Content Pruning For SEO

Ghanshyam Jadhav

15 min read

Content pruning is a proven tactic to improve traffic and also conversion rates for websites. Here is a complete guide to content pruning.

Think of your website as a bustling library. The shelves are filled with information, some frequently used and worn, while others are neglected and gathering dust in forgotten corners.

Just as a diligent librarian organizes the shelves, there are times when you need to remove outdated content to make room for new and exciting information.

But did you know this digital decluttering can also work wonders for your website's SEO? Get ready, bookworms, as we explore the unexpected benefits of removing pages!

Content pruning is the process of strategically removing outdated, low-performing, or unnecessary pages from your website. Think of it like cleaning out your closet – you get rid of clothes you don't wear anymore to make room for new ones and make it easier to find what you actually need.

Think of your website as a garden. Lush and vibrant content thrives, attracting visitors with lively engagement. But what if, among the beautiful blossoms, dead leaves and overgrown branches clutter the space?

They rob healthy plants of sunlight, obstruct navigation, and contribute to a disorderly space. This is where content pruning comes in. It acts like your SEO shears, trimming away the unnecessary to foster your website's potential.

The main reasons for pruning your web content from a blog or website are as follows:

1. To remove spammy backlinks.

Think of backlinks as votes of confidence from other websites pointing to yours. The higher the number of high-quality backlinks to your website, the higher it ranks in search engine results.

But here's the catch: not all backlinks are created equal.

Irrelevant, spammy links can negatively impact your SEO. By removing pages with such backlinks, you're essentially cleaning up your online reputation and preventing search engines from penalizing you.

2. To remove outdated content.

But wait, doesn't every page help with SEO?

Not exactly. Outdated content that doesn't attract much traffic or engagement can dilute the overall value of your website. Think of how search engines might struggle to understand your website if it contains conflicting information or irrelevant topics.

It's confusing, right?

By removing such pages, you send a clear message to search engines about your website's core focus, making it easier for them to index and rank your valuable content.

Think of it like this:

  • Removing low-quality pages: It's like weeding out bad apples from your fruit basket. You're left with a basket of delicious, SEO-friendly content that equally attracts search engines and users.
  • Removing outdated content: It's like updating your wardrobe for a new season. You discard worn-out clothes and embrace fresh styles, reflecting your evolving brand and keeping users engaged.

3. To pass link juice.

In the SEO world, backlinks are akin to magical potions, each carrying "link juice" that flows toward the linked page.

But guess what?

This valuable juice is limited. When you have too many pages competing for it, everyone gets a weaker sip. By removing low-value pages, you concentrate the link juice on your important, high-performing pages using internal links, boosting their ranking potential.

Bonus benefits of decluttering:

  • Improved website speed: Fewer pages mean less data to load, resulting in a faster and more user-friendly experience.
  • Enhanced website navigation: A streamlined website with clear categories and relevant content makes it easier for users to find what they're looking for, improving user experience and potentially reducing bounce rates.
  • Reduced maintenance: Fewer pages mean less content to update and manage, freeing up your time and resources for other SEO efforts.

4. To Improve Your Crawl Budget

Imagine a busy city with bustling streets where cars deliver essential goods and services. What if some roads were blocked due to abandoned cars, construction zones, or unused detours?

Traffic would stall, deliveries would be delayed, and the city's efficiency would decrease significantly. This is essentially what happens to your website when outdated or irrelevant content consumes your "crawl budget.”

Wondering what the crawl budget is? It's akin to a search engine's limited fuel supply. It's used to "crawl" (explore) your website, index its pages, and comprehend their content. However, each page visit consumes a portion of this budget. Consequently, having more pages means search engines can spend less time on the most valuable ones.

This is where content pruning is advantageous. Eliminating low-performing, outdated, or irrelevant pages, it's akin to clearing blocked roads. Search engine bots can then devote their valuable "fuel" to important pages, indexing them thoroughly and comprehending their relevance to search queries.

Wait, a strategic approach is needed to remove pages. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Back up your content: It's always wise to have a backup, just in case.
  • Consider the user experience: Make sure removing a page doesn't create broken links or confuse your users.
  • Use 301 redirects: If a page has valuable backlinks, redirect it to a relevant existing page to preserve the link juice. To create seamless, successful, and error-free 301 redirects, use Konigle's URL redirection feature. This tool not only simplifies the redirection process but also helps optimize your URLs with an SEO-friendly approach, redirecting from previous, cluttered URLs.
Konigle's URL redirection tool
Konigle's URL redirection tool
  • Analyze your traffic: Look at which pages are performing well and which ones are dragging you down. Tools such as Google Analytics can assist you in identifying opportunities for improvement.
  • Don't go overboard: Decluttering is good, but don't remove valuable content just for the sake of it. Quality still reigns supreme!

Step 1: First, sign up with Konigle. Once you're on the Konigle admin dashboard, click the "Plugins" tab.

Konigle admin
Konigle admin

Step 2: After clicking on "Plugins", you will see multiple plugins. Select the "Page Pruning Tool" plugin.

Select the Page Pruning Tool plugin
Select the Page Pruning Tool plugin

Step 3: Once you're inside the “Pruning Tool” plugins, click on 'Choose File' and select the CSV or Excel file containing the page URLs you wish to remove.

Choose a file to upload
Choose a file to upload

Step 4: Click the "upload" button. Once you do, you'll see the URLs from your uploaded file. Select either all URLs or a specific URL you wish to remove. Also, check the box if you want to remove it from the sitemap as well.

Note: The URLs in the file you uploaded must already be indexed by the search engine. If a URL is not indexed by the search engine, it will not appear below.

After uploading the file select either all URLs or a specific URL
After uploading the file select either all URLs or a specific URL

Step 5: Once you've completed the above steps, click the "Prune these pages" button. After pressing the button, you'll see a message in the top right corner stating, "Unpublished the selected pages." This means you've successfully completed the task.

Click the Prune These Pages button
Click the Prune These Pages button

Ahrefs gives you data in a handy CSV format. To get this info into the konigle pruning tool, just follow these simple steps:

1. Let's get the data out of Ahrefs!

  • Depending on which Ahrefs tool you're using, the steps to export data might be a bit different. But don't worry, you will usually find an export option somewhere in the tool's interface.
  • Found it? Great! Now, just pick the data (Basically backlinks or web page URLs) you want to take with you and make sure to select CSV as your export format.

2. Let's get that CSV data into your konigle pruning tool!

  • To import the data, just follow the steps above to upload your CSV file. It's as easy as pie!
  • Once you've found the import option, go ahead and choose the CSV file that you exported from Ahrefs. Just follow along with the on-screen instructions or above steps and you'll be all set. 

Keep in mind, that decluttering your website is an ongoing process, not a one-time task. Regularly review your content, stay informed about SEO best practices, and don't hesitate to remove pages that no longer benefit your website or audience.


Ghanshyam Jadhav

Content Writing

Ghanshyam has experience running blogs and making money online using AdSense and affiliate marketing. When he is not writing, he likes to travel and hike to spiritual places.

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