Search Engine Optimization (SEO) stands as a powerful tool that connects businesses to their audience through organic search engine results. SEO is the art and science of optimizing your content and website structure in a way that search engines understand. It’s about showing search engines like Google that your content is relevant, valuable, and worth being on the top of the search results for certain keywords.
However, the constant evolution of SEO trends and algorithms brings forward many challenges, one of which is dealing with poor-performing content. But what exactly constitutes poor-performing content? In essence, this is content that, despite your efforts, does not perform well in terms of attracting traffic, engaging users, or prompting conversions. It may be because of outdated information, poor keyword optimization, a lack of user engagement, or simply being overshadowed by better-performing competitors.
One question many businesses and marketers grapple with is what to do with this poor-performing content. Should you delete it altogether or is there merit in keeping it on your website? The answer is not as simple as it might seem. It involves careful consideration, as the decision could have significant SEO implications.
Deleting poor-performing content may seem like an easy way to maintain the overall quality of your website. However, there could be potential drawbacks to this action that could inadvertently hurt your site’s SEO performance. On the other hand, keeping the underperforming content might feel like you’re holding onto dead weight that’s pulling down your site’s SEO value.
In this article, we dive deeper into the pros and cons of deleting poor-performing content, hoping to guide you toward an informed decision that will ultimately enhance your SEO strategy.
I. Understanding Poor Performing Content
As we venture deeper into the world of SEO, we should first better understand what “poor performing content” actually means. As the name suggests, poor-performing content is essentially any piece of content on your website that is not living up to your expectations or goals, which are usually defined by your key performance indicators (KPIs).
In the digital landscape, performance is primarily measured through various metrics, such as organic traffic, bounce rate, session duration, page views, and conversion rates. Content that consistently falls short in these areas may be labeled as “poor performing”.
For instance, you may have a blog post that is getting very low organic traffic, indicating that it’s not ranking well on search engines or attracting the audience you’re aiming for. Similarly, if a page on your website has a high bounce rate, it suggests that visitors aren’t finding what they’re looking for or aren’t engaged enough to explore further. This could be due to a variety of reasons, like poor content quality, unattractive design, or lack of relevant information.
Furthermore, if a page has a low conversion rate — that is, few visitors are taking the desired actions such as signing up for a newsletter, downloading a resource, making a purchase, or filling out a form — it signifies that the content isn’t persuading or compelling enough to encourage conversions.
Let’s consider a few examples. Suppose you have a ‘How-to’ guide on your website that used to pull in a significant amount of traffic, but over time, it has stopped performing. Despite being thorough, it might be outdated or perhaps overshadowed by more current, comprehensive guides from competitors. Alternatively, you might have a product page with a high bounce rate and low conversions, indicating that the page isn’t persuading visitors to make a purchase.
In essence, identifying poor-performing content involves looking at these crucial metrics and understanding how they align with your overall SEO and business goals. Remember, what constitutes “poor performance” may vary from one business to another depending on their specific goals and expectations. Understanding the benchmarks for your industry and business can provide valuable context when evaluating content performance.
II. Pros of Deleting Poor Performing Content
The decision to delete poor-performing content from your website can bring multiple benefits. Let’s discuss the potential advantages that this action can have on your SEO and site quality.
1. Increasing Overall Site Quality
Search engines aim to provide the best possible results for users’ queries. Therefore, they evaluate the overall quality of a website to determine its ranking. If your website houses a lot of low-performing content, it could be sending signals to search engines that your site lacks quality or relevance. Removing such content could enhance your site’s overall quality in the eyes of search engine algorithms, potentially improving your ranking and visibility.
2. Enhancing Crawl Budget Efficiency
“Crawl Budget” is a term used by SEO professionals referring to the number of times a search engine will crawl your website within a given period. Websites with a plethora of pages require more resources from search engines to crawl and index them. By removing unnecessary or poor-performing pages, you allow search engines to spend more time on your high-quality, relevant pages. This leads to more efficient use of your crawl budget, ensuring that your valuable content gets the attention it deserves.
3. Reducing the Risk of Content Duplication
In many instances, poor-performing content might be very similar or even duplicated across several pages on your website. This could lead to keyword cannibalization, where multiple pages from your site compete with each other for the same keywords, diluting your SEO efforts. Deleting this redundant content can ensure each of your pages targets unique and relevant keywords, boosting their individual chances of ranking higher.
For instance, a study conducted by Search Engine Journal showcased an example where deleting poor-performing content had a positive impact on a website’s SEO. The website owners deleted around 15% of their content, which consisted of outdated blogs, irrelevant articles, and duplicate information. Post deletion, they noticed a significant improvement in their organic traffic, with some of their key pages moving up in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). This goes to show that sometimes less is indeed more when it comes to SEO.
Deleting poor-performing content is not an act of surrender, but rather a strategic move towards a more focused and high-quality website. However, it’s essential to note that each website is unique, and what works for one might not work for all. Hence, this process requires a careful analysis of your content and its impact on your overall SEO strategy.
III. Cons of Deleting Poor Performing Content
While deleting poor-performing content has its advantages, it also carries potential drawbacks. It’s essential to consider these factors before taking any significant actions that could negatively impact your SEO performance.
1. Losing Potential Long-Tail Keyword Traffic
Sometimes, poor-performing content may not attract high traffic volumes, but it might be pulling in traffic for specific long-tail keywords. These are longer, more specific keyword phrases that visitors are likely to use when they’re closer to the point of purchase or when using voice search. Deleting this content could potentially mean losing out on this highly targeted traffic.
2. Potential Drop in Overall Site Traffic
Even if a page isn’t performing well by certain metrics, it might still be contributing to your site’s overall traffic. Mass deletion of such content can lead to a temporary drop in total website traffic, which might be a concern, especially if your website traffic is a key performance metric for your business.
3. Possible Loss of Inbound Links
Inbound links (also known as backlinks) play a crucial role in SEO. If your poor-performing content has backlinks from reputable sites, deleting this content could lead to a loss of these valuable links, which might negatively impact your SEO.
Let’s consider an example where deleting content led to negative SEO impacts. A company decided to remove a significant number of outdated blog posts from their website, aiming to increase the overall content quality. While this seemed like a reasonable action, they overlooked the fact that these posts were linked to various reputable websites. The deletion led to a loss of these backlinks and, as a result, a noticeable drop in their domain authority and search engine rankings.
To better understand the potential implications of deleting poor-performing content, here’s a simple table summarizing the points mentioned:
|Loss of Long-Tail Keyword Traffic
|Even low-traffic content may rank for specific long-tail keywords. The deletion could lead to a loss of this traffic.
|Drop in Overall Site Traffic
|Content that may seem to be underperforming could still contribute to overall traffic. Deleting it might lead to a temporary traffic drop.
|Loss of Inbound Links
|If the content you’re considering for deletion has valuable backlinks, you could lose these, negatively impacting your SEO.
While cleaning up poor-performing content can be beneficial, it’s crucial to approach this task with careful thought and analysis to prevent any inadvertent negative effects on your SEO.
IV. Alternatives to Deleting Poor Performing Content
Before resorting to deletion, consider if the poor-performing content could be improved, revamped, or repurposed. If the content in question aligns with your business objectives but isn’t performing well, giving it a facelift might be the ideal course of action.
Improving the content involves several steps such as updating outdated information, adding more relevant keywords, improving readability, and optimizing meta tags among others. You may also want to incorporate more recent data, include more visual content like images or videos, or even restructure the content to enhance its value.
Repurposing, on the other hand, involves transforming the content into a new format that might be more appealing to your audience. For instance, a low-performing blog post could be transformed into an engaging infographic, a podcast episode, or a video tutorial.
For instance, let’s look at a case study published on Moz. A digital marketing company had a series of old blog posts that were not generating substantial traffic. Instead of deleting these posts, they decided to update the information, improve the content structure, and add relevant keywords. The result was an 80% increase in organic traffic to these updated posts over six months, proving that revamping content can indeed turn things around.
V. Best Practices in Dealing with Poor Performing Content
When it comes to poor-performing content, the decision to delete, improve or keep it depends on various factors. Here are some actionable steps to guide you:
- Evaluate: Analyze the performance of your content based on SEO metrics such as traffic, bounce rate, conversions, and keyword ranking.
- Audit: Check if the content is still relevant to your business and audience. Verify if it aligns with your current SEO strategy.
- Identify: Figure out the reasons for poor performance. Is it outdated, poorly optimized, or of low quality? Or is it because of technical issues like slow loading speed or mobile unfriendliness?
- Decide: Based on the above steps, decide if you want to delete, improve or keep the content. Remember, it’s about balancing the pros and cons.
The issue of poor-performing content is one that every business with an online presence faces at some point. The decision on whether to delete such content, improve it, or let it be can have significant implications on your SEO strategy.
Through careful evaluation and strategic decision-making, you can ensure that your website only contains content that contributes positively to your SEO efforts. Remember that improving the performance of your website is not always about producing more content, but often about optimizing what you already have to better serve your audience and meet your business objectives.
In the end, maintaining a high-quality, user-focused website is the key to earning trust from both your audience and search engines, thereby driving better SEO results.