At some point in our lives, we must modify or renew some things. The life of content experiences the same thing. When this happens, content pruning can save the day. People always focus on producing new material when discussing content and SEO. However, many people need to pay more attention to the effect that their website’s current content has on their website’s SEO performance.
The ideal content marketing approach isn’t always to keep your website updated with new information. You must ensure that every piece of content on your website is valuable to readers and of a high standard if you want to appear higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) and appeal to your desired target audience.
But how can you achieve that?
Doing frequent content audits, commonly referred to as “content pruning,” to update or delete low-quality information from your website. Pruning is how one takes care of plants and trees in a garden so as to maintain management, look, and health. It is an excellent example of how you might update the information on your website.
This article explains the steps in the process and when and why it’s crucial to support pruning over content creation.
Content pruning is the process of eliminating or deleting obsolete, low-quality, or irrelevant material from a website or other digital platform. It’s a lot like pruning a tree: by eliminating dead branches and leaves, you improve the health of the tree as a whole and ensure that all of its energy is directed towards the portions you want to grow.
The purpose of content pruning is to increase the overall quality and relevancy of the information on a website and to make sure that it is in line with the organization’s current goals and objectives.
To optimize a website’s content for search engines, enhance user experience, and boost engagement and conversions, content pruning is frequently employed as a component of a bigger content strategy. Information pruning may boost a website’s search engine results, clear up user clutter and confusion, and ultimately increase traffic and financial success for the company by deleting information that is no longer valuable or relevant.
Content pruning is more than just deleting old content. It’s a systematic process to clean up your existing content, reveal gaps, and set a direction for future content marketing. Content that no longer fulfills its original purpose or delivers value to its intended audience may be an excellent option for pruning.
In general, content pruning can be used for:
- Content that has become out-of-date or irrelevant as a result of advancements in technology, industry trends, or legal requirements should be updated or deleted.
- Content that does not generate traffic or engagement.
- Too similar content to pages on your website or other websites
- You might need to modify content that doesn’t fit your brand or your intended audience.
- Short, unclear, or lacking in information that readers can find useful.
Content pruning is a continuous activity. You could occasionally have to prune your material even if you don’t need considerable pruning (like with a first effort). The frequency with which you should prune your material depends on a variety of criteria, including the size of your website, the frequency with which you create content, and the field you work in.
Content pruning should be carried out at least once a year. The frequency of content pruning may need to be increased, for example quarterly or biannually, if you have a large website with a lot of information.
In order to prioritize which material needs to be pruned and how often, it is also a good idea to periodically examine your website data and user feedback to determine which content is no longer producing traffic or engagement.
There are a number of reasons why pruning should be done frequently:
- Because technology and standards evolve, you must maintain your material up to current.
- You should update your material to reflect the possibility that your target market and goods have changed.
All of your material has to be current, search engine optimized, and of a high standard if you want Google and other search engines to find it credible and interesting. You may use content pruning to determine which parts are preventing you, which sites you can merge, and what material is lacking in order to perform better.
Content pruning benefits SEO by allowing Google crawlers and other search engine algorithms to see your finest and most relevant material. Filling your website with all of your material will only confuse search engines and leave your content struggling for dominance amid a sea of rivals. Here are some reasons why content pruning is important:
- Content decay is the natural process through which older pieces of material become less accurate or relevant over time. Your reputation will suffer, your audience will get impatient, and your page rankings will suffer.
- Customers may become dissatisfied and quit a website if they see a lot of out-of-date or irrelevant stuff there. By eliminating this material, the website is made more streamlined and user-friendly, which improves the user experience overall.
- Search engines like new and relevant material. A website’s search engine rankings can be improved by deleting low-quality or obsolete information. As a result, relevant SERPs often give the greatest ranking to high-quality material that fits the search intent.
- It might take a lot of effort and money to maintain and update outdated or useless material. Businesses may use their time and money more effectively by updating or eliminating such content, which will increase traffic and conversions.
We now understand what content pruning is and why it may be really useful and effective for SEO. Here’s how you can go about performing content pruning.
Making a list of your material is the first step. To do this, create a comprehensive list of all of your current material, including textual content, photographs, files, and video content. Find out how well each page of your website is performing by starting with some research. You’ll be able to assess each page’s worth in this way.
Select the metrics you wish to monitor in your inventory spreadsheet. Metrics should be based on your success criteria and content marketing goals. For each page or article in your spreadsheet, you should add the following fundamental categories:
- The page or Article Title
- First publication date
- Revision date
- An indicator of how much traffic your material receives, such as the number of page sessions over a given period of time
After sorting your information, you should have a well-organized spreadsheet with distinctive URLs that Google has already indexed. In the following step, add three additional columns to complete the following:
- Your page objectives
- Your desired target keywords and search terms
- The target audience for the content
The pages that are performing poorly might be found during your audit. In this manner, you may select the elements that will improve your website and determine what should be eliminated. Use a web analytics tool to evaluate the overall effectiveness of each piece of content over the last 12 months and provide reports that may be used for SEO.
Analyze important metrics like:
- Amount of traffic produced
- The quantity of qualifying leads acquired and conversions
- Internal links count
- The number of outbound connections
- Bouncing rate
- Social performance, such as stock prices
It will then be obvious which content has to be completely removed and which may be updated and enhanced.
After you’ve completed your audit and ranked each piece of information, it’s time to decide on a course of action. Whether to prune or improve. It might be difficult to decide whether to remove a piece of content entirely. When in doubt, think about these criteria for waste-worthy material.
Content should be placed in the compost pile if:
- fails to attract customers
- contains very few connections
- performs badly in social media
- has an excessive amount of obsolete information
- has little content
- consumes other content
Keep in mind that not everything will end up in the trash. Even if a piece of material commits some of these sins, it can still be saved. There are several methods to enhance and reuse material to start seeing improvements in performance.
4. Improving the Content
Not all of your material needs to be trashed; you might be able to polish it up with some simple on-page SEO techniques like updating the title, meta description, and/or headers, adding a few parts around current advancements, and deleting out-of-date portions.
5. Content Trimming, Upgrading, and Relocation
Also, information may be reused by being edited, updated, and placed elsewhere, like a FAQ section. In addition, you may combine material related to a particular topic into a single, strong page rather than multiple, weaker ones.
If the material is out of date but still valuable, make sure to include a notice that it could contain out-of-date information and explicitly state when it was last updated. Link to more recent materials if you have any available.
6. Creating Non-indexable Content
Content can occasionally be beneficial to visitors but useless to search engines. Consider blog tags: when utilised appropriately, they offer a helpful method of browsing a website, but the pages themselves are of no benefit from an SEO perspective.
Pages and PDF files with identical content are sometimes also found; in this instance, you can opt to canonicalize the PDF file to the page using a canonical HTTP header.
7. A Word on Content Removal
Don’t remove the content carelessly as your organic traffic may still suffer. Don’t delete everything at once, just like when disavowing links. Make the process tiered, concentrating initially on the material that is doing the poorest. Then, before proceeding with the pruning, wait a few weeks to observe what occurs.
Don’t just leave when pruning is done. Understanding how pruning may affect your company is crucial. This will enable you to improve the pruning procedure going forward and create a content library that is user and search engine-friendly. You can use SEO tools like Ubersuggest, WooRank, KWFinder, Semrush, Moz, Google Search Console, and Ahrefs.
If you get good results, go on to the following set of articles on your priority list. Changes should be made, then published before moving on. But if your SEO performance doesn’t improve, you might want to change your pruning criteria.
Content pruning is just one aspect of a full digital marketing plan. The quality of your material is more important than the quantity when it comes to content marketing. Both your website’s search engine rankings and traffic will be harmed by low-quality content.
Removing information that comprises a significant portion of your team’s labour may appear to be a terrible choice.
By analysing and optimising your website’s content on a regular basis, you can guarantee that your website stays current, interesting, and competitive in the ever-changing online world. With a well-executed content pruning plan, you can generate more focused visitors to your website, increase your search engine rankings and eventually fulfill your business objectives.
Shahid Shahmiri is a digital marketer who helps online businesses grow with smart marketing tactics to improve sales and leads. He is passionate and driven to grow businesses online and is responsible for analyzing marketing, SEO, growth and managing promotional and media channels.