Is Content Pruning Relevant in 2020

Less is more!

... And always so when it comes to search engine optimization!

With Google rolling out algorithms and SEO gurus constantly reminding you to focus on content’s quality, instead of quantity to survive any ranking fluctuation on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page), content pruning is your best weapon.

So, what it is really and what are its best practices? Let’s check ’em out!

What is Content Pruning

The idea of pruning, as you may have already guessed, is a fauna analogy.

Nope, we don’t want you to revise the class XI biology chapter! Let’s put it in simpler terms!

Literally, pruning means cutting away the dead or overgrown stems or branches from a tree to encourage growth.

There, you got the cue. Content pruning is the procedure of auditing your site content, evaluating their performance and relevance, analysing the underperforming content, and improving or removing the content to maintain your site’s authority and earn value traffic to your site.

There you go. You’ve got the definition but don’t skip the next part! It’s important to know what Google has to say about it:

"One specific piece of guidance we’ve offered is that low-quality content in some parts of a website can impact the whole site’s ranking, and thus removing low-quality pages...could eventually help the rankings of your higher-quality content."

Basically, repetitive, under-performing, and low-quality content reduces the growth potential of the quality content on your site and in turn, jeopardizes the value of your brand. That’s why SEO service providers urge you to adopt content pruning strategies. We will mention these below.

Effective Content Pruning Strategy

1. Audit

Before you set out to analyse and remove any underperforming content, you need to have all the data ready. Organize an inventory with all the available content assets on your site to understand which ones are leading traffic and which are not.

Whilst analysing, you may come across similar content on your site written during two distinct time-frames. In such a case, remove the one with less engagement and outdated information and keep the content that users find informative and interesting.

As you can understand, a data-driven strategy is more impactful than a decision made based on visual cues or assumptions. So, make sure to back up your content clean-up campaign with valuable data.

Tools You Can Use

To gather data, you may use advanced tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics and pay attention to the following performance metrics:

• Pageviews or sessions

• Bounce rate

• Time on site

• Impressions

• Clicks

• Average CTR (Click Through Rate)

• Average Position

• Conversion

Now, the problem is with a loaded site with lots of content pages. While it’s indeed a good strategy to keep your users updated and engaged with regular blog posts, the outdated and low-quality content can ruin your efforts. Again, removing such content can be troublesome as it demands adequate tech-expertise and time investment. If you’re not confident about these two requirements, you are left with the sole option of engaging the professionals at any top SEO agency India. They can audit your site, no matter how loaded it is!

2. Analyze Authority

Next on, you need to analyse the authority of each page’s content. Remember, your SERP ranking highly depends on your domain authority and low-authority content can affect this. You may use tools like Ahrefs, Majestic, or any of your preferable link intelligence tools to keep an eye on the following link metrics:

• Number of referring domains

• Number of inbound links

• Do-follow vs no-follow links

• Trust flow

• Citation flow

Also, pay attention to social shares and crawl frequency.

3. Evaluation Time

Okay, now we come to the most significant step. After analysing the metrics, you need to determine which step to adopt. Below, we mention the best practices recommended by top SEO agency professionals. We offer multiple scenarios based on data analysis and suggest you the best strategy to deal with each scenario. So, let’s dive in!

 Leave it As it Is

If the content is driving organic traffic, has a low bounce rate, and a moderate to high conversion rate – it’s better to leave the page alone. Also, pages that serve a specific purpose, for instance, the archive or navigational page can be excluded.

Now, you may come across some pages that manage to drive organic traffic, got some valuable backlinks, but has a low conversion rate or high bounce rate. In such a case, you should review the page thoroughly. Check if your landing page is syncing with the result shown in the SERP (Search Engine Result Page). Sometimes, it may so happen that the users are looking for something else so they are bouncing.

Here are some on-page elements that may help or hurt your content’s performance:

• Content quality

• Formatting

• Originality

• Author trust

• Presentation

• In-depth analysis

 Light Optimization

If your page ranks well and earns a decent amount of organic visibility, but has a low CTR and high bounce rate, contact a reliable SEO agency India for quick page optimization.

Again, sometimes, your content can grow old or go out of date and require a refresh. Review different on-page elements like title tag, headers, meta tags, internal links, keyword targeting, outbound links, and URL structures to find the loopholes and fix them.

 Remove

If your pages don’t bring any significant leads and have no backlinks, what’s the point in keeping them! Once you identify such pages by checking the metrics, manually review them to confirm whether to refresh or remove.

If you decide to remove, add a 301 redirect to lead the traffic to the closest and better version of the content. If you don’t have an improved version of the content, create one immediately and point to it.

Sometimes, it may so happen that some of your content pages don’t have any organic traffic but have quality backlinks. In such a situation, you may accidentally cannibalize your site by posting multiple pieces of low-quality content targeting the same topic.

Take your time and determine which page you want to get rank for the keyword. Then gather all the information from other pages (without repeating the same thing though) and create a comprehensive and strong resource. Then implement a 301 redirect on the thin content pages to lead traffic to the comprehensive resource page.


You see, the entire process of content pruning demands you to be active, think and analyze properly. Otherwise, you may lose your valuable traffic or page! That’s why it’s better to engage professional SEO services India. The SEO experts can analyse thin content and professional content writers can rewrite your content comprehensively and engagingly.

Got a thought? Feel free to share with us!

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