Huntsville SEO: What is Content Pruning and How It Helps SEO?

Aug 12, 2020 | SEO | 0 comments

Content pruningIn 2011, Google launched the Panda search engine algorithm update to prevent low-quality content from showing up on search results. The objective of this algorithm update was to reward websites with unique and compelling content.

Although a lot of time has passed since the rollout of the Panda Update, its effects are still felt today. The update gave more SERP visibility to content-based authority sites.

High-quality content is useful to online users. And Google gives a thumbs up to sites that regularly create quality and informative content.

Many marketers focus on creating quality content to boost site rankings. But removing content – or content pruning – is just as important from the SEO perspective.

What Is Content Pruning?

Content pruning can help improve the authority of a website. It involves the removal of low-quality content by removing it from a site’s index in search engines.

Although removing content may seem to be contradictory, the adage ‘less is more’ applies to website content in improving search engine rankings.

Every website has some pages that are considered ‘deadwood’. These pages generally contain low-quality content with nothing useful for online users. You should ‘prune’ these pages (similar to pruning trees) to enhance your website traffic.

Most websites attract traffic from only a small number of pages. The ideal scenario is a high ratio of high traffic pages to low traffic pages. Sites with a lot of underperforming pages lose out on the opportunity to gain high traffic.

While Google has not revealed how it measures domain authority, according to Huntsville SEO experts, Google seems to assess the domain quality of a site by assessing the quality of web pages.

When you remove low-quality content, it will improve the overall domain authority of your website. Google ranks sites with high domain authority in the top pages. In this way, you will have an easier time ranking new content with relevant keywords.

Now that you know about content pruning, let’s find out how to prune underperforming web pages for SEO.

Identify Underperforming Content

The first step in pruning website content is to find out the total number of indexed pages. You can use online tools like SEM Rush or Google Console to identify underperforming webpages. These tools will display all the pages that have been indexed.

Next, you should find out how much online traffic each page is getting. Download data about indexed pages in CSV format. Now, open the CSV file in Excel software. You can sort it out by the number of visits to identify pages that receive no traffic.

You can identify underperforming web pages using different metrics. Some of the metrics that can help include:

  • Number of clicks
  • Number of impressions
  • Bounce rate
  • Pageviews per sessions
  • Number and quality of backlinks
  • Ranking keywords
  • Social shares

You can create a rule for pruning low-impact webpages. There are no hard and fast rules, but the following rules can help you select webpages for pruning.

  • Web Pages with no traffic in the past three months
  • Webpages with impressions less than 50 in the past three months
  • Webpages with few, low-quality backlinks
  • Web Pages that do not point to high ranking pages

You can create your own rules for pruning websites. Mark web pages that meet your criteria for content pruning. The goal is to identify all those web pages that don’t attract attention from online users.

Pruning Underperforming Content

Once you have identified all the low-traffic web pages, clean them up. There are various ways you can prune an underperforming webpage.

You can prune content through marking the underperforming pages as no-index. These posts don’t add much value to your website. You should de-index them to make them disappear from the radar of search engines.

Marking a webpage as no-index will prevent it from appearing in the search engine index. You can do this in different ways.

A common method to de-index a page is to disallow it in the robots.txt file. You can also specify in the file that search engine bots not crawl the page. But you must know what you are doing as you can easily break your website ranking by making the wrong entry. Consider letting Huntsville web design experts make the required changes in the robots.txt file.

Another way you can de-index a web page is by applying the meta no-index tag to the page. Add the following tag to the HTML code of the webpage.


Adding a no-index meta tag is a less risky option to de-index the webpage. However, if you are not comfortable with or know not how to modify the code, you should let the experts do it for you.

Adding a no-index meta tag to a webpage will tell the search engine not to index the specific webpage. It will still crawl other webpages and index them.

Pruning doesn’t only involve de-indexing the web page; you can also remove low-traffic content using any of the following ways.

  • Delete the webpage
  • Updating or rewriting the content
  • Changing the meta title and description to attract users attention

Bringing It All Together

Content pruning is important to boost SEO prospects of your website. Pruning involves removing pages that get few or no traffic from the website. Removing dead pages will increase the overall website performance.

You can replace underperforming content with informative and detailed content. It will allow you to focus on creating content that most online users find engaging and entertaining. You will be creating room for quality content by removing low-quality content.

Huntsville SEO experts can help you create an effective content strategy for your website. You can know about keywords that will attract lots of online traffic. SEO experts will also help you in gaining the top position in search engines for relevant keywords. Content that is optimized with high traffic keywords will let your online business become more visible in search engines.

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