Skull atop old books

Is There Dead Content on Your Website?

By C J Oakes

When evaluating websites, one of the most pressing issues we have come across at Oakes Writing Website Services is dead content.

What is dead content? How does dead content impact your website? More to the point, what can be done about dead content?

What is Dead Content?

Dead content is content which is killing your website. It can take many forms such as

  • old, outdated content
  • evergreen content which has not been updated, or
  • content which is far too brief to be effective.

Most pages like these fail to get search traffic over long spans of time, which is one simple way to tell if content is dead. To check this, you will need to have a great analytics program like Google Analytics and install the Console feature. If you need help with this, let us know.

Old content is really one of the least common forms. When news or other information is no longer relevant or current, the content retains some value for future reference. Such articles are never entirely dead, but appear so. A simple way to avoid this problem is to put time-sensitive information in your blog. If you do not have a blog on your website, we can help.

One common mistake many webmasters make is to not alter or update older content that is evergreen in nature. The search engines pay attention to the freshest content on a website, so pages and posts which have not been updated, modified slightly, or kept as current as possible can drag a site down.

But the worst mistake comes from content which is far too brief to be of benefit to readers.

How Does Dead Content Impact a Website?

After a time, content which has not received traffic must be tended to or the search engines will begin to penalize the site. This is especially true of pages and blog posts which are far too brief to be of use.

In general, the search engines look for content which is long enough to provide the needed information to readers. Although there are no set rules, most in the content marketing industry agree that to be effective, blogs must be at least 300 words in length and pages at least 500. According to one study, the ideal length for a page is a seven minute read or 700 words.

This is why at OWS, we do not even offer content shorter than this. View Our Content Selection here.

Current reseach by leading firms indicate that the longer a page is, the better. In fact, several studies now show that pages in the range of 1800 to 2400 words perform best in search results (SERPs).

There remains some disagreement regarding blogs, but as a rule, keep them shorter than pages. Impart only what is necessary to get the point across and little more. Pages should be more in-depth. Think of blogs as magazines and pages as short books or chapters in a book. Also, a good rule is to put information of a timely nature in a blog and content which is largely unchageable (known as evergreen) on pages.

What Can be Done About Dead Content?

Google Analytics Admin Options
Google Analytics provides the best tools for finding Dead content on your website. By activating the Console Feature, you gain access to live data which, over time can easily reveal is your content is getting results in search. This lets you quickly find dead content and provides clues to bringing it back to life.

The most important thing to remember is to keep your readers entertained and informed. Be sure to include only what is needed in the content and keep it flowing. Do not fill your blogs and pages with fluff, filler material which adds little to the understanding.

And remember that 100 words is roughly a 1 minute read. If your audience attention span is short, keep your articles short. If you audience prefers a meatier read, give them plenty to consume.

Google provides a great tool for finding dead content on a website. In fact, those who learn to use this tool discover many wonderful features which can help supercharge a website. Thank you Google.

Go to your Google Analytics. On the left sidebar of your admin screen, you will see a feature called Console. Console must be activated, but the steps are quite simple. Naturally, if you need help with this, we are here for you. Get in touch with OWS here.

The Console feature will allow you to download a spreadsheet of all your site pages and how they are performing in search results. You can quickly see where each stands in the rankings of Google Search, the keywords people are using to find the pages, how well each is converting, and more.

This is all useful information to improving the traffic to your site from search, but it takes time, which is something most small business owners are pressed for. If Google Analytics is something you would like to outsource, learn more here.

Also, when writing articles, keep sentences simple. This makes for a better read and keeps people returning to your website.

Keeping this in mind, start to think like an editor. An editor looks at material, whether it is a book, a newspaper piece, magazine article, or whatever and decides what needs to be there and what does not. The interesting thing about editing, each time a work is edited, something extra that is not needed is always found. Take this approach to the blogs and pages on your site.

Once your site gets alot of pages and posts, start going back at least once a week and edit existing material. Update the material, edit, cut extraneous words, perhaps add where useful, alter headings to better clarify the subject…something.

The point is, there is always something that can be done to help a webpage better perform. If the content is dead, bring it back to life.

Bring Your Website to Life with Oakes Writing Website Services

Bring Your Website to Life is our slogan at Oakes Writing because that is what we do. When a client comes to us they are usually desperate. They have tried everything and nothing seems to work. They have gone to SEO experts, their webmaster, and searched the Internet themselves but cannot seem to find out why their website is not performing as it should.

We evaluate the site and often within minutes can identify some of the most glaring problems. The irony is that these problems are usually based on mistakes repeated over time. One of the biggest is dead content.

If you have a website which is underperforming and would like to have Oakes Writing perform our 150 point website evaluation, we will be happy to take a look.

Learn more about our 150 Point evaluation here or complete the following brief form. We will do a preliminary analysis at no charge and be in touch within a week to discuss our initial findings.

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