Dethroning the King: Does Your Site Have Too Much Content?
‘Content is king’, as the marketing kids say these days (or as I said back in 2013), and having a regular stream of good content is certainly recommended for achieving and maintaining good search engine rankings.
But what if all the content you’re proudly displaying on your website is actually having a detrimental effect on your site’s health?
It’s perhaps a less obvious question, and from what I can see, not one that is asked very often.
Whilst pondering the subject I thought I’d play devils advocate, and hash out some reasons why constantly creating fresh content on your site may be more of a hindrance than a help.
It makes navigation a pain
If you’re adding new content to your site all the time, you’re either sticking the pages on your navigation menu or leaving them on your sitemap with maybe a few links here and there.
This puts you in a silly catch-22. The former makes your site too convoluted and imposing for visitors to browse, while the latter makes it increasingly difficult for them to find pages they’ve visited in the past (particularly if a lot of your content pages are very similar).
It can make you look bad
The more content pages you have on your site, the harder it is to keep track of them all – and the easier it is for outdated pages to remain hidden in the background.
This is especially true if you keep a blog. Older posts can wind up ranking higher in search than newer posts, and they can be pretty embarrassing – full of ‘facts’ that have become obsolete, opinions which you’ve since changed your mind on, or simply rubbish-quality writing.
I’m guilty of this, recently a client informed me he’d been reading one of my posts, turned out it was one from 2011, I was more than a little embarrassed when I reread it, littered with mistakes and poor grammar, symptomatic of a time when I really wasn’t blogging for any other reason that it was what you were ‘supposed‘ to do. I never really expected anyone would read it. These days however, my site has a strong readership and regularly attracts new potential clients, many of which take a look back through my blog’s archives.
Pages or posts like these can become instant turn-offs for your customers, and stand between their mouse click and your ‘buy’ button.
While we’re on the subject of content that makes you look bad… It seems obvious to say it, but your content should be relevant to your website and your industry. If you’re a property firm, for example, a blog post of the top five internet cats makes you look pretty unprofessional and out of touch.
It spreads your domain authority too thin
Ok this one’s the biggy, this is what I’m most concerned about.
This blog post by V7N from 2007 (prehistoric in terms of the ever-changing SEO landscape, but still worth talking about) illustrates how having content for the sake of content results in a website full of underperforming pages. This also highlights my earlier point, that this just doesn’t seem to be a topic people are talking about. Perhaps because I’m getting my knickers in a twist over nothing. Perhaps not.
Not only does it spread your domain authority thin, if there isn’t a good internal link structure in place to link these content pages together, search engines can have a hard time identifying which pages are worth talking about. With bigger sites, they can even have trouble noticing some pages at all.
If your site is filled with content that just isn’t performing, you could be dragging down the overall ‘authority’ of your domain and harming your site’s search optimisation.
Google might smell a rat
Search engines strive to give their users the best quality results for their search terms. They look out for sites which are posting high quality content (because they’ll likely provide information that the user will want to read) and sites which are posting that content regularly (because it signifies the site is not only alive, but current and up-to-date).
But if you’re focusing on getting content out too regularly, rather than providing quality content that’s worth reading, search engines won’t want to rank you highly and may even penalise you in the long run. If your customers can’t find you on Google, you’re dead in the water.
So what can you do to avoid adding too much content to your site?
Have a clear purpose for all your content:
Make sure it’s relevant and it meets your customers’ needs – whether it’s there to help them find you, understand their buying options better etc.
Where appropriate, update old content instead of creating new stuff:
This kills three birds with one stone – it keeps your page count smaller and more focused, it can revitalise underperforming pages, and it can avoid your reputation being tarnished by outdated information.
Post regularly, but focus on quality over quantity.
Don’t put the cart before the horse – nobody wants to read poor content, and neither do Google’s spiders.
What’s your take on this?
Think I’m worried about nothing? Or do you agree, there’s some valid arguments in there? I’d be really interested to get some other viewpoints on this so drop me a comment below.
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