What to Do With Outdated Website Content & Why You Shouldn’t Delete It Permanently

Keeping the design and content of your website up to date is essential for sourcing, engaging, and converting potential customers through organic search and social media platforms. For business owners, having an updated website is crucial to staying ahead of the competition and ensuring that your landing pages can be easily found through search engines. As you add new content, start new promotions, and update your services, you might have pages and blogs that become outdated and irrelevant. Although it may seem like the right idea is to delete this content, this can actually hurt your overall SEO score and skew your lifetime data. By creating a 301 redirect, marking the page status as a draft, and other strategies, you can preserve your website’s ranking and avoid data loss. In this blog, we will discuss the best ways to deal with outdated content and why deleting it permanently is not a recommended option.

For more information on how Google ranks the content on your website, contact Boston Web Marketing.

Why Deleting Outdated Content Is Not Recommended & Can Hurt Your Website’s SEO

SEO, also known as search engine optimization, is the long-term process of adding content and tools to your website that help it rank higher on search engine results pages. This can take months, and sometimes years, since it takes time for Google and top search engines to use complex algorithms and index your landing pages. The data collected from your website, such as page views, time spent on the site, and click-through rates, all factor into your website’s SEO score. When you delete a page or blog that has long-term data, it can negatively impact your overall score. Additionally, if you had backlinks or social media shares that directed users to outdated content, these would all become broken links, causing a higher bounce rate and lower reliability for your website.

301 Redirects Prevent Broken Backlinks

As mentioned, when you delete a page, the backlinks leading to it will no longer work. Users will be directed to a “Page Not Found” message, which can be frustrating and cause them to quickly click off of your website. 301 redirects allow you to send this traffic to a new or different page on your website. Not only is this a better user experience, but it also helps preserve your website’s SEO ranking. Instead of getting rid of months or years of data, this will redirect users and maintain your website’s credibility.

Consider Switching to Draft Status Instead of Deleting

If your website is built with a backend dashboard, you can switch a page or blog post to a draft instead of deleting it completely. Since this does not get rid of the content, you can always go back and republish it in the future. If you are a business that offers promotions or throws events, this can be helpful for seasonal or recurring dates. This will cause users to see a “Page Not Found” message, so having a 301 redirect in place is still important.

Archiving Social Media Posts

For social media posts, an archive can be compared to a draft. On Instagram, users are given the option to either delete or archive a post. Archiving a post will remove it from your profile, but the content and its likes, shares, and comments will still be available in your settings. This can be useful for businesses or personal accounts that want to keep a record of their past posts but do not necessarily want them to be visible on their profile. Additionally, archived posts can always be unarchived and put back on your profile at any time.

When Is It Safe to Delete Web Pages or Content?

Although deleting content is usually not recommended, there are certain scenarios where it may be necessary.

Deleting Duplicate Content Can Prevent Penalties

Google can flag duplicate content as a manual action, which can lead to penalties or a decrease in your website’s SEO ranking. In this case, deleting this content can help prevent these consequences. However, it is important also to submit a removal request through Google Search Console to ensure it is completely removed from search results.

Hacked or Spam Content Should Be Deleted Immediately

If your website has been hacked or compromised with spam content, it is important to delete the affected pages immediately. Leaving this content on your website can not only harm your site’s reputation and make you vulnerable to further attacks, but it can also negatively impact your SEO ranking and reliability among users.

Outdated or Irrelevant Content Can Be Deleted to Improve User Experience

Old design trends, outdated information, or irrelevant content can make your website appear unprofessional and decrease user satisfaction. In these cases, deleting this content and replacing it with more current and relevant material may be beneficial. Before making the final decision to delete, you can also consider updating the content to make it more useful and engaging for your audience.

Request a Free Website Audit & Get an Estimate on SEO Services to Update & Improve Content for Businesses of All Sizes

For a business owner, having a well-maintained website with constantly updated content is key to boosting your search engine ranking and attracting organically sourced customers. At Boston Web Marketing, we offer a variety of digital marketing services designed to help businesses of all sizes improve their online presence and achieve their marketing goals. With two new pieces of content a month, weekly social media posting, monthly reports, and more, we can help keep your website fresh and track its success as your business grows. To learn more and request a free audit, visit us online or give us a call at 857.526.0096.

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