Having a content management strategy is now just as important as publishing content. A content management strategy will help keep your website content fresh, up to date, and relevant for users and search engines.
John Mueller is the trusted source for all things Google and SEO. In a June 2021 Google SEO office hours chat, Mueller instructs participants to deal with old, low-quality content.
Should You Delete Old Content from Your Site?
In the conversation, a participant explains that he published low-quality content with poor SEO when he first launched his site. Now that he’s more proficient, he wonders if he should remove the early content from his site.
He asks Mueller, “Should I remove all articles, is that going to affect my website, or should I keep that?”
Mueller addresses the age of the content first:
I think if that’s something that you think is good content that you want to publish with your website, with your name, then I would keep it.
Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s bad.
Even though it’s old, some content is still highly relevant and brings in a lot of traffic. We call this kind of timeless content “evergreen content.” Evergreen content covers topics that don’t change or those that people will search for years to come.
This is the kind of content Mueller addresses in his initial response. If your content is old but is still relevant, useful, and helpful, chances are, it’s benefitting your SEO efforts. However, you should take it down if you feel that your old content is poorly written, is no longer accurate, or doesn’t feel it represents your brand.
Mueller continues his response, adding, “But if you look at it and you say, oh, this is embarrassing for me now, I don’t want it to be online, it’s like so bad. Then that’s something where I’d say either improve it or remove it.”
Older content, when it hurts your brand’s authority or no longer provides accurate, up-to-date information, needs to either be removed or rehabilitated.
How to Rehab Old Content
Some of your older content might be so outdated or poorly written that you would be better off creating new content instead of updating what you’ve already published. To find old and outdated content, the best approach is to perform a ROT analysis. This will help organize and classify content to make the content rehab process easier.
But in many cases, you can edit existing content to improve its quality and help your SEO. Below we walk you through the most effective ways to improve your old, low-quality content and make it into something that boosts your SEO.
Edit for Clarity and Voice
If your site is more than a few years old, your brand’s direction and voice have likely changed. Many companies evolve their branding, and when that happens, they need to update their content to match.
As you edit, make sure you’re communicating clearly, checking for readability and grammar mistakes as well.
Much of your older published work will need updating unless you focus heavily on creating truly evergreen content. Read through your content, checking for facts or key points that need updating. Your content is only helpful and relevant if it’s up to date.
Link building is one of the most effective SEO strategies to boost your rankings. But over time, some links are broken or no longer relevant. Conduct a link audit for your site. This will expose links that you need to remove or replace to serve your site visitors better.
Add Relevant Keywords
Keywords that brought in traffic five or ten years ago are likely no longer relevant. Therefore, editing your content to add relevant keywords will increase the chances that you’ll attract members of your target audience.
Redirect to Newer, Better Content
Make your old content work for you. Use it to redirect readers to newer, high-quality content. Utilize smart redirect strategies to bring users where you want them to go.
At one point, every site has had to evaluate content for quality and relevance. So when you come across old, low-quality content, follow John Mueller’s advice: take it down or rehab it. As a result, you will boost your brand’s authority and provide solutions for site visitors –– and improve your SEO in the process.