Manage Your Old Content without Being Penalized by Google

Content DevelopmentFresh content is important when it comes to day-to-day search engine optimization; updating your old content is essential for better rankings. In July Google announced that it would roll out Panda 4.2 over the next couple of months. This is the first refresh of the algorithm in the last 10 months. Panda has been partly responsible for prioritizing good content, and bringing the ‘content is king’ mantra into the search industry.

Google’s announcement must surely be welcome to anyone who was hit last September and has been working to improve their low-quality content. The update is sure to restore their organic rankings. However, with every update, many webmasters panic thinking that they will be on the losing side of upgrades. The important thing is not to have irrelevant, outdated or pointless content. This is not a good approach.

Ensuring That Your Site Is Panda-proof

Keyword stuffed or low quality content is not the only reason why web masters get uneasy with Panda updates. Even if your content is of good quality, you may have qualms regarding the exact nature of your content and how Google will judge it. Run a content audit to find if you have ‘dead’ content on your website. Dead content or outdated content refers to the material that was once useful for users but may not be valuable anymore.

So do you delete outdated content altogether? When dealing with expired content, you need to consider certain factors such as: whether the page was receiving significant traffic; whether it has received external links and how it is internally linked to at present; whether there are resources on the page users may still find useful, and so on. You need to think whether that content can be used in some way to provide good user experience.

Depending on how much content you have, you might even notice the slowing down of your site, causing Google to crawl and index less important pages containing outdated content rather than focusing on your more important content. This can happen quite easily, since your focus is on creating a new and fresh content and you forget about the content you wrote a year ago.

Optimizing Your Content

New content is vital, but you need to devote considerable time for content development. On the other hand, you can make your old content fresh and new more easily by adopting the right SEO strategies. By optimizing old content, you are breathing new life into it and making it appealing to the visitors. Here are some steps that can be followed when re- optimizing old content.

  • Use new keywords: Add more keywords to attract more traffic. Find new keywords that are in vogue and incorporate them in your content. The way people search is different every day. They may use new keywords to look for the same information, so you don’t want to be left behind.
  • Don’t create a new page for the old content: Update the existing content on a particular page, don’t attempt to create a new page to replace outdated content. This will help to update the existing content and keep all the authority in one place.
  • Focus on your call-to-action: You need your prospective customers to take an action. Think about what you want them to do after reading your content whether it is an article, blog, promotional page, or newsletter. Your call-to-action should encourage your visitor to take that important step – whether it is to contact you, sign up for your newsletter or ask about your new product/service.
  • Promote your updated content: Once you have made your existing content more relevant and appealing, promote it well via Facebook or other social media platforms, or include it in your email campaign.

Handling Content That Needs to Be Deleted

While useful content can be updated and optimized, there may still be some material that needs to be removed anyway. These include:

  • Job postings
  • Similar or duplicate blog posts
  • Old products or services that you no longer offer
  • Profiles of former employees

For handling such content follow these useful tips:

  • A 301 redirect is the best choice for content that needs to be deleted. Point old products or services to new counterparts; redirect a duplicate blog post to one that has maximum page views or good rankings.
  • Another alternative is to use custom messaging and related links to redirect visitors to other places. You can direct those who land on your job postings page to your careers page. Or if they happen to arrive at your out-of-stock products page, you could show them related items and provide a good user experience.

There are many other ways to use your outdated content to improve user experience and your rankings without being penalized by Google. Professional search engine optimization services can help you manage your old content and also create a new content. Hiring a reliable service provider is the best way to ensure completion of your content optimization campaign successfully within the required time. You also stand to benefit from the skill and expertise of professionals who will update and optimize your old content. Meanwhile, do not forget to create new content that provides value for your audience. Content marketing must be deeply integrated with your SEO strategy.