Let’s talk about zombie pages: what are they, and what do you do with them?
Zombie pages are pages with few or no views. They may be indexed or non-indexed by Google bots. They’re called zombie pages because they are essentially dead but still stumbling along.
How Do Zombie Pages Affect SEO?
You may be wondering what the big deal is if you have a few zombie pages lurking on your site. Not every post can be a diamond. So what if that post you wrote three months ago got only two views?
Well, it actually matters quite a bit for your search rankings. Both indexed and non-indexed zombie pages can negatively impact your SEO. Pages that haven’t been indexed by Google likely have a usability error. They may load slowly or not at all, which is frustrating for users. Slow-loading content increases a page’s bounce rate, which negatively affects rankings.
Indexed zombie content can also have consequences for SEO. Crawling a bogus page over and over means Google is spending less time on other, more worthy pages.
How Do You Identify a Zombie Page?
Luckily, Google Analytics makes it fairly simple to identify a zombie page. Go to your dashboard and select “Behavior,” then “Content,” then “all pages.” Your pages will be listed according to the number of views they have received over a certain period.
If you spot a page that has had only a few views (and especially zero views) over the last 90 days, you’ve found yourself a Zombie page.
What to Do With a Zombie Page?
It depends. If the page is broken, like a 404, or has no content, like an internal search result, use the #disallow and #noindex Robots Exclusion Protocol. These let Google know to refrain from indexing the page and from crawling it again in the future.
If a page does have content but it is ranking poorly, you could try to update it for user friendliness. Make sure the content remains relevant and that the page loads quickly. Compress images to increase speed, if necessary. Add images if there aren’t any. Increase the font size, add clear headings, and group the most relevant information in easily accessible formats. Think lists, bullet points, infographics, etc.
If you spot duplicate content, redirect it to the original page. Google penalizes sites with duplicate content.
Let’s make a series dedicated to keeping users on your site longer. Chapter one: zombies.