June 6


When to remove content from your website

By Jason Khoo

June 6, 2020


Hi guys, and welcome to another edition of Zupo SEO Talk & Tea. 

Today's conversation is when to remove content from your website. A lot of times, if your Google rankings have fallen or you've been penalized, one of the first things that SEOs and people on the web will recommend is to delete old content or delete thin content. So that's kind of what I want to talk about today, is when to know when to delete content. That's constantly asked of me, and so that's something that I think that deserves a conversation, but again, today is a Zupo SEO Talk & Tea, so I want to introduce the tea we have today. This is a tea that was gifted to me years ago by someone who I worked with. It's a chamomile citrus tea. In another video, I taste tested it for the first time, so we're going to give it a second round and see how this goes.

So let's go ahead and get brewing. I think the key, though, is it's a little peppery slash citrusy. So I think I'm going to brew it for a short period of time because it got strong really quickly and I don't even think I brewed it for very long the first time, but I'm going to probably do this fairly quickly, but let's go ahead and get talking about when to remove content. So Google has said that they don't like thin content, they don't like duplicate content, and they don't like when content is obviously spammed. So what I want to focus on is that I get asked all the time by websites, "Hey, should I start deleting my content? Can you take a look at it?"

So something that I would say is that Google has explicitly said in their literature that if your site is less than 10,000 to 100,000 pages, then you probably don't need to be worrying about content. The content issue for them was, when you need to start deleting content, is more for large, enormous websites that are so massive and there's so much content on there that could be arguably thin or duplicate. That's when it really matters. So what I would say is if your website is less than 10,000 pages, you probably don't need to be deleting any content. Actually, I would advise against it. Content libraries are important so that Google can better understand what your site is about. The more content that you have to reinforce topics and keywords you're trying to rank for, the better. So actually deleting content can hurt you because you can be seen as less reliable or less thorough because the size of your site, and the content isn't that large, where you're not really supporting your authority, your expertise in the topic, right? So what I would say is, nine times out of 10, if your site is less than 10,000 pages, I'd say do not delete content.

There are caveats though, and I have done this before. I have inherited websites where the client has hired companies before, where they did really bad content, where it doesn't even read right. It doesn't sound English. It sounds really spammy. It's obviously internationally outsourced, right? So in those cases, I would delete it. So my rule is, only delete content, if your site is less than 10,000 pages, if the content is obviously thin or just terrible quality, so it doesn't read right, has no relevance to the website, or is just really short. So I've even seen blog posts that are a hundred words. There's no need for that, right? So generally what I like to do is I never delete content. I will only delete it if it's just pitifully bad, where if someone saw it ... it almost would have hurt the brand if someone saw it because it's so low quality, but what I will do, on the other hand, though, is I will merge content sometimes. So sometimes if I have four different blog posts and I feel like they'd be better merged into one large blog post, we can do that.

So the quick answer to all of this is, if you're site is less than 10,000 pages, don't worry about deleting content. If your pages tend to 100,000 pages of content, then yes, there may be some level of deleting content, but before I rush in to delete content, I would segment the content out to ensure how much content you have for different key groups of entities that you're focusing on, and make sure you don't delete entire libraries devoted to one topic if that one topic is really important to rank for you, right?

So in total do not delete content if your site is less than 10,000 pages, unless it's obviously atrocious content or thin. Otherwise, there's other ways to kind of get around deleting content. You can combine them into one blog post, you can move the blog post, or just add to it yourself. You can edit it. There's so many things you can do before deleting. I would say be creative, edit it, add to it, update it, merge it with something else. You don't always need to delete it. I think deleting it is a tactic that is not really appropriate for most websites, especially those under 10,000 pages. There's many things you can do instead, and so the key is do not delete just to delete, refine. That's better for SEO, refine, update the content, add to it, edit it. Refining is much better because not only do you already have a page and then you can add to it, Google likes seeing websites that constantly update themselves, but if you delete it, you're actually going the opposite way. You're a website that looks like you are debilitating. You are deteriorating, in the sense that your site's getting smaller and you're not updating it, in the sense that you're not growing it, right?

So in that case, the short answer is always don't. There's probably five things before deleting a piece of content that you could do before you get to the point where you need to trash it, right? So I always say, if you're under 10,000, don't delete it. You can edit, update it, merge it, many other things you can do before you need to delete content. So hopefully you guys found that valuable. I'm going to go ahead and start brewing my tea, but if you guys liked the video, please like and subscribe. Did I just say, "I'm going to brew my tea?" I already brewed it. I'm going to have my tea, but if you guys enjoyed the video, I hope to see you guys again soon. Thanks everybody.

Jason Khoo

About the author

Jason is founder and CEO of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends catching up on reading and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.

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