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Why Deleting Old Low-Quality Articles Can Improve Rankings

Deleting old low-quality articles can improve rankings, as it will enhance user experience on your site and improve SEO keyword rankings.  

Of course, here at GrowTraffic, we advocate for generating new content when improving SEO rankings. However, it can be equally productive to audit the current content on your site. Read this blog to find out more!

How Does Google Rank Content? 

Google stores webpages in an index, which is essentially like a ginormous content library. However, if you were to enter a search query and then be directed to a section of a library with hundreds of thousands of books in… well that wouldn’t exactly be very helpful. 

So, what Google’s algorithm does is filter and rank webpages based on the relevance and quality of the content. You may be familiar with the EEAT anagram; it stands for the four pillars Google uses to rank content, Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.  

To begin the ranking process, Google sends ‘crawlers’ to scour your content pages and make sense of the text and media on a page. These bots can’t fully comprehend your copy alone, so Google uses other technologies such as natural language processing to discern the meaning of sentences.  

Once Google has grasped your copy, it adds it to the relevant index. How it ranks for a search term depends on how well you have optimised the content, based on over 200 ranking signals. Based on EEAT, these factors include: 

  • Content quality and freshness (we’ll certainly come back to this) 
  • Keyword optimisation  
  • Amount of quality backlinks  
  • Page speed/ Loading time 
  • Device friendliness- mobile, tablet etc.  

How Does Deleting Old Low-Quality Articles Impact Rankings? 

So, if Google’s algorithm rewards good-quality content, what exactly does it do with old low-quality articles? 

If Google deems your web pages as being low-quality, it will penalise the site until the problem is rectified. Obviously, the purpose of Google is to provide the best answers to search queries. Low-quality content runs the risk of damaging their hard-earned ‘rep’. 

An article with a high bounce rate or providing little to no value is ranked at the bottom of the pile. If it is out of date, unhelpful, or lacks coverage on a topic (thin), it will also be given a negative ranking. 

Poorly ranked articles can drag the whole site down with them… Generally, the purpose of articles is to help head pages rank higher, so if they’re setting a weak foundation, it doesn’t exactly bode well.  

Picture a fun fair swing (yes, we’re back with the strange anagrams). When the ride gets going, all the swings are flying around at full velocity. But, if one swing were to stop operating and fall flat, then the inter-connected swings would eventually drop down too. 

This is why deleting old low-quality articles can improve rankings. But there are a few things to consider before doing so!  

What To Do Before Deleting Old Low-Quality Articles To Improve Rankings? 

Presumably, you will have already conducted a content audit, which has left you wondering if deleting old low-quality articles can improve rankings. If not, start there, then come back. We can wait (or even do it for you).  

Upon doing a content audit, you can identify any articles that are anchoring your site down. They’ll likely be thin, have low relevance, not get much/any traffic, have no worthwhile backlinks etc. Before pressing the big red delete button, there are a few questions to be resolved first: 

  1. Does the article have any valuable links or copy you’d like to save? 

Who knows, the content could have some lingering value! There could be links or copy in there that once upon a time was useful but has not gained traction for a while. Rewriting this content so it is present and relevant means it does not need to go to waste. Think of it as giving your old articles an anti-ageing facial!  

  1. Do you have multiple content pages on the same topic? 

Rather than deleting these pages, they could be merged or redirected. Even if the individual pieces do not rank well or pull much traffic, they could still be useful!  

Using a fresh resource to connect these articles is a great way to utilise old resources. By combining outdated posts with modern data, it can still meet Google’s content standards. Then just redirect the old pages to the new article.  

  1. Does The Content Have ANY Redeeming Qualities? 

Most content will have something in it that is still useful. Albeit old, the content is low-quality is Google’s eyes, but it could still have some brand relevance that could be tweaked and given a fresh lease of life. 

Alas, if it is truly destined for an article-shaped grave, then it is simply time to cut your losses. In this case, not only do you need to remove the content, but Google needs to know it is gone. A server status 410 Gone will do the trick! 

Why Working With GrowTraffic Can Improve Rankings  

We hope after reading this blog, you understand why deleting old low-quality articles can improve rankings. 

At GrowTraffic, we don’t just craft powerful, fresh web copy designed to convert traffic, but we also monitor overall site performance. Whether you’re looking to outsource digital marketing services or require expert training so you can do it yourself, we have you covered. 

If you’d like more advice on deleting content or are hoping to work with us, please get in touch! You can email us at or call 0161 706 0012.  

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