I was thirty minutes into a conversation with a prospective client recently and we were discussing the steps involved in developing an inbound marketing strategy for his company. When I was done outlining the high level view of the process we recommend, he asked me why I didn't mention a content audit. I asked him to define what he meant by a content audit and he gave me a reasonable description of the type of audit that would be warranted in the case of a website redesign where the existing site had a sizable page count and a fair amount of content. Due to the depth of his current site and the fact that he had no plans for a major redesign of it, an audit wasn't going to be a productive step in the process. Come to find out, this was a line item in an earlier quote he had received from a marketing agency as part of their strategy development process. (And he said it wasn't cheap.)
There's a lot of confusion around how much content is necessary to drive satisfactory levels of traffic (and leads and customers!) to a site. The short answer (and it's usually correct!) is more than you have now. In reality, there are too many quantitative variables to consider which makes it nearly impossible to deliver a magic number - for example: competition, your current content inventory baseline and what you consider "satisfactory". There are magic qualitative content attributes for you to focus on such as, is your content: frequent, engaging, educational, relevant, unique and useful. But most bottom-line oriented business owners want numbers.
So, for you number freaks out there, here's the four step process of the Four Minute Content Audit:
1. Download SEOquake for your favorite browser (as long as it isn't Internet Explorer). SEOquake is free and available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera (the last two are beta versions). You can get it here. SEOquake is a handy search engine optimization tool that measures parameters such as page rank, Alexa rank, keyword density and most importantly for this discussion - the Google indexed page count.
2. Pull up your site address on your browser and look at your Google indexed page count. You can find it here on this example (the SEOquake toolbar usually sits below your bookmarks toolbar):
3. If your indexed page count is under 100, your first major goal is to get that number over 100 indexed pages. One of the fastest ways to add indexed pages to your site is to blog. Each blog post is considered an indexable page by Google. So, if you post three times a week you could move from the 12 pages in this example to over 100 in less than seven months. If you write about topics your prospective customers care about (and you are diligent with your keyword strategy) this effort will move your site up in the search engine rankings.
4. To take this one step further, get a feel for how your site stacks up against competitors in terms of your indexed page count. Generally speaking, if you are competing for traffic and your competitors have more indexed pages on their site than you do, you'll lose that battle. This step often provides the focus and determination to generate more content - and the results of that content generation effort are measurable.
Once you've installed SEOquake, this whole process takes four minutes or less. I have SEOquake on both my browsers and it's become an ingrained habit to look at the key parameters when I'm looking at prospective customer sites, competitors' sites and client sites. Keep in mind this is a quick and high level review of your site's content depth. A more comprehensive review would assess your content strategy's alignment with your business objectives.
So, what's your number and what are you going to do about it?