I’ve just spent the last day committing SEO suicide – and you should too.
This blog has been around since 2005. It’s gone through a lot – a domain name change, a move from a subdomain to the root URL. Not to mention countless product reviews, announcements and housekeeping posts being put up. Hundreds of articles had been written in this incredibly fast-paced world of internet marketing, where what technique is hot one month is old news the next and where sites, tools and resources join the deadpool almost faster than one can keep up.
One of the things I didn’t focus on when I got started 6 years ago was considering how evergreen my content would be. That is, if I put up a blog post, would it still be relevant in 6 months or a years time?
Inevitably, no matter how much you consider the future, some things will change in you rmarketplace and will eventually be out of date. And if longevity of your content is something you hadn’t considered (as I didn’t in the start) you’re likely to have a massive archive of articles that aren’t really all that relevant or actionable for your readers.
Consider the scenario of someone new landing on one of your articles for the first time. They find that the content is old and therefore doesn’t answer their question. There’s even a link you embedded to another resource that they click and get a 404. What will they do?
Most of the time, unfortunately, they’ll probably click “Back” and pick another listing from Google’s search results – gone from your site forever.
We want to avoid that.
And to do so, it’s important to keep out sites current so that when new folks land on our content they get good, recent and relevant actionable stuff.
So I just deleted 150 articles from this site. Some were about products and services that are no longer available (like a Web 2.0 property that I posted about as a source for backlinks, that’s since been killed). Some were announcements about a free call I was doing. Some were just comprised of information that was simply out of date and no longer interesting (like MySpace marketing!). There were also some articles that got a decent amount of search engine traffic that could be revamped to be current, and I’ve put those in a Simplenote list to update.
Now all that stuff is gone and the archives are looking pretty bare. I called it “SEO suicide” because it will result in less traffic. I’ve got less articles on my site to bring in those long-tail keyword searchers. But there’s a few ways to help when you’re dropping dead weight:
I 301′d all the pages that I deleted to point to the home page of the site. I manually updated my XML sitemap to let the search engines know. I’m running the Broken Link Checker WP plugin to remove any references to posts or outside URL’s that are no longer alive.
I want people to come here and find that absolute best, cream of the crop stuff so that they have a fabulous first impression. That way the traffic I do get is highly responsive.
As a market leader, you need to aim for that as well.
Leveraging existing content and building a foundation of evergreen content (and how to do both) are just two of the many techniques we talk about inside Always Be Shipping. If market leadership is what you’re aiming for in your market, it’s a course you’ll get a lot of value and insight from.
- Go though your archives and identify out-of-date and irrelevant content
- Check Google Analytics to see which of it, if any, is getting search engine traffic
- Rewrite or update the “old” content that’s still getting search engine traffic
- Trash the old content that’s not getting any traffic and 301 redirect it’s URL’s to your homepage
- Update your sitemap
- Run Broken Link Checker to look for broken and dead links