What happens when content on your site is outdated and no longer accurate or relevant to your users? As you can imagine, your pages will begin to rank lower if they do not comply with Google’s plan to provide high-quality content. It is Google’s mission to ensure that users are having a good experience in search results. This involves providing content that is useful or entertaining to users. There are many different strategies SEO specialists use to increase rankings in SERPs, from optimizing technical and off-page SEO to analyzing written content. I will specifically be discussing content pruning and how it is beneficial for your SEO.
What is Content Pruning?
For explaining what content pruning is, let’s first break the terms apart and analyze them separately. We know that content is the information on your website. Content is something that is to be expressed through some medium, which can be text, images, videos, info-graphics, and more. It is the information that you are providing the users on your website. Now, let’s talk about pruning. The term “pruning” is normally used in a different context. For example, in gardening, pruning is the process of trimming by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems for the purpose of increasing growth. When you put them together, “content pruning” means removing unwanted or under-performing content. It can also mean improving or updating content.
If some of your content is no longer accurate or relevant, you may want to consider updating the information within it or removing it completely. Content pruning is an effective strategy for maintaining or improving your rankings in search results.
Is Content Pruning Beneficial for My Site’s SEO?
Absolutely! As mentioned before, Google mainly wants to provide a positive experience for all search users. By maintaining relevant and pleasing information on your website, you are helping Google do that. The more relevant your content is, the better your chances are of ranking higher on search results. Now, let’s remember that there are many SEO ranking factors, and content alone cannot ensure that you outrank your competitors. There are many other factors that you should consider, such as mobile-friendliness, page speed and Accelerated Mobile Pages. More factors are discussed in a previous blog post discussing top ranking factors. If you haven’t had the chance to read some of the top SEO ranking factors, I suggest taking a look.
Content pruning is not the only thing to do to increase your rankings. However, it is an extra step in improving your SEO strategy. Part of having a website is maintaining it. In maintaining your site, you need to continuously update your content and ensure it stays relevant. That includes adding, updating, and removing content. This is especially important when you are providing information to users because the digital world is changing constantly.
Why You Should Care About Pruning Your Content
You want a high-quality website, and a big part of that is having high-quality content. Your content should contribute to your site’s overall quality and usefulness. Some primary reasons are listed below.
Improved link authority: Pruning content on your site that doesn’t have any value or is under-performing will improve your link authority. High authority links are from websites that have a higher degree of trust.
Better user experience: Content pruning will allow for better user experience because you will be ensuring your content is relevant and pleasing to your users. This is extremely important for search engines.
Optimized crawl budget: Your crawl budget is the number of pages Google will crawl on your site on any given day. This number can change daily, but optimizing your content will give you brownie points when Google is crawling certain pages on your site.
Better overall quality: By content pruning, you are increasing your site’s overall quality because the content within it is valuable.
It makes sense that cutting out under-performing content will help Google spend more time on your pages that are more important and valuable.
When Should You Be Pruning Your Content?
The answer is on an ongoing basis. This doesn’t mean that you should be scouring through your content 24/7, but you should be doing it continuously. You can pick a schedule that works for you, but it’s important to realize that it’s a never-ending process. It would be beneficial to be a part of your monthly to-do-list. It would be most beneficial to be content pruning regularly instead of doing one giant session every six months or year.
How to Start
Instead of going through an extremely detailed process of content pruning, I will discuss the primary steps that even a beginner can understand.
Content inventory: In the first step, you are making a complete list of all the content on your website. You should end up with a list of unique URLs.
Content audit: In the next step, you are analyzing the content and determining how well it is performing. In the content audit step, you should determine general performance, amount of links, outdated information, and more.
Deciding what to do with your content: In this final step, you are actually pruning your content. There are a lot more options than just deleting content. You can improve it, move it, or make it non-indexable. Some content can be easily optimized by doing some basic on-page SEO. This consists of headings and meta descriptions, adding recently developed information, or removing certain sections that are no longer relevant.
If you want to improve your site’s rankings, it’s important to know the basics of SEO and stay up-to-date on any changes with Google’s algorithm. One thing that will stay the same is Google wanting to provide a positive experience for all users. This is why there is a strong need for SEO and knowledge of ranking factors for search engines. Relevant content is and will always be a ranking factor for Google. In maintaining your website and the content within it, you may want to implement content pruning. By getting rid of outdated and irrelevant content, you are improving your site. By doing so, you are giving yourself an advantage and allowing search engines to value your content.