How to manage outdated content to improve SEO

We know how important content is for SEO. We also know that Google works hard to ban sites that offer a bad user experience in terms of contents.

Since the launch of Panda, Google rewards websites with rich and updated contents at the same time that it downgrades websites that spam, perform keyword stuffing or simply include content that does not add any value to the user.

This means that websites have to plan a really efficient contents strategy to prevent failing in the face of search engines. Even if my website has good content and does not make punishable practices, we should also assess the content and figure if it is actually adding value.

Not only is it about generating new content, but we should not forget about the “old or outdated content” that might have been useful in the past but which today is not especially useful.

There is no doubt that a good strategy to make the most out of your contents and make them as profitable as possible is to periodically update and improve obsolete content. To do this, you have to identify the contents that are no longer relevant: it is very important to bear this in mind to develop a proper strategy when reusing contents. At this point, think if there was some content that did not perform as hoped or some other that fared well but suddenly saw its audience levels fall dramatically.

But do not limit yourself to updating; improve, too. After you have identified on which pages you are going invest stronger efforts, we have to make the necessary changes to update the content and show the last modifications that have been made.

Some strategies that can help us improve content are:

  • Are you trying to make your content rank for the keywords you chose in the beginning? If the contents do not get a good ranking for the keywords you chose, try with different ones to check out which work best.
    Do some keywords researching and choose the longtail keywords that you will use later on throughout the text. This will help Google reckon the usefulness that the pages have for the users who are looking for information about a specific topic, increasing the relevance for the target searches.
  • It is also very important to add new multimedia elements to make it a lot more attractive for the user. Do not forget that Google and social networks such as Pinterest can also divert an important amount of traffic towards our web.
  • Include links to old pages in the new content and vice versa. This will help Google crawl all the contents periodically without problems. Doing internal linking for similar contents is also very useful so that users can learn more about some topics as you grant them access to older content.
  • Increase the visibility of the content by including links on the main pages. Users will more likely visit content if you tell them about the latest updates.
  • In addition to the internal links, it is important to check that external links to obsolete content are active so that users can keep accessing updated content.

But this does not mean that all obsolete content has to be updated or upgraded. If we audit the contents we will realise that some of them are not resulting useful to the desired target. If the content is not adding any value, there is no need to keep it online.

Moreover, depending on how much content of that kind there is, we could find out that Google is allocating many resources to crawl this kind of content instead of crawling and indexing more important webpages.

In general terms, the most recommendable option is to configure 301 redirects from the deleted contents to more recent versions or updated webpages that include the relevant information. In other cases, we can also programme a webpage with a customized message and links related to the deleted content. This works especially well with products that are temporarily out of stock. However, in this blog we have previously dealt with SEO strategies to manage discontinued products. You can read more here.

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