Low-quality content can negatively impact your website’s reputation and SEO performance. While older or outdated content may contribute to this, the date of publication alone does not define low-quality content. Google has emphasized that pruning content in bulk for SEO purposes does not guarantee improved rankings. Instead, the focus should be on the quality of the content. The New York Times is an example of a website with older content that maintains good SEO performance because of its quality.
High-quality content should comprehensively answer questions, solve problems, and satisfy the intended audience. It should be accurate, easy to consume, educational, entertaining, helpful, informative, inspiring, optimized, original, shareable, and useful. Google provides specific questions to assess the quality of content, including its originality, comprehensive description, insightful analysis, and additional value compared to other sources.
Measuring the quality of content can be done through various metrics, including pageviews, organic traffic, links, conversions, and engagement. These metrics should be tailored to your specific situation and goals.
To start assessing your content, conduct a content audit to gather information about each piece of content. This includes evaluating the accuracy, SEO friendliness, authorship, publication date, historic and recent pageviews, word count, links, and trust flow and citation flow. Word count can indicate potential quality issues, but further investigation is necessary.
Reviewing and determining action for each piece of content requires human judgment from subject matter experts and those with SEO knowledge. Consider whether the content is SEO positive (beneficial), SEO neutral (useless), or SEO negative (detrimental). Content that is already performing well, attracting traffic, engagement, links, and conversions should be left alone, while the focus should be on improving or removing content that is thin, outdated, and unhelpful.
Google advises against removing content and suggests improving it instead. Making “thin” content “thick” and adding more high-quality content is recommended to provide value to users and the web. Improving content involves assessing various elements such as alignment with audience intent, call to action, clarity, data, depth, facts, formatting, grammar and spelling, links and citations, missing information, multimedia, readability, structure, title, tone of voice, URL usefulness, and value. Updates with minor changes and an updated publication date may be sufficient, but if traffic or rankings decline, more substantial rewriting may be necessary.
In conclusion, low-quality content can negatively impact your website’s reputation and SEO performance. Understanding what constitutes quality content and how to measure it is crucial for ensuring your website’s success. Regularly assessing your content and making improvements where necessary can help maintain a positive reputation and improve SEO performance.