Should you delete old content from your website?


This has been a hot topic this due to an annoucement from the large tech website, CNET, that they had deleted thousands of pages from their website to increase the overall freshness of the website, with a view to improving Google rankings.

Various voices from Google joined the discussions to state that this does not help and is not “a thing”. It seems that CNET has been a little misguided with their approach to freshness.

However, it’s not such a bad move as it’s being made out to be. When the Panda algorithm launched in 2011, one of the main factors that could cause a site-wide ranking penalty was having a significant amount of low quality content. What is deemed as low quality can be argued at length but the reality is that it is better to have a smaller, higher quality website instead of one that has many pages that mostly don’t rank.

Understanding the concept of PageRank and how Google transfers the value of inbound links to internal pages is key to understand that the fewer pages that you have results in more PageRank being passed to each of them.

Google doesn’t want you to remove pages, unless they are really bad, as they may one day answer an obsscure query, but it does want you to keep them updated as much as possible. This is challenging for large websites. The reality is that less is more and it’s always better to have less pages, which are very good and up-to-date, rather than a large website with many pages of outdated content.


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