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What Is Content Pruning?

If you own a website or blog, you undoubtedly consider new content ideas frequently. But did you realize that concentrating on your current content is as crucial? It’s not helpful for your business or Google if your website has a lot of underwhelming articles or pages. Did you know that thin, stale, or similar content might make your website rank lower in search results? You can avoid this by using a technique called content pruning. Let’s take a look at what it is!

Do you have some gardening experience? The same idea applies to content pruning as it does to hedge trimming. To give the healthy branches freedom to expand, you trim away the dried-out and dead parts. This also applies to your stuff!

What is content pruning?

Content pruning is a type of content upkeep on your website. It concentrates on the material that isn’t doing well. This could imply postings that are no longers relevant, pages with thin or duplicate content, or pages with poor traffic or low conversion rates. Content pruning tries to remove those pages from your site and (at least try to) limit what your users see to fresh, in-depth, pertinent content. Additionally, Google favors new, original, high-quality material. Therefore, it is a smart practice for SEO to prune your material.

Why should you prune your content?

Pruning your content implies getting rid of the less popular pieces so that the rest may shine. You will upgrade the caliber of your website and content, which can raise your ranks. There’s also this:

• Most significantly, having excellent content on your website will enhance the browsing experience for your visitors. They shouldn’t end up on pages with obsolete business information or services or goods you no longer provide.

• Search engines and other bots very frequently crawl even outdated stuff. You don’t want to spend resources like money and energy on anything like this! So if you could assist them out, kindly take off the pages that aren’t worth the crawl.

• It will assist in preventing content cannibalization because if you’ve been writing for a while, you probably have written things that are similar to what you’ve written in the past. Google could find it challenging to choose which of your articles to rank for a certain topic if you have multiple articles that are similar to one another on the subject. This might cause that word to perform worse overall.

• You’ll feel more at ease as a site owner if you regularly prune your content. A website with a ton of outdated content can become overwhelming, and you risk losing track of all you have. Knowing that your users won’t arrive on out-of-date content and that you won’t lose out on business chances because they got on the incorrect page gives you peace of mind. This will enable you to concentrate on the matters that concern your company the most!

As you can see, content pruning is a win-win for everyone. So how do you get rid of old and thin content intelligently?

The content Pruning process

There are several ways to go about this

1. Criteria and Goals

It’s beneficial to establish precise standards for judging whether a page satisfies the objective: did you design it to rank? Learn if it ranks, for what keywords, in what position, and what CTR it has. Did you make it to the product spotlight? Naturally, one of the most crucial things you’ll be looking at is how well this page converts or how valuable it is. So, for each page, consider whether it satisfies the standards I’ve established for that aim. If the page isn’t accomplishing the purpose, should I make it better or do I have a different page that does? Or, is this objective still pertinent to my company?

If you are using a spreadsheet and have a lot of content, this exercise may be too much for you. In that situation, concentrating on particular subjects important to your business may be helpful. Make sure you collect all relevant content on a given topic in a spreadsheet, along with statistics on how well it is performing. This will enable you to prune your website in more manageable chunks, giving you more little victories to enjoy! It might even produce better outcomes on that specific subject sooner. This method also significantly reduces problems with content cannibalization.

2. Gathering data and creating an overview

Most individuals usually begin by putting together an overview of all of your material and how it is doing. Use an Excel spreadsheet or a Google spreadsheet. From Google Search Console or Google Analytics, you may export the URLs of your pages and articles along with some of the information you need to make decisions. However, you shouldn’t only take into account Google Analytics information like page visits, page value, or bounce rate. The quantity of both internal and external connections leading to that content is one example of additional information you should take into account. Do you know that sharing this article in your social media newsletter can result in a lot of shares, interactions, or even sales? You might not be able to see this in your data if you haven’t shared it lately, so beware!

Tools for SEO can be useful in this process. For instance, you can crawl and/or audit your content using tools like Semrush, ahrefs, and ContentKing. These tools can also provide you with recommendations. When combined, these tools can provide guidance on that by taking into consideration (some of) the data indicated above. Of course, you shouldn’t always assume that these automated suggestions are the best options. You are in the best position to determine the page’s purpose and whether it is accomplishing that purpose because you designed it. However, you may definitely use these methods to find under performing content.

3. Orphaned content check and internal linking

Checking how many internal links a post or page has is an excellent place to start when editing your content. Orphaned content is anything which has no internal links linking to it.

Why is this a solid place to start? If you didn’t link to a post after you wrote it, chances are:

i. It wasn’t such a great post after all.

ii. it didn’t get a lot of traffic (anymore) unless it did get a lot of external links.

iii. it doesn’t rank highly unless it got a lot of external links.

iv. It was a very timely thing (a small announcement, something news-related).

These are all valid arguments to determine whether you should remove the pruning shears from the barn or maintain this post.

If you are using yoast plugin, the yoast SEO Premium’s orphaned content workout can feed you these articles and pages in a very user-friendly way. You can take immediate action right there in your WordPress admin (go to Yoast SEO in the sidebar, click on the SEO workouts, and choose the Orphaned content workout).

Determine your goals for the post or page first. You can check it page-by-page or utilize the spreadsheet mentioned above. What was the page’s purpose, and does it still serve that purpose? Is it still relevant? are there any other pages that accomplish the same purpose but more effectively? When selecting what to do with the content, take into account all of these factors.

Pruning content: Hide, remove or improve

To what, though, do you chose to put a post? As said, look at the page’s objective. Then choose whether to enhance, eliminate, or conceal. To make it simpler, consider these instances:

Hide: a landing page that is intended for a specific audience and might compete in search results with a more general post on the same subject. And you want to maintain it because you want to use it to serve a specific function in directing a portion of your audience there. Or perhaps a yearly recurring sales post. To prevent confusing the search engines, you could want to hide this kind of content from them. Yoast SEO will apply a noindex tag to the page if you select noindex in the exercise so that it won’t appear in the search results.

Remove: old announcements for events, articles on subjects that were once important but are now irrelevant, and posts or pages on subjects for which you have produced more in-depth and recent information. In the latter scenario, you might wish to see if the item you’re going to remove contains any valuable components. Before you begin reducing too aggressively, think about combining those into the chosen piece. And if you delete a post, make sure to change the URL to go to a more appropriate replacement. Otherwise, your visitors will arrive on a page that doesn’t exist, which is disappointing and unpleasant. Fortunately, our exercise will prompt you with a question on what to do with the URL once a page has been erased so that you won’t forget.

Improve: Boost stuff that has immense potential but that you’ve forgotten about. You previously created a fantastic blog post, but other priorities caused you to forget about it. Maybe you’re only on page two for a term you’d want to be on. Right now is the perfect opportunity to update and improve it, add the most recent information on the subject, or enliven it with useful examples, pictures, or a video. Don’t forget to include internal links from the related content to it as well. Our SEO exercise will provide some recommendations for pages to link from in the third stage, which is really simple. Share it once more on social media and in your email if you’re proud of your effort!

Read more: The role of content in link building>>


Improve the quality of your content

In summary, content pruning is a useful (not to mention rewarding) way to raise the quality of your website. You can determine what needs to be changed to enhance your under-performing content by taking a critical look at your current content.

If you think this will take a lot of work, try this orphaned content exercise. It makes use of a checklist to quickly walk you through each step. Additionally, it generates a list of orphaned content automatically so you don’t have to search through data lists. And in little time at all, you’ll have a nice website!

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