Should You Update, Remove, or Merge Your Outdated Blog Posts?

So, you’re thinking about doing a content audit.

You heard that by updating, deleting, or merging your outdated content, you can improve your sitewide SEO performance.

But I’ve had a few digital marketers tell me that they updated, removed, or merged all of their outdated blog posts and saw “no measurable results.”

So what gives?

As it turns out, there are a number of things that you should consider before making the decision to update, remove, or merge blog posts.

When You Should Update Your Blog Posts

Generally speaking, you should update, not scrap, a blog post if it is relevant to your audience or if you can make it relevant to your audience by making some minor adjustments.

Here are three features that commonly indicate that a blog post is salvageable:

1. You have an “in 20xx” post.

I may have just invented a term, so I’ll give you an example to show you what I mean: 10 ways to save money in 2016. With a lot of these types of posts, a number of the ways are still relevant 5+ years later. 

That “2016” might as well say 1816 to blog post readers, but here’s the thing: you might be able to keep five of the ways word-for-word, tweak three, and rewrite two. So, for a fraction of your initial time investment, you may be able to return the page to its former glory.

2. It was once a great performer, but has since fallen off a bit. 

Do you have any posts that shot up to the top of Google and then… slowly slipped off the first page? If so, you may be able to get them back to the top of the rankings. 

The fix is going to vary, but in a fiercely competitive content marketing environment, there’s a good chance that another marketer topped your page through the use of the Skyscraper Technique. But don’t fret. Skyscraper them back 😉

It is also worth doing a gap analysis on the pages that are outranking you and determining what they are doing better. Are they covering the topic in more depth than you? Does their page have a more user-friendly design? Do they use images or videos where you are not?

RELATED: How To Analyze and Improve The SEO Performance of Your Content

3. There are some outdated statistics that can be easily updated. 

For example, you wrote a blog post about how something is quickly being adopted in your industry, but the status of that adoption is constantly changing. Perhaps more and more states are passing legislation that removes roadblocks. Or maybe the size of the market is dramatically increasing each quarter. 

Whatever the case may be, you don’t have to sit and watch as your blog post becomes irrelevant. You just have to update those statistics as much as necessary.

RELATED: How to Recover & Grow Traffic with Blog Post Updates

When You Should Remove Your Blog Posts

In certain instances, the best move is to get rid of a blog post.

As you may have guessed, one sign that you should delete your blog post is that it is irrelevant to your audience.

Another sign that you should remove a blog post is if it’s just… not very good.

You may be able to objectively look at some blog posts and admit that they are black eyes for your brand. They may be too poorly written to fix, boring, or too controversial.

If no issues jump out at you, there are also numbers that can show you which blog posts are lagging. One is dwell time; if the average reader is “dwelling” on your 2,000 word blog post for ten seconds, there’s probably something seriously wrong with it. 

There’s also traffic, bounce rates, and conversion rates; the healthy number for each of these metrics depends on a number of factors, but comparing them to your top performing blog posts in similar categories is a good place to start.

When You Should Merge Your Blog Posts

Sometimes neither updating nor removing a blog post is the right answer.

There can be cases where several blog posts are covering the same or very similar topics. This is a common occurrence, especially if your blog section has been around for several years and contains lots of blog posts.

This can result in keyword cannibalization, causing neither of your blog posts to rank as high as it potentially could. In these cases, it may make sense to merge and consolidate the competing blog posts into one all-encompassing post.

Salvage Value from Deleted Blog Posts

You might be hesitant to delete your outdated blog posts; you may have put a lot of work into them, after all. But just because you’re deleting the blog posts themselves doesn’t necessarily mean that all of that work was for naught.

Yes, some blog posts – and all of the ideas in those blog posts – are going to have to go straight to the trash can. But you may be able to turn others into other pieces of content. For example, the 2,000 word blog post that you plan to delete may have a beautiful infographic or original idea that you can share in a social media post.

Need Help Fixing Your Outdated Blog Posts?

Deciding what you should do with all of your blog posts is a lengthy process… not to mention actually updating, removing, merging, and repurposing the blog posts.

If you don’t have the time or expertise to embark on this project, then consider SERP Builders’ Content Updates service. We can help you decide which blog posts to kill and keep, determine what is missing in the “keep” blog posts, and execute the updates.

ABOUT Nick Vasco

Nick is a digital marketer who specializes in helping fintech businesses attract more of their target audiences with SEO & content marketing. He takes a data-driven approach, eliminating as much guesswork as possible.