Pruning content is part of a virtuous marketing strategy. It is also an essential SEO optimization practice. To your shears!
In the garden, pruning removes old branches to allow young shoots to spread – letting in light and stimulating new growth. The same concept applies in content strategy and of SEO. The deletion and sorting outdated or irrelevant content
Pruning content, you won’t cut it
In the mad rush for content marketing and SEO, we are accumulating a lot of content, produced in record time, in droves. Their quality sometimes leaves something to be desired, especially when the time has passed. Obsolete, poorly constructed, confusing or inconsistent content can seriously harm your credibility, your membership potential and of conversion, as well as to your ranking in search engines. Let’s face it: this mediocre content ends up making you more harm than good.
Maybe it’s time to audit and evaluate your service pages, product sheets, blog posts: what does it take? keep, update or remove. This is where content pruning comes in. A practice that every marketing team should adopt to analyze content assets it already has – and avoid adding over and over to editorial congestion.
Why should you prune its content?
There are plenty of good reasons to prune content now and regularly:
- If you want search engines to see your website as trustworthy and attractive, you need to keep your content up to date, optimized for research and high quality.
- A moment of shame quickly passes, but if you don’t like feeling embarrassed, clean up: a user, a customer, a prospect might stumble upon questionable content and point it out to you. Rather annoying for your online reputation and your brand awareness.
- Traveling light on the web, without deadweight, immediately translates into: user experience more fluid, a faster exploration by robots, a ranking which is improved.
- Finally, with content pruning, you look your best in the eyes of your visitors and prospects: worthy of interest and trust, believable, attractive. What more ?
Are you convinced? But beware ! Don’t think about carving out a good shot and then resting on your laurels. Content pruning is a repeat process and repeat again, continuously. The editorial maintenance is a must to add to your monthly or quarterly to-do list.
What are the criteria for content pruning?
Based on what criteria should you prune content? Before slicing in the deep or moving on to the next branch, take the time to fully assess the situation.
- Obsolescence. Obsolescence is obviously the first criterion that we think of. But be careful, don’t fall into the ageism trap: age alone doesn’t make content irrelevant or obsolete. Sometimes some of your oldest content is your cornerstone pages or star articles.
- Useful value. The law of the web and SEO is rather pragmatic. If a content does not contain or moreuseful information for your business or if it no longer helps consumers or customers – it just shouldn’t stay on your website.
- Depth. A useful subject, interesting for your activities, in tune with the times, that is one thing. But does the content you offer really cover the point? Does it bring sufficient added value to the debate? Superficial content, which lacks depth must pass under your shears.
- Performance. Are you hesitating about content? Trust the numbers, they say they don’t lie. Check your statistics for the number of visits, the bounce rate, the reading time. This is the opportunity to discover the new Google Search Console Information. Are the indicators green? So don’t saw off the branch you’re sitting on. Conversely, your content has received no clicks or traffic in the past two years? So, prune happily.
- Reputation. Words fly away, writings remain. Content can, over time, become old fashioned, contradict your values, be against the spirit of the times, or even simply turn out to be unpopular and controversial. Again, no hesitation, we prune.
- Accessibility. As we know, SEO and web content accessibility work together – especially since . A lack of technical optimization on a content can slow down its visibility and considerably reduce its reach. Adjustments are often necessary over time.
Content pruning: the 3-step plan of attack
You are now convinced of the merits of content pruning, you have the criteria well in mind, now you have to roll up your sleeves. To implement a content pruning process, you are advised to proceed in three simple steps: inventory, audit and pruning.
- Content inventory. Inventory all of your content, all formats and media combined and draw up a spreadsheet: for each content, specify metric – based on your content marketing goals and your definition of success. Also report, for each page: the target keywords for which you wish to rank and the targeted audience by content.
- Content audit. It is at this stage that you evaluate each content according to its quality and his performance. Base your grading system on very specific criteria allowing easy prioritization: valuable and optimized content, obsolete content to be removed, potential content to be optimized.
- Content pruning. You only have 3 options: leave as is, put aside for future optimization or remove definitely. Do not imagine intermediate wandering areas for your content. We said we took things head on, right?
Pruning and recycling are in a boat …
Just as it costs more to acquire new customers than to acquire retain, updating old content with potential can make you save a lot of time and resources. The content recycling is fully part of a pruning site. Chances are, a lot of your content falls into this category. The reorientation, the update, Ioptimization and the consolidation are all ways to improve the content you already own.
Don’t like to throw away? Be careful though: some content is not worth saving and may be more work to preserve than to throw away.
here are some options to recycle content, without work at a loss:
- Filling editorial gaps adding up-to-date and more in-depth information
- Make the page more responsive to search engines : optimize metadata, rework titles, strengthen the semantic field or add structured data.
- Get new inbound links for better domain authority
- Group together several rather sly content for something more complete and solid to defend
- Redirect less performing content to a richer part of your website that deals with the same subject
So let’s go ? Quickly find others useful sorting criteria for your content. Make informed decisions and stay closer to your goals and priorities.