Can I delete my old blog posts?
Spring cleaning in WordPress: delete or update old blog posts
A well-maintained blog will go down well with your readers and have a better chance on Google. The workshop shows you step by step how you can delete, update or summarize old posts without risk.
Every blog has accumulated an astonishing number of posts over the years. But not all of them are up to date or still find readers. High time to clean out the old posts: delete, summarize, update.
You can download the PDF instructions here
A consistent spring cleaning in the blog is worthwhile, because many readers find your blog via a Google search. If you land on an outdated post, your chances of gaining a new regular reader are slim.
In addition, when looking through the old posts you will always find ideas for new topics - and you will discover older texts that can be combined into a new one or spiced up with updates. This way, you can get new posts in a relatively short amount of time.
Positive effect for search engine optimization
By the way, this also has an effect on your Google ranking. If Google registers that users click on a search result and shortly thereafter come back to the search engine, this is an indication that they have not found anything suitable with you. And if, on the other hand, Google perceives that posts are being updated, i.e. that the blog is well maintained, that is a positive signal.
Deleting old posts can have another SEO effect: Google does not index old, already useless posts, but instead focuses on your current, valuable posts.
When should you delete old posts?
Old posts are obsolete if they have no current use: This includes, for example, news whose content is now irrelevant. If the article describes something that no longer exists - for example a review of a restaurant that has now been closed; or the review of a book that has long been reprinted; or an old event announcement.
Before you delete one or more posts, you should check whether the text still has readers. If not, you'd be giving away traffic. If a post is still ranking so well on Google that it brings you visitors, you should update the post instead of deleting it. There is more to this below.
You can find out how many hits an individual post still has with the help of your traffic analysis tool, e.g. Google Analytics. There you search for the relevant post and you can see how often the post has been accessed in the past three months, for example.
You can find the relevant information in Google Analytics under Behavior - Website Content - All Pages. There you enter the last part of the URL of the post in question in the search field and adjust the period in the top right accordingly. Analytics already shows you how often the post was viewed.
It's even more convenient with the WordPress plug-in "Google Analytics Dashboard By Analytify". This allows you to view the current access figures from Google Analytics directly under the text input field when editing each post.
DOWNLOAD NOTE: Our PDF shows what you have to consider technically and with regard to search engine optimization when deleting old posts. The instructions also describe step by step how to delete old posts and optionally also archive them.
When is it worth updating?
Often times, however, a post is not completely out of date or useless. Then it can be worthwhile to revise the text, delete or update outdated passages, possibly exchange pictures or add new ones and thus give the contribution a new shine.
If, when analyzing the number of hits on your blog posts, you find that a post that is actually still relevant had no or very few visitors for weeks, this is also a reason to think about an update or revision. Because if the text doesn't find a reader, it's just ballast - both in WordPress and in the Google index. Therefore, check whether such articles can be made more interesting, expanded or sharpened so that they find more readers.
The advantage of updating old posts is clear: you often have a new, current post for your readers with relatively little effort. And you don't have to worry about redirects and correct error codes because the post remains accessible under the same URL.
Tip: Give the post a new date
If you have revised a post, you should bring the publication date up to date. On the one hand, the post then reappears in the blog and, on the other hand, Google also receives the signal: “There is something current here”.
However, don't forget to notify your readers of the update. Otherwise, this could cause astonishment, especially if there are already comments with an older date underneath.
Alternative: combine several articles into one
If a post cannot be updated with reasonable effort, the alternative is to combine several older posts on similar topics into a single, new post. For example, if you have written several news articles on the same topic over time, a chronology of the events is a good idea. Alternatively, you can combine several similar event announcements into one text that shows you what kind of tradition has developed from this event over time.
Or a topic has developed over time and you can address your own trains of thought and previous opinions in a new text and show the development. You can also cite parts of the texts from the old articles again and do not have to rewrite everything.
Such mergers are especially worthwhile if you find that old posts still have regular visitors. If you simply delete the post, this Google search traffic will be lost. Instead, you write a new post or combine several old ones into a new one.
Do not lose visitors by redirecting
The trick here is to redirect the urls of the old posts to the new one. A visitor who calls up one of the old posts will then automatically land on the new one. This way you won't lose anyone and, above all, you also transfer the Google ranking of the old post to a certain extent.
However, you have to be careful that old and new posts are closely related in terms of content. Because neither Google nor your readers would find it particularly funny if, for example, they call up an article on the topic of environmental policy and are forwarded to a page with cooking recipes.
If there is a current post on a very similar topic anyway, you can of course forward from the old to the new post without any further effort. For example, if you blogged about the increase in tram tickets in your city in 2014 and picked up the topic again when the next increase was in 2015, then simply forward from the 2014 to the 2015 post and then delete the older one.
Our PDF shows how to set up redirects and do everything right with a view to search engine optimization.
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