We cleaned 'Top Blogs'. Will it boost SEO and relevant traffic?

When we blog for a long time, the blog amasses huge amount of resources. Like we keep buying furniture, furnishings and other products, and after some years the house is full of them. 

One thing that not all families do, or have the courage to do, is cleaning the house of old items that have outlived their utility. Only savvy people do that, and their houses are less cluttered,  more efficiently arranged, more livable and better looking. 

Recently we realized that over years we at Top Blogs have created massive content - over 720 posts and a dozen pages. Some posts were important at the time they were written but have lost relevance now. We have showcased a hundred blogs and have now found that many of them are no longer updated. So, we thought we'd clean Top Blogs of old baggage.

What we are doing to make the website lean and more focused on content

 

cleaning blogs improves SEO


  • Removed all comments. We found that in some pages (especially the blog directories), we have over a thousand comments. Only a few of them are spam but we think that keeping comments of 2011 vintage and in such large numbers do not serve any purpose. 
  • No more comments under the posts. But there is a comment form now. We would still love to engage with visitors and friends with whom we have long relationship. Such blogger friends and casual visitors can comment through the form or write to us at kp.nd.2008@gmail.com.
  • Removing showcased blog that have gone bad. 
  • Updating old posts that are still relevant but some information has become obsolete or new technological developments have taken place in the mean time.
  • Removing old posts that were transitional, like calling for entries for the next edition of blog directory. But we are retaining those which have good information that gives perspective of old times (e.g. how has Hindi blogosphere grown over the years).
  • Merging posts when similar content has been posted year after year on a sub-topic, and then updating the merged post with the latest information.
  • We are continuing with badges for directories on demand from bloggers but we are not too keen to continue them in future.

 

Lessons learnt: cleaning helps improve search optimization


  • Though SEO experts would have different opinions, we believe that a too heavy blog becomes thin in focused content and therefore becomes less search optimized. There may be some loss in terms of number of indexed pages on Google and Bing, and some backlinks going waste, but that would be compensated by density of good content. This is because when there is more valuable content in a blog, there is likelihood of better click through rate (CTR) and a lower bounce rate - both good from the point of SEO as well visitors' satisfaction.
  • When the blog has numerous posts, the fresh content can be lost in the crowd. Old pages might compete with new pages in the indexes of search engines. If old ones come high on search result pages, the searcher may be put off because he is served old pages with information/ advice that is no longer useful.
  • Navigation of the blog improves when the number of posts on various sub-topics are not too many.
  • In fact, we have seen good improvement in search ranking of Top Blogs and even in AdSense earnings within a few weeks. 
  • However, be careful in removing old content. A sample study revealed that many of our old posts have been linked on the homepage of many bloggers; thus, if we remove them, those bloggers will have a 'broken link' which will look bad. Moreover, many times some old posts have been linked on new posts. If we decide to remove these old posts, we must also remove links to them.
  • Comments are good for engagement. However, when they become too many - and when most of them are of  'nice information' or 'thanks for including my blog in the directory' type - they lose value. If some people put valuable comments, they also are lost in the crowd.
  • Badges and cross links are not good for SEO. Bloggers should issue badges only to help others in getting value for their blogs. As a blogger who wants to put others' badges on his/ her blog, you must avoid placing badges from shady sites or blogs with very low value. 

This process is likely to go on for a few months. We would share actual gain or loss in terms of relevant traffic, domain authority, position in search pages etc sometime in early 2019. In the meanwhile we won't publish social media updates except when something too big happens.