Content pruning is a technique regarding removing obsolete content / content with a low performance from a page to improve overall SEO performance. If you have a website with a blog page in it, then content pruning is the SEO strategy you should do.
Adding and posting the latest content on web pages regularly will indeed have a positive effect on your website's performance on search engine pages. But you have to remember, that over time there will be some articles on your website that can become outdated and irrelevant to current conditions.
On the other hand, Google, as the largest search engine, will continue to prioritize useful content for users. Old content that is out of date and that you leave on the web can have a bad influence on web pages, resulting in a decrease in ranking on search engine pages. That is why you need to do content pruning to ensure that all content provided on web pages is of good quality. If you are still unfamiliar with this content pruning technique, here is an explanation.
What is Content Pruning?
Content pruning is an SEO technique that involves removing outdated content or low-performing content from website pages to improve overall SEO performance. You should know that the concept of content pruning is quite the same as pruning trees. By regularly pruning dead branches or leaves, you will stimulate the growth of new branches that are much healthier and still productive. The same as trimming the content that has been done in the content pruning technique. By trimming the weight of content that doesn't work anymore, the website can get much better performance.
When you plan to trim outdated content, you should note that not all old content is bad for your website. When the content is relevant enough and can still bring in a lot of traffic, then you can maintain the article. Some types of content that are generally trimmed include:
- Content with outdated information
- Pages that are no longer getting traffic or engagement
- Pages with duplicate content
- Thin content or content that is not useful for users
Why is Content Pruning Important to Do?
There are several reasons why you should regularly trim content. Here are some of them:
1. Improving website quality
Google always values quality content. Therefore, content pruning must be done to remove old content that is obsolete, irrelevant, and has no value anymore. The pruning eliminates the risk of users landing on low-quality pages that could leave a negative impression on your company. Removing even poor quality website content can make Google judge that your website is of good quality so that it has a positive effect on web rankings in search engines.
2. Improve the user experience
One of the main reasons why it is necessary to cut content is to create a better user experience. By regularly trimming obsolete content, you can direct users to be able to access the latest and most accurate information. This can help you when creating a better user experience because the content provided is in accordance with the needs of users.
3. Use a better crawl budget
Every day, Google bots can only crawl a certain number of pages on your website (Crawl Budget). By removing “dead weight”, you can help Google bots index more quality content and have a positive effect on your website's SEO performance.
How Often Should Content Pruning Be Done?
Content pruning is important to do regularly because it can encourage you to do more in-depth analysis and audits. From the results of this analysis, you will get a variety of interesting and useful insights for content marketing on your web pages. Some of the information that you will get such as:
- Get information about any content that is in accordance with your target audience.
- You can understand the type of content that has value for users.
- Knowing the type of content that users are interested in.
Content pruning should be carried out regularly and continuously by all websites, whether on a large or small scale website. How often trimming should be done depends on the amount of content you have.
Some experts recommend that you trim every 6 months for websites that have around 1000 pages. While larger webs can do the pruning every 3 months. Of course, you can adapt these suggestions to suit your website's current needs.
How to Do Content Pruning?
1. Content inventory and audit
The first thing you have to do is make a list of website content. The list must contain complete information such as a URL link, publication date, and the name of the article author. After that, identify again what the purpose of the content is. Is it driving traffic on service pages? or to inform the company's products? This information is a must for you to find out because you will need it when deciding whether to trim or just fix content.
The next step, use SEO tools, namely Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or other tools to audit content performance over the last 12 months. By using these tools, collect important data related to content performance such as:
- How many visits and overall conversions from organic search
- Total click-through rate from social media
- The number of quality backlinks that have been obtained
- Content duplication, etc
Apart from that, you can also check whether the content uses a low word count and contains irrelevant information. After you get these data, you can identify which content or articles have low performance.
2. Determine the value limit for trimming
After getting a list of content with sufficiently complete information, the next step is to choose which content needs to be trimmed. One of the easiest ways to determine this is to create a standardized score as a threshold value. So, when there is content that performs below that score, you can decide to delete or improve that content.
For example, when the goal of creating content is to drive traffic to a service page, you can see what the overall click-through rate (CTR) is. If the average of all content has a click-through rate of 3%, then you can make a standard score of 2.5% or lower. You should note that for this initial stage of content pruning you should not be too strict when trimming.
3. Make a decision to trim or improve content
You have two options that you can apply to old content, namely trimming or fixing it. For example, suppose you have an article with a CTR performance below the standard score of 2%. To determine whether the article needs to be trimmed or corrected, you must re-analyze other data that you have collected, such as the number of words used, completeness of content information, and so on. On this data you will get insights that can provide an explanation why the article cannot perform well.
If the results of the analysis show that the article is still relevant and can still be saved, then you can save the content. Improve the quality of the content so that the performance gets better. But if it is known that the content cannot be saved, then it doesn't matter if you really need to delete it from the website page.
4. Evaluate the results of content pruning
Like any other SEO strategy, you must track the results of content pruning that you have done before.
You can evaluate web performance based on the same metrics you use when pruning content. If you measure by CTR in choosing content to trim, then look again to see if there is a change in the average CTR score after the crop is done.
In addition, one of the main goals of content pruning is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). So, take another look at your overall web traffic, ranking, and conversion metrics.
Google always wants to provide the best for its users. Therefore, Google always prioritizes websites that have quality and useful content for users when ranking on search engine pages.
So, this content pruning can be one of the SEO strategies that you have to do so that your website gets better visibility on search engine pages. On the other hand, you also have to always provide new content on your web pages. Apart from that, so that the website can be ranked highest, you also need to implement various other SEO strategies, starting from on page SEO, off page SEO, and technical SEO.