Hey Everyone! So I am the founder and Chief Monkey (yes, official title) of an online community focused on careers in finance. We are 10 years old, get over 1 million visits/month (~4m pageviews) and it's been a wild ride...
2015 was a big year. We migrated from Drupal 6 to 7, brought on a UX designer to help our user experience and just overall aesthetic, launched some new products, etc...
Right now, I feel like I'm trying to tackle a beast. While we have been very successful developing products & services for our community and selling them, 99% of our content is from the free community forums. Over 10 years, we have built up over 200,000 discussion threads...after doing some research the past few months, I realized that even though we've been growing...ever since 2012, that TRAFFIC growth has been pretty weak compared to pre-2012.
At first I thought it was a natural maturation stage for a large online community, but the more I started diving into the data and researching SEO crap, I realized that what has most likely been holding us back the last ~4 years has been Google's increased focus (Panda) on quailty...and how a high volume of THIN content (ie few comments, not many characters) is not just ignored by Google anymore, but can actually hurt the overall rankings for a site.
Now, as you can imagine, it's virtually impossible to do a content audit manually across 200,000 nodes. That being said, there are some tools we're experimenting with (Botify, Screaming Frog), that has already given us more insight than Moz ever did and has allowed us to attack some of our issues.
Of course, I still feel like I'm flying somewhat blind, but I think that is the nature of SEO in some sense. It's pretty clear that if we were able to do a major "merge & purge" to the low quality / thin content, we may see a dramatic improvement in our organic search traffic (Which still accounts for ~80% of our traffic!)
....if anyone has been through some sort of massive audit or "merge & purge" like this and has any words of wisdom, I would be happy to hear them!
Thanks and I look forward to being a part of this community and offering any insight I can!