How to Quickly Find Content That Shouldn’t Be Indexed

by on March 28, 2013 | posted in SEO Theory

Duplicate/thin content is almost always bad, and it’s sometimes difficult to find it on our websites, especially the bigger ones. Lots of different advanced operators and code searches can bring up some bad content, but there’s another method I haven’t seen discussed that can also do a lot of good towards finding content we can deindex from the search engines: deep diving in Google Analytics.

In particular, what you should do first is open up a date range short enough to not capture tons of changes you might have already to page indexation based on a site audit or whatever, but wide enough to get a significant amount of data, and then sort by “Traffic Sources -> Organic”, so you are only seeing traffic from search.

Next, sort by landing page, and then by bounce rate.

Screen Shot 2013-03-27 at 5.09.41 PM

What you’ll get after doing this are pages with the worst bounce rates coming from the search engines. Most of the time, these are absolutely terrible pages with small visit numbers, because they aren’t optimized or useful – so they’ll have astronomically high bounce rates. Bad bounce rate from the search engines = not good, and a possible Panda signal.

Example result:

Screen Shot 2013-03-27 at 5.14.05 PM

Those aren’t pages I’d want indexed. Undergo this process for your own sites and you might just find content that you never wanted the search engines to discover in the first place.

Of course, please use your discretion when deindexing these pages, as it is not my recommendation that you deindex every page with 100% bounce rate and a few visits.

  • Venchito Tampon

    I just started my site and I’m planning to conduct an SEO audit in a weekly basis. This would be one of the things that I need to remember in Google Analytics. :) Great step by step SEO tutorial. Thanks Ross!

  • Pingback: How to Quickly Find Content That Shouldn’t Be Indexed | WebProNewsIN

  • http://twitter.com/Tom13c Thomas Courjeault

    Indeed this is a really interesting tip; Moreover when you are working on a new website to find for example mistakes on url rewriting rules etc…
    In the test I just did most of those discovered pages should be deindexed.
    Thanks Ross

  • http://getimants.co.uk getimants

    One thing to consider – for blog posts high bounce rate is a normal behaviour since they arrive at an article, get what they came form and leave.

    • http://twitter.com/RossHudgens Ross Hudgens

      Definitely. Those posts should have high pageviews, though – so it shouldn’t really show up here. Discretion is key!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jake.finn.549436 Jake Finn

    Ross, thank you for sharing this bit of information. By deep diving in Google Analytics, am assuming that some users may not be aware of this (including me obviously). Do you think that this function is also offered on paid tools? I’m using actually using one (Colibri Tool). Looks like I have drop an email or two to their support team. Thanks again.

  • Mark Koning

    Hi Ross.

    I might be missing something but currently the first link in your article directs to your 404 page.

    • http://twitter.com/RossHudgens Ross Hudgens

      Hey Mark, good point! That was just a bad link on my part, meant to point to GA. Fixed – thanks.

  • Couseed81

    High bounce rate is not always a sign of poor performance any ways thanks for the post.

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  • http://www.ananova.com/ joanna

    That’s very helpful. Definitely will use it.thank you

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    Excellent article! It’s apparent you’ve gone to numerous trouble to analyze and write this short article.

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  • http://www.yepididi.com/ Yepi Didi

    thanks a lot. very interesting

  • Pano Kondoyiannis

    Which one is better in terms of optimization about thin content in one site? Do you rewrite or erase them?

  • http://www.yepididi.com/ Yepi Didi

    thanks Ross

  • http://www.yepididi.com/ Helena

    Ross, thank you for sharing this bit of information. By deep diving in Google Analytics, am assuming that some users may not be aware of this (including me obviously)

  • http://www.alahadgroup.com/ Alahad Group (Pvt) Ltd.

    I found it very useful and informative.Thank you http://www.alahadgroup.com

  • endanciles

    Of course, please use your discretion when
    deindexing these pages, as it is not my recommendation that you deindex
    every page with 100% bounce rate and a few visits.

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  • http://hcgrecipesphase2z.com/hcg-recipes-phase-2/ Christian McComas

    Ross, thank you for sharing this
    bit of information. By deep diving in Google Analytics, am assuming that
    some users may not be aware of this (including me obviously)

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    • rosshudgens

      reply

  • http://twitter.com/ChariseStevens Charise Stevens

    Excellent tips! I would also add in there if your page has a call to action to drive visitors to another page. Maybe it’s a dead end page with decent content. I would also analyze how long are people on that page, are they reading? Or are they just bouncing off the page?

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