Do you delete old blog posts?
There seems to be a resounding chorus among the people I run with online:
Get rid of those crappy old blog posts that no longer serve your audience!
While I’m never one to take things at face value – I might also have a hard time taking blogging advice. A bit prideful, perhaps.
But, in true LouiseM fashion, I don’t just shrug it off. I do the research.
And guess what?
There’s quite a controversy as to whether deleting old posts helps your blog – or hurts it!
Two blogs said it helped their site – but they both wrote new and improved posts on the same topics, and redirected the old posts to them.
Well, duh. Fresh, deep, updated content – Google loves that. No question.
Don’t ever delete blog posts without redirecting to something. Don’t take a chance that a web surfer will land on a missing page.
Google doesn’t like those broken links either. You want Google to like you, don’t you?
I sure do.
What Should You Do Instead of Deleting Old Posts?
Your choices are:
- Noindex posts you don’t want found
- Redirect them to new, updated posts
- Rewrite and update the old content
You can set your old posts to “noindex,” which tells Google not to crawl and index those posts. This method seems to be preferred by many experts.
Other experts said to neither delete nor noindex them, because you’ll lose SEO juice – unless they’re completely irrelevant.
If you have content with a high bounce rate or low CTR, or large amounts of irrelevant content that’s bad for Google LongTail ranking – NoIndex there makes sense. ~David Quaid
My preference is to take old posts that are still relevant to my audience and mission, and update them with current info (and graphics). I keep the URL intact (which retains my social share numbers) but change to the current date, so readers can see that the info is up-to-date.
The only drawback to keeping the same URL is that the posts won’t be drawn into RSS feeds again. I dislike this about Triberr. I get a lot of quality shares there, but when I update an old post to make it even more awesome, it won’t be seen by my friends there.
For example: I updated my Best Design Apps post into a mega-valuable, 3,000-word missive. I think I’ll reach out personally to my fave influencers and ask them to give it a share.
My stellar example of the power of updating: I update my social media cheat sheet post 2 to 4 times a year, and it’s consistently my most visited post, with 60K to 85K visits per month.
I also get a lot of new readers saying they found my blog because that post topped their search results.
But I Hate My Old Blog Posts!
OK, if you wrote something you really don’t want anyone to see any more, yes, you can remove it. I’m not going to say you have to keep that embarrassment on your blog forever.
In an effort to be authentic, though, you might consider keeping it, and prefacing it with your current feelings about what you wrote.
Just think about it 😉
Delete sparingly: Only delete posts that are irretrievably wrong, outdated, and damaging to your brand. ~Jay Douglas
I won’t go on and on here. I recommend you do the research and make your own decision. I just really wanted to give a counterpoint – and make sure you don’t worry about wasting time on a fruitless endeavor (that might actually hurt your blog).
I have to say, I did like this post on Hubspot: why deleting old posts is stupid.
Update good blog posts. Ignore the rest. Focus on creating valuable content going forward.
Your time is limited, so put it to the best possible use. Don’t waste it on tasks that might provide a minimal return – or might even hurt you.
What do you think? Have you, or do you plan to, delete old blog posts?