In short, John Scott of V7N, explained how he decided about a month ago to remove a large number of pages from his site that met the criteria of being "xxx number of days old, had less than xxx number of page views, and less than xxx number of responses." Then, about two weeks ago, he noticed an increase in search referrals of about "7,000 per day." He feels that this may be due to a direct relation to removing some of the "excess pages." Which takes him back to this big debate on content versus links, which John is clearly for links. He said:
Content (marketing copy, etc) may be king when it comes to converting visitors, but for search engine rankings, link weight, domain authority and intelligent distribution of link weight appears to be much more effective, even when it means removing content.
Now the Cre8asite Forums thread digs a bit deeper into the theory. Before we analyze some of the responses in the thread, I would just like to say that this removal of content from V7N is most likely not related to the increase in search referrals. I believe this was all about timing and how many people noticed a Google update about that time. I have several clients that saw significant improvements about that time as well.
The thread is calling for John Scott to reverse what he did and see if this has the reverse affect on his search rankings.
Barry Welford, the thread creator summarizes at the end of the thread:
Firstly I believe that the dilution of page rank transfer by cutting out the number if internal links from a web page is probably a minor issue. Unless you were changing this by an order of magnitude or even say down to a quarter of what they were, then this won't help much.
On the other hand I think it's good to have lots of content on the website given the 'long tail' nature of searchers' keyword queries. So I would leave all web pages up. However Bill's suggestion of revisiting web pages and editing them to make them stronger is excellent.
There is no doubt, I tend to see fresher posts on more of the fresher types of queries, ranking higher. I.e. a post on Google's first quarter results for 2007, the fresher the post, typically, the higher that post will rank in the search results. But this not always the case.
Cre8asite Moderator EGOL also goes back to one of his theories that larger Web sites may require more links than smaller sites to rank well.
Forum discussion at Cre8asite Forums.