Content Pruning to Improve SEO: What Is It and How Does It Help?
Updated on November 5th, 2020
Content Pruning to Improve SEO
Does your site have web pages that aren’t getting any visits?
Having a massive archive of content on your website or blog is great. But you need to look beyond just the number of posts on your website.
As a marketer, your website needs to have content that offers value to the readers, drives traffic to the site, and helps you rank better.
That doesn’t happen by accident.
For this, you need to regularly update the content on your site. This strategy can also help you improve your chances to rank higher on Google.
In fact, this is what content pruning entails. In this post, let’s take a look at this strategy, in detail.
What Is Content Pruning and Why Is It Necessary to Improve SEO?
Content pruning refers to the process of removing or updating any obsolete or low-performing content pieces from your website.
Think of it as a filtering process to make sure your site has content that adds value. While content pruning, it is a good idea to remove or update the following types of posts:
- Outdated articles
- Poorly optimised pages
- Duplicate content
- Unpopular content
Now that you know what content pruning is about, let’s try to understand why it is important. A link building guide written in the year 2010 would lack timely value or be obsolete in 2020. That’s because the rules of the SEO world have changed completely.
With content pruning, you can rewrite, reorganise, optimise, and restructure your content so that it becomes more relevant.
What’s more, content pruning can also improve your SEO efforts.
Think about it this way:
The diseased or dead branches on a tree can spread diseases or become a breeding ground for insects. To keep the tree healthy, it’s important to diligently remove these parts.
Low-quality content acts similarly.
If it’s not ranking for any keywords, bringing in traffic, or offering value, it negatively impacts your SEO efforts.
When you prune your content, you get rid of the low-performing pages or upgrade them. This way, you can keep your site full of fresh, updated content.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Effective Content Pruning
It may be tempting to assume that any content older than five years old needs pruning. But removing all content without a proper inspection may affect your traffic and visibility.
For instance, if you make major changes to an evergreen content piece that is still engaging readers, you may lose your ranking.
So, how can you prune content effectively? Here is a quick guide to get you started:
1. Conduct a Content Audit
Auditing your content can enable you to make informed decisions about which posts need to be upgraded or removed.
So how should you prune?
Start by gathering performance metrics from your Google Search Console and Google Analytics page.
You can also use a tool like Finteza if you want a more advanced alternative to analytics from Google. This tool offers metrics that showcase the quality of your pages while also giving you real-time traffic.
Keep an eye on the following metrics to find content pieces worth pruning:
- Keyword ranking positions
- Organic traffic
- Time on page
- Social engagement
- Average click-through-rate
- Bounce rate
You can also look at the number of referring domains, dofollow links, and nofollow links to gauge which content pieces are worth pruning. The ones that do not contribute to your success are the ones that will hurt your rankings.
Any of the pages that have low conversion rates, high bounce rates, and poor authority are worth changing up.
2. Take Action on Underperforming Content
Once you have a list of pages that perform poorly, decide what action to take for each. For example, you may want to rewrite the entire post if is it not relevant anymore.
However, some content pieces may be ready for publication again with some optimisation. Here are some ways in which you can optimise your old content:
Optimising can involve different actions, including:
- Conduct keyword research again on the same topic
- Make your content more readable
- Add latest statistics
- Add or edit content based on user intent
- Update visuals
- Fix broken links
Once your article is upgraded, you can link it to your well-performing articles to drive traffic. If you have content written that is very similar to other content pieces, you can also choose to combine them.
That way, the articles stop competing for attention in terms of rankings and authority.
Through the content audit, you can also find out if your audience engages or prefers short or in-depth articles. If short-form content receives a lot of engagement, repurpose long-form content into easy to digest formats.
However, if long-form content brings you more engagement, combine short pieces of content into one in-depth article.
Prevent Indexing on Google
This action is for those who have stale content or low performing content on their website. To prevent such content from getting indexed on Google, you can add a no-index tag in the code. Alternatively, you can also edit your robot.texts files to tell search engines which pages they can or can not crawl.
Sometimes, due to the publishing schedule, some articles do not get enough exposure before a new article pushes them down the list. Even an engaging content piece may fail to attract clicks if it isn’t shared well.
In this case, you can move this content to more prominent positions like on a dedicated landing page. This can ensure that such content pieces get good visibility.
3. Start a Content Pruning Culture
Nurture a culture where your team members are more mindful of the kind of content published. Carry out several checks before it goes live to ensure you always have valuable, fresh, and informative content.
Before a post is published, ensure that it is tailored to your audience’s standards and needs. It should answer prospective customers’ questions, nurture leads to conversion, and continue meeting their needs even after purchase.
Keep in mind that good content is thoroughly researched and offers valuable insights. To boost the quality of the content you publish, hire writers and editors who understand your brand’s voice, tone, and messaging.
Make sure they can write high-quality content or even upgrade existing content to meet your quality standards.
By making content pruning part of your content strategy, you can make sure that all of your content assets offer value.
4. Track Results
Content pruning is a constant job. You can’t go on a pruning spree for a month and then just forget about it.
It’s a constant process that requires your time and effort. Make it a point to keep track of key metrics continually. If you want to stay on top of your game, you need to be on your toes all the time.
Ready to Use Content Pruning to Improve Your SEO?
As you can see, content pruning is more than deleting old content. It’s a strategy to help you make content decisions that improve your SEO performance.
Ultimately, it offers incredible insights into how you can continuously provide value to your users. It also ensures you have a site that can rank well on Google.
Do you need any help pruning your content for better SEO results? Let us know in the comment section, and we can help you out.
About Dawn Bowman
In her spare time, she writes short stories and song lyrics.