How big is your union website in 2017?

by / Friday, 08 September 2017 / Published in Blog
Trade union

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:

No   Union 2017 2015 Change
1 (4) NAHT 67,800 40,400 68%
2 (2) Chartered Society of Physiotherapy 28,400 88,200 -68%
3 (6) PCS 16,700 27,000 -38%
4 (1) UNISON 15,800 96,800 -84%
5 (9) TSSA 14,100 14,800 -5%
6 (7) NUT 12,500 20,200 -38%
7 (20) FBU 10,900 4,650 134%
8 (16) Unite 10,800 7,140 51%
9 (8) UCU 9,520 20,100 -53%
10 (10) RCM 9,270 11,000 -16%
11 (18) ATL 8,810 5,450 62%
12 (3) Prospect 8,350 57,900 -86%
13 (15) Equity 8,270 7,600 9%
14 (5) PFA 7,830 32,400 -76%
15 (13) Society of Radiographers 7,590 9,770 -22%
16 (19) RMT 7,310 5,410 35%
17 (24) NUJ 5,850 3,710 58%
18 (17) POA 4,980 5,480 -9%
19 (21) BECTU 4,790 4,280 12%
20 (11) Nautilus 4,770 10,500 -55%
21 (14) NASUWT 4,690 7,970 -41%
22 (12) CWU 4,590 10,200 -55%
23 (23) EIS 3,870 4,190 -8%
24 (27) NUM 3,310 1,860 78%
25 (22) ASLEF 3,170 4,190 -24%
26 (36) BALPA 3,170 826 284%
27 (25) GMB 3,150 2,630 20%
28 (28) BDA 2,930 1,740 68%
29 (26) USDAW 2,870 2,030 41%
30 (29) FDA 1,920 1,510 27%
31 (34) British and Irish Orthoptic Society 1,730 961 80%
32 (32) Accord 1,480 1,160 28%
33 (37) NAPO 1,360 788 73%
34 (30) Musicians’ Union 1,200 1,330 -10%
35 (35) Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists 1,130 832 36%
36 (39) URTU 769 681 13%
37 (40) The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain 735 493 49%
38 (42) NGSU 618 421 47%
39 (43) Community 506 390 30%
40 (41) NACO 504 439 15%
41 (46) HCSA 436 120 263%
42 (38) UCAC 411 736 -44%
43 (33) BFAWU 292 1,020 -71%
44 (45) Aegis 212 127 67%
45 (48) AEP 128 76 68%
46 (44) NASS 104 276 -62%
47 (47) BSU 36 114 -68%
48 (49) Advance 26 33 -21%
49 (50) NACODS 6 20 -70%

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.

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.

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