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One of the positives during COVID-19 for many doctors with their own websites is that they saw an increase in web traffic. Many patients were unable to get in to see their doctors, so they took to Google in search of answers.

One of the things that also assisted in this traffic increase was a new Google Core algorithm update which was rolled out on May 4, 2020. In this update, many healthcare and physician sites were given a ranking boost.

But from a technical SEO standpoint, one of the things we learned that came out of this Google Core update was the need for physicians to do some periodic content pruning on their websites.

What Is Content Pruning?

Content pruning is simply updating or removing old content on your site that is no longer relevant.

Keep in mind that from Google’s standpoint, their objective is to deliver relevant search results. If there are outdated pages or posts on a website, this actually hurts rankings.

So while you always want to be consistently adding new content to your site, there is a balance of maintaining content relevancy.

How To Know What Content To Prune?

The first step is the common-sense step. As you go through and audit/read all of your website pages, ask yourself, * “Is this information current, or of any value to my patients?”

If the answer is no, then it’s time to prune the content because it’s holding you back.

The second step is to take a deeper dive into your website analytics and determine the performance of that page. Is it ranking? Are people visiting the page? Are they staying on the page or bouncing off?

Let the data be a determining factor in deciding what to prune.

Content Pruning Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Removing

There are more ways to prune content than by just removing it.

If there is still potential value in a particular piece of content, you can update it, add to it, or consolidate a couple of pieces into one newer and better post.

In general, updating the content is my preferred default.

Periodic Content Pruning Provides Several Benefits

As I mentioned above, the latest Google algorithm update has highlighted the need for regular pruning of physician website content.

The opportunity to rank well in Google is perhaps the most important benefit to us all. But keeping content relevant also improves the user experience for your patients as they’ll have an easier time finding exactly what they need.

Plus, by staying on top of your website content, there’s a lower chance that patients will come across something outdated that you would no longer stand by.


In order to rank well in Google, or continue ranking well, you need to remove the dead weight that’s holding you back. Is it time for you to prune some content?