ROT vs. SEO: dilemma for content managers

Bag of shredded paper: ROT
Recently a member of the Google group Content Strategy raised a perennial problem: what to do when a redundant, outdated or trivial page (otherwise known as ROT) is bringing in a significant number of visitors?

On the one hand, you don't want ROT on your web site. It's misleading and gives you a bad name. Very likely visitors to this particular page will go away disappointed or annoyed.

On the other hand, the problematic page is working its SEO butt off for you, bring traffic from all directions.

The group came up with some common sense tips based on experience. Here's a summary: take your pick!

  1. Check the bounce rate. If the visits are not converting to sales, the SEO factor is worthless.
  2. Tweak and edit the page until it is no longer ROT. Do not delete. Find a way to keep the SEO benefits of a page and also your integrity.
  3. Keep the content, but put a big notice at the top saying that it's now outdated, with a link to your up-to-date content.

Photo by Kevin Strickland

Leave a comment: