There’s a case to be made for and against old blog posts. On the one hand, you can simply update your posts to keep them relevant to search engines and your audience. On the other, it’s better to just delete them and move on with creating new blog posts.
However, you don’t just delete old blog posts without making changes to your blog.
Ultimately, the answer to whether or not you should delete old blog posts depends on the situation. This post will discuss when you should or shouldn’t delete them and what you must do with them.
When You Shouldn’t Get Rid of Old Content
The first thing you must consider is to keep your old blog posts. You don’t want all the hard work that was put into creating the blog post to go to waste.
Most old blog content simply needs to be updated, not deleted. That means replacing outdated information with the latest ones and observing new practices in making your content look and read better.
Granted, updating old posts is almost similar to creating a new one from scratch, especially if most of the information no longer holds today. However, since they were published before, they have already been crawled and indexed by Google at this point.
This reason is why it’s best to update old content because they are already positioned to rank faster than a brand new post that is yet to be crawled and indexed for SEO.
When You Should Delete Old Blog Content.
They haven’t attracted traffic since they were published
When you first started as a blogger, you didn’t know any better. You didn’t know how to properly target the right keywords in your content to maximize its SEO benefits. You didn’t know the best practices of writing a blog post that people will share on social media.
As a result, these old blog posts have been drawing flies ever since they were published.
To double-check if the content isn’t getting visitors at all, log in to your Google Analytics and check if your posts generated traffic over time.
If not, and you don’t see the page on the list, it could mean it’s not important enough to retain on your blog.
Also, check and see if it ranked for a particular term over time using an SEO tool like Ahrefs. At the very least, you want the post to have been indexed by Google for a keyword or two. This way, there’s still hope to salvage the content by updating and optimizing it for said keyword.
Now, if the data points to zero organic visitors and keywords, then you should highly consider deleting the post instead.
You have written a much better post about the topic
If you have been blogging for a long time, you may have tackled the same subject on separate posts.
As a result, these posts have been ranking for the same batch of keywords on search engines. This occurrence is referred to as keyword cannibalization and does more harm than good to your blog.
To maximize the results of your content strategy, you want to target unique keywords for each of your blog posts. You don’t want to compete for the same search terms because you’ll end up losing more traffic. Worse, Google will devalue the non-ranking page optimized for the keyword.
To find these posts on your blog, enter “site:domain.com keyword” on Google. Replace “domain” with your site’s URL and keyword with your target phrase.
There are 1,220 blog posts on the screenshot above that Google indexed for the keyword “how to become a blogger.”
In this case, it’s possible that the search engine happens to index them for the same keyword even if each post talks about a different topic. Therefore, there’s no fix necessary here.
But if you find that the blog posts have identical content, it’s best to retain the best-performing variant and delete the other one.
They are no longer relevant to your blog.
You may have written a blog post or two that are no longer in line with your blog’s topic and objectives. You may have also created landing pages for your promos and giveaways back then that you’re no longer running now.
In other words, if the post is no longer useful to your audience and there’s no way to salvage them, then it’s best to delete them instead of leaving them around.
The reason for deleting them is to prevent alienating your audience with irrelevant pages.
For example, if people stumbled upon an old giveaway page on your blog that is no longer available, it may leave a bad taste in their mouths and cause them never to visit your blog again.
A Few Things You Must Do Before Deleting Old Posts
Once you’ve determined which old posts you want to remove on your blog, you need to find a way to redirect the old posts to a related one.
Normally, upon visiting the deleted old post, users will be led to your default 404 page. Direction to this page happens when people visit broken links to one’s site or blog.
This is fine in most cases, but it’s better if you can point them to a similar post on your blog.
If you’re using WordPress, install a 301 redirect plugin to lead visitors to a similar and existing page whenever they visit the deleted one. This way, you still deliver the right information to visitors.
If you don’t have a similar page, you can spruce up your 404 to contain links to your blog’s RSS feed and call attention to your best posts. The idea here is to keep visitors from bouncing away from your blog by linking to other pieces of content in your blog that they might be interested in.
Following the tips above, you should have an informed decision on what to do with your old post. If you want to generate more visitors and maximize the results of your blogging effort, you need to do something with your old content and not let them go to waste.
On the flip side, we understand the difficulty of deleting them permanently from your blog. It’s a decision no blogger should take lightly.
Therefore, we at Romain Berg can help you in this regard. Fill out our form, and we’ll reach back to you with suggestions as to which posts you should keep and updates and which ones to remove.