Web visitors and search engines love fresh, relevant content. Without a set of digital standards directing what and why content is added to a digital channel, or how often that content is reviewed and updated, it’s just a matter of time before redundant, outdated and trivial content (ROT) is being served up to its users.
- Redundant content can be multiple pages explaining the same topic or idea.
- Outdated is just that, content that is no longer in use or currently inaccurate.
- Trivial content is anything of no real value serving up little importance to the end user.
Larger websites can easily fall victim to one of these categories, causing challenges for companies striving to push out fresh content. The issues generated by ROT content include:
- Creating confusion for visitors with multiple versions of the same content, which can erode user confidence.
- Internal searches may not function properly, pulling multiple versions of the same content.
- Storing all of the content can be costly because web space is not cheap.
- The overall performance of a large website can be sluggish.
- Headaches when migrating to a new design or CMS.
How to Prevent/Remove ROT Content Redundant content can be fairly easy to spot, appearing as duplicates in search results or analytics. These duplicate pages can be deleted with redirects put in place, pointing to the correct location.
Outdated content such as news articles or blog posts can be archived at a specific date. This removes it from the navigation and internal search results. Content without a specific end date needs a little more attention. Establish a policy that implements a content review every few months or so depending on the type of content. This will force content producers to check the relevance of their work and update if needed.
Trivial content can be the hardest to deal with because, for some, it is a matter of opinion. There should be strategies in place that set standards for the overall focus of the content and its relevance to the user. Trivial content can be spotted via analytics – if a page is producing low numbers it should be put up for review.
Unless a digital presence is small enough to touch base on every piece of content regularly, strong policies should be in place allowing for effective planning and creation of useful/usable content. These policies will prevent ROT content and make life much easier in the future.