Why and how to remove or enhance the old content

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quality content

Most of the people will agree that the overall website authority is dragged down due to old content. This brings the important decision that whether the old content should be removed or enhanced.

Proper decision can help one to get great rewards related with visibility of organic search, traffic, conversions, links and engagement etc. Since the inception of Google, its mission is world information organization making it useful and accessible universally and still there is no change from its end. What has actually witnessed changes is the thing called as content marketing.

Content is king is the idea that came about for most of the brands and businesses around the Google Panda original update time.

We can see that much of content is published these days but it is not berry useful and is often redundant as well. This brings a new mission for the content creators and marketers.

Rethinking the approach of content marketing- The process that could be used for this purpose is:

1st step: Content audit:

Content evaluation and auditing is the first step with which it all begins. The content generally has three buckets:

  • Content that is not at all useful
  • Content that serves the desired purpose for you
  • Content that can bring negative results

It is important to check as which bucket your content fits in. Great amount of content is generated every year but not all of it is organized properly that results in mess. It is important to come through this anarchy. In this process, the foremost step is content crawling. For this, some of the useful options are deepcrawl, Sitebulb etc.

optimize content

Several other crawlers are there and one can select any of them based on preferences. When the process of crawling is complete, following elements must be checked:

  • URL: Is required to alter the URL or is it SEO friendly
  • Title: Whether optimized title is there or not
  • Date of publication: Is it out of date or fresh
  • Author: Information about its writer, whether experienced or newbie in the field
  • Reads count: It is better to have more and more reads since it reflects that content is good and audiences are getting connected with it
  • Links number: Number of internal and inbound links
  • Word count: This is not low quality indicator but the quality issues are indicated by this

Content quality evaluation:

After this, comes content quality evaluation that is present on the site. The content having following factors is considered to be quality content.

  • Readable
  • Provides solution for queries
  • Accurate
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Informative
  • Inspiring
  • Sharable
  • Original
  • Entertaining
  • Problem solving
  • Educational
  • Visual

The factors that are found in content of low-quality are:

  • Unsuccessful
  • No target audience is there
  • Not optimized
  • No purpose/goal

Google, on the other hand, defines content quality as one having following factors:

  • High quality
  • Informative
  • Useful
  • Engaging
  • Credible
  • More useful and valuable compared with others

From the quality rating of Google search comes the term E-A-T that simply means:

  • Expertise: The exceptional information, skills and knowledge
  • Authority: Your knowledge or skills are recognized or known to other people
  • Trust: What you say, think or do is believed by people

When following elements are found in the content, it is considered to be of low-quality by Google:

  • Quality of main content is low
  • E-A-T is not adequate
  • The title is shocking/exaggerated
  • Main content is not present in satisfied amount
  • Information about creator of content or website is not present in enough amount
  • Distraction from main content is there in the form of supporting content or ads
  • Content creator or website has reputation that is mildly negative

After this evaluation comes the question as how to deal with the content of low-quality, whether to improve or remove it?

Helpful metrics for content quality defining;

There is no need to get confused with the vague statements available and it is always better to go for the metrics that is definite. Some of the useful metrics for the process are:

  • Engagement
  • Organic traffic
  • Pageviews
  • Conversions
  • Links

It is a fact that content success is influenced by several factors and therefore at the time of content evaluation, it is better to go with the best of judgment.

Check what could be done with present content:

This process has the final step as making decisions that are date driven about removal or enhancement of the existing content. It comes with the following possibilities:

1st condition: No need of changes- no changes are required in the case when:

  • Historic value is there of the information and it is accurate
  • The position in ranking is between 1 to 3
  • Engagement and good traffic is consistently attracted by it
  • Conversions are generated by the content
  • Several social shares and quality links have also been attracted by the content

There is no need to alter the content in case its performance is already good. It is better in this case to focus on other gainful areas.

2nd condition: refresh/update content. It is required to refresh or update the content that is:

  • Ranked on Google’s 1st page
  • Getting traffic on consistent basis
  • Engagement is below average
  • No/few conversions
  • Earned some shares/links that are valuable

The process for doing this: For refreshing or updating the content, the steps required are:

  • Maintain information accuracy by updating it
  • Keeping the URL same
  • Compared with the competitors of SERP, make it enhanced

3rd condition: rewrite content- if any of the following condition is applied then it is important to rewrite the content:

  • No new shares/ links are attracted by it
  • It is getting no or little traffic currently
  • The ranking is not on 1st page
  • Conversions are not there
  • No indexing of content

How this could be done?

Rewrites are generally required for the content having topic that is relevant, useful and helpful but is not written that well. Following must be assured for addressing this:

  • Content needs to be started from scratch
  • Make the information accurate by updating it
  • New post must be redirected to new URL

4th condition: consolidation of content- some of the reasons are listed below why content consolidation is important:

  • One topic is having several articles
  • New shares or links are not attracted by them
  • Traffic is attracted by just one section while none or little is there for the others
  • The ranking of article is not on 1st page

How this could be done?

Below are the steps that must be followed for doing this exactly:

  • Making content piece that is awesome
  • It is better when compared with the competitors
  • Beginning is done from scratch but the existing content that is useful is reused.
  • Redirect (301) is done to new URL

5th condition: Deindexing/ deletion of content-It is important to delete the content in any of the following condition:

improve content
  • The content is thin
  • There is no historic significance for it
  • It is plagiarized/ off-topic/ written poorly/stolen/syndicated
  • There are few or no shares, traffic, engagement, links, conversions
  • The pageviews are very less in number

Now comes the question as how to make the decision whether the content should be removed or enhanced. It depends on the response for the following queries:

  • Is traffic attracted by the content
  • Is the ranking of content is on 1st page
  • Is link equity is present
  • Will the content be missed when it is not there

It could be dangerous to remove the content in case the answer to any of the above is yes. However, it is better to say goodbye to the content if these questions are answered with a yes.

Key points to consider:

To check whether the content needs to be removed or improved, below given steps must be followed:

  • Evaluate: In case it is possible to consolidate, rewrite or update the content then improve it or else it should be deleted
  • Audit: Check the existing content
  • Measure: use company relevant data and metrics for your content fate decision.

These are the important points that must be taken care of for deciding whether it is possible to gain benefits from the existing content by updating or improving it or whether it is better to delete the content since it is not able to serve the desired purpose in any manner.