The importance of content pruning for SEO: What it is and how to be successful

When it comes to SEO, putting out fresh and engaging content is one of the most beneficial things you can do to help your rankings and increase the organic traffic to your site that we all chase after. However, a lesser known, but just as important tactic is content pruning. Content pruning is essentially the process of taking a look at old content on your site and getting rid of low-performing or unoptimized content that may be weighing your site down in terms of search ability. This can be a tough process to undergo, but is well-worth the time spent for the health of your website. Continue reading for tips and best practices on how to use content pruning to your advantage.

Why Pruning Matters

Early in May of 2020, Google rolled out one of their famous core algorithm updates, causing search volume dips across a large number of industries. Recent updates put an emphasis on new, high-quality content that is useful for searchers. With the roll out of this new update, old and outdated content on your site may struggle to rank organically. Basically, you’ll now want to make sure that Google and other search engines only have access to content you’re proud to share with users, not to the outdated content no one really reads anymore. That’s where content pruning comes in.

How to Do It

Think of your site like a tree. Much like a tree, your website can be overgrown with content that is no longer serving its purpose, ultimately dragging down your site’s health as a whole. However, remember that you shouldn’t get rid of all of your older content. Useful articles or pages on your site that are frequented by users should be kept intact, content pruning only applies to those pages with stale or underperforming content. A well performing SEO strategy requires this regular upkeep to keep driving results.

Find Low Performers

Google analytics is a great tool and can give you a lot of insight into which pages of your site are doing well in terms of and which can be unpublished from your site. When getting your data together and making decisions, be sure to keep in mind what content metrics matter most to your business. Is it the total number of site sessions? The number of pages viewed? Repeat customers? Whichever it may be for your brand, use this info to get an idea of what can be unpublished.

Consider Timeliness

Timely articles are a great way to capture organic traffic, but once these articles reach their expiration date they usually aren’t useful to customers anymore. For example, if your site reviews movies and you posted a list of the 5 best movies to see in 2014, this content would be stale

Consolidate When It Makes Sense

In some cases, it may make more sense to edit down the copy of a blog or web page on your site, rather than scrap it completely. If you have large amounts of information on your site that’s more than a few years old, it’s likely there’s room to edit out some of the outdated info and replace it with newer, more relevant information instead.

Don’t Let Stale Content Hold You Back

Now is the time to step up your SEO game and evaluate what matters most to customers. In the midst of COVID-19, more people are online than ever before, so make sure you’re being seen. Producing new content is incredibly important right now, but don’t forget to take a look at the old content you have living on your site. With the recent core update to Google, it’s more important than ever.

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