What is Content Pruning? What Are Its Benefits?

In SEO (Search Engine Optimization), content is everything. Once a website’s technical issues, such as accessibility, are resolved, the only thing left to do is produce content. Search engines like Google and Bing always reward content that complies with SEO standards and adds value to users. However, not all content provides good traffic once published. Sometimes, it’s necessary to revise, update, or remove these contents.

If the content is not evergreen and doesn’t rank well in SERPs even after updating, pruning this content is the best option. Poorly performing web content can reduce the site’s authority over time.

So, what is content pruning? In this guide, we will provide important information about content pruning.

What is Content Pruning?

Content pruning is a type of content maintenance that targets underperforming content on a website. This typically involves removing content that does not receive traffic, is outdated, or has some technical issues from the website and search engine index.

What are underperforming contents? In short, these are contents that do not add value to the website, are redundant, outdated, or have some technical issues.

These types of content are identified by the website manager using search engine analysis tools at various intervals, and content pruning is applied. This type of process requires technical skills because removing content from a website turns indexed metadata into broken links, which can negatively impact SEO.

Therefore, to perform content pruning, it’s essential to seek support from an expert to prevent your website from being negatively affected by search engine algorithms. This, in turn, prevents traffic loss and site access issues.

Why Do Contents Lose Value?

The deterioration of content does not mean that it has become completely worthless. For instance, if a piece of content received traffic when first published but lost it over time, there could be different reasons for this. For example, competitors may have published more detailed and user-friendly content, causing your content to lose its position. Or the search intent for the targeted keyword may have changed. Other factors could also lead to content losing value or deteriorating.

Basically, if a piece of content is not receiving traffic, there are some issues with it.

For this, the content needs to be reviewed and necessary adjustments made. To improve the performance of the content and regain its value, you can follow these steps:

  • Keyword Analysis: Check if the keywords you targeted are still relevant. If the search intent has changed, update your content with new keywords.
  • Competitor Analysis: Analyze what kind of content your competitors are producing on similar topics and why these contents are more successful. Update your content by adding missing information or more detailed information.
  • Improving Content Structure: Make your content more readable and user-friendly by adding headings, subheadings, lists, and visuals. This helps users consume your content more easily.
  • Adding Updated Information: Check if your content is up-to-date. Keep your content current by updating old information or adding new developments.
  • Fixing Technical Issues: Check the loading time, mobile compatibility, and other technical aspects of your content. Improve user experience by fixing technical issues.
  • SEO Optimization: Optimize the meta titles, meta descriptions, and URL structures of your content according to SEO rules.

If you still do not observe any improvement after revising your content according to these steps, you have no choice but to prune the content.

Benefits of Content Pruning

A proper content pruning strategy helps users focus on the best and most relevant content, preserves the crawl budget, and offers a better user experience. This method increases organic traffic, boosts shares, and raises conversion rates.

Additionally, content pruning enhances content quality by improving E-E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) criteria. It also improves internal and external links by referencing only valuable sources and directing your target audience to high-quality sources. This increases authority by presenting your content as part of a healthy ecosystem.

How to Perform Content Pruning?

Content pruning has three stages. The first stage is to inventory all the content on your website and the pages listed in search engine indexes. The second stage is the analysis stage. For this, you will need tools like Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Google Search Console. These tools allow you to observe how much traffic all your content is getting.

The final stage is to delete the non-performing and low-performing content from your inventory based on the analysis results and then redirect the broken links to relevant links. The results of this process will reflect in the search engines within a few weeks.

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