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“You have to make what’s left really good,” Marcus says. He means content that addresses people’s intentions – content that meets the information needs underlying the keywords and phrases they use. For example, Marcus points to the site called Answer the Public, which uses machine learning to create an on-the-fly visual of questions related to a given keyword phrase.

(If you read this blog regularly, you may remember that Wil Reynolds also spoke highly of the Answer the Public site in his ICC talk.) This passage from that post shows questions people typed in search boxes about The North Face jackets.

Over the decades, has published millions of articles.

At the time of Marcus’s talk, this site still had over a half-million pages indexed by Google.

When they finally weeded out the ROT, they found themselves getting rid of 95% of their content, leaving them with only 243 pages indexed in Google.