Want to improve SEO? Remove this content

We’re not saying content isn’t king, but it turns out having a certain kind of content does more harm than good and can actually hurt SEO rankings.

What kind of content, you ask?

Outdated content.

In another post, we shared our ultimate on-page SEO tool. If you follow the template outlined there, you’re on your way to creating blogs with perfect SEO structure that will make Google go gaga. 

But even perfectly structured posts will work against you if they’re out of date.

If you want to identify and remove or properly update old content and give your search rankings a boost, read on!

Content check-in

When you visit a website to get answers about a company or product, you want to see content that is current and accurate.

But what happens when the content is no longer relevant — perhaps due to a major update to the strategy or algorithm, a change in the tax code, or simply that years have passed?

While in some cases it might make sense to keep a blog archive, you’ll want to update or remove content that’s no longer relevant if for no other reason than to avoid confusing your readers.

Here’s why up-to-date content is important:

It builds trust. In finance, small mistakes can lead to lasting consequences. And as your company grows, it’s likely that you’ll have more webpages, which can make it easy to overlook details.

According to Search Engine Journal, removing old content builds trust with your audience and can also improve the buyer’s user journey when all pages are up to date. The most common content mistake? Featuring past employees on your site.

It can improve SEO rankings. It’s been decades since webmasters could get away with writing short, mediocre articles to try to “trick” Google. These poorly written articles would often have an excessive amount of keywords (“stuffing”) and weren’t meant to educate an audience, just game the system.

But Google Search Quality Evaluator standards are getting stricter each year. Now, Google deems outdated content to be “low quality.” The more low quality content you have on your site, the harder it will be to gain converting, organic traffic.

Reality check-up

Does this only apply to large financial firms? No, any size company can benefit from content updating. But for firms that offer financial advice, the risk of someone accessing outdated information, making decisions based on that information, and then blaming you for it, is real.

So what’s the best way to deal with old content? Here are four best practices for removing or refreshing old content:

  1. Weed out high bounce rates. Before you begin removing any content, find out how many people visit each page and their respective bounce rates. Focus on removing content that has high bounce rates, low traffic, and/or low conversions. Google Analytics 4 is a free, but powerful tool that lets you measure traffic and key characteristics of your website’s visitors. Some fundamental metrics include website visitors, session time, bounce rates, and ad performance. 
  2. Omit pages with low to no visitors. Outdated content might have had higher traffic and click through rates (CTRs) in the past. But if they’re no longer getting eyeballs — because they’re no longer relevant — then they’re key targets for removal. Like Google Analytics, Google Search Console is a free Google tool that can help you improve your SEO and understand website traffic. You can compare the performance of your internal web pages over time. 
  3. Fix broken links. For prospective customers, nothing’s more frustrating than landing on a 404 page when they’re trying to learn more about a company, service, or product they’re interested in. Tools like Dead Link Checker and Screaming Frog show which pages have, or are linked to, invalid, or 404 error pages. Many times, outdated content will link to pages that no longer exist. 

    In case your company recently moved from one URL address to another, set up a redirect to forward web visitors to the intended page.

Rinse and refresh

After you’ve used Google Analytics and Search Console to seek out old content, you may also notice long-tail content that continues to perform well.

Even though it’s still popular, this content may require a bit of spiffing up if there’s outdated advice or information.

In this case, it’s worthwhile to refresh and optimize this content. If your content management system (CMS) has a date stamping tool, consider letting readers know when the blog post was last updated, instead of when it was first posted. 

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