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What Shall I Do With My Least Viewed Pages?

Should I tweak them, ammend content, or leave them be?

     
2:08 am on Dec 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Looking through my stats, I decided to have a look at my least visited pages. Some of these have been visited once in a month (as opposed to thousands for my more popular pages).

Some are from old news pages, so probably deserve to be left in the wilderness. But some others are from articles which still contain useful information.

Part of me wants to leave them well alone, whilst another part wonders if a few on-page tweaks and a couple of incoming links from other relevant parts of the site might be worth it?

Any thoughts?
5:53 am on Dec 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Great idea! You make me think of things I should try, and the things that come to mind are...

How about a rotating block on the front page that cycles through them and has links to some of those pages with "classics from the archives" or some such title. Play with headlines and if any of them get any traction that way.

Also, do you have any stats on how people get there (direct link from inside/outside, keywords). Even at one page view per month, if they're old, they must have at least 20 page views. If you look at how people got there, can you figure out if they're finding what they were looking for and tweak the headlines to match better?
7:16 am on Dec 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Heh. I'm not sure any of them are 'classics', but I like the idea of a featured link from the home page in some format. I might try and think of a theme. Perhaps on a per subject basis?

My only concern was whether to actually tweak 'on-page' content or not for these articles...
2:54 pm on Dec 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Depends on your content.

Sometimes we look for old, "expired" news and find out everything is gone. Perhaps there are few visits for that vanish (or soon to vanish) content but very often the urgency for that content is dramatically high. Once again it depends on your content.

Consider recycling your content. If its old news you could create new pages based on "5 years ago" or some analysis on patterns. Or just "The top 5 widgets advancements of the last 10 years". I did something like that on a crucial date for one of my webs.

This way you will be creating one new page of content based on your old content making it useful. To avoid "just mixing old stuff" add something of value like "who would have guessed...." or "remember the noise we made out of the super widget last year? its dead".

And why not a end of year memory? even radios do that putting old songs from past years. A local radio on their 30th anniversary made each day of december match each of their 30 last years.

Good luck.
9:56 am on Dec 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Can you establish whether they are less viewed because of less demand (despite ranking just fine), or because, despite plenty of demand, you only get the dedicated searcher who gets to page 23?
6:33 am on Dec 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thanks explorador. Good suggestions.

Can you establish whether they are less viewed because of less demand (despite ranking just fine), or because, despite plenty of demand, you only get the dedicated searcher who gets to page 23?

A mixture I suppose.

Some are just old news items which used to be linked to from the home page. As they got older they are only linked to from an archive page and whatever other cross-links from relevant pages.

I would guess that most of them never ranked particularly well as they were fairly well covered stories on other sites that we simply can't compete with. Even if they had a unique angle then, they don't anymore. I probably won't put too much effort into most of these.

Other pages may be more unique in their content, but are still perhaps a spin on fairly common subjects blog-style opinion pieces, or tips about a technical subject. It's these that I suspect it might be worth the most effort to try and pick up long-tail searches?
11:06 pm on Dec 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This is normal with many sites and I suspect site hierarchy heavily influences what you're seeing. Your site can only prop up so many of its pages, the rest require incoming links. I'd suggest getting more of those instead of redesigning your sites internal link structure.

Changing internal link structures by moving articles around will surely have unintended consequences elsewhere.
11:25 pm on Dec 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I would let "old dogs lie" and maybe focus on a better linking structure for the new content...just a thought. You could also tweek the "less viewed" content to fair better in search results by "updating" the content itself.
2:32 am on Dec 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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When you say "update" - do you mean rewrite/add new angles to the article in a DIFFERENT URL, or should you update the article using the same URL?

In a related question, what about gray barred pages that are actually good and original to the site? Should these pages be considered "lost cause"? Is it better to rewrite these pages in a new URL and hope that it will be better picked up?
11:15 pm on Jan 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I had decided to go and write a 'summary' page for a whole series of older subject-related articles with links referring to them and describing their usefulness - even if from an archival point of view.

After some time I realised that I had in fact written a completely new article on the subject (linking to most of the older articles anyway). Which probably tells me something. ;)