Why prune old content?

People prune pages for several reasons. Ask an expert and you’ll hear things like “reduce bloat” and “maximize link equity.” But what are the benefits of pruning? What’s the impact on results?

Here’s why they say you should delete old, non-performing pages:

  • Manage Google’s “Crawl Budget”
    Search engines allocate a finite amount of server processing power to crawl your website. Deleting pages will help GoogleBot to focus on search-relevant content. This is especially important for large sites (10k+ pages).
  • Focusing Domain Authority
    Your site has a finite amount of ranking potential, passed to it through links from other websites, measured as Domain Authority (). If you have fewer pages, each will have more authority and may rank higher.
  • Reduce risk of keyphrase cannibalization
    If you have two pages that both cover the same topic, Google may get confused, may not rank the one you want, or may not rank either.

That’s basically the idea.

Note: In this case, pruning content is not about streamlining navigation, consolidating categories or improving design. We’re not talking about UX because there is no debate on that topic. Always do anything that improves the experience of visitors!

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