Google’s John Mueller answered a question about what to do with low traffic pages that have poor search visibility and traffic. He acknowledged that there could be quality issues, but also noted that low traffic in itself does not mean that the pages themselves are of low quality.
John Mueller offered solutions to the problem of low-traffic web pages.
What to do on low traffic pages?
The person asking the question was concerned about hundreds of thousands of web pages that are indexed but have minimal search visibility.
He stated that these pages may lack authority and asked if he should deindex the pages or canonize them because he was concerned about the quality of the site.
How does Google handle quality low-traffic pages?
This is the question asked:
“We have a website that has a hub and spoke architecture.
A hub page can be Eric Clapton, and the spokes are what guitars he uses, and each of those pages is relatively small.
The value from them is from embedded videos or images with relatively few unique fonts.
Over time, these pages have become the majority of our indexed pages by well over a hundred thousand.
But only a third of them get traffic through search.
In the past, I’ve heard you say that in order to affect your site’s Quality Score, we considered deindexing those pages … the pages that are not getting traffic …
However, we also considered canonizing these.
So I was curious as to how Google would treat it from a quality performance perspective. ”
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Google does not have a Quality Score for organic search
Many in the search industry and Google discuss site quality. Web pages, groups of web pages and entire sites can be judged to be of low quality.
But Google does not have a “quality score” for the organic search results. John Mueller confirmed this important point.
Google’s John Mueller first addressed the issue of Quality Score by noting that Google does not provide sites with a Quality Score.
“We do not really have a quality score in that sense.
I think it’s something that comes from the ad.
So that’s one thing to keep in mind. ”
How to handle low quality web pages
Mueller then discussed the different approaches to managing pages that have low search visibility.
John Mueller continued:
“I think there are several things to think about here.
On the one hand, I would consider taking some steps if you feel these pages are of low quality.
Acting can be something like removing those pages, improving those pages, combining those kinds of pages together.
Anything in that direction can be something you can do if it’s low quality pages. ”
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Low traffic is not a signal of low quality
John Mueller then offered the insight that low search visibility is not a symptom of low quality.
The issue of low quality is good, so it’s always helpful to hear what John Mueller or any other Googler has to say about this issue of page and site quality.
Mueller offered the following insights:
“If these are sites that do not tend to get a lot of traffic, but are actually useful on their own, then I would not necessarily see them as low quality. That’s one thing to keep in mind.
On some websites, pages that get low traffic are often almost correlated with low quality as well, but this need not be the case.
On other sites, it just has to be that a lot of traffic goes to the main pages, and the tail pages are just as useful, but they are useful for a much smaller audience.
So they get almost no traffic.
From our point of view, these sites are still useful and it is still of high quality.
I would not remove it just because it does not get traffic. ”
How to repair low quality pages in scale
Mueller then discusses the difficult issue of handling low-quality pages on a large scale in the form of hundreds of thousands of pages.
Mueller offered these suggestions:
“As for the different kinds of approaches there, when I ask the search text teams about this, they usually say well that you just need to improve the quality of your pages. which makes sense …
But at the same time, if you are talking about hundreds of thousands of pages that are really hard to do on a large scale.
So sometimes people choose to remove the pages or combine the pages.
The thing to keep in mind when using a canonical to combine pages is that we first consider the canonical side.
So if you have one page for example about Eric Clapton’s guitars and another page about Eric Clapton’s shoes and you say that the guitar page is the canonical for the shoes page, then we would not have that shoe page or any of its contents in our index further. We essentially just wanted to focus on the guitars.
So if someone searched for Eric Clapton shoes, they would not be able to find these pages at all.
So it is (sort of) with the different approaches, something to keep in mind, so in a case like that what I would do is take the content from the page that you would like to remove or clean up and include it in sort of a larger side and make the larger side stronger.
And that way, you also make sure that you still have that content indexable somewhere. ”
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Identification of quality problems and traffic problems
In a way, this question was really about two topics.
One topic was about content quality. The other concern was search traffic.
If you disconnect the question of “quality” from the concern about pages that lack search traffic, then the answer to the question of what to do with the pages becomes a little clearer.
The question becomes, “What can I do to make these pages work better in my search?”
Google’s John Mueller suggested combining the pages to make stronger pages out of hundreds of weaker pages if the content itself is useful.
But of course, if the content is inherently useless, it is possible to rewrite it to make it more useful, get rid of it, or redirect it to a page that has a similar topic but is better.
Pages with low traffic are not always low quality
Watch John Mueller answer the question at the 40 second mark: