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Reduce Content Without Losing Rankings

reduce content without losing rankings
06 Nov 2017

Trim Content Without Falling In the Rankings

Have you ever stumbled across a blog post on your own site and thought, “This isn’t relevant anymore—maybe I should delete it”?

Not so fast. Reducing the amount of content on your website may seem innocent and productive at first glance, but recent statements by Google’s Gary Illyes at the 2017 State of Search Conference say otherwise. As one conference reporter tweeted: “It is better to improve pages instead of just noindexing them.”

Why?- Cases for Reducing Content

We’ve already mentioned one popular impetus behind the craving to prune your content: obsolescence.
Obsolete content could be: blog posts including theories or opinions that have since been proven incorrect, old news releases about past events, or blog posts including information that has become such common knowledge that the article no longer offers any value to the reader.

Rebranding is another reason you might be thinking of trimming your content. If you were once a health nut hub with blog posts on all things health and recently decided to rebrand just for runners, you might want to trim back the stuff that doesn’t apply to runners.

The SEO implications of reducing content used to be another good case for pruning, but Illyes’s recent comments on no-indexing have us thinking otherwise. (Notice the date on the post just linked: December 2015. We might have a case of obsolete content on our hands!)

How Can We Reduce Content While Maintaining SEO?

How to Trim Content & Maintain SEO

Here’s the truth: the no-trim movement is so new (Illyes’s comments came less than a month ago) that we still don’t know what the full implications of pruning vs. non-pruning are, and only time will tell what best content pruning practices will be. Here’s what we suggest in the meantime.

Improve it, don’t remove it.

Your first move should be to try to improve the page in question instead of no-indexing it. How? You have a few options:

  • Make only necessary alterations while preserving keyword density. If, for example, you had a blog post announcing an event, you could go back and edit the post with a quick summary of how the event went and a link to more info on the event, including links to blog posts that were the direct result of knowledge gained at the event.
  • Take a new spin on it while preserving keyword density. Instead of making only necessary alterations, do a complete overhaul, coming at the topic from a fresh angle and making as many edits as necessary.

In either of these cases, longer is probably better: the average word count of a first page result is 1,890 words. When altering, keep things long-form and you should be able to maintain SEO.

…But if it’s beyond repair, remove it.

Regardless of Illyes’s cryptic comments about avoiding no-indexing, overall it’s safe to say that quantity over quality will continue to be a wise strategy for climbing SERPs.

If you have an overwhelming amount of junk content to trim and limited time/funds, it might be best to cut your losses, no-index, and start working on fresh SEO content strategy ASAP.

While I’m sure Gary Illyes is correct in saying that it’s usually better to try to improve existing pages before trashing them, your best bet will always be to accumulate and curate a smaller quantity of higher quality content.

To Reduce Content Or Not?

Still not sure what route to take? You might want to enlist the help of an expert to make these crucial content pruning decisions. Get in touch with our pros at Zero Gravity Marketing to find out which strategy fits your content and SEO needs.