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Webinar Recap: Should You Remove Outdated Content or Update it?

SEMrush's webinar the morning of September 12th covered a common pain point in the SEO and content marketing industry today,

“Should you repurpose or update your old content or should you completely remove it from your website or blog?”

Panel Speakers Included:

Danny Goodwin - Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal

Kristin Vaughn - Associate Director, Online Marketing at KoMarketing

Julia McCoy - CEO / Writer / Author at Express Writers, Content Hacker

Jeremy Knauff - CEO & Founder at Spartan Media

First, they started off with a discussion with Danny Goodwin where he talked about content inequality. This is where you see Google rewarding 3% of your ranking content, driving traffic and converting and the other 97% of your content not helping your site or business at all.

The purpose of having content on your website or blog is to drive useful and relevant traffic to your website. If your content does not drive useful or relevant traffic then there is no importance of it to the reader.

Below we are going to walk you through the 5 steps to refreshing your content and teach you the importance of a content refresh.

Step 1: We will teach you how to perform a content audit.

Step 2: You are going to discover how to evaluate your site or blog for quality content, outdated content and thin content and learn why some content needs to be removed.

Step 3: You are going to learn how to repurpose your outdated content.

Step 4: You are going to become an expert on indexing, 301 redirects, consolidating and outdated content.

Step 5: Finally, you are going to learn how to promote your new high-quality content and components of a successful backlinking strategy.

Step 1: How to perform a content audit

Performing a content audit is the first step to evaluating your current content situation. Use a tool like SEMrush to perform the content audit. SEMrush will crawl your site and give you a report explaining what is good about your existing content, what can be improved and any issues or warnings that need to be addressed immediately.

Also, be sure to look at Google Analytics metrics for every landing page and blog page and analyze which pages are getting the most traffic, the highest engagement rates, the most page views, the lowest bounce rates, the most conversions and the most inbound and outbound links.

Next look at the latter issue, identify the percentage of pages that aren’t receiving any traffic at all, not converting any customers, have a high bounce rate and have little to no inbound or outbound backlinks pointing to them. In many cases, 3% of your site’s content may be receiving all your site’s traffic and the other 97% is just sitting on your site as low quality or outdated content. This issue can be seen as a huge red flag and also as a huge area of opportunity to update and optimize your site’s content for more quality traffic and conversions.

Step 2: How to evaluate for quality content

You just received your SEMrush report and have all your Google Analytics analysis’ ready. A major red flag for low-quality content is thin content that has low word count under 500 words, duplicate copied content or low-quality material that doesn’t support the user’s intent. Ask yourself, does this content answer a user’s question? Was it helpful to solve their problem or give them advice? If the answer is no, you need to reconsider your content strategy for that service page or blog entry to be more relevant and useful to the user. Some pages may not need to be touched and are already seen as high-quality content.

These factors indicate high-quality content:

  • relevant traffic
  • many conversions
  • good social shares
  • strong high-quality backlinks
  • accurate information and is useful to the user

Look for trust and authority signals in your content.

Google has really been pushing E.A.T (expertise, authority, and trust) with all its recent updates and with the growing number of users and results on its search engine. E.A.T stands for Expertise (unique skills and knowledge), Authority (why should people believe in you, and help them understand your expertise) and Trust (how trustworthy is your content and your experts).

If you don’t have any E.A.T substance in your content you should definitely update your piece with more. Adding these 3 values into your piece gives Google trust signals that you are a high-quality site, you are an expert in your field and users should trust your material.

Step 3: How to repurpose or update your content

Make sure your content is updated with subject matter experts and is 100% original, not copied.Also, make sure it's well written with no spelling mistakes. Be sure that all stats are accurate and to add in proper research. Make sure images or screenshots are formatted properly for UX. As well, adding schema to your pages can help Google further crawl, understand and index your website pages. Finally, also look into technical SEO elements like proper on-page keyword strategy. Ensure that the keyword is targeted to the topic at hand and that the title is engaging and relevant.

Make sure to rewrite any duplicated content and run it through a plagiarism tool like Copyscape to confirm that your new piece is 100% original content. Also be sure to add references and site authority leaders to show Google that your piece is well researched, worthy of ranking and demonstrates the attributes of E.A.T.

Once you are done making all your changes make sure to republish the article so Google can receive the new high-quality piece and perhaps reward it with a higher ranking. That brings us to our last point be sure to do a pre-ranking report to what position your content was ranking before you refreshed it and then do a post ranking report a week after to see if Google has rewarded your content and made any positive ranking changes.

Step 4: Indexing, 301 redirects, consolidating outdated content, and on-page SEO components

Now, we are going to go over technical SEO aspects like redirecting old content to new content or consolidating older posts into newer posts and 301 redirecting. First, let’s understand when it’s best to 301 redirect. If you have many old blog posts that are in a similar niche, but their content is just irrelevant and outdated, you can 301 redirect them to a new fresh post that directly relates to the topic the blogs were discussing. Google has also mentioned that redirecting old content to new content that is closely related may pass page rank.

Only deindex pages you want to completely remove from Google. If you are planning on fixing your content do not deindex the page while you fix it, just revise it and republish it.

You can definitely change titles to boost engagement, as well as meta-titles and descriptions. However, in most cases, it’s best to keep the URL the same as it’s the page URL that has been indexed by google and has a current ranking position.

Danny Goodwin suggested as a best practice to not put dates in URLs as the date becomes irrelevant and Google no longer views the page as “fresh.” It also makes it harder to update your content as you will have to also rename the URL. If you create a time-sensitive post you can put the date in the meta-data and the text, just leave it out of the URL so you don’t have to redirect it to a new post when you update it with new information.

One question that came up was “what do you do with lots of old irrelevant news.” The panels’ answer was if it is no longer relevant to your site and the direction you are going it’s best to delete it especially if it’s outdated or low-quality content.

Step 5: Learn how to promote your content and a successful backlinking strategy

You have finally repurposed your old content and now you want your target audience to read it!

Julia McCoy suggested adding a snippet of your blog article to a LinkedIn post and to link to the blog to read more. She said it’s a great way to syndicate content. Social media, in general, is a great tool for content marketing, whether it be sharing the content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or LinkedIn. Google has hinted it likes social sharing and engagement. It shows if your site is popular and if people are engaged. Also, social sharing is a great strategy to receive backlinks or outreach for backlinks.

You can also reach out to experts in your niche to share your content or use a tool like SEMrush to do a competitor backlink analysis to see what sources are linking to similar content. You can then reach out to those sources to share your content or to ask to link back to you. Just be sure to ensure that the source is relevant, and has a good authority score (good trust score, citation flow, and domain authority).

SEO and content marketing experts are constantly saying “content is king.” This reiterates the importance of always including and adding high-quality content to your website.

If you need assistance refreshing your outdated content or running a content audit contact one of our content marketing experts at Xi Digital to get you on track!

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