What to Do with Outdated Content: Update, Redirect or Rewrite?

By Andrew Garberson

For better or worse, we are witnessing a race to fill the Internet with information. Millions of pages are added each day at a rate far greater than they are removed, leaving lots of outdated content for people and bots to crawl through. Old info provides an unfavorable user experience, but is simply removing it from the website or search engines the best alternative?

The answer is no. And if the old page in question has inbound links, social shares or other SEO value, the answer is NO! For starters, deleting a page with oh-so-valuable links turns them into orphans because they point to a nonexistent address. Any SEO benefit derived from them is gone, leaving them to wander the world alone (and unlike Annie, they’ll never find their Daddy Warbucks).

Another option is to de-index the pages so search engines do not display them in the search results. That doesn’t exactly get me giddy, either. De-indexing old pages keeps them away from visitors, but it also keeps them away from potential visitors! See the problem? Cutting away at organic search traffic is never good for business.

If deleting the page is not an option, and neither is removing it from the index, what’s a webmaster to do? Well, you have come to the right place. Here are three healthy alternatives to consider.

Update the information. Perhaps a page has been live for several years and it is starting to show its age. The dates have long since come and gone and procedures and price points reflect different times. After all, a lot has changed in the business world since 2008.

Simply revise the content to reflect current happenings. Small corrections do not impact on-page metrics so no need to fear a fall in ranking. Search engines will barely notice. Unless, of course, those little corrections are, say, in the title and headers. If that’s the case, it is probably best to consider a 301.

Apply a 301 redirect instead of making big changes to title tags or large portions of content. 301 redirects automatically shuffle visitors to a more applicable page and send with them most of its predecessor’s page authority.

A redirect is perfect for a retired executive’s profile. It likely accrued lots of links over the years and it would be a shame to let them go to waste. A 301 permanent redirect to the directory of managers or the executive’s replacement would serve the website (and all of its visitors) very well. For more general pages, however, a redirect might not seem appropriate. It would make more sense to simply create all new content under the existing URL.

Write new content. Widgets were not selling well so the company decides to go in a different direction. These big changes can’t be made by updating tidbits, but the URLs and brand can be left as-is. It’s time to rewrite. Wipe everything clean but the URL, leaving the inbound links intact, and start from scratch: newly optimized title tag, appropriate Meta description and fresh content. It might not be the best option because search engine results and ranks will change, but all of those authority-building inbound links are spared from the orphanage, which is better than what would happen if you delete entire pages.

Moral of the story: don’t abandon accrued SEO credit. Never ever. Condemning links to a life of solitude on the street is neither good for you nor society. So, do your part and keep this world a better place.


Andrew Garberson is a Search Manager at LunaMetrics. When not reading, writing or embodying SEO, Andrew enjoys to travel, which means he speaks Spanish like a kid, writes Chinese like a child, and comprehends French like a toddler.

This article courtesy of SiteProNews.com

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Article: Making Sense of Trademarks in AdWords

The issue of trademark usage in Google AdWords ad text and keyword bidding was raised on this blog recently thanks to a question submitted by Dom.

As I discovered when I resarched the topic for Dom, AdWords trademark usage rules are different for advertisers in different countries and they differ also based on the use of trademarks in ad text and bid keywords. The subject proved so complex that I decided to write an article about it in order to clarify the issue for confused advertisers.

Coincidently, a landmark case about this very issue was playing out here in Australia while I was writing the article and the Federal court made their decision just in time for me to add the outcome to the article.

The article is called Making Sense of Trademarks in AdWords and was published today by SiteProNews.

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The 10 Week SEO Diet

10 week seo dietI have a regular blog writing gig over at SiteProNews and sometimes I write feature articles for them about Search Engine Optimization and social media.

This week, I wrote a piece about SEO after receiving several question submissions from webmasters who were struggling optimizing their sites. The common thread amongst these questions was:

“There is SO much conflicting information out there about SEO – what are the basics and where do I start?”.

I decided to write an article outlining 10 vital, yet simple steps that webmasters can implement themselves to improve the search engine visibility of their sites. But to make it less overwhelming, I wrote the steps as a series of weekly tasks over a 10 week time frame.

I know how time-poor  webmasters can be so — just like starting a new diet or exercise plan — the 10 Week SEO Diet introduces the concept of SEO into your routine slowly.

I hope you enjoy the 10 Week SEO Diet. You can also view the YouTube version.

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Google Tool Shines Light on 200 Years of Cultural History

If you fancy yourself a bit of a word-smith, you’ll love the latest plaything to come out of Google Labs.

The Books Ngrams Viewer is a search engine that enables you to trawl the 500 billion words making up the 5.2 million digitized books in Google’s Book Search. The viewer lets you look for specific words or phrases – and here’s the fun part – it graphs the frequency of their written use over time, giving you a historical snapshot of word usage since the year 1800 and up to 2008.

Just before Xmas, I spent a fun few hours testing out the new tool and tracking down the earliest reference I could find to the term *Lord of the Rings* – way back in 1815!  You can check out how I did it via the article I wrote for SiteProNews about my experience.

Happy New Year to you all!

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Social Networking and the Overshare Generation

please-rob-me-smlThere have been a lot of stories in the media lately about cyber-stalking and privacy issues on the Internet. It seems to be a knee jerk reaction to the tsunami of social networking that has occurred in the past few years. Or is it? Are the media over-reacting? Or have we forgotten what privacy is in the age of the World Wide Web?

The Rise of Oversharing

Back in the late 1990′s, many people didn’t even use their real names on the Internet. Email addresses were usually aliases or nicknames in an attempt to retain as much privacy as possible. But with the rise in popularity of social media services such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace has come a rise in online confidence.

The new Internet generation doesn’t seem to have the privacy hang ups or suspicions their parents had about sharing information with strangers over the net. In fact, this younger generation of cyber savvy has an alarmingly high comfort level when it comes to communicating personal information about their lives on the Web.

The premise is that everyone in your social circle not only wants to know but NEEDS to know when you are buying that tall frappuccino from @starbucks. That they need to know precisely where you are and what you are doing every minute of the day. This new phenomenon is called oversharing and it has privacy experts worried. Continue reading

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