Content Inventory

Activity Time
2–4 hours (Does not include the time it will take to crawl the site, which varies widely based on site size)
Materials
Spreadsheet, Access to Screaming Frog (or other SEO Spider)
Participants
1 Internal Team Project Member (1) + 1 Client Representative (in case crawl data is unreliable and you need to get content exported from a database)

What a content inventory helps you accomplish:

  • Better understand the amount of content you are working with
  • Better understand the different types of content you are working with
  • Sets you up for the next step of doing a content audit

Instructions

  1. Crawl the site.
    Run a site crawl to get a full list of pages on the site. (We like to use Screaming Frog SEO Spider). This will let you know just how much existing content there is to work with, which is often not possible to fully grasp just by clicking around the website. This will also give you a good idea of the content’s metadata presence. Sometimes it is not possible to crawl all pages of a site due to a technical issue or some other barrier. In those cases, work with the client’s editorial and technical team to figure out the best way to get you an exported spreadsheet of all site/product content.In the rare cases when you are working with a site that has 100 pages or fewer, it is possible to do a manual inventory, where you go through each page of the site and capture each item manually in a spreadsheet. This is a very time-consuming process and does not guarantee you will capture all site pages, however, this method allows you to get much more familiar with the content you’re working with and the structure of the site in general, which can be helpful when embarking on the next step of this process: auditing your content.
  2. Review the content inventory.
    If there is a large amount of content, experiment with different ways of segmenting the content. Common ways of segmenting include by content type, by traffic amount, or by date. As part of a standard site crawl, you will typically capture the following basic information about your content: page title, meta description, and URL.
  3. Crunch the numbers.
    How many pages do you have in total? How many of those are article pages? Landing pages? How many videos do you have? What about images? Wait, how many PDFs did you find?!
  4. Identify the content you want to audit further.
    If you are going to go beyond a basic inventory, identify the content that you want to audit more deeply. You might choose to audit a representative sample of content across the site, or you might choose to audit everything in one section of the site. The content you choose to audit will depend on the goals of the audit which are influenced by business priorities.
  5. Report back your findings.
    If this content inventory is your last step and you won’t be auditing content any further, create a brief document that summarizes the content inventory data for your client. If you will be doing a more thorough examination of your content for quality purposes, then, still capture your content inventory data findings, and then head on over to the content audit tool for next steps.