Spring cleaning: clearing up the cobwebs and dust, washing and opening the windows, bringing fresh air to the house. And you can also do that with your website. Okay, so it's officially spring only for a few more days, but it's never too late to spring clean your website content.
One part of the content management cycle doesn't really get its due when we talk about content strategy: archiving and removal. Because you posted it back in the day doesn't mean it should be there forever. Actually, cleaning up old, stale, irrelevant or innacurate content is something you should do regularly. Why? I thought you'd never ask!
#1 Old content can damage your SEO
We put a lot of work in SEO. We spend hours optimizing tags, revising our content and making sure that we rank for the right keywords. But are these keywords those that you used a year or two years ago?
Like with every good business strategy, your content strategy changes with time. Your objectives may have changed; your services or products may have mutated into something different. Do you still want to rank for old, irrelevant keywords?
One secret to SEO is keeping your site fresh and up to date. Don't ruin your current efforts by letting old content fight for your SEO ranking.
What you can do:
- Revise the post for your current keywords
- Block robots from crawling your post
- Remove the post entirely
#2 Old content can work against your marketing
Sometimes, old content can screw with your marketing efforts. Take ours for example. A long time ago, a co-founder of Stikky Media (who isn't with us anymore) wrote a blog post about the history of CGI in movies. While that's great and everything (and the post was even used as a source on Wikipedia), the post has very little (i.e. nothing at all) to do with digital marketing. The post has quite a bit of traffic and lots of comments.
"But how is that a problem?" you ask. Well, first, it doesn't put our firm in a very serious or professional light. It's a company blog, not a personal one. This post can lead to potential clients questioning our expertise (if they're digital marketing experts, why are they making such an obvious error?).
The post also attracted a lot of traffic that we didn't want on our site; i.e. people who aren't interested in digital marketing. This post skewed our efforts at analyzing our traffic and seeing what visitors are really interested in. It has an effect on bounce rates, time spent on site, and number of pages visited, at the very least.
What you can do
- See where your traffic goes and where it is possibly diverted
- Remove irrelevant content that doesn't fit with your goals or your brand
- Filter all content through your campaigns and objectives
#3 Old content can frustrate users
Whenever you talk about websites, you need to consider the user experience. Whether it's through slick graphics or excellent content, the user is really the one you should please--not yourself.
Old content, especially popular old posts that still get traffic, can become frustrating is the content becomes out of date or inaccurate. Another example: our "Recent post by others" blog post published a few years ago. We still get a ton of traffic to it, and it fits our SEO and marketing goals. But it's still content that needs to be revised, archived or removed.
Again, you ask why. Because the Facebook business timeline has changed, once again, and you cannot show the "recent posts by others" on your business page's timeline anymore. People sometimes contact us, frustrated that the advice given in the post no longer works. If you have old posts that provide information that is no longer useful or accurate, you might want to review how you can update the information and bring traffic to it instead of your old post.
What you can do:
- Write a new post that updates the information
- Link the old post to the new one
- Point people to your new post
Ready to clean?
I like to do a content cleanup at least every year--it's the very minimum. I set aside a day or two to review all the content--blog posts, landing pages, site pages--for accuracy, timeliness, spelling errors (they ALWAYS sneak in), broken links, etc. It's a bit boring, but it's necessary. Kind of like cleaning your house.
When's the last time you cleaned up your content? How often do you do it? How has it improved your digital marketing results?