Its a common issue amongst our High Heel Creative clients, that removing outdated content from their website can be halmful to its health. But is it?
In th industry, its well know that Bing and Google care about the quality of the content you did last week and 2 to 3 years ago, so whilst you may think deleting that old page is going to hurt your rankings, the effect could be the opposite.
Deleting outdated content be it static pages or articles from your website can be beneficial from a User Experiences point of view, imagine searching for that important product or service, for the user to turn up on your website, to get in touch or not receive up to date information.
It will do one of two things, it will increase your bounce rates with Google or even worse damage your brand’s reputation.
What is classed as outdated content?
Outdated content is any page where a product/service or news report is no longer valid, inaccurate or just doesn’t lack value, examples as follows:
- Discontinued Products
- Discontinued Services
- Outdated advice, especially in the financial sector
- Date sensitive content such as annual events
- Articles that are no loger relevant to your business
- Employees that have left
If you use a website such as WordPress, finding older content can be pretty straight forwards, just order the posts or pages via the date and have a look to see if the content is still valid.
If it is valid, put it on your list to update and refresh the content, this can also give your SEO a boost.
Why is it vital to remove outdated content?
All the search engine’s be it Google, Bing or Yandex want to give the users fresh content thats relevant. This is why newer articles and blog posts tend to rank higher in the search results to old, outdated content.
This is also a reason for the search engines to penalise you for old outdated and irrelevant content. If you have a lot of outdated content on your website and you are up against a website with fresh and up-to-date information, the new website will have an advantage.
The more of this irrelevant old content you have on your website, the less the website will be trusted as a place of knowledge and they will start ranking you inthe search results lower.
Also be truthful! Content that is made up for the sake of keyword spamming or getting ahead of the competitors can also be extremely harmful to your brand and results.
Using Google Search Console to find outdated content
Google Search Console is a great free too to find out content, so make sure you have got this set-up and verified.
Login to Google Search Console and make sure the website you want to see if highlighted in the top left hand corner.
Go to Performance then change the list to pages. Go to the filters at the top and change the date and click compare and look at the last 28 days.
Click apply and then order it in impressions low to high.
This is the content that has the most amount of impressions but no clicks, have a look at the last 28 days to see the difference.
Make a note of these pages and refresh the content where required and delete the content that is no longer relevant to the user and your business.
Deleting Content Should Be Your Last Option
If you feel that the content is no longer relevant and cannot be refreshed in any shape or form, then delete it. But only delete it on the basis that you ill no longer need to bring that page back into action.
If you have lots of pages with the same information, merge it into one article and/or use canonical link to show the higher authority page. Use a redirect to point the deleted pages to the refreshed content.
Redirect or 410 Deleted Status
Depending on your content and website, it may be a good idea to redirect the old content to new relevant content. This is easy to do on wordpress and you can use plugins such as REDIRECT.
If you are going to delete content, instead of just trashing the page or post, delete it and serve Google and Bing with a 410 deleted. This tells the search engines that you have now deleted the page.
There are plugins available for this including REDIRECTION, which is what we use on our Cocoon Vehicles website.
Use NoIndex to your advantage
If you have old content that you want to keep but you want to get Google and Bing to bypass, then use a NoIndex tag. You can use Plugins such as Yoast SEO to action this. Its also good to use NoIndex on your “Enquiry Received” pages.
We’ve discussed above how to find outdated content using Google Search Console, and how it can help with:
- Brand integrity
- Improving rankings on Google and Bing
- Boosting your reputation
- Increasing Crawl Capacity with Bing & Google
- Provising the user with up to date fresh content.
We always tell our High Heel Creative customers that a website needs continious work. For example, there is no point in getting 500 leaflets printed for them to sit on the side in the office.
They need to be pushed into peoples hands, posted through doors.
Treat your website the same way. Continious work and refreshing can really help get your website noticed.