CNET is reportedly taking down old articles in a bid to improve its Google search ranking. The tech news platform has been edging off older stories on its platform in order to show Google that its content is fresh and they are relevant and trustworthy of being placed higher than its competitors in search results, according to an internal memo from the platform.
CNET Is Taking Down Old Articles
Technology news outlet and platform CNET has just recently deleted thousands of older articles from its site, revealing to staff that the deletions will improve its Google Search ranking, as per an internal memo. The news in question was initially reported by Gizmodo.
Gizmodo however reports that, since July, thousands of articles have been dropped from CNET. CNET In the memo, has stated that so-called content pruning “sends a signal to Google that says CNET is fresh, relevant and worthy of being placed higher than our competitors in search results.” Stories that are slated to be “deprecated” are archived making use of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, and authors are then alerted at least 10 days in advance, as per the memo.
“Removing content from the site is not a decision we take lightly. Our teams analyze many data points to determine whether there are pages on CNET that are not currently serving a meaningful audience. These metrics include page views, backlink profiles, and the amount of time that has passed since the last update,” the memo reportedly reads.
How Much Pruning CNET Has Done
A comparison between Wayback Machine archives from 2021 and CNET’s very own on-site article counter shows that hundreds, and even in some cases, thousands of stories have dropped from each year even stretching back to the mid-1990s. Data for both 2022 and 2023 wasn’t even available. Red Ventures, which as you should know is a private equity-backed marketing company that owns CNET, didn’t respond to questions about the exact number of stories that have been removed from the platform immediately.
Red Ventures with this move has applied a ruthless SEO strategy to its slate of outlets, which is also inclusive of The Points Guy, Healthline, and Bankrate. Futurism back in January, reported that CNET had been quietly making use of artificial intelligence tools and services to produce articles, which is part of an expansive AI-driven SEO maneuver in which generative AI tools were utilized in creating content that could carry affiliate ads.
And in the wake of that very revelation and resulting errors on AI-generated stories, Red Ventures paused the content temporarily and then overhauled its AI policy. CNET staff unionized back in May, thus citing the need for more control over just how generative AI tools are being used and how the site gets to monetizes its work.
CNET and Red Venture Has Justified the Recent Move
Red Ventures and CNET have come out to justify the content pruning simply by pointing to Google Search’s ranking algorithm, stating that the process will “improve SEO rankings and drive more meaningful user engagement.” As Gizmodo has pointed out, taking off a chunk of your archives is not inherently a very good SEO strategy — Google has stated that its guidance does not encourage the practice, although SEO experts revealed to Gizmodo that it can be very beneficial for sites if carried out carefully.
Red Ventures however appears to be undeterred. And as per the memo, CNET will be subject to regular “content pruning” going forward, well, at least once in a year.
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