ROT: The Low-Hanging Fruit of Content Analysis

Low-hanging papayas

Papayas have a shelf life. So does most web content. Start picking before they rot.

Content analysis is an essential part of creating and sustaining effective web content. How do you know if your content is any good if you don’t analyze it? Yet the process quickly becomes complex as you evaluate content against branding, usefulness, relevance, usability, voice and tone, format, search engine optimization, delivery channel and many other criteria. Let’s face it, quality content takes work.

However, many content problems are obvious and simply overlooked because web content owners don’t take the time to find them. While content owners may not be looking at their bad content, you can be sure web visitors are.

A great method for finding content problems is identifying ROT (Redundant, Outdated, Trivial) content. Like food in your fridge, most content has a shelf life or is spoiled by new content that overlaps or contradicts it. Other content is simply not useful. Reviewing your website for ROT content is an excellent early step toward sustaining fresh, quality content that doesn’t disappoint users and leave a bad taste in their mouth.

A ROT content audit

Identifying ROT content is a precursor to a comprehensive content analysis. It can be addressed during a content audit and helps spot obvious content problems. Along with identifying page titles, links, document types, keywords and other facts about your web pages, add a column for ROT in your content audit spreadsheet. List here redundant, outdated and trivial content that should be updated or removed. ROT content can include:

  • Outdated news or events that are represented as new
  • Welcome or overview pages that repeat content on lower-level pages
  • Useless information and unrelated links
  • Broken links or missing content
  • Mislabeled headers and page titles
  • Missing or duplicate meta page descriptions and keywords
  • Outdated contact information

Many ROT content problems can be resolved easily, including broken links and missing and incorrect information, while other insights may identify a need for a comprehensive content analysis that addresses problems related to the value and efficacy of your content. In Content Analysis: A Practical Approach, Colleen Jones states:

For me, a ROT analysis is just the beginning. While it tells you what content is stale or woefully unimportant, it does not tell you what content is mediocre, inappropriate, inconsistent, or off brand.

Content problems or content symptoms?

ROT content is common but not coincidental. Without a content governance plan, content problems will persist. As described on the WelchmanPierpoint blog,

ROT is never a problem on it’s own; it is always symptomatic of a greater problem. Chances are, if you start to inventory all of the bad content on your site, you will start to notice patterns.

So, while a ROT content audit is a useful exercise to identify poor quality content, it often raises larger content problems to the surface. But this is a good thing—it provides fodder to justify a comprehensive content strategy, which is needed to solve these systemic content problems. Pretty sweet, right?

To learn more, check out content audits and analysis in Our Library for great resources on these topics.

What types of ROT content commonly appear on your college website? What hurdles do you face when tackling them?

  • RSS
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
About Rick Allen

Rick Allen has worked in higher education for over twelve years, helping to shape web communications and content strategy. As principal of ePublish Media, Inc, a web publishing and content strategy consultancy in Boston, Mass., Rick works with knowledge-centric organizations to create and sustain effective web content. Keep going »


  1. Thanks for sharing this

  2. 精准医疗又叫个性化医疗,是指以个人基因组信息为基础,结合蛋白质组,代谢组等相关内环境信息,为病人量身设计出最佳治疗方案,以期达到治疗效果最大化和副作用最小化的一门定制医疗模式。因此相较传统医疗,精准医疗具有针对性、高效性及预防性等特征。





    精准医疗要做到个性、高效及预防的关键在于筛查和诊断,因此基因测序等检测诊断技术的发展是关键。成本的下降让基因测序商业化市场的打开成为可能,基因测序技术的成熟和商用经过了多年的发展,1980 年自动测序仪出现,2001 年完成了人类基因组框架图标志着这一技术的成熟,2007 年二代基因测序技术大幅降低测序成本,使得这一技术应用出现可能,以走在前列的Illumina 公司为例,该公司自2007 年起把当时每个基因组的测序成本费用从1000万美元降到了当下的1000 美元, 根据Illumina 公司数据,全球NGS(二代基因测序)的应用市场规模预计为200 亿美元,药品研发和临床应用是增速最快的领域,增速超过15%,肿瘤诊断和个性化用药是最有应用前景的领域,市场规模120亿美元。乐土投资与Illumina以及新一代的基因检测公司Genalyte, Centrillion都有着合作关系。


    全球创新论坛纽约峰会由全美华人金融协会(The Chinese Finance Association, TCFA) 主办。全美华人金融协会于一九九四年在美国成立。分布在世界各地的会员来自华尔街投行、基金、监管部门、和学术界,已成为联系中美金融界最重要的桥梁之一。协会定期举行学术年会。协会本部设在纽约,并在波士顿,华盛顿,旧金山,伦敦,香港,北京和上海等金融中心设有分会。


What do you think?