How big is your union website in 2017?
A couple of years ago, I looked at the sizes of the websites of all the TUC affiliated unions, to see how they compared. I’ve found myself coming back to this analysis quite often. Various unions have wanted an idea of how large their website is compared to others, or have wanted to judge how their website has changed since a redesign.
As a result, I thought it would be useful to update these metrics. For the sake of this comparison, only pages publically indexed in Google are included. It is impossible to include members’ only pages, so please be aware of this limitation.
Also, some pages may be omitted from Google, for example, pages that allow navigation through listings. A correctly configured site will allow search engines to search through these, but will use metadata to tell search engines not to index them.
To generate the figures published below, I’ve used the “site:” search command in Google, for example, site:infobo.com. The results show approximately how many pages are indexed on the domain. If a union uses subdomains, such as library.infobo.com, then these will be included as well.
The table below shows the results, and the change in website size over the last two years:
|2 (2)||Chartered Society of Physiotherapy||28,400||88,200||-68%|
|15 (13)||Society of Radiographers||7,590||9,770||-22%|
|31 (34)||British and Irish Orthoptic Society||1,730||961||80%|
|34 (30)||Musicians’ Union||1,200||1,330||-10%|
|35 (35)||Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists||1,130||832||36%|
|37 (40)||The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain||735||493||49%|
Source: Google, August 2017
The union website with the most pages indexed in Google belongs to the NAHT, with 67,800. This is followed by the CSP with 28,400, and PCS with 16,700. UNISON previously topped the metrics in 2015 with 96,800, but now come in fourth with a much reduced 15,800.
Reduction in site size
It’s interesting to see that, overall, there has been significant reduction in the number of pages for many of the previously largest sites. 23 of the 49 websites have actually shrunk in the past two years.
Unions have a duty to provide a lot of good quality online content, to inform their members, and to influence the public and decision-makers. However, having the largest website isn’t always a positive.
If a site has a lot of content, it could be a signal that out-of-date material exists on the site. Out-of-date content might impact the effectiveness of the site’s navigation and search systems.
High page counts could also indicate that the site is badly configured for search engines, and that pages that should not be indexed in search engines, such as duplicate content or pagination, are appearing in search results. This is usually to the detriment of the site’s effectiveness.
For example, I recently led the redesign of Prospect’s new website and information architecture. Previously this site had about 58,000 pages indexed. Using some analysis tools, I discovered issues around duplicate content and URL structures.
Addressing this, combined with preening some older content, led to a reduction in page count to 8,350 pages. That’s about 49,650 fewer pages being indexed by Google.
This in turn has helped the site’s search engine performance. Having a lot of content isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
As long as the site is configured correctly for effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and the main hierarchical content areas are organised well, an effective archive of relevant content, such as old news stories, can continue to pull in visitors and provide a useful resources to both the union and the general public.