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Delete or Revise? How to Do an SEO Boosting Content Cleanup

Deleting or revising old content is the question. Well, at least that should be the question in any decent SEO copywriter’s brain, especially since most of us are still stuck at home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. So, while following your local shelter-in-place order, why not look at some of the stale content on your site?

Like the world around us, the internet is continually changing and updating. So, it stands to reason that, eventually, your content becomes stale. Stale content, like stale bread, is less flavorful to site visitors and search engines.

How to Solve Your Stale Content Problem

There are a few different solutions to the stale content problem. Let’s break them down in a bit of detail.

One way to rid your site of stale traffic is to delete it. However, if you delete any old content from your website, remember to redirect the deleted page’s URL to a related live page. Otherwise, you risk creating a 404, a significantly worse problem than a stale, low-traffic article. Honestly, this tactic is best avoided as it adds unnecessary risk.

Another considerably better way to solve your stale content problem is to freshen it up. Updating a page (and changing the posted date) helps show search engines and searchers that you are important to the piece. It also shows that you care about the accuracy of the information you present on your website. There are several different ways you can go about doing this, including:

  • Changing up the language you use in the piece
  • Updating any links, images, videos, and other media with more relevant ones
  • Promoting your updated piece on social media

Stale Content is a Bad Thing

Old content can harm your web traffic and dissuade readers from returning. For example, assume you posted an article about the latest update to Google’s search engine a few years ago. Google and other search engines display the publish date on results pages. Therefore, searchers will see the date you published that article. Understandably, suppose users see your post is a couple of years old. In that case, they’ll likely assume that your information is outdated. Unfortunately, obsolete information statistically prevents searchers from clicking through to your site.

Search engines track the number of visits your site obtains through various links in their results. They also factor those clicks into your ability to rank on their platform. Therefore, less search engine visibility means less website traffic. That’s not good. After all, the entire point of web content is to drive traffic to your website.

OK, now you know why you should avoid stale content. However, that leads us to a few questions: How do you know how old is too old? Also, if you have too much old content, how do you fix the problem?

Content age and oversaturation are complicated concepts, so let’s answer each of those questions one at a time.

How to Audit Your Website for Content Overload

To answer our first question, you’ll need to audit your content. How do you do that, you ask? Well, all you have to do is check page visits using Google Search Console. If you’re unsure how to set it up, visit our Google Search Console guide.

Once you’re set up with Search Console, it’s time to check for outdated, low-traffic content. To do so:

  • First, click on the “Open Report” button in the “Performance” tab at the top of the page.
  • Then click on the pencil icon in the “Date” tab at the top of the reports page and set your date range to “Last 3 Months” (this should be the default setting).
  • After that, click on the “Pages” tab underneath the graph and click on the “Clicks” button twice to sort by the number of clicks each page received over the set date range. Ensure that the arrow next to the “Clicks” button points up.

Once you’ve finished, your Search Console window should look something like this:

Any page that hasn’t got a click in the last ninety days is most likely stale. But don’t panic! We can fix that.

Hiring SEO copywriters here at Contractor Advertising is the easiest way to rid your site of stale content. We have the experience, knowledge, and tools to handle close content management easily. So, if you have stale content, why not call us? We’re always standing by to give your web content a helping hand.

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