Is your digital estate’s content still relevant?

Horizontal bar chart showing the number of pages of website content by year

Website content aging analysis can identify when updates are needed

Let’s say you’ve mapped, surveyed or otherwise audited your digital estate and you now actually know how many hundreds or thousands of websites you own.

That represents a lot of content, but how much of it is still relevant?

On April 6th 2021, a snapshot of the online news section of The New York Times, showed it had 5,177 content items. 4,909 (94.8%) of those items had been updated that day. 258 (4.9%) of them had been last updated the day before and 10 items were actually two days old. As a news site, we should expect timely and frequent content updates as The New York Times works to publish content to meet its audiences’ needs.

In contrast, the content aging analysis chart, shown above, plots the age distribution of content on a global corporation’s main corporate website. In fact, the main corporate website is just one of over 1,500 distinct sites in this company’s digital estate.

A 6th April 2021 snapshot of the corporate website showed it to have 2,354 content items. The majority (94.6%) had been updated within the past 28 months. About 1 in 20 (5.4%) of the content items was over three years old.

From examining many websites on many digital estates we can confirm this website’s content is, in fact, reasonably current. And, clearly intended to meet a different need from news stories at the NY Times. Given two audiences the corporate site is intended to serve (journalists and investors) we can speculate the content age distribution likely reflects historical press and financial updates.

But, as we examined other sites in the company’s digital estate the content age profiles changed. Increasing proportions of content were older than 3 years and a lower proportion of content had been added in the past 12 months.

That pattern is concerning as ongoing user and audience needs may not be as well fulfilled as they encounter increasingly out of date content. And, in turn, raises the question, how do you know if the content across your digital estate is still relevant to your audiences?