What is useless content?
Depending on your website platform and theme you use, you will find a lot of useless content is generated. Useless for your visitors and useless for search engines. These pages are mostly low-quality pages that the theme or platform has created. You are probably not even aware of them.
Useless content can be divided into two areas. Content that has automatically been generated by your theme or plarform and content you have created.
WordPress useless pages
Unless you have thought consciously about your dated archives, category and tag pages these pages may seem useful but they could be better. If you click on your category page (just go to your categories in the WordPress dashboard) or if you click on a tag page, you will just see a long list of posts. Now, at first glance you may think these pages are useful, helping your visitor find their way around your blog but in all honesty is a user experience nightmare.
Dated blog archives. Are you guilty of listing all your blogs in date order in a widget at the side of your blog post? Do you really think someone is going to click on December 2015 to take a look at what you wrote back then? Not likely, and if they did well they have more time on their hands than the average hard working busy adult! Truth bomb – no-one cares about what you wrote 3 years ago. The care about finding the solution to a problem they have right now.
Same with tag pages. Do you have a tag cloud full of all the tags you use in your blog? Truth bomb.. it’s overwhelming to your reader. So many tags that are not related to their immediate problem They just glaze over them.
You category page. There is some use here if you do it right. Your reader might relate to the category and click on it (honestly, this is probably the only thing they click on out of the three things mentioned here) but then to be faced with a wall of blog posts…. bad user experience again…
Identifying your WordPress useless pages
I want you to look at what Google has indexed for your site.
Type site:yoursite.com in the Google search box.
Now, look through the results. You will see pages that have /tag/ in them. These are your tag pages.
You will see pages that have /category/ in them, these are your category pages.
You will see pages with just a date e.g /2018/01/ , these are your dated archives.
Now click on these pages. If a visitor saw these in the search results and clicked on the page, would they be happy and hang around on your page? You can actually find out if they are happy and finding what they want by looking at the bounce rate for these pages. If its hight then, no, people are not finding what they want. Bouncing back to the search results tells Google your page isn’t good enough and they will eventually demote it and it will get no traffic.
Having poor quality pages like this in the index affects your SEO (they use up your crawl budget and send signals to Google your site is low quality) so you should avoid having them listed.
What should you do with these useless WordPress pages?
Decide if its a keep or remove page. If you want to keep it, can you improve it in a way that adds value to your visitor’s journey? Can you make it so they find what they are looking for or at the very least you can get them to click on a blog post and read your content?
If you can’t then you need to remove the page.
How to remove a page you own from the search engine results?
You need to remove it from your search engine sitemap (the xml one).
If you are using WordPress and an SEO plugin such as Yoast then it’s easy enough to update the settings tso these pages are not indexed.
Other pages you should consider removing
Please come back soon, for the next installment where I wil talk about your blog posts and other uselss pages your plugins and theme may be creating.