Will Google ever become irrelevant

Tips for cleaning up outdated content on your website

Does it happen that content on your website is out of date or becomes irrelevant from time to time, so that you have to decide whether to update or delete this content? When it comes to website maintenance, this is one of your regular tasks. There are several ways to address this issue. This article will help you decide what is the best solution for your old content!

Update old content that is still valid

Let's start with an example: there is an article on the Yoast blog about meta descriptions that needs to be constantly updated to stay relevant. We just have to make sure that it always stays up to date if Google changes the way it handles meta descriptions. Sometimes it seems as if the descriptions could be a little longer, then sometimes they go back to a previously valid length.

The Yoast article gives authors and editors tips on how to write meta descriptions, even as the pieces of advice change over time. So the article represents what we call Cornerstone content, yet its content must be constantly updated to keep up with the latest standards.

You can easily generate new, valuable content from your old posts if you update it and keep it timely. Old wine in new bottles, as the saying goes. For example, you could replace older parts of this content with updates, or you could combine three old blog entries on the same topic into a new post. If you do, please remember to redirect the urls of the old posts to the new post by using a 301 redirect. Later more.

Delete irrelevant posts or pages

It is likely that you have old posts or pages on your website that you no longer need. For example, think of a blog post about a product that you stopped selling a while ago and have no intention of ever selling it again, an announcement of an event that happened a long time ago, or old pages little or no content - so-called "thin content" pages.

These are just a few examples, but you probably know what kind of posts and / or pages we are talking about. This outdated content no longer brings any added value, either now or in the foreseeable future. In that case, you should either tell Google to forget about those old posts or pages, or give the url some other purpose.

When people talk about deleting old content, it doesn't just mean clicking "Delete" and forgetting the page. If you do that, the content could still show up in Google for weeks after it was deleted. The URL could actually have some link value that would be a shame to waste.

So what can you do? Here are two options:

"301-Redirect": forward the old post to a related post

If a URL still has value, e.g. because a number of high quality links lead to this URL, then you want to take advantage of this value by forwarding the URL to a related page. With a 301 redirect, you let search engines and visitors know that there is a better or newer version of this content elsewhere on your website. The 301 redirect automatically redirects people and Google to this page.

Suppose you have an old post about a certain breed of dog and you want to delete it. So the next logical step would be to redirect this post to a more recent post about the same breed of dog. If a more recent post isn't available, choose one about a related dog breed. If such a post does not appear either, you could forward the old one to the category page on the parent topic (e.g. "dog breeds"). And if that is not an option either, redirect it to the start page if the latter deals with "pets", for example. Think of this as a last resort though, there are probably better redirect options on your website.