How to reduce, reuse and recycle your content for improved search results

You’re probably familiar with the reduce, reuse, recycle waste management model, but have you considered this model for your search-focused content?

Follow the 3R method by trimming and modifying your site’s content regularly. That strategy can help trim content that lowers your site’s overall search engine results page (SERP) rankings.

Let’s start.

Think about using @madmanick’s reduce, reuse, recycle model as @CMIContent says waste management as a #content audit strategy. #SEO Click to Tweet

Create a content repository

You must know What content exists? . If you have a spreadsheet or other tracker detailing your content, skip to step two. If not, it’s time to create one. For each asset, include:

  • URL (our team links each page to its title)
  • Title
  • Author
  • Date Submitted
  • Update date
  • List (if any)
  • Total impressions

The benefits of pruning include:

  • Ensure high performing pages indexed high conversion
  • Helps prevent keyword cannibalization, duplicate content, and other content errors
  • Remove outdated content to improve the user experience on your site

You can now move on to the steps to reduce, reuse and recycle. You will give each page one point. We’ve added a column on the inventory spreadsheet – profile check – to include a score on a scale of one to four:

In this scale:

  • One – Content should be deleted as reduction redundant and unnecessary pages. Content in another format or location cannot be recycled. URLs must be redirected to avoid broken links.
  • Two – The right content Recycling and the page is redirected.
  • Three – Content and URL should be reused but re-enabled.
  • Four – No change needed.

Rate each #contest asset with 1 (reduce), 2 (recycle), 3 (reuse) or 4 (do nothing), says @madmanick via @CMIContent. Click for chirping sound


Think of this as a spring cleanup for your site. You will probably spend the most time on the reduced part of the model. This phase involves content pruning – cutting out blogs, landing pages, and other pages that aren’t capturing the organic traffic they were created to attract. You can do it one of two typical ways:

  • Delete the page from the website or
  • No index page, so Google’s web crawlers won’t even consider it.

Remove any duplicate content as it may cause Google to penalize your site. Site Content Auditor can help identify these pages quickly.

Spring cleaning tip for #content marketers: Cut out blogs, landing pages, and other blogs that aren’t earning the organic traffic they’re made to attract, @madmanick said via @CMIContent . #SEO Click to Tweet At my company, we use our tool to identify duplicate pages. It includes a breakdown that shows the distribution of duplicate content by pages, title tag , H1 tag, description and content. From there, we drill down to the individual pages.

When you find duplicate content, remove the URL from your site and redirect to the preferred page. Normalization errors can also lead to duplicate content errors, which can be corrected by use standard tags .

Next, evaluate which pages are worth examining more closely for a reduction consideration. Run the report in Google Search Console or other rank tracking software. We used Atlas Search Site Trimming Tool to easily identify underperforming pages with a red dot. Dots to explore URLs, test metrics, etc.



You can reuse content won three points on the inventory scorecard so it can shine again. Take a closer look at your metrics to determine the best re-optimization approach.

Look for sites with steady traffic but slow or drastically reduced performance. These decaying pages often have great content that can be reused to improve performance – reactivated using the same URL.

Exception: If a degraded page covers a trendy topic that is no longer relevant, rate it two and consider recycling it and using URL redirects.

For content with high search results impressions but low traffic, update your meta tags – title, description or URL.

For pages with a high bounce rate, look at the titles and overall structure. If these don’t follow best practices, fix them. If they stick to them, consider adding more content to turn an ordinary work into a work of impressive thematic depth. Build individual sections and be mindful of including semantically related terms.



Now, look for pages that are stagnant or underperforming and have never performed well in search rankings. You can recycle this content on better performing pages targeting semantically related keywords.

This is where the magic happens – where you reuse content through consolidation or more creative alternatives. Here are some options:

  • Merge pages: When two pages compete for the same keyword in the search results, cannibalism occurs and Google gets confused. Your favorite page for searchers to find is ranked lower and essentially hidden. To fix this with a reuse approach, merge the less popular site’s content with the better performing one.

TIP: Not sure if you have the keyword cannibal? Enter your domain name + keyword. If your less popular page appears higher, you have a problem.

  • Use it in other content types: For example, content on a gift ideas page that worked well over the holiday season but is no longer getting traffic could be devoted to next year’s holiday email campaign. Or you can repurpose it into a blog about birthday gifts.
  • Use do guest blog posts: If the content is a blog post, it could be an excellent candidate for another website. For example, that holiday gift post might be a guest post on a shopping blog.

Practice 3R regularly

Reduce, reuse and recycle is not a one-time event. It has to be ingrained in your content lifecycle. Continue to use a critical eye when planning your content and check the health of your site regularly, performing large-scale pruning on a quarterly basis.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to recommend, feel free to add it in the comments.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Ordered to a business day or weekly email from CMI.

Cover photo by Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute


By Nguyen Manh Cuong

Nguyen Manh Cuong is the author and founder of the nguyendiep blog. With over 14 years of experience in Online Marketing, he now runs a number of successful websites, and occasionally shares his experience & knowledge on this blog.

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