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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Specialized Audits: Because Content is Complex

The quantitative and qualitative audits are the core processes that you’ll use to analyze your web content. But depending on your business and the goals of your audit, it’s possible that you’ll need to gather specific information about your content that’s unique to your organizational mission or project objectives.

Here are a few good examples of what I call “specialized” audits. You can add these pieces to either a quantitative or qualitative inventory.

SEO: Is the Content Findable?

Although SEO is not the only consideration when creating “findable” content, it’s most often the tactic we turn to (for now). There are two main issues to consider when analyzing the quality of your content findability:

  • Content findability. How are your targeted keywords performing in web search engines? How is your internal site search engine performing and why?

    If you have a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy in place, you should have access to the list of keywords that are important to feature in page headers and body copy. You can add a column to your inventory to list which keywords appear on each page or simply rank whether the use of keywords on the page is appropriate.

  • Content readability. Some SEO copywriters are guilty of loading content with so many keywords that it becomes overly redundant or even unreadable. Check to see that the keywords are worked into the content in ways that support meaning and clarity, not destroy them.

Metadata: The Content Behind the Content

When you’re analyzing your site content, remember that there’s more to it than just the words on the screen, or video or audio artifacts. For content findability and management purposes, among myriad other considerations, it’s a good idea to gather and analyze the metadata.

Metadata is “information about information.” It’s the attributes we assign to content that allow web search engines to index our content. Metadata is also what helps our site search engines and content management systems organize and deliver content when and where our users need it most.

What kind information about metadata you record depends on your needs, but a few things may include:

  • What is the quality of the metadata for the page? (Add a column and rank it.)
  • If you didn’t include them in your SEO audit, what are the page titles, keywords, header tags, and page descriptions associated with the page or content? (Add a column and paste keywords in.)

In the analysis and strategy phases, you (or someone) should develop a metadata strategy for your new and improved content. No matter who’s responsible for that strategy, their first question will be, What are the existing metadata schema? Be ready with the answers. Talk to whoever is currently responsible for metadata, find out what’s been done to structure and maintain it (if anything), and document your findings.

Localization Audit: When in Rome...

If your site serves people in distinctly different regions, cultures, or countries, whether or not the content requires translation, it’s very important to consider the localization (or attunement to cultural differences and perspectives) of your content, including:

  • Language translation. Simply translating content from one language to another rarely achieves the desired effect. Nuance is lost, meanings are misinterpreted, homonyms are slaughtered. What might be misinterpreted in context of local slang, social norms, and societal values?

    Rank whether the translation accurately represents your business goals and user needs.

  • Cultural indicators. Are the images, testimonials, and case study examples relevant and meaningful to your geographically targeted audiences? (For example, Jennifer and Jason might be common names used in case studies in the United States. Brazil or China, not so much.)

    Rank whether each piece of content is culturally on target or sticks out like a sore thumb.

If you don’t have the language or cultural knowledge necessary, ensure that you have an expert, savvy cultural advisor or translator reviewing all content for any red flags.

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