OK, so it’s 2007, and you’re browsing the web for some information about the newly released iPhone or an interesting piece of tech news, you’d probably end up clicking on an article from Gizmodo, Engadget, or more often than not CNET. Now, if the exposition didn’t take you on a journey back in time hearing the name alone certainly will. Now in 2023, almost 30 years after it was founded in March 1994 CNET found itself in the public eye for the first time in what seems to be years over controversial SEO practices. Today we’ll break down the situation, explain to you the flaws in CNET’s logic, and help kickstart your website’s SEO with solutions from Castle Interactive.
On August 9th by Thomas Germain reported for Gizmodo that starting in late July CNET began to delete small groups of articles that were deemed “no longer relevant or useful” As of the last few weeks the number of deleted articles began to increase rapidly. An internal memo from CNET entitled “CNET Content Pruning Project - Q3 2023” was circulated on August 2, 2023, and explained that the reasoning was SEO related and that content pruning or mass deletions of older content would send a “signal to Google that CNET is fresh and relevant.” CNET’s senior director of marketing and communications, Taylor Canada, stated that CNET would love to keep the content on the site, but claimed that “Unfortunately, we are penalized by the modern internet for leaving all previously published content live on our site.”
Dan Sullivan, Google’s Public Liaison, has since refuted Canada’s point via Twitter, asking CNET if they believed Google doesn’t like older content, stating “That’s not a thing!” and went on to explain that older content can in fact still be beneficial to search rankings. In fact, content pruning is actually something that Google themselves have publicly advised against in the past, as it is ineffective, and could only possibly improve the rate at which Google can crawl the content on the site.
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Original Gizmodo Article (Thomas Germain, 8/9/2023)
CNET Internal Memo (8/2/2023)
Google: Don’t Delete Older Content, It May Be Helpful Content (Barry Schwartz, 8/9/2023)
Google: Don’t Remove Old News From Your News Sites (Barry Schwartz, 9/20/2021)