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Brighton SEO Takeaways: Content Purging

September 2016 was our first trip to BrightonSEO, which has become one of the most popular search conferences in the UK with over 3000 people attending and 78 speakers over 7 stages.

BrightonSEO started out as a few people meeting at an upstairs room in a pub. Now we’re at the biggest venue in Brighton. Still not quite sure how that happened. - BrightonSEO

With so many interesting talks taking place and valuable lessons to be learnt, it was difficult to pick which talk to attend. We decided to attend talks on links, e-commerce, success, and business. Our favourite talk of the day was part of the Success section; ‘Moving the dial’ by Berian Reed.

This discussed ‘How to move the dial in 2016’:

  • Content purge
  • Ultimate SEO tool set
  • Link building
  • Finding new keywords
  • E-commerce
  • Position 0

After listening to Berian discuss how performing a content purge improved his client’s website performance in the SERPs, we decided to implement this for one of our clients as soon as possible. The main focus of the content purge was to ‘have as few low quality pages as possible’ and to minimise current issues with duplicate content.

About the website

There are several useful resources on our client’s website in the form of PowerPoint downloads, webinars and whitepapers. The webinars are also produced as PowerPoints and these were created on separate pages, creating duplicate page titles and on-page content, but it was important for our client to have both the webinar and PowerPoint versions available. There were also several webpages that contained Word and Excel document download links with little to no on-page content. We believed that the duplicate and thin content issues were having a negative impact on the website’s performance.

What we did

Crawl

Using ScreamingFrog, we performed a crawl of the website and extracted all the URLs along with their page title and word count and placed them in a spreadsheet. We then uploaded these URLs to ahrefs using the bulk uploader tool. We used ahrefs to obtain the number of referring domains and the top search term for each URL. We then researched each URLs Page Authority using Moz.

Analytics

Once we had a list of all the URLs, we looked at both the total and organic search sessions on Google Analytics over the past 12 months. We highlighted which pages received little or no organic traffic, and also noted pages that may not receive landing page traffic but users accessed once they were already on the website. It was clear that although these pages didn’t receive organic traffic, they were valuable to a user’s experience.

Duplicate Content

The webinar and PowerPoint pages were direct duplicates of each other, but they were both imperative to the website. After reviewing the analytics on these webpages, it became clear that the webinar pages received much more traffic than the PowerPoint pages. We decided to add the ‘rel-canoncial’ meta tag on to the PowerPoint pages to point to the duplicate webinar page. We also added extra content to the webinar pages.

There were also several resources that contained similar content that could attract high organic traffic from their keywords. We decided these pages may perform better if we merge the pages to create pieces of long-form content, rather than several pages that contained one or two paragraphs.

Thin Content

There were several resources that contained little to no content, and were solely made up of a page title and document download. As many users did access these pages and download the documents we couldn’t remove them, and we didn’t want to remove them from Google’s index either. Therefore, we created high quality content to describe the document, and where possible we uploaded the document content on to the webpage.

The results

We implemented the above changes on the 23rd September, since then we have seen a 32% increase in organic traffic for the entire website, and up to a 286% increase in traffic for specific resource pages.

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