I am considering pruning old content from my site completely and redirecting the pages as a strategy to recover from a fairly large drop in traffic to my site in Sept/Oct. This is older visual content that is currently published, but exists in an archive section of my site with almost no linking to it from other pages or parts of my site. It is approximately 18% of all the content on my site. People find it by directly hitting it from Google, and as an aggregate they bring in traffic. I keep the pages as placeholders in the eventuality that I will update the visual content and move the page into the live categories on my site.
In reality, that has not happened as quickly as I would have liked and I am beginning to think it would just be better to publish new pages when I have the new visual content rather than just updating the images on the current archive page. On the one hand, these pages are already indexed and the images will likely get indexed faster...on the other hand the pages will continue to be seen as being old.
I am looking at factors that may be causing my pages and my site as a whole to be scored lower. My concern is that I am getting whacked due to a lack of freshness of my content. I am wondering if anyone has had experience with removing old content from their site. Did this help drive up your site as a whole or recover any traffic that may have been lost? Any suggestions for how to prune old content effectively?