Category Digital Marketing
Publication date
19 March 2024

A ROT content analysis has so many benefits. Here's how to get started

Time to read 7 minutes read

A comprehensive ROT content analysis can help you identify problematic areas and implement effective strategies to keep your digital platforms relevant and reliable. 

In today's digital world, where information is abundant and constantly evolving, maintaining a consistent digital presence has become paramount. But maximising the effectiveness of your organisation's content comes with significant challenges: 

  1. Content teams can be small and often under time pressure. This can lead to content being published,  promoted on social media and then promptly forgotten about. 
  2. Data collected from the different analytics tools can be difficult to understand. It can be challenging knowing which reports and metrics to pay attention to. 
  3. As a result, content strategies are not always being fuelled by data-driven decisions and instead are based on what organisations think they should be writing. 

What is ROT?

All of the above can lead to content ROT– an acronym for Redundant, Outdated and Trivial.

Redundant: Duplicate content or data, either stored internally or published externally 

Obsolete: Content or data that is no longer accurate or useful to the end user 

Trivial: Information that is not valuable or necessary to store 

Examples of ROTted content include: 

  • Content with outdated or inaccurate information 
  • Broken links or incorrect contact details on pages 
  • Outdated or duplicate (potentially conflicting) data that is no longer needed

Why do you need a ROT content analysis?

Content ROT can hamper an organisation’s online presence in numerous ways. Redundant content confuses visitors, while outdated information leads to misinformation, and trivial content dilutes the overall message. 

Duplicated and inaccurate content can also frustrate users and erode trust in both the content and the organisation. 

A comprehensive ROT content analysis will help to identify problematic areas and implement effective strategies to keep digital platforms relevant and reliable. And it has many other benefits too:

Benefits of a ROT content analysis

By eliminating ROTted content, organisations can reduce confusion and enhance user experience across their digital platforms. Information that is easily accessible and meaningful will foster trust and positively impact public engagement. 

ROT-free content ensures that search engines prioritise an organisation’s web pages, enabling greater visibility and attracting relevant traffic. By staying current and relevant, organisations can strengthen their organic search rankings. 

A ROT content analysis provides an opportunity to audit and streamline content creation, organisation, and maintenance processes. Clear guidelines and content governance allow organisations to allocate resources efficiently and maintain a consistent standard of quality.

Performing a ROT content analysis 

Here are the key steps involved in a ROT content analysis: 

  1. Identify the stakeholders

    Often there are multiple content stakeholders and subject matter experts who have a say in the content being published. We like to identify these stakeholders early on in the process, and explain the goals of the analysis and how it works. We’ve found that getting them on board can be a game-changer.

  2. Identify the content in scope

    Your organisation will most likely have a wide range of content sources across both internal and external websites, social media, and other digital platforms. It helps to begin by defining the scope of your ROT analysis, e.g. one specific website or even one site section such as blogs. From experience, we know that breaking a huge project into sections makes it seem less daunting.

  3. Analyse your data 

    Analytics tools are invaluable and allow you to identify low-performing pages and other areas of concern so you can optimise the content (and ditch the content that isn't really working for the users).

  4. Put an audit management tool in place

    You will need a way to monitor and track your progress through the content items, as well as recording the actions that are required. We recommend using a project management tool for this, or even just a spreadsheet. 

  5. Define your ROT criteria

    Establish criteria for redundancy, outdatedness and triviality specific to your organisation’s context. We consider things like content validity, timeliness, and its relevance to visitors. Some content may not appear to be valuable to users, but is important to the organisation. We aim to strike a balance between historical preservation and information value.

  6. Analyse existing content

    Review each piece of content against the established ROT criteria. Identify redundant and outdated information, as well as trivial content that offers negligible value. We find it helps to document the findings and categorise content for further action. 

  7. Execute content strategy

    Develop a comprehensive content strategy to address the ROT content you have identified. We recommend prioritising any urgent updates, archiving historical content, and establishing an ongoing content governance process. 

  8. Regularly review 

    Update your content to sustain its accuracy and utility. Regular reviews may seem like a lot of effort, especially after you've just completed a ROT analysis, but it will ensure your content is hitting the right notes. We find it helpful to schedule reviews by adding them to our calendars so things don't slip.

Avoid content ROT in the future 

Establish content governance 

It’s important to implement clear guidelines, accountability, and training for content authors and contributors. We do this to ensure that new content is created with purpose, relevancy and longevity in mind. 

Publish brand and style guidelines

These guidelines will help the organisation maintain consistency in style and tone of voice when publishing new content. This is really beneficial when there is a large number of people who manage the content, or when people come in periodically to help out or contribute. We recommend including this as part of the content governance step above, so that the branding and style guidelines are available from the beginning.

Set review dates

On each item of content set a review date so you can easily identify content that needs to be revisited to ensure continuing accuracy and relevance. As mentioned previously, we like to combine this with automated reminders so we don’t miss any dates. 

Regular audits and refreshers

Implement periodic ROT content analysis to prevent accumulation of redundant, outdated, and trivial information. It builds up quicker than you think. Regular audits will keep the website fresh and ensure it changes organically as the organisation changes too.

Engage with your audience

Encourage feedback and engagement from your users to identify areas that require attention or content updates. We try to stay vigilant about emerging trends and evolving information needs to keep content fresh. 

Evergreen content

Emphasise the creation and maintenance of evergreen content. This is content that has regular visitors to it, well beyond its original publication date. We recommend  checking in on this content regularly to ensure the content is still accurate.


Conducting a ROT content analysis is an invaluable exercise, and should be undertaken regularly. Not only will it enhance the user experience of your website, but it will strengthen search engine optimisation and streamline information management.

When last did you conduct a content ROT analysis?

Don't put it off – the benefits are well worth it. If you'd like us to guide you through the process, drop us a line.

Profile picture for user Alison Visser

Alison Visser Head of Content

After more than two decades in journalism, Alison now collaborates with Annertech's clients to ensure that their content is the best it possibly can be.