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Can Content Actually Hurt Your Website?

Damaging ContentWe've all heard that “content is king”...

And...

“You can’t have too much content on your website.”

But is there a time when content is damaging to your site and its organic rankings?

Yes!

Pages that are “dead” can be damaging and actually hurt your rankings.

What is “dead” content?

  • Content that gets no visitors over a 90 period is dead
  • Content that is outdated could be considered dead

How do you know that a page of content gets zero visitors over a 90 day period?
Use Google Analytics and set your settings to landing pages and less that one visit, then set the date range to 90 days. You will get a list of all pages with less than 1 visitor.

Why are these pages harmful if they just sit there not bothering anybody?

Google wants every site to provide a good user experience. Pages that no one looks at are not providing a quality experience to anyone. They are obviously of absolutely no interest to site visitors.

What if you really believe the content is valuable and the keyword phrase is one that is searched based on the tools available to you that provide traffic numbers.

It’s possible that no one can find the page. Perhaps it’s “stranded.” A stranded page is one with no internal links leading to the page. Before you dump a page that you think is really useful for site visitors, check to be sure it’s not stranded. If it is, fix the internal linking and watch it for 60 days. If the page gets some traffic – keep it, and if not, get rid of it.

Outdated content is just as bad as content that gets no visitors.

Outdated content is often found in blogs.

You may have written a post a year or so ago that addressed a timely issue that is now simply old news. No one likes reading old news. If you find this to be the case, remove the post.

Too much contentOutdated blog posts happen in every industry.

In the SEO services world, content can become outdated pretty quickly. We recently removed about 40 older posts that were old news and now we’re writing new, more current posts… like this one.

Now, some of your older blog posts can be freshened up and repurposed. If you have an older post that is just a little stale, add something fresh to it and post it as if it were new. Don’t cheat on this and simply post it with a new date.

Not every older post is worthy of a freshening up and repurposing. Check to see how many views the post received, or if it was used in content marketing, how many visitors it generated. If the numbers are good, it may be worth a fresh face and relaunch.

If you remove old pages either from the website or blog... ALWAYS... do 301 redirects so visitors and search engine robots don’t get a 404 error when they visit that old address.

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