If you have a load of outdated content on your website, it’s time for some spring cleaning. As thematic content becomes more important and your SEO efforts grow over time, it is important to keep an eye on old content so that it remains useful to visitors and aligns with your business.
Why do you need to do spring cleaning on your site?
There are a couple of reasons you should go back through old content to see what is good, what is bad and what is downright ugly. One of the most important reasons from our point of view has to do with thematic SEO. It is becoming more apparent that the more content you write about a topic, the more Google associates you with it and the higher you rank. It may be that you offered a couple of services in the past that you no longer offer but you still have these pages lurking on your site. If they are still live then Google can still crawl them and they can take away from the relevancy of your site.
On another level, old and outdated content isn’t great for the user. If a user lands on your site from Google, sees a bad piece of content and leaves straight away, it will result in a high bounce rate. Google uses bounce rate as a factor so the less satisfied users are with your content, the more quickly they will leave and the more your rankings will drop.
Now let’s look at what to do.
Is it still useful? Update it
If your outdated content can be revived and updated so that it becomes useful to visitors again, then update it. There’s no point getting rid of old content if it can still add value, otherwise you are just throwing away hard work. But you must, must keep it updated. Even if it means changing the article completely, it is worth doing as the page itself will have a lot of SEO value stored in it.
Not useful? Delete it
If you can’t find a use for an old piece of content and it isn’t adding any value whatsoever, then delete it. But don’t just hit delete. Instead, find a piece of semi-related content that you are going to keep and use a 301-redirect to permanently redirect the out of date content to the good content. If you can’t find another useful post to redirect it to, then redirect it to the homepage.
Another option you may want to consider is to serve a 410 Gone status to Google to inform that the content has completely gone. This will stop Google from returning a 404 error.
Need help with a content refresh?
If you need to refresh your old content or want to improve the thematic relevance of your site, we are here to help. Get in touch today.