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Pruning old content - a strategy for recovery?

     
4:02 pm on Dec 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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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?
7:09 am on Dec 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Didn't help. I think it hurt actually. Nevertheless, I'm still doing it in order to improve my content. Very frustrating.
12:18 pm on Dec 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I have not really heard of pruning old content working to improve rankings especially if it is already in an archive section. I would concentrate your efforts in other areas.
3:41 pm on Dec 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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In my opinion google has been increasing the weight of trust and authority, and this is probably the main reason that some sites have been losing google traffic. This may have had a larger effect in some sectors, but not necessarily because those particular sectros were targeted. Sites in any sector could be vulnerable.

No one here knows for sure how google is now measuring trust and authority. But in my view "old" content is more likely to help rather than hurt. Old long-established businesses are usually considered more trustworthy than new businesses, especially on the web where new sites haven't proven that they weren't set up by "fly-by-night" con artists.

My sites that are doing the best in google are those with the oldest content.
3:45 am on Dec 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Trust and authority get you through the door. That's it.

Just because you get into the nightclub doesn't mean you're going to hook up. Getting past the bouncer is just the beginning.

When I say Trust and Authority get you through the door, I don't mean Trust and Authority are actual metrics. They aren't. Trust is basically a lack of spammy intent. Authority can be said to consist of metrics that indicate the popularity of your web pages.

Imo, trust and authority are not the deciding factors for anything.

Trust and authority are excuses for not ranking. They're not actual ranking factors. There is no thing called Trust. There is no ranking factor called Authority.

There is PageRank. But the amount of PageRank you acquire does not determine if your content is going to rank.

So again, Trust and Authority are excuses for not ranking. But they're not the actual reason for failure to rank.

Pruning Content
An alternate strategy, if possible, is to update the content so that it is useful for someone today.
If the content is out of date and no longer useful, like a guide for top link exchange software (LOL), then you're probably better off removing that content.

You can 301 it but it won't pass PageRank unless you redirect it to a page that's nearly exactly the same. But that does not make sense for THIS scenario, does it?

Good luck!

;)

Roger Montti
4:15 am on Dec 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Think of pruning the way a gardener does:

Remove deadwood and that which impedes growth

Prune to create opportunities to bloom

Caretake that which is already established.

Keep it simple. The end goal is to make the garden beautiful.

In web terms that means the site is fully functioning, has both old and new elements, and is MAINTAINED to a high level.

Unless your old content has turned to weeds from lack of maintenance then it is just a part of the "garden" and is usually a benefit, not an eyesore.
3:13 pm on Dec 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Trust and authority get you through the door.

Aren't there some websites that used to squeeze through the door most of the time, but now can't get through as often (ie for fewer search terms) because google has brought in a bigger meaner door bouncer who's usually in a bad mood.
3:30 pm on Dec 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Think of pruning the way a gardener does:

Remove deadwood and that which impedes growth


This creates less noise between your pages and should allow the content you want to be more visible. The problem is that your site is not the only one out their about the topic. Pruning content could allow your competitors more room to grow.
7:00 pm on Dec 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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About a year and a half ago this strategy worked for me- Mine might be an extreme example of content pruning but I had over 500,000 pages of repetitive/duplicate content. Trimmed them down to 20,000. Saw improvements in traffic in two weeks.
2:26 am on Dec 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Pruning content could allow your competitors more room to grow.


That's why you prune smart. One site I have actually removed/consolidated hundreds of pages down to less than 100 pages and seen great benefit. No CONTENT was lost, but was restructured, updated (and continues to be) and traffic remains brisk.

YMMV

Aside: "thin pages" became real article of value ... with LINK to product/sales and therein lies the difference. It is all about presentation, user satisfaction, and getting the job done.
6:31 am on Dec 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Yes it seems the way to do now.
 

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