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August 2, 2012

What to Do With Old Blog Posts — A SPN Exclusive

I’m in the process of doing some major renovations to my old SEO blog, the Search Engine Optimization Journal. I launched the blog back in 2007 and have been pretty religious about publishing new content on a regular basis since then. Needless to say, there are thousands of posts kicking around on that site! However, doing my redesign/renovation process I’ve come across a fair amount of blogs that are less than stellar. Some are really short (barely 350 words), some are poorly written (must have been in a hurry that day), and some are completely out dated (who still cares about the new Ask.com search feature?). What should I do with those old posts? Are any of them salvageable? In my opinion, when you’re working with old blog posts and trying to breathe new life into them you have two options;
update or delete.

Update

Updating old content can be time consuming, but it’s usually worth it in the long run. Provided the topic is still relevant, rewriting old blog posts can help bring them back to life and give your content marketing campaign an added boost. Those posts, even the poorly written ones, have been kicking around the search engines for years, which means they have developed their own level of trust with the search engines. Older, more established websites tend to do better in the SERPs because they have a good history; the same principle can apply to blogs and individual posts. When you revamp an older blog post you get to capitalize on the history and trust of that post; you’re not starting from scratch. The fresh content gives the search spiders a reason to come back and something new to latch onto, but the age of the post can help it get re-indexed and ranked quicker than a brand new blog would.

Updating old content also provides you with more fodder for your email marketing and social media marketing campaigns. Again, provided the topic is still relevant, you can include that revamped blog post in your next company e-newsletter and re-use its initial value. Chances are your email list has grown over the years, so that blog post might be brand new material to a lot of your recipients. And, even if someone had read the original post way back when, the updated content will keep it from feeling/reading stale.

Delete

Old, irrelevant posts that have no current value might just need to be scrapped. For instance, old blog posts about article spinning hold no value in today’s SEO world. In fact, sharing information about article spinning would actually undermine my authority as an SEO professional. I wouldn’t want a prospect thinking I don’t know what I’m talking about! In some instances deleting your old posts is the best way to go. However, if you do decide to delete it, make sure you don’t let that post’s SEO value go completely to waste. Chances are that post has at least one or two links pointing towards it, either internally or externally, and links are the bread and butter of SEO – don’t let them slip through your fingers! If your taking the time to rewrite some content, why not take the time to redirect the blog posts you plan on deleting on a one-to-one basis to existing content. This will help keep your blog’s SEO intact (no wasted links!) as well as keep the user experience consistent. If you can redirect a visitor to another, related post they’ll still be getting the same information they expected in the first place. You could always redirect to the homepage if need be, but then you run the risk of dumping too many links on your homepage too quickly (which might raise a red flag) and force your visitors to hunt for information.

In my opinion, most blogs posts are salvageable if you’re willing to put the time and effort in. Even seemingly “fluff” posts build up a little SEO value over time. If you are in the process of revamping your company blog don’t be so quick to delete those old posts! If in the end you decide to cut some of the dead weight, be sure you properly 301 redirect any old posts so neither your SEO or user experience suffer.


Nick Stamoulis is the President of Boston Massachusetts SEO firm Brick Marketing. With nearly 13 years of SEO experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by writing for the Brick Marketing Blog and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 150,000 opt-in subscribers. Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-999-1222 or nick@brickmarketing.com.

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