Everyone is searching for the next big ‘SEO tactic’ but the reality is that one of the best has been staring most of us in the face. And its as simple as housekeeping, or rather removing any content that is under-performing from Google’s index. Here we outline some of the tricks of the trade to ensure that your site is fresh and your SEO is at the top of the game.

Out with the old, in with the new

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Why is so important?

In simple terms, if you don’t manage your indexable content inventory then you run the risk of Google doing it for you. Instead, you should focus on removing that which isn’t being used, and put your energies into pages and content that are.

What can I do?

Pruning may mean straight-up deletion, redirecting your users, the use of 404 / 410 codes or ‘Noindex’ meta tags plus a host of other options, situation dependent. Here we outline just a few.

One option is to leave items in your catalogue and on your site but to remove them from the index. You can use the ‘Noindex’ meta tag. This is ideal for a very large site with significant and sometimes duplicated product copy.

Alternatively you can also remove products from your navigation and any internal search results. Google will still crawl the URL and direct links will work whilst still achieving a better UX.

Finally, you could permanently remove items from your index but leave them in your catalogue. This is an option where you want items to be indexed by Google but not crawled. This is true where pages might impact your conversion rate adversely. The solution is to use the meta tag “Robots, Noindex” and then once they’ve been re-crawled and are no longer indexed put a “Disallow:” statement in the Robots.txt file.

Clearly there are many more options, including permanent deletion and use of a 404 / 410 or even updating pages to be password-protected. And if you’re not sure as to the best way to proceed then consider utilising the services of a business such as Aardvark Creative, specialists in web design in Bristol who can help.

All of these tips can assist you with internal housekeeping, whilst maintaining the traffic you need.