Content Pruning - Did You See an Increase in SERP Visibility?

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When deciding what content to prune, how far back have people gone to begin the pruning, and is there a particular cutoff?

Are you going back since inception or the last few months and killing everything? Also, what % of traffic would be the cutoff? Does a page with 1 hit make the cut? Just curious how people are doing this from a strategy perspective.
 

Ryuzaki

お前はもう死んでいる
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@mrpotato, I would go back to the beginning. That's the point. To clean the site up of the trash, not just the new trash. It's like cleaning your bedroom. You wouldn't only pick up candy wrappers and crap you tossed down in the last week when there's years of clothes to be folded and what not.

Traffic is probably not a great metric to use in this, in terms of say "everything with less than 50 visits a month gets the axe". A better way to use traffic as a filter would be to first find the low quality pages you would delete or 301 redirect by default because you know they're gargbage, and then if those have sufficient traffic, mark them to be improved.

Traffic can act as a validator to improve a page, but I wouldn't delete a high quality page just because it's not receiving that much organic traffic. If you did that, there's entire digital empires that could be deleted, despite them crushing it on social media to the tunes of millions of bucks a year.

If I had to try to break it down into a workflow, it might be like:
  • IF the page is obviously low quality content, proceed:
  • IF the page gets good traffic and/or has good links, keep it & improve it.
  • IF the page gets neither traffic or good links, 404/410 or 301 it.
High quality content pages should never enter into the equation, because they should be disqualified from this discussion on account of them being high quality content pages. It doesn't matter if they have links or traffic. This is about the quality of the content, not how good they're on-page optimized, etc.
 
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I know this is an old thread but thought I would weigh in here. On one of my sites, we removed around 100 out of 250 articles that were junky/not ranking etc.. within 2 months saw rankings and traffic improve significantly. We did very little else to the site during this time so it is most likely from content pruning. I will say there were other signals that this site was probably hit by panda so might not be exactly the same as other sites in this thread, but content pruning is definitely worth looking into either way.
 
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Just wanted to update on this - a few months ago I did a test and removed noindex/previous pruning I had done - so all that content is once again available for Google to index.

I have seen what I believe is positive movements in terms of impressions/traffic due to this. Could be other things, but seems that pruning it perhaps not having the effect it once did.

I did this experiment because of something the Google guy John said a few months back.