Search engines like Google are constantly changing and updating their algorithms. However, one thing that’s remained consistent is that fresh content is always king. Over time, outdated content can pile up on your website, negatively impacting your SEO. So, should you remove outdated content for SEO?
This article will answer that question. We will discuss outdated content and why removing it from your website is important. We will also look at the pros and cons of removing outdated content and provide tips on how to do it in a way that won’t hurt your SEO.
What Is Outdated Content?
Outdated content is any content on your website that is no longer accurate or relevant. This can include information about your products, services, prices, policies, etc. Outdated content can also include blog posts that are no longer relevant to your audience.
As with most things in life, content goes through a lifecycle. It starts out as new and relevant, but over time it becomes outdated and less useful. This is why it’s important to regularly update your content.
How To Identify Outdated Content
Now that we know what outdated content is, let’s look at how to identify it. This can be tricky, as not all outdated content is obvious. However, there are a few methods you can use to identify outdated content on your website:
Google Search Console
The first place to look for outdated content is in Google Search Console. This free tool provided by Google allows you to see how your website is performing in the search results.
One of the things you can use it for is to identify pages that Google is no longer indexing. This means that Google has determined that these pages are no longer relevant and has removed them from the search results.
If you see any pages from your website are not being indexed, there’s a good chance they are outdated and need to be updated.
Another tool you can use to identify outdated content is Google Analytics. This is a free tool that allows you to track traffic to your website. You can use it to see which pages are getting the most traffic and which ones are not. If you see a page that used to get a lot of traffic but now gets very little, it’s likely outdated.
You can also use Google Analytics to see how long people spend on each page. If people spend only a few seconds on a page, it’s likely because the content is no longer relevant to them.
Do A Full SEO Content Audit
If you want to be thorough, you can do a full SEO content audit. This is a process where you go through all of the content on your website and analyze it from an SEO perspective. You can use a tool like Screaming Frog to help you with this.
This tool will allow you to see which pages get the most traffic from Google and which are not. It will also help you identify pages with duplicate content or missing important SEO elements.
When & Why You Should Remove Content
Misinformation can cause a lot of problems. If your website has outdated information, it can lead to people making bad decisions based on that information. Here are a few reasons why you may want to remove outdated content from your website:
When You Should Remove Outdated Content
The following are when you should decide to remove outdated content.
Product or service has been discontinued
This is a common reason to remove content from a website. If you have a product or service that is no longer available, there’s no need to keep the page up. This can confuse people and may even lead to them trying to purchase a product that is no longer available.
Business location or information has changed
You may want to remove content from your website if your business location or information has changed. For example, if you’ve moved to a new office or changed your phone number, you’ll want to remove the old information from your website.
This can help prevent people from trying to reach you at an outdated location or phone number.
Service offering has changed
This is another reason to remove content from your website. If you’ve changed the services you offer or how you offer them, you’ll want to remove any outdated information from your website. This can help prevent people from trying to purchase a service that you no longer offer.
It Can Improve SEO
One of the main reasons to remove outdated content from your website is that it can improve your SEO. The following are ways it can help improve your SEO:
Reduces low-quality content
Outdated content can actually hurt your website’s SEO. Google may view it as low-quality and not worth ranking highly in search results.
Reduces bounce-back rate
If people see outdated information in your search results and click on your website only to find old content, they may quickly leave (known as “bounce back”), which can further hurt your SEO.
How To Remove Outdated Content Safely
Now that you know some of the reasons why you may want to remove outdated content from your website, you’re probably wondering how to do it safely. Here are a few tips:
Don't delete the page entirely
If you delete the page entirely, it will return a 404 error. This can hurt your SEO because it tells Google the page no longer exists. In turn, Google may remove the page from its index, hurting your website’s ranking.
Update your sitemap
If you delete a page from your website, you should also remove it from your sitemap. This is the file that tells Google which pages are on your website. By removing the page from your sitemap, you’re telling Google that the page no longer exists and doesn’t need to be indexed.
Benefits Of Removing Outdated Content
There are several benefits of removing outdated content from your website. Some of these benefits include:
1. It can help you avoid duplicate content issues
Having multiple pages on your website with the same content can cause problems with SEO. This is because Google will only index one of those pages, and the other page will be considered a duplicate. This can hurt your SEO and may even result in your website being penalized by Google.
2. It can help improve user experience
If people are landing on your website and quickly leaving, it’s called a “bounce.” This can hurt your SEO because it tells Google that people are not finding what they’re looking for on your website.
By removing outdated content from your website, you can help improve user experience and reduce the number of people bouncing from your website.
3. It can help improve your SEO by improving Google's ability to crawl your site
If you have a lot of outdated or low-quality content on your website, it can clutter up your website and make it difficult for Google to crawl.
This can hurt your SEO because it means that Google may not be able to find all of the content on your website, which can hurt your ranking. By removing outdated content from your website, you can help improve Google’s ability to crawl your site and index your content.
Cons Of Removing Outdated Content
While there are several benefits to removing outdated content, there are also some potential downsides.
- One major downside is that you may accidentally delete a page that Google is still indexing. This can hurt your SEO because it will return a 404 error, which tells Google that the page no longer exists. In turn, Google may remove the page from its index, hurting your website’s ranking.
- Another potential drawback is that you may delete a page that contains valuable information. While this may not hurt your SEO, it could hurt your website’s reputation if people can’t find the information they’re looking for.
- You may delete a page that is still being linked to by other websites. If this happens, Google may still find the page and index it, which can hurt your SEO.
How To Safely Remove Outdated Content
Removing outdated content from your website can be a great way to improve your website’s ranking, but it’s important to do it safely. The following are tips on how to safely remove outdated content:
If you delete a page from your website, be sure to use a redirect. Redirects tell Google that the page has been moved and provide the new location of the page. The most common and best type of redirect is the 301 redirect.
301 redirects are permanent, which tells Google that the page has been permanently moved. This ensures that all users are automatically redirected to the new page and that any external links pointing to the old page are also automatically redirected to the new page.
Add Noindex Tags
If you want to delete a page but don’t want to use a redirect, you can add a noindex tag. Noindex tags tell Google not to index the page, which means it won’t appear in Google search results. This is a good option if you want to delete a page but don’t want to hurt your SEO.
Adding A 410 Status
The best way to remove a page from your website is to add a 410 status. A 410 status tells Google that the page has been permanently deleted and should be removed from its index. This is the safest way to remove a page because it ensures that the page won’t be indexed and won’t hurt your SEO.
When You Should Not Remove Content
There are some instances when you should not remove content from your website.
One instance is if Google is still indexing the page. If you delete a page that is still being indexed, it can hurt your SEO.
Another instance is if the page contains valuable information. While this may not hurt your SEO, it could hurt your website’s reputation if people can’t find the information they’re looking for.
Finally, if your website explains your services and/or products well, delivers the right content to your audience, and has a good reputation, then you likely don’t need to delete any of your content.
Getting rid of your outdated content can be a great way to improve your website’s ranking. However, it’s important to do it safely. Use redirects, add noindex tags, or add a 410 status to safely remove content from your website.
If you’re not sure whether or not you should delete a page, consider whether the page is still being indexed, contains valuable information, or if your website has a good reputation. With these factors in mind, you can make the best decision for your website.
If you are looking for help with getting rid of your outdated content, QCKBOT can help. We are a leading SEO company that specializes in helping businesses improve their website ranking.
Contact us today to learn more about our services!