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Your brand has a sizable blog. Traffic has steadily increased over the past few months and you decide to ramp up your publishing schedule to target new keywords. But then you hit a roadblock. Traffic flatlines.

What’s going on here? No major algorithm update went into effect? Everything looks fine from a technical standpoint, so you maintain course and keep on publishing.

Months go by and traffic still isn’t growing, some weeks are worse than others. You conduct a content audit and have a “wow” moment. “How could we have so much underperforming content?”

When it comes to SEO, there could be myriad reasons why your content isn’t meeting expectations. Maybe you’re not targeting the right keywords. Perhaps your robots.txt file is blocking off sections of your website. You could have an army of spammy websites linking to you. As the SEO community would say, “it depends”.

Our story at G2 was similar to the one I described above. After a year of record-breaking traffic growth and reaching one million organic sessions per month, things began to slow down. Even after making minor tweaks to our content strategy, traffic growth was minimal. What gives?

I took a broad dive into the data by looking at every single article we published and discovered a few red flags, but there were two things that stood out to me the most:

There were an abundance of underperforming articles published over the course of four years. Some of these articles we never knew even existed.
We knew our subdomain was big, but we never knew how big until we got a birds-eye view of the data and visualized it.
Also, our underperforming articles far outweighed the high and even average-performing ones. While every article won’t perform as desired, the discrepancies for us were too large.

It was time to look at solutions that would both declutter our blog while increasing its content quality. One of those solutions would prove to be content pruning.

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