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Should You Update, Rewrite or Delete Outdated Content?


If you are an avid reader of our blog, you know we’ve discussed the importance of fresh, valuable website content for not only SEO benefits, but for user experience too. If you do create content pretty frequently (whether that be blogs, new web pages, or anything in between), chances are some of your content has gone stale.

Even though search engines like Google say your old content will not penalize your rankings (as long as it’s not duplicated or breaking any other rules), it’s still a good practice to make sure all of your website content is up to date. Now comes the hard question: do you update, rewrite or delete your outdated content? We hope this blog will help you decide.

When to Update the Content

More likely than not, you have content on your website that once performed very well in the past. There are a lot of reasons why it’s not performing as well as it once was, ranging from no longer meeting the needs of your users or incorrect information based on recent developments, but all it needs is a good update to be relevant again.

If you’ve identified content that needs to be updated, you can go about it a few ways:

  • Simply review the content and revise it until it meets your goals.
  • Keep the original content but add a “20XX update” at the top of the page. This works best if you want to keep your original content’s context but want to add new information.

When to Rewrite the Content

The best kind of content to rewrite is content that has an incorrect take on a good idea. An example of this would be a blog titled, “Top 10 SEO Tips for Your Blog Pages,” but written in 2014. It’s a good topic, but it probably needs to be updated. Another reason to update content would be if a piece had multiple keywords that were competing against each other.

Also, if you find that you have a lot of outdated content about the same topic and believe you could consolidate these pieces into one, this could work in your favor for SEO purposes. What you would do is pull out any ideas you want to keep, update the content to be relevant, and then implement redirects of your old URLs to the new URL.

When to Delete the Content

Sometimes, content is not worth the trouble of saving. Any content that is almost completely irrelevant, incorrect, or just unnecessary to keep, get rid of it. If you keep it on your website, it could confuse users with bad information or give your business the wrong impression. While there is no exact definition for this kind of content, you will know it when you see it.

When to Leave Your Content Alone

Not all of your content needs to be edited, but while you audit the rest of your website, it’s important to recognize what’s working for you now just as much as what’s not working for you. If you take a look at your Analytics and see that content is performing really well (meaning, getting a lot of traffic and having a long average session duration on a page), it may not hurt to reread the content to make sure everything is working and reading as it should. If so, leave it alone for now. You can always come back to it at a later time to take another look.

Your website content is your way of speaking directly to your customers. Make sure it’s an accurate depiction of your business by reviewing it at least twice a year!

If you have questions about your website content or would like to have us audit your website, give us a call today!

About the Author

Brooke Desmond

Communications Manager
With a passion for all things digital marketing, Brooke aims to give a unique perspective on the latest trends and ideas in this ever-changing space.

View Brooke's Profile

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