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What is Content Pruning and Why is it Important for SEO?

Adding and posting new content on web pages regularly will positively influence your website's performance on search engine pages. But you need to remember that over time, some articles on your website will become outdated and irrelevant to current conditions.

On the other hand, Google, as the largest search engine today, will continue to prioritize content that is useful for users. Leaving out-of-date content online can negatively affect web pages and degrade their positions on search engine results pages. To ensure that all of the content provided on web pages is of high quality, you must perform content pruning.

Here is an explanation for those unfamiliar with this content pruning technique.

{jistoc} $title={Table of Contents}

What is Content Pruning?

Content pruning is an SEO technique that involves removing outdated or low-performing content from web pages to improve overall SEO performance.

The concept of content pruning is almost the same as pruning done on trees. Regularly pruning dead branches or leaves will stimulate the growth of new, much healthier, and still productive branches. Similar to how content pruning works. The website can perform much better by removing outdated content.

When planning to remove outdated content, you must remember that not all old content negatively influences the website. If the content is still relevant and can still bring a lot of traffic, then you can keep the article.

Some types of content that are usually pruned are:

  • Content with outdated information
  • Pages that are no longer getting traffic or engagement
  • Pages with duplicate content
  • Thin content or content that is not useful to users

Why is Content Pruning Important?

There are several reasons why you need to regularly prune content. Here are some of them:

1. Improve website quality

Google always values ​​quality content more. Therefore, content pruning needs to be done to remove old content that is obsolete, irrelevant, and has no value anymore. 

Such pruning eliminates the risk of users opening low-quality pages that can negatively impact your company. Removing poor-quality website content can also help Google see your website as high-quality, which can positively affect your website's ranking in search engines.

2. Improve user experience

One of the main reasons why content pruning is necessary is to create a better user experience. By regularly pruning outdated content, you can direct users to access the latest and most accurate information. This can help you create a better user experience because the content provided is in accordance with users' needs.

3. Better use of crawl budget

Every day, Google bots can only crawl a certain number of pages on your website (Crawl Budget). By removing "dead weights," you can help Google bots index more quality content, positively affecting your website's SEO performance.

How Often Should Content Pruning Be Done?

Regular content pruning is important because it can encourage you to do more in-depth analysis and auditing. From this analysis, you will get a variety of interesting and useful insights for content marketing on your web pages. Some of the information you will get include:

  • What content suits your target audience.
  • The type of content that has value to users.
  • The type of content that users are not interested in.

Content pruning should be done regularly and continuously by all websites, whether large or small. How often pruning needs to be done depends on the amount of content you have.

Some experts suggest pruning every 6 months for websites with around 1000 pages. While larger websites can prune every 3 months. These recommendations can be modified to fit the requirements of your current website.

How to Perform Content Pruning?

1. Content inventory and audit

The first thing you need to do is create a list of website content. The list must contain complete information such as URL links, publication dates, and the name of the author of the article.

After that, re-identify what the purpose of the content is. Is it to drive traffic to the service page or to inform people about the company's products? You need to learn about this information because you will need it when deciding whether to prune or just fix the content. 

The next step, use SEO tools such as Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or other tools to audit content performance for the last 12 months. Through these tools, collect important data related to content performance, such as:

  • The overall number of visits and conversions from organic search
  • The number of click-through rates from social media
  • Number of quality backlinks obtained
  • Content duplication, etc.

In addition, you can also check if the content uses a low word count and contains information that is no longer relevant. After you get the data, you can identify which content or articles have low performance.

2. Define a value constraint for pruning

After getting a list of content with complete information, the next step is to choose which content needs to be pruned. One of the easiest ways to determine this is to set a standard score as a value constraint. So, if there is content that performs below that score, you can decide to remove or improve that content.

For example, if the goal of your content creation is to drive traffic to a service page, you can see the overall average click-through rate (CTR). If all content has an average click-through rate of 3%, you can create a standard score of 2.5% or lower.

You need to note that for this early stage of content pruning, you should not be too strict when pruning.

3. Make a decision to remove or improve content

You have two options you can apply to old content: remove or improve it. For example, you have an article with a CTR under the standard score of 2%. To determine whether the article should be removed or improved, you must re-analyze other data you have collected, such as the number of words used, the completeness of content information, and others. From this data, you will gain insights that can explain why the article is not performing well.

If the analysis results show that the article is still relevant, then you can save the content. Improve the content quality for better performance. However, if it is known that the content can't be improved, you must remove it from the website.

4. Evaluating the results of content pruning

Like any other SEO strategy, you need to track the results of the content pruning you've done.

You can evaluate web performance based on the metrics you use when pruning content. If you use CTR metrics to decide which content to prune, then look again to see if there's a change in the average CTR score after the prune. 

In addition, one of the main goals of content pruning is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). So pay attention to your overall web traffic, ranking, and conversion metrics as well. 

Conclusion

Google always wants to provide the best for its users. Therefore, Google prioritizes websites with quality content that is useful for users when ranking on search engine pages.

So, this content pruning can be one of the SEO strategies you need to implement to improve your website's visibility on search engine pages. And also, ensure you continue to provide new content on your web pages. 

Harby Jay | Author

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