Update or delete? Cleaning up old content on your site

Update or delete? Cleaning up old content on your site • Yoast

Willemien Hallebeek

Willemien is the Manager Content of yoast.com. She loves creating user-friendly content and making it easy to find for people and search engines.

Sometimes, content on your website becomes irrelevant or out of date, and you need to decide whether to update it or delete it. It’s part of your regular content maintenance activities. There are several ways to go about this and this article helps you decide what’s the best solution for your old content!

Update old content that is still valid

Let’s start with an example: On our blog, we have an article on meta descriptions that needs constant updating to keep it relevant. We just have to make sure it stays up to date with all the changes Google keeps making to the way it handles meta descriptions. Sometimes it seems they can be a bit longer and sometimes they seem to go back to the old length again.

Our post helps writers and editors to write meta descriptions, even though the advice changes over time. Although the article itself might be what we call cornerstone content, its content must be updated to keep up with the latest standards – constantly.

You can easily create new, valuable content from your old posts if you update it and make it current again: old wine in new bottles, as the saying goes. You could, for example, merge three old blog posts about the same subject into one new post or simply replace older parts of your post with updated content.

Creating a clone of your post with Yoast Duplicate Post, so you have a draft to work on, makes this process a lot easier. The new Rewrite & Republish feature even allows you to create a clone of your post, work on it and publish this updated version of your post without too much hassle. This will automatically merge your updated post into the original one, while automatically cleaning up the draft for you. That way, working on your post and publishing these changes becomes an easy and seamless process. Plus you can choose to schedule these updates if you want to publish your updated content at a later date!

Read more: Keep your content fresh and up to date »

Delete irrelevant posts or pages

It’s likely that you have old posts or pages on your site that you don’t need anymore. Think along the lines of a blog post about a product you stopped selling a while ago and have no intention of ever selling again, an announcement of an event that took place a long time ago or old pages with little or no content – so-called thin content pages.

These are just some examples, but I’m sure you know which posts and/or pages I’m talking about. This old content adds no value anymore, now or for the foreseeable future. In that case, you need to either tell Google to forget about these old posts or pages or give the URL another purpose.

When I talk about deleting old content, I don’t mean just pressing “delete”

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This article was written by Willemien Hallebeek and originally published on SEO blog • Yoast.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the product, We may receive an affiliate commission.

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