Every website has a number of pages that do not add value to it. These pages are just there! They have little value additions in the form of user interaction. They are not that informative either. In fact, some of these pages can contain duplicate content, broken links or wrong navigation.
In short, these are pages that are basically scum under the glitz and glamour of the home page, the services page and the Contact Us page!
Because these pages are not used at all, or so it seems, webmasters forget about them as well. They just lie there, gathering dust. The reality is more than just what meets the eye. These web pages have the ability to bring down the ranking power of your site.
Google does not take lightly or kindly to these redundant web pages. True, it gives you value for those wonderful pages of content that you have published. At the same time, you are pulled back a little because of these weeds.
The problem is not restricted to how Google’s algorithms perceive or rank your website.
The end users, for whom the websites are developed in the first place, bear the brunt as well. These pages, sometimes heavy with images or even videos, eat into the bandwidth. This kind of wastage brings disrepute to the website. What happens it that you are working round the clock to market and optimize your website, while users are being repelled by some web pages that should not be there in the first place!
Identify the Weeds
Now that you know about the existence of these weeds, you can do well to look for ways to counter them. You cannot leave them around, especially now when I have jolted you out of your comfort zone! I will go to the length of saying that almost every website on the block has these weedy web pages.
Identifying those pages can be simple. Pick up the Analytics page you have. It can be Google Analytics or any such other tool like WebTrends. Put your site through this tool. Measure for metrics like Bounce Rate and Average Time spent on each of the web pages. Now, pick up a median value or even an average figure that is acceptable to you.
For example, if you find that the Bounce Rate average figures somewhere around 60%, pick out the pages that has a higher rate. Match them against Average Time spent. You will come across web pages that fail on both counts. These are pages that users bounce away from without spending any appreciable time. Do you actually need these pages to continue?
An additional metric you can use is a tool like OnPage.org to track down the pages with duplicate content. You can use a threshold value like 80%. Anything above this figure qualifies as something that you need to edit or simply dump. What you are doing is actually letting go of an infected part of the body that needed to be severed for the overall health benefit.
The core trick is to pick out those areas of a website that make it less acceptable to both Google and the users. At the same time, there can be some misleading data coming in from tools like Omniture. These figures may lead you to believe that a web page is not performing according to your expectation.
You have to dig deeper into the data and figure it out. For example, there may be a web page in your site that did not get the benefit of optimization or marketing as much as the other web pages. For some reason or the other, you have missed out the optimizing on this page. When you look at the data and find this page a poor performer, you are not being very fair to an otherwise good page!
The Final word
As digital marketers, our job is to ensure that we keep the best foot forward always. A wrong step can undo all the good work of months, if not years. Similarly, if you allow weeds to use up all the fertilizer and manure you have invested for the good plants, you are not being fair to your own work.
Weed them out, now!