How to Delete Low Quality Content While Reaping SEO Benefits

Last updated on February 23rd, 2023 by Jason Parks

Deleting low quality and outdated content can not only enhance the user experience on your site, it can improve SEO keyword rankings. 

Google would prefer to rank a website that has good content versus bad. The last thing you want is for visitors to land on low quality pages, which can lead to a high bounce rate and poor experience.  

If you have 200 pages on your site and 150 of those pages are low quality blog posts, Google will view the majority of pages on your site as low quality, which can lead to quality issues. 

Deleting bad content can help your SEO. It’s important to understand the type of low quality content that should be removed from your site.

Be Cautious When Deleting Low Quality Content

Before you go on a bender and deleting a lot pages throughout your site, it’s critical to determine whether or not the content is low quality.

If you delete pages that generate a lot of backlinks or provide strong internal links to key pages on your site, this can do more harm than good.

I recommend following my critical thinking checklist below along with a Google Analytics audit to determine whether or not content should be deleted.

Need help auditing low quality content? Contact The Media Captain

Critical Thinking Checklist For Deleting Bad Content

Below is a checklist that helps me determine whether content on a website should stay or be removed. I share this checklist with new clients when we audit their website to help determine what content to delete. 

  • Outdated 
    • The content published is no longer relevant. 
      • If you made a blog post in 2012 and it’s outdated or no longer accurate, consider deleting it. 
  • Off-Topic 
    • The content published doesn’t relate to the services or products you’re offering. 
      • The traffic that’s being driven to your site isn’t indicative of the customers you want to attract.
  • Thin Content 
    • The content was poorly written and there’s not a lot of depth to the piece. 
      • You can enhance thin content and expand on a subject matter versus deleting it.
  • Customer Acquisition 
    • You wouldn’t convert a customer from this content. 
    • You wouldn’t share this content with a current or prospective customer.
  • Backlink Worthy 
    • Other websites wouldn’t link back to this content. 

Learn More About Media Captain’s SEO Services

Enhancing Content

I encourage my clients to enhance content before deleting it. 

If there’s a page on your site with thin content, this can be an indicator that the page has a low word count and not a lot of depth.

If the page with thin content has a relevant topic, you should enhance the existing content to improve SEO. 

Enhancing existing content takes longer than deleting content as rewriting a page is more time consuming. You can achieve major keyword ranking wins by improving existing content that’s already on your site.

Redirecting Content

If you have two similar pages on your site, rather than deleting the page, I encourage clients to redirect the lower quality content into the more relevant page.

With two similar pages, Google has a hard time knowing which page to rank well on Google, leading to cannibalization. 

Related Blog: Should I Delete, Enhance or Redirect Thin Content?

Google Analytics Audit

I like using Google Analytics to help make sound decisions on whether I should delete certain pages.

Within Google Analytics, I look at low trafficked pages. I also look at the bounce rate. Below is what helps me determine whether I should delete pages. 

  • Low Trafficked Pages 
    • If a page on your site isn’t receiving much traffic, it could be an indicator that the content isn’t relevant. 
      • People aren’t finding this page by navigating through your website.
      • People aren’t finding this page by discovering it on search engines. 
        • If a piece of content is brand new, you won’t have much traffic to this page, so keep this in mind as you don’t want to delete new content.
  • High Bounce Rate 
    • If you’re receiving a high bounce rate on a page, the visitor’s overall session duration is short; meaning they visit a page on your site and leave.
      • When a page has a high bounce rate, you will want to analyze the above checklist to determine the relevancy. 

Within Google Analytics, you can easily gauge low trafficked pages and bounce rate by following the steps below: 

  • Behavior 
    • Site Content  
    • All Pages 
      • Export

Client Examples

I’ve helped many clients improve keyword rankings by purging bad content. Below are some examples to provide you with real-life examples of the content I decided to delete, which resulted in keyword improvements.  

  • Roofing Company
    • A roofing client of ours had hundreds of blogs. The majority of them were under 300 words. We felt like the blogs were such low quality that current or prospective customers wouldn’t gain any value from the blog content. We decided to delete a majority of the blogs.
  • Plumbing Company 
    • A plumbing client had a lot of pages dedicated to news happening within their company. When they won an award, they’d write a short 200 word blog on the achievement. This was coming across as thin content. We created an accolade section of their site to showcase the awards and deleted the thin content previously mentioned.
  • Marketing Agency 
    • For our marketing agency, there were a lot of non-relevant blogs on our site. In the early days of owning my agency, I would blog about sports related topics that had a small tie-in to media but not digital marketing and web design. I deleted a lot of this non-relevant content.
  • eCommerce Company 
    • An eCommerce client of ours sold pill crushers. They had different variations of this pill crusher, each of which had numerous pages, all with similar content. This cannibalized their keyword rankings. We redirected numerous pages into one powerhouse page, which improved rankings. 

In Closing

  • There’s no black and white formula to help you determine which pages need to be deleted from your site. 
  • Combine analytical data with my critical thinking checklist to make the determination on which pages to delete from your site. 
  • Before deleting a page, see if you can enhance the content or redirect it to another relevant page. 
  • If you delete low quality content, this can improve the quality of your site and your keyword rankings.

Jason Parks

Jason Parks started The Media Captain in 2010. He’s grown TMC into one of the largest digital agency’s in Ohio over the past decade.The Media Captain has worked with hundreds of small, medium and enterprise clients on digital marketing and development projects.The Columbus Based Digital Marketing Agency has received numerous accolades. TMC was named a Top 1% Agency in the U.S. by UpCity in 2019 and 2020. They also won the “Best PPC Campaign,” which was a national award from DashThis. They were also the recipient of the Top 10 Social Media Marketing Agencies in Ohio.

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