Qualitative or quantitative: which one do you need?

Qualitative content audits and quantitative content inventories are sometimes confused. Even worse, they're sometimes used synonymously

 Qualitative or quantitative: which one do you need?

Quantitative audits tell you what content you have, while qualitative audits tell you whether it’s any good. So which one suits your business?

Qualitative content audits and quantitative content inventories are sometimes confused. Even worse, they’re sometimes used synonymously. 

Understanding the differences between these two processes is key to getting their full benefits.

What’s a quantitative content inventory?

It’s a comprehensive, top-to-bottom record of all the content you own. 

The easiest way to do it is with an Excel spreadsheet – each URL on your site gets its own row and includes the most important page details. That might include the page type, subject matter and keywords.

Objectivity is the goal. You’re not judging the pages but trying to get a grasp of your current website.

Quantitative content inventories are designed for businesses looking for:

  • completeness and accuracy so that you can avoid repeating yourself with new content
  • easier to govern websites with a better knowledge of what you have
  • insight for future planning with a document that shows you what you’re missing

What’s a qualitative content inventory?

It’s a way of judging the quality of what you have.

Once you have a content inventory, it’s easier to see what areas of your site are lacking. Putting each page through an audit lets you rate it against a set of criteria.

You might ask: is this page easy to use? Are there clear calls to action? What is it doing to support my business goals?

This usually leads to another Excel document – this one including value judgments and stark page ratings.

Qualitative content audits are designed for businesses looking for:

  • ideas for improvements with underperforming pages singled out for attention
  • long-term strategy planning with a comprehensive analysis of your current content
  • less irrelevant and out-of-date content by finding pages that are no longer fit for purpose