John Mueller Gives Tips On Dealing With Low-Quality Content
SEO content checks are crucial to see if your articles are high-quality and up-to-date. However, many SEO content writers want to know if it’s better to just remove old and low-quality content or revise them. Google’s John Mueller discussed this matter in a Google SEO office-hours hangout to give helpful insights to the SEO community.
A person told Mueller that they had “bad” SEO and that their website contained “bad articles”, implying that they have poorly written and outdated content. After some time, they finished writing higher quality articles and are now wondering if they should remove all their old and low-quality articles.
However, the SEO was also worried that removing all of these articles would negatively affect their site. So, they asked Mueller whether they should remove or keep them.
Mueller approached the query as if it were two questions. Firstly, he answered whether SEOs should consider a piece of content as low-quality just because it is outdated. Next, he addressed the problem and provided the community with some insights on what they should do if they have low-quality content on their website.
SEOs should take these questions as important factors to consider when it comes to such content. Some online businesses and site owners treat outdated and poor content like weeds; they want to uproot them and throw them away. And indeed, some types of content are like that when they are no longer relevant.
According to Mueller, just because a piece of content is old does not mean that one should treat it as “bad”. He said that if the content creator thinks their content is informative and worthy to publish with their name, they should keep it.
Mueller then followed it up with a response describing what real poor-quality content is and what website owners should do about it.
SEO content checks are crucial, as it gives website owners the chance to reassess their content and determine if it could harm their brand’s reputation. One could do two things to solve the problem of low-quality content: either they remove it or improve it.
How To Improve Old Content
Improving old content is a wise move, but there are some articles that SEOs cannot improve, no matter how hard they try, like content with outdated topics. For instance, one cannot update an article about buying guides for phased-out products, like old-generation television sets or pagers.
For example, there are SEOs who have used templates to create hundreds of city pages. These articles are considered cookie-cutter as publishers only replaced the names of the cities for each page and changed nothing else. These are outdated tactics that website owners and online businesses used a long time ago, and search engines are not fond of such methods today.
Nevertheless, SEOs can revise these pages with some hard work and a little bit of creativity.
At times, it is just best for one to redirect low-quality and outdated content and make it become newer and better without changing the content too far from its topic. Sometimes, this approach is the best way to deal with old, low-quality content.
Rehabilitating Old And Low-Quality Content
One can conduct an in-depth SEO audit and other assessments to determine the best way to deal with outdated and poorly written content. There are four main ways to do this:
- Refresh and update the content.
- Rewrite the content completely.
- Combine content.
- Remove the content altogether.
SEOs can revisit their valuable, high-traffic pages regularly to check if it is still fresh and up-to-date. If the content is still relevant and valuable, one can bring it back to life. SEOs can update, add, or delete things like dates and statistics if it contains time-sensitive information. They can also copyedit to ensure that the writing is still of the utmost quality and that the structure makes sense. Adding more relevant content is another good approach, as is optimising the page’s meta data.
Sometimes, refreshing content is not enough, and it might be necessary to rewrite the content page entirely. Rewriting is a smart strategy when the topic is still relevant for the site’s target audience, but the content itself needs a lot of reworking. The rewritten content may include some of the old versions with the other parts the publisher can work on.
SEOs can then decide if they want the rewritten content to use the same URL or start over entirely with a new link. However, one should remember that a new URL will not have the same history as its original version, so it might take some time for newly written content ranks to rank on the search engine results pages.
Therefore, it is generally better to update older pages and posts rather than create new ones. However, if the situation calls for it, one shouldn’t be afraid to rewrite everything from scratch.
Often, websites have content that competes against each other for specific keywords because their topics are so similar. Therefore, SEOs can combine similar pieces to streamline their content, beef it up, and remove self-competing.
However, when combining two pieces of content, publishers should never just copy and paste. The thought must be seamless and well-integrated.
One post can redirect to the other. This can be done by keeping the link with the higher traffic and unpublishing and redirecting the other piece of content.
Not all articles can be restored, and that’s fine. SEOs can get rid of outdated and irrelevant content that does not gain any traffic. When removing content, publishers should make sure the URL gets no traffic and that the content is not something that could be useful if they restore it. Only then can they remove the URL from the search results through their Google Search Console’s URL removal tool.
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