How Do You Clean Up Content Without Effecting Rankings?

Today’s Ask An SEO question comes from Neethu, who asks:

My website is almost 20 years old. There is a lot of content. Many of them do not perform well. How can you effectively clean up this content without affecting ratings?

Contrary to what some SEO pros will tell you, more content isn’t always better.

Deciding what content to keep, what content to modify, and what content to get rid of is an important consideration, as content is the backbone of any website and is essential to increasing traffic, engagement, and conversions.

However, not all content is created equal, and outdated, irrelevant, or poorly performing content can get in the way of a website’s success.

Turn on content auditing

To effectively clean up your website content, the first step is to perform a content audit.

This includes analyzing your site’s content and evaluating its performance, relevance, and quality.

You can use various metrics such as traffic, bounce rate, and engagement to determine which pages are performing well and which are not.

Once you’ve identified the pages that aren’t performing well, it’s important to prioritize them based on their importance to your website.

Pages that aren’t driving traffic or conversions may need to prioritize pages that aren’t performing well but are still important to your overall site goals.

The distinction between Evergreen Vs. Time sensitive content

In addition, it is important to consider whether the page is evergreen or time-sensitive.

You can update or repurpose evergreen content over time, while time-sensitive content may need to be removed.

After you prioritize your content, you can decide what action to take with each page.

For pages that are still relevant but aren’t performing well, you may be able to update them with recent information to improve their performance.

For pages that are old or no longer relevant, it may be best to remove them entirely.

When removing content, implement 301 redirects to relevant pages to ensure that you don’t lose any backlinks pointing to the old page.

Monitor your stuff

It is important to monitor your search engine rankings after cleaning up your content to ensure that your changes do not negatively affect your SEO.

But don’t just look at the ratings.

Content optimization projects can affect traffic, conversions, navigation, and other elements that affect your overall search engine optimization efforts.

Watch Google Analytics closely. If there is a drop in traffic, you may need to re-evaluate some changes.

However, it is important not to have a non-judgemental reaction.

Before throwing away your optimization efforts, make sure that the changes you made are in fact the cause of the decline – and make sure that those changes are stable in the search engines index.

Remember that it can take some time for your rankings to stabilize after cleaning up the content, so it is important to be patient and monitor your website’s performance over time.

To further improve your content cleaning, consider using Google Search Console to identify pages with high impressions but low CTRs.

These pages may benefit from content updates or optimization to improve their performance.

In addition, consolidating pages covering similar topics into one comprehensive page can improve user experience and help avoid keyword cannibalization.

In summary

Cleaning up your website content is crucial to maintaining a high-quality website.

By conducting a content audit, prioritizing your content, and deciding whether to keep, update, or remove the content, you can effectively clean up your site without negatively impacting your rankings.

Remember to monitor your rankings and be patient with tuning your site.

More resources:

  • Clean up your website in 3 easy steps
  • What to do about old, low-quality content
  • How to perform a content audit step by step

Featured image: Song_about_summer / Shutterstock

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