Google Retake: Improving Content & Pruning Content Are Both Valid Strategies

The other day at SMX East, Gary Illyes from Google stirred the pot with SEOs by saying pruning content is not a good strategy to help with Panda issues. So Glenn Gabe submitted this question to John Mueller of Google to get his take on how Gary answered the question. In fact, Gary said the strategy of pruning content to recover from Panda filters should not work and probably should never have worked.

Most of what Gary said went against much of what SEOs have been practicing for the past several years since Panda launched. Hence the concern.

So John Mueller basically said Gary was wrong by saying both pruning and improving content are “valid strategies.” John explained it is always preferred to improve your content but if you cannot do that then removing the content is fine.

He answered this question at the 6:22 mark into the video, here is the embed:

Here is the transcript:

Question from Glenn regarding kind of low quality content on a website and what the best approach there is. So I think there have been multiple hangouts where we say one thing and then conferences sometimes we say something else and it can be a bit confusing with regards to understanding what what you need to do.

And I think this is something where you really need to take a look at your website and take a look at your specific case. So in general when it comes to low quality content, that’s something where we see your website is providing something but it’s not really that fantastic. And there are two approaches
to actually tackling this. On the one hand you can improve your content and from my point of view if you can improve your content that’s probably the the best approach possible because then you
have something really useful on your website you’re providing something useful for the web in general. So that’s generally when we talk with the quality engineers that’s what they tell people to do. Well you clearly had a reason for putting this out now be serious about the content that you put out and actually make sure it’s it’s useful, make sure it’s high quality. So improving it is probably the best thing to do in general because in the end that’s extra value that you have for your website probably it’s something you know something about or you have someone on your team who knows something about it.

On the other hand if you can’t improve the quality of that content because it’s just so much. Or maybe you auto-generated all of this content at some point and you can kind of like improve some small fraction of it but a large part is something you can’t really change at all. Then that makes sense perhaps to be consistent there as well and say well I can’t do anything about this so I’m just going to get rid of this and clean up. And cleaning up can be done with no index with a 404 kind of whatever you like to do that.

So both of those are I think valid strategies. And of course if you can make your content better I think that’s that’s always the best approach.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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