One of the things that I like to do for sites that I work upon is to create an SEO content inventory.
I find it helpful to have information all in one place about the content that might appear on different pages of a site, and it can be very useful as a planning tool. The idea isn’t new, and usability.gov has a nice description of why it can be helpful to conduct a content inventory on their pages from a design stance.
Jeffrey Veen also published a post a number of years ago about using a tool like this when he works on information architecture and design issues for clients, in Doing a Content Inventory (Or, A Mind-Numbingly Detailed Odyssey Through Your Web Site).
One of the differences between the approach that usability.gov and Jeffrey Veen use, and the one that I like to use is that I include more details involving search engine optimization. For instance, in my inventory, there’s a space for the “present” page title, meta description, and meta keywords, and “future” title, meta description, and meta keywords.
Please feel free to download the basic SEO content inventory at the end of this post, and edit and use it. It’s possible to also include information in the inventory such as where old pages might be redirected to if you’re planning on changing the URLs for pages and what kind of redirects you might use, such as a permanent (301) or temporary (302) redirects, as well as other information that may be relevant to the tasks you’re involved in on a site.
While creating an inventory for a very large site may be difficult, it’s possible to create separate content inventories for different sections of a site. I also include a space where the person or people responsible for specific pages are indicated.
Listing individual pages and information about them can be time consuming, but it can also be helpful from a planning perspective, especially when you want to make a number of changes to a site, or go through a redesign.
Download: seo-by-the-sea-content-inventory-template.xls (19K Excel file)