Unraveling CNET’s Massive Content Purge: An SEO Investigation

Unraveling CNET’s Massive Content Purge: An SEO Investigation

Unraveling CNET’s Massive Content Purge: An SEO Investigation

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The fallout after Gizmodo’s exposé on CNET’s massive article deletion stirs the media, including the SEO industry, prompting contentious debates on the value and implications of older content. CNET’s Taylor Canada defends the extensive deprecation by claiming it to be a part of an industry-wide best practice, while Google’s Danny Sullivan and John Mueller offer counter-arguments.

According to Gizmodo, CNET confirmed carrying out a sweeping content deletion process, but the precise number of axed articles remains undisclosed. These actions are part of a larger, industry-wide argument over the value and potential negative impact of retaining older content.

Caught in this labyrinth of content deletion, CNET’s driving force was to maintain relevancy and convey “fresh” signals to Google. The key criteria underpinning its deprecation process included the page views, backlink profiles, and time elapsed since last updating the article. All of these factors coalesced into deciding whether a page was redirected, repurposed, or outright removed.

CNET’s Taylor Canada suggested: keeping all previously published content live on the site could possibly attract penalties. However, this claim led to a churn of contradiction and debate within the industry, with Google officials offering a dissenting perspective.

Reacting to these assertions, Google’s Danny Sullivan refuted Canada’s claim, affirming that Google does not penalize sites for retaining ‘old’ content. Furthermore, Sullivan conceded that old content with broken links or irrelevance to present time could benefit from updates or even removal, but this doesn’t extend into a site-wide penalty.

A look back at Google’s previous advice regarding content removal adds context to this controversy, as Google once did recommend purging low-quality content, particularly post the launch of the Panda update. This advice stemmed from the assertion that subpar content could detrimentally affect a site’s ranking as a whole.

Yet, the evolution of Google’s stance, reflected in current debates, points to a more nuanced perspective. Mueller and Illyes from Google imparted valuable insights, emphasizing the enduring value of older content, provided it is high-quality, relevant, and up-to-date.

In conclusion, CNET’s ‘content purge’ has spurred a sea of reactions, rekindling the ongoing debate on the dynamics of retaining or deleting old content for SEO. While CNET’s moves were aimed at sending ‘fresh’ signals to Google, contrasting views from industry stalwarts stress the importance of context, relevancy, and quality. The nebulous nature of these standards emphasizes the need for continuous optimization and evolution in SEO practices.

Casey Jones Avatar
Casey Jones
12 months ago

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