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Content Cleansing: Why & How You Must Improve or Remove Old Content

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Could old content be dragging down the overall “authority” of your website? We think so.

You have an important decision to make: should you improve your old content or remove it?

Learn how getting rid of bad content can bring you great rewards in this presentation.

For the last 18+ months, Search Engine Journal has been focused on improving and removing old content. And now SEJ Executive Editor Danny Goodwin is ready to share our impressive results with you.

Published in: Marketing
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Content Cleansing: Why & How You Must Improve or Remove Old Content

  1. 1. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin THE CONTENT CLEANSING Why & How You Must Improve or Remove Your Old Content Presented by: Danny Goodwin Executive Editor
  2. 2. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin
  3. 3. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin The webinar which you are about to see is an account of the tragedy that befell publishers, businesses, and brands in particular
  4. 4. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin
  5. 5. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin But then THIS happened…
  6. 6. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin A lot of content is being published every day
  7. 7. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Most of it isn’t very useful
  8. 8. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin A lot of it is redundant
  9. 9. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Google Knows About… – Google: How Search Works, November 2016
  10. 10. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin But Google Doesn’t Index Every Page – Google: How Search Works, 2019
  11. 11. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Your mission: Give Google only your best content and make it optimized, useful, and relevant. It’s 2019. Our mission can’t stay the same. It’s time we all start thinking about content in a new way.
  12. 12. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Is your old content cursed? Could it hurt the overall "authority" of your website?
  13. 13. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Googlers say old content won't hurt you They warn removing content is dangerous. Our results say otherwise!
  14. 14. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin For the last 20 months, we've been hacking and slashing our way through our archives.
  15. 15. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Pageviews & organic traffic are up 60+ percent YoY
  16. 16. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Auditing & Evaluating Your Content
  17. 17. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Order Out of Content Chaos
  18. 18. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Crawl Your Content
  19. 19. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Crawlers https://www.elephate.com/blog/ultimate-guide-seo-crawlers/
  20. 20. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin 8 Most Important Elements to Know Majestic’s quality score & link equity Title URL Author Pub. Date # Reads Word Count # Links Trust Flow Citation Flow Inbound & internal links Might indicate quality issues Many = great! Few = bad Optimized? Reader benefit? SEO friendly? Need to change? Who wrote it? Expert/authority? Is it still fresh or out of date?
  21. 21. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin High Quality vs. Low Quality Content
  22. 22. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin How I Define Quality Content ✔ Accurate ✔ Mobile-Friendly ✔ Answers Questions ✔ Informative ✔ Original ✔ Shareable ✔ Solves Problems ✔ Inspiring ✔ Readable ✔ Visual ✔ Entertaining ✔ Educational
  23. 23. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Low-Quality Content Is Scary! Not Optimized UnsuccessfulNo Goal / Purpose No Target Audience
  24. 24. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin How Google Defined Quality Content https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6001093?hl=en
  25. 25. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin E-A-T Simplified Expertise: Your unique skills, information, or knowledge. Authority: Other people know about and recognize your skills or knowledge. Trust: People believe what you think, say, or do and feel secure buying from or endorsing you.
  26. 26. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Google on Low-Quality Content • Inadequate E-A-T • Main content quality is low • Unsatisfying amount of main content • Exaggerated / shocking title • Ads or supporting content distracts from main content • Unsatisfying amount of info about website or content creator • Mildly negative reputation of website or content creator
  27. 27. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin What Does Google Say?
  28. 28. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Google’s Gary on Removing Content
  29. 29. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Google’s Gary on Removing Content
  30. 30. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Google’s Gary on Removing Content
  31. 31. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Google’s Gary on Removing Content http://www.thesempost.com/low-quality-removal-google-rankings-boost/
  32. 32. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Google’s JohnMu on Removing Content
  33. 33. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin But … 2011 https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/news/2049894/google-panda-update-tip-remove-low-quality-content
  34. 34. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Googler Advised Removing Content https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/news/2049894/google-panda-update-tip-remove-low-quality-content
  35. 35. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin
  36. 36. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Metrics to Help Define “Quality” Pageviews Organic traffic Links Conversions Engagement
  37. 37. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Use Your Best Judgment
  38. 38. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Should Your Content Stay or Go?
  39. 39. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin There are 5 possible fates for your content No Changes Needed Update / Refresh Rewrite Consolidate Delete / Deindex
  40. 40. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Fate #1 • All information is accurate, or has historic value • Consistently gets good traffic and engagement • Has attracted many quality links and social shares • Ranks in Position 1-3 • Generates conversions Lorraine R. Hero
  41. 41. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin No changes needed! Don’t screw up a good thing. Congrats! You’ve found a CONTENT UNICORN!
  42. 42. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Fate #2 • Gets consistent traffic (or used to) • Has earned some valuable links / shares • Ranks on Page 1 of Google • Few / no conversions • Below average engagement Carolyn S. Possessed
  43. 43. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Content Update / Refresh • Update information so it is accurate • Make it better than your SERP competitor(s) • Keep it on the same URL (whenever possible)
  44. 44. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Fate #3 • Currently gets little or no traffic • No longer attracts new links / shares • Doesn’t rank on Page 1 • Is it indexed? • No conversions Janet S. Possessed
  45. 45. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Content Rewrite • Topic is useful, relevant, or helpful – just not as written • Starting content from scratch • Updating information so it is accurate • 301 redirecting old to new post on new (optimized) URL
  46. 46. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin
  47. 47. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin 301s & PageRank • Google can forward PageRank through 301 redirects • Not all 301 redirects pass 100% PageRank • A 301 redirect will pass 100% PageRank only if the new page closely matches the topic of the old page
  48. 48. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Fate #4 • Multiple articles on one topic • One piece gets some traffic; others get little or none • Not attracting any new links or shares • Not ranking on Page 1 OR • Wrong page ranks • 2 pages competing on same SERP Annabelle T. Dollfrumhel
  49. 49. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Keyword: “Content Audit” 6 Articles competing with each other
  50. 50. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin JohnMu on Combining Content https://www.searchenginejournal.com/combining-web-pages/276633/
  51. 51. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Consolidate Content • Creating one awesome piece of content • Starting from scratch, but you can reuse any useful existing content • Making it better than your competitors • 301 redirecting to new (optimized) URL
  52. 52. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Fate #5 • “Thin content” • Poorly written / off-topic / syndicated / stolen / plagiarized • No historic significance • Very low # of pageviews • Few or no traffic, links, shares, conversions, or engagement Valek T. Defiler
  53. 53. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin
  54. 54. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin KILL IT WITH FIRE! Delete / Deindex
  55. 55. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin After the Content Massacre
  56. 56. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Has This Ever Gone Wrong? Yes. • Ranking in Top 3 for “paypal alternatives” • Avg. ~11K pageviews per month (2017) • Dropped to Avg. ~6K PVs per month (April 2018) after Broad Core Algo Update
  57. 57. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Has This Ever Gone Wrong? Yes. • Ranks in Position 4 for “paypal alternatives” • Avg. ~3K pageviews per month (2019) • Why? Headline? / URL change? Something else?
  58. 58. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Has This Ever Gone Wrong? Yes. To Be Continued…
  59. 59. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin This Goes More RIGHT Than Wrong! • 8 of top 10 pages with the highest pageviews in 2018 were rewrites • Posts typically increase traffic by 2x, 5x, even 10x+ • Featured Snippets can be passed from old to new content
  60. 60. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Content Refresh Previous: • Written late 2016 • 22K reads • Ranking 1/2 • ~2K pageviews per month • Great link equity
  61. 61. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Before After 2x Improvement!
  62. 62. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Content Rewrite Original: • Written 2008 • 50K reads • No longer ranking • ~50 pageviews per month • Good link equity
  63. 63. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Before After 80x Improvement!
  64. 64. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Consolidation Original: • 6 posts, 2012-17 • ~2K reads • None on Page 1 • ~20 pageviews per month • Some link equity
  65. 65. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Before After 10x Improvement!
  66. 66. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Featured Snippet Original: • Written 2014 • 35K reads • Position 1 / Page 1 • ~800 pageviews per month • Good link equity
  67. 67. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Featured Snippet changed 1 day after new post published + 301 redirect of old post to new
  68. 68. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Is Removing Content Dangerous? 4,000 posts DEINDEXED DELETED 900 posts
  69. 69. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Is Removing Content Dangerous? Is it getting any traffic? Does it have any link equity? Is it ranking on Page 1? Will anybody miss it if it’s gone? YES NO
  70. 70. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin SEJ July 2015 - June 2017 SEJ July 2017 – Feb 2019 910,000 960,000 1.7 Million 890,000
  71. 71. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Let Your Content Cleansing Begin!
  72. 72. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Audit Know what content you have
  73. 73. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Improve content if you can Rewrite UpdateConsolidate Evaluate
  74. 74. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Remove content if you can’t Deindex Delete from website Evaluate
  75. 75. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin MEASURE Use metrics that matter to your company
  76. 76. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin MEASURE Use data to decide the fate of your content
  77. 77. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin
  78. 78. #SEJThinktank @MrDannyGoodwin Danny Goodwin Executive Editor THANK YOU!

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