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It sounds counterproductive: increasing SEO performance by removing content. I know.

Ten years ago I would have called bullshit.

Today? Nope! It's become crystal clear that quality trumps quantity any day of the week in SEO.

How do you determine what content to remove? And is removing it your only option? Is content pruning without risk?

We cover it all in this massive guide.

Including best practices from content pruning experts Kevin Indig, John Doherty (Credo), Bill Sebald (Greenlane SEO) and Jimmy Daly (Animalz).

  • DG

    Dejan Gajsek

    about 1 year ago #

    Content pruning for a website is like burning off fat from a body for better performance. :)
    Thanks for sharing, Steven!

  • JP

    James Phoenix

    about 1 year ago #

    What a great read Steven, content pruning is such an important element of SEO this is especially true when it comes to larger websites.

  • AL

    Aymen Loukil

    about 1 year ago #

    Nice guide about content pruning ! Less is more and Quality over quantity :)

  • BA

    Bonnie Anderson

    about 1 year ago #

    Great information about the importance of content pruning and how it relates to SEO.

  • TC

    Tad Chef

    about 1 year ago #

    Yeah, updating existing content and removing outdated one is a must ever since the "Panda" update back in 2011.

    There are so many completely wrong articles by now! Many sites are still recommending using defunct tools for example!

    • SV

      Steven van Vessum

      about 1 year ago #

      Yep, and jep. Content pruning is an important task anyone doing content marketing should be aware of, and should be doing on a regular basis as part of his/her routine.

  • IG

    Igor Gorbenko

    about 1 year ago #

    Sweet. Something to backup my claims :D

    • SV

      Steven van Vessum

      about 1 year ago #

      Glad to hear Igor!

      It's one of those topics where you know it makes sense to do, and the overal site health benefits, it's good for users but it's hard to explain to people how it helps :)

  • NR

    Nikola Roza

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey Steven,
    I like content pruning because by lowering the number of pages you increase the amount of equity that flows to the pages that remain, thus boosting their rank. Though obviously, this isn't a magic bullet.


    Does an orphaned page, with no backlinks and no internal links pointing to it, have any PR?

    I read somewhere that Google assigns PR to pages after 3 months or so, and that's is one of the reasons why new pages rank so poorly.

    • SV

      Steven van Vessum

      about 1 year ago #

      Hi Nikola, thanks for your response!

      As for your question: if there are no links (external/internal) to a page, the page won't have any link value and it won't rank for anything. Because, why would it if it's not important enough to get links (not even internal ones).

      However, it's not as black and white as this if there are canonicals pointing to that page. Or if there are hreflang tags pointing to that page. That could enable to page to rank :)