Turning Off A Keyword That Drives 750,000 Visits Per Year

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  • November 26, 2012

As part of the merging of the Blogstorm.co.uk and Branded3.com websites we have deleted a few of the older and less valuable blog posts. One of the big ones that we have just removed was the post that I created in 2008 to rank for the www.direct.gov.uk/taxdisc keyword.

This post gets around 2000-3000 visits per day with peaks at over 5000 visits. The record was over 12,000 visits in a single day.

We noticed that the post has terrible user engagement and can’t be helping the rest of the sites rankings. The conversion rate is non-existent and if Google is throttling traffic to the domain like they often do we don’t want this traffic to replace relevant traffic.

The post has sent around 750,000 visits per year for 4 years now so we felt it was about time to turn if off. It will be interesting to see what happens to traffic to the rest of the site, I’m guessing it will go up. We have seen before the impact of turning off low value pages that get lots of traffic and we usually see the rest of the site get a boost.

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

  • http://twitter.com/The_Machin Machin

    I find it terrifying how it demonstrates the level of trust that users put in Google rankings – we had one person on the phone refusing to believe we weren’t the DVLA

  • http://twitter.com/brentnau Brent Nau

    What is your threshold for “low engagement” blog post?

  • http://twitter.com/patrickaltoft Patrick Altoft

    There is no specific threshold but in this case the page had pretty much zero engagement and crucially most of the visitors probably went back to Google after they loaded it. This makes Google think we are a bad search result.

    • http://www.seopros.org Terry Van Horne

      Patrick…sorry this is mystifying to me “probably went back to Google after they loaded it. This makes Google think we are a bad search result.”
      ummm if they go back and refine the search… it has the opposite affect…won’t they think it is a good result? Or go and search for something else… Sorry but sometimes people just want answers and it doesn’t require much to fulfil that need. I think Google is smart enough to figure that out… as to throttling traffic… sorry not a believer… though Andy Beard has tried a few times to explain it to me and others … again I just can’t fathom Google doing it…

  • http://www.arcticllama.com/index.htm ArcticLlama

    And yet, with the “terrible” engagement, and all the users going back to Google, it still ranks #3. It actually ranks #1 among pages that aren’t actually the URL in question. Makes you wonder how stiff these so-called penalties really end up being in the end.

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