How to Conduct a Product Content Audit

Many of today’s brands lack visibility into the quality of their product content on retailer websites. All too often, this content is riddled with spelling and grammar errors, doesn’t properly merchandise features and benefits, and lacks important high-volume search terms. These issues not only hurt a brand’s image – they also hurt sales, both on- and offline.

Written by
Alex Chrum
August 3, 2018
How to Conduct a Product Content Audit

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An audit is the best way to understand the quality of your product content. However, for companies with a lot of SKUs, a full-scale review of your product pages can be a massive undertaking. There’s also the question of how to turn your audit results into meaningful action items.

At Flywheel, we’ve performed product content audits for some of the world’s largest brands. In doing so, we’ve learned a lot about the process, including the most efficient and effective ways to execute.

Below, we’ll show you how your brand can complete a product content audit that delivers actionable results without monopolizing your internal resources.

1. Identify your goal.

Before you start your audit, it’s important to decide exactly what you want to achieve. There are several reasons you may want to audit your product content, including:

  • Boost site search rankings.
  • Increase traffic to product pages.
  • Improve product page conversion rates.
  • Increase online market share.

A clear goal is the foundation of a successful audit, as it determines the scope of the project as well as the KPIs you need to track to measure its success. Document this goal and benchmark all associated performance metrics prior to beginning.

2. Choose your retailers.

Once you decide on a goal for your audit, you should have a clear idea of the retailers you need to focus on. These may be giants like Amazon and Walmart, or they could be smaller specialty retailers like Chewy. Choose two to three retailers that will have the most impact on your desired goal.

Performing retailer-specific audits is important because each website has its own unique product page requirements. Make sure you understand these requirements before you begin your audit, and have them available for auditors to consult when they review your pages.

Auditing content on a per-retailer basis is also important because consumer search behavior varies widely from website to website. The best keywords to target on Amazon may not be the best keywords to target on Chewy, and vice versa. Having access to retailer-specific search data helps you identify your most profitable optimization opportunities. (More on that later.)

3. Choose your products.

Based on your goal and the retailers you pick, the next step is deciding on the exact product pages you want to audit. Avoid reviewing your entire product catalog at once. As with choosing retailers, you should pick the products that will have the most impact on your goal.

For example, if your goal is to increase product page conversions, you should audit the pages that rank well in site search, receive a decent amount of traffic, and have lower-than-average conversion rates.

The exact number of pages that you should audit depends on your goal. However, we recommend limiting your first audit to a maximum of 25 product pages per retailer. This helps you quickly understand the highest-ROI improvements without dedicating a considerable amount of time and resources.

4. Understand consumer search behavior.

If the goal of your audit is to boost retailer search rankings, it’s imperative to have access to a tool that helps you identify the best keywords to target for each product page. These should be a blend of general, attribute-based, and branded keywords, such as “cat food,” “all natural cat food,” and “Purina cat food.”

But a basic keyword research tool isn’t enough. 49% of product searches now start on Amazon, and another 15% start on other retailer websites. This means that, in order to optimize effectively, you need access to a comprehensive set of site search data from all your retail partners.

Having access to this data is beneficial even if your goal isn’t SEO. Let’s say you want to increase conversions. Knowing the words that actual customers use to describe products like yours helps you understand the terminology that will resonate with them best. It also gives you insight into the features and benefits that matter to them most.

Looking to increase online market share? Consumer search data can help with that too, as it provides insight into how often consumers search for your brand compared to your competitors.

Flywheel is the only platform designed to help brands achieve the perfect digital shelf. By combining the industry’s largest database of consumer search insights with proprietary performance monitoring tools and on-demand content optimization services, we enable brands to respond to market changes and execute product page updates with unrivaled speed and scale.

5. Create a rubric.

To derive the most meaningful results from your audit, your reviewers should grade each product page using a clear and objective rubric. The exact contents and format of this rubric will vary depending on your specific goal. However, every question should be in a yes/no or rating-scale format with standardized answer choices.

For example, if your goal is to increase conversions, your rubric may include the following questions:

  • Is there a product description on the page?
  • Is the product description free of factual errors?
  • Is the product description free of filler and marketing copy?
  • Is the product description free of spelling, punctuation and capitalization errors?
  • Is the product description at least 150 words?

It’s also beneficial to include fields for reviewers to leave notes about specific issues or more subjective feedback. However, having a standardized dataset of results makes it easier for you to determine your highest-priority action items and monitor your page quality over time.

6. Audit your content.

Now that the prep work is done, it’s time to start auditing your product pages. Determine the best team members for the job, and divide up the pages between them. Make sure you provide a direct link to each page, along with any other materials auditors need to provide an accurate analysis. These include:

  • Rubric
  • Retailer requirements
  • Brand style guide
  • Target keywords
  • Important consumer search insights

Your reviewers should examine all relevant elements of the product page, such as:

  • Titles
  • Images
  • Variants
  • Bullet points
  • Descriptions
  • Reviews

Once the audit process is complete, use the rubrics to identify the pages with the most severe or highest number of problems. Fix these problems, monitor the results over time, repeat the process for additional pages, and watch your e-commerce sales grow.

The Flywheel Audit Process

Don’t have time to complete a product content audit in-house? Flywheel is here to help.

Using a 40-point rubric, our e-commerce strategists evaluate your brand on multiple retailer sites and deliver a detailed content quality analysis that automated tools simply cannot match.


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