What is ROT?
"R" is for Redundant
This is characterized by content that is verbose or unnecessarily repetitious in expressing ideas, thoughts, and concepts. An example of redundant content would be having four web pages, each linked or bread crumbed from four other web pages and all representing the same, similar or related content and information.
"O" is for Outdated
Includes content that is no longer in use, currently inaccurate, or otherwise antiquated. An example of outdated content might include several links to PowerPoint presentations that were part of a seminar for a regional conference dating back to 2004 — and it is a good bet that most of the content on those presentations is outdated and no longer relevant to contemporary standards or operations for the organization.
"T" is for Trivial
Any content that is of little importance or value, and is considered insignificant to the overall scheme or purpose doesn't help your website. An example of trivial content would include specific local city information for a conference or event which occurred several months or years ago and has no value today.
Why it's bad
The problems with ROT are numerous, including creating confusion for visitors and eroding user confidence with multiple versions or outdated content. It can cause problems with internal searches resulting in multiple results of the same content. Removing the ROT can improve performance and the total user experience, and helps simplify the effort when adopting a new web strategy,
Attacking the ROT
Analyze the content on your pages, keeping ROT in mind. Put yourself in visitors shoes (student, parent, etc.) and ask yourself if this information is useful to them? If it's not, it might be time to get rid of it or find an appropriate place for it.
Adapted from TechRepublic article Does Your Website ROT