Wondering if your old content needs a little content pruning?
If your brand has created content for a while, there’s a good chance some of it is already outdated. Whether it’s changed data, old service lists, differing brand voices, or ex-employee features, or another reason, it’s high time to make some changes.
In this guide, we show you what content pruning is all about and why you need it. We also give you the low-down on how often to prune old content =, refresh, or rewrite your content.
What is content pruning in SEO?
Content pruning is the process of removing low-performing content. Content that’s negatively affecting your website’s search engine ranking. It typically involves taking down web pages that contain outdated information or don’t get enough traffic.
The goal is to improve the overall health of your website by providing only highly relevant content with rich and updated information. As such, content pruning will have a positive effect on your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
In some cases, you may also choose other content optimization methods. For example, a content refresh or a rewrite instead of completely removing the existing content. This would involve optimizing existing content with more updated information. You could also include additional content to improve the quality and increase its freshness.
Why is pruning old content important?
There are several reasons why brands should regularly prune their content:
Pruning improves the user experience
Pruning old content minimizes the risk of visitors chancing upon a page that’s no longer relevant. This could be a page that contains outdated business info or content that no longer adds value. It ensures that visitors always find the most updated information about your business and services. It’s also an effective way to provide them with other high-value content. This positively contributes to the user experience, making them want to stay for longer and engage with your business.
Updating old content helps your SEO efforts
The enhanced experience from your content optimization efforts will help to reduce bounce rates and improve time on site. Both of these factors play into your search engine ranking. Moreover, content freshness is an important factor for ranking your content in relevant search results. As such, pruning your content will also help with your SEO efforts.
Updating improves overall website quality
In a highly digital world, a brand’s identity is synonymous with its digital presence. Your website serves as a digital storefront and speaks volumes about your brand’s credibility. With content pruning, you can ensure that your website contains high-quality information that’s relevant, credible, and up-to-date. This adds to the overall quality of your website, giving you something that’s truly representative of your brand.
How often should you update old content?
The short answer?
You need to update your old content as often and as consistently as possible.
While you may consider doing one major pruning session every year, this alone isn’t always enough to give you the true value of content pruning. Instead, you need to make it a regular part of your content optimization efforts. Ideally, aim for a quarterly content audit to narrow down pages that need pruning.
The recommended frequency also depends on the scale of your website. If your website is massive (containing thousands of pages), you should consider regular pruning every two or three months. Mid-scale websites can rely on a quarterly pruning session. Whereas, smaller websites may only need content pruning once every five or six months.
Brands typically need to prune content that’s no longer relevant to the business. For starters, this would involve pages for services you no longer provide or products you no longer sell. You should also remove pages containing information about past events and old announcements that no one will pay attention to anymore.
As for blog posts and other resource-type content, you’ll need to remove any page discussing topics that no longer garner interest. For example, a blog post about how to use the Vine app will no longer make sense since the app has long been obsolete. Alternatively, consider removing pages about topics that you’ve written better content about.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to redirect visitors to a new page that contains relevant information. You don’t want to ruin the user experience by having visitors land on a non-existent page.
When should I refresh old content?
Sometimes, you may come across a page that’s performing really well but has information that’s slightly outdated. Other times, you might notice that a page has the potential to perform even better with slight changes and updates. In these cases, all you need is a content refresh to strategically optimize the page.
This involves making a few updates to the content:
- Adding new information
- Replacing outdated info with the latest updates
- Enriching it with new media content
- Optimizing it with more relevant keywords
- Updating links
For example, you might have expanded your service offering to include several value-added services. So, you’d want to update your service page to accurately reflect that. Or you might have a new case study that could support an existing blog post. In some cases, simply adding relevant keywords to the content or updating it with supporting imagery could do the trick.
When should I rewrite content?
In some cases, you may come across old content that’s still getting visitors but contains outdated information. This is when a content rewrite is the best option because the number of visitors suggests that the topic is still getting significant attention.
So, removing the page altogether may not be the wisest choice. Instead, you should go for a full rewrite or a major content update to align with your current content strategy and brand voice.
Level up your content optimization
An effective content strategy doesn’t just focus on creating new content. It also acknowledges the importance of optimizing existing ones. As such, you need a content optimization strategy that aims to purposefully prune, refresh, or rewrite existing content.
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