And click the filter icon to search for individual URLs.

Pages tab

For each page in your inventory, copy the number in the “Clicks” column. (This can be used to approximate the number of visits for those pages.)

Then, log those numbers in your content audit spreadsheet's “Organic Traffic” column.

Organic Traffic column

Keyword Rankings

Next, find your pages’ current keyword ranking positions in the search engine results pages (SERPs).  

Generally, pages that rank highly in the SERPs drive more organic traffic. 

But that isn’t always true. Sometimes, even high-ranking pages can have low click-through rates. Which is why it’s important to evaluate multiple metrics. 

To your ranking data, use Semrush’s Position Tracking tool. 

Open the Position Tracking tool and select your site from the list. Or click “+ Create project” if you haven’t set it up yet. 

Position Tracking tool

Add your domain and a project name (optional). Then, click “Create project.”

Create project

Make sure to include the target keyword for every page you’re auditing during the setup. 

When you’ve finished configuring your settings and the tool is ready, click the “Pages” tab to find the ranking data for individual pages.

Then, copy and paste your page URLs into the “Filter by URL” search field one by one to find each page’s average position. 

Filter by URL

And add those numbers in the appropriate “Average Position” cell in your content audit spreadsheet.

Average Position cell

Once you know each page’s current ranking for its primary keyword, you can better identify which pages would benefit from optimization. 


Now, let’s learn more about your backlink profile. Backlinks are links from other websites (called referring domains) that point to yours.

High-quality backlinks are vital to SEO because they signal trust and credibility. Meaning that when reputable sites in your niche link to your pages, it tells search engines your site is authoritative. 

Generally speaking, the more high-quality backlinks a page has, the likelier it is to rank highly in search results. 

This is why it’s important to know how many backlinks each of your content pages has.

To get this data, use Semrush’s Backlink Analytics tool. 

Open the tool, enter your domain name, and click “Analyze.”

Semrush Backlink Analytics tool

Open the “Indexed pages” report. 

You’ll find a list of all your indexed pages. Along with data describing how many backlinks (and domains) point to each page.


Add the numbers from the “Backlinks” column to the corresponding cells in your content audit spreadsheet.

Backlinks column

Tip: Try Semrush’s Backlink Audit tool to get a sense of how healthy your overall backlink profile is. 

On-Page SEO

The next step is to check your pages for on-page SEO issues that might be affecting your content’s performance. 

Some on-page optimizations include:

  • Fixing strategy issues like keyword cannibalization (when more than one page target the same keyword, which confuses search engines)
  • Optimizing your content for SERP features such as featured snippets
  • Improving your content’s readability 
  • Using your target keyword in your H1, title tag, and meta description
  • Addressing over-optimization issues like keyword stuffing
  • Improving your content’s relevance and comprehensiveness

Use Semrush’s On Page SEO Checker to audit your site for on-page optimization issues and opportunities. 

Semrush On Page SEO Checker

Open the tool and enter your domain name. Then, click “Get ideas.”

On Page SEO Checker / Get ideas button

Select your target location in the setup window that opens and click “Continue.”

Continue button

Go back to the original CSV file you downloaded from Site Audit and upload it into a blank spreadsheet.

Edit it to contain just two columns: keywords (you’ll need to add these and ensure they appear in the first column) and URLs (the second column). Then, delete the remaining columns.

Export this adjusted file as a CSV and add it using the “File” option during setup

When you’ve finished configuring all your settings, click “Collect ideas” at the bottom of the page.

Open the “Optimization Ideas” report for page-by-page suggestions on optimizing different elements. 

Use the search function to filter the list by keyword or URL.

Optimization Ideas report

Click on the “# Ideas” button for each page for more detailed on-page optimization instructions. Including SERP feature opportunities and readability issues.

# Ideas button

In your content audit sheet, mark pages with on-page SEO suggestions as “Yes” and pages with no optimization suggestions as “No.”

on-page SEO suggestions

Technical SEO

Finally, check whether there are any technical SEO issues that could negatively impact your website’s visibility. 

Some examples of technical SEO issues include:

Learn which technical SEO issues affect your site using Semrush's Site Audit tool. 

If you didn’t previously, configure Site Audit to crawl your full site. Technical SEO issues can affect any page on your site, not just your content pages.

Once your audit is ready, click the “Issues” tab. 

Issues tab

Here, you’ll find a list of site issues you should address. 

Issues are categorized into: 

  • Errors: The most severe technical SEO issues. Such as broken links and sitemap errors. Address these first. 
  • Warnings: Medium-severity technical issues you should address after you’ve resolved all errors. Examples include low word count, uncompressed JavaScript and CSS files, and missing H1 tags. 
  • Notices: Minor items. These aren’t critical to resolve but doing so is likely to improve performance. Examples include pages with only one incoming link and links with missing anchor text.

Click on any issue to view a full list of affected pages. 

site issues

Click on “Why and how to fix it” for more details about a problem. And see a suggestion on how to address it.

Why and how to fix it

Next, go to the “Crawled Pages” report and go through the list to see whether there are issues specifically affecting the important pages you’re auditing. 

You can do this using the search feature. 

Crawled Pages report

Add the number of issues listed for each page to the "Technical SEO" column in your content audit sheet.

Technical SEO column

3. Create an Action Plan

Now that you’ve gathered key information about each of your important pages, assign an action to each based on your audit’s findings. 

Here are some options:

  • Keep as is: For high-quality, up-to-date content that performs well in terms of traffic and/or keyword rankings
  • Update: For content that’s underperforming, low-quality, contains outdated information, has many SEO issues, or needs more backlinks 
  • Consolidate and redirect: For duplicate content or content competing for the same keywords
  • Delete: For content that’s not relevant to your target audience or brand 

These options are included in the content audit template, but you can add your own actions based on your needs.

As you evaluate each page, select the appropriate action in the “Action” column of your audit spreadsheet. 

Action column

From here, it’s time to create an action plan to tackle the pages you didn’t decide to keep as they are.

Start with the easy stuff: 

  1. Delete pages marked for deletion (but think twice about any that have a high number of backlinks)
  2. Address the most critical technical SEO issues identified by Site Audit
  3. Address any on-page SEO issues (missing keywords in key areas, duplicate title tags, etc.)

Then, decide how to prioritize the rest of your content updates.

You might start by optimizing the pages that bring in the most traffic. 

Or by updating pages that currently rank in positions 4 to 10. To boost them into position 3 or better. 

As you optimize each page, review its content manually to decide which changes will likely have the most significant SEO impact. 

And use the tools featured in this article to dig deeper into each page’s specific strengths and weaknesses.

Improve Your SEO Results with a Content Audit

Optimizing underperforming pages can significantly impact your search rankings and organic traffic.

If you haven’t already, make a copy of Semrush’s free SEO content audit template. And edit it as you see fit.

Regular audits will help keep your content (and website) performing better than ever.

Ready to run a content audit?

Sign up for a free Semrush trial to access 55+ marketing tools. Including Site Audit and Position Tracking

About the Author
Djanan Kasumovic, a dynamic force in digital marketing, leads as the Head of Growth at Influencer Marketing Hub. His distinguished career includes roles at high-profile companies like SnappCar, a leader in European car sharing, Travelbird, Kids Luxury Group and B&S. Djanan has been at the forefront of innovative digital marketing processes, mastering areas such as AI content production, AI marketing, and AI influencer marketing, establishing himself as a pioneer in these fields.