Reasons to Delete Old Posts and What to Check First


Sometimes, it may worth removing (partially or completely) a few posts from your blog or website to help the ranking. Of course, it may be contracting that, deleting posts helps ranking while all you'd learned, so far, was to write, write and write.


You may be wrong about writing more and more if what you'd written in the past was dormant and inactive. I'm sure you know if you, as a human, get too old and inactive, you're more or less a matter that just occupies space.


To be alive, content needs more than sitting on the server and making you a proud writer of a so-so number of posts. It needs to be read, it needs traffic, sales, and conversion.


From experience, deleting content is as good as writing more if done well. If writing more quality content is the watchword to success in content publishing and marketing, deleting less acceptable ones will help in the same way.


However, embarking on this journey requires taking a few things into consideration. Below is a list of the first steps before you start pruning a few posts. And after this section, we will see how to weed posts that are keeping your flowers malnourished.


What to Look for Before Deleting Old Content

First thing first! Don't remove a post until you take the following into account.


1. Do a Manual Search for the Content First

Make sure you search for the targeted keywords. Of course, if you have a post that had seen very unexpected fewer visits, it could be due to the fact that nobody has searched for the terms in recent times. Search it yourself.


Is the post on the first page?


If no, there is a problem!


Then, trek a bit further. Search the entire title to see if it comes up on page one.


If no, there are more problems.


Then, check the page 2, 3, and 4 of the SEARP. If the post is nowhere on these pages, you may need to get your saw closer. We have something to cut.


If you're not on the first page but somewhere before page 5, then, we can bring it back to life. More on this shortly.


2. Check if Republishing and Repurposing will Help

If the post failed page 1 but got it on 2, 3, or 4, we could republish to see if Google can be forced to rerank the post. 


See the answers to Does Updating Your Website Help SEO? 


I'd once given you this trick of forcing Google to recrawl and rerank your posts if you didn't see serious visits for a period of time. 


In this case, the post is old, yet never gets serious traffic. You may not only republish but be sure you repurpose the post. 


To achieve this, in brief,


  1. try twisting the titles and make them inviting without clickbaiting
  2. add more words to your text, include relevant pictures, chats, videos if available i.e you get it more lengthy than before
  3. deleting obsolete statements and paragraphs or rewrite if possible. Readers love short sentences and paragraphs. Google enjoys block paragraphs for snippets
  4. Read your post over and see if some errors are the hindrance 


3. Check if On-Page Links and SEO will Help

Your post may not get the right amount of traffic if you had only published but never marketed it. Marketing your content is more than sharing the posts across social media and forums. You need to take advantage of your existing posts that are commanding traffic to boost the visits to those that are redundant.



Find a way to bring the links of the dormant posts into the competitive posts you're proud of. This will earn you free clicks and send signals to Google that the content is also worth ranking higher.


Instead of focusing on the inbound link schemes, you already have the power within your existing posts.


4. Be Sure You Have not Written for Yourself

One of the earliest mistakes you might have made was writing what people are hardly looking for. The backbone of SEO is writing exactly what people want to read, not just what interests you.


Lucky you - here are the true secrets to getting exactly what people are looking for to read.


If a post can't command serious visits, it's time to check if this mistake is hurting you. Is there any impression at all for the post? If there is no impression, you shouldn't expect traffic. That is a simple way to say that you've just written a post for yourself. Then, you'll enjoy reading it alone.


If the post is not what people are looking for, there is no need to retain it. Get it zapped!


5. Delete if Content is Duplicated

Generally, over time, publishers fall victim to writing the same topic probably in different words, under different titles, etc.


This bad SEO trap may not be intentional, of course. The more you write, the more likely you experience this in the long run.


When one of your posts remains choked by another, it's more likely the choked post is a less resourceful duplicate of the choker.


Google and other search engines are very good at detecting this overlap with time. After the establishment of the duplicate one will be thrown down the SEARP ladder for the other.


In this case, you don't need to republish, repurpose or retouch in any way. Just get it off the server. Your main post will do even better after burning this because the two have been competing with each other for a long.


Getting Deleting Old Content Right If It Becomes Necessary

If you'd paid enough attention to the recommendations above, only in rare situations you will need to delete content. And where it's important to do that, let's get things done correctly.


1. Locate and Remove all the On-Page Links and Inbound links

Though very rare to have old posts with enough and right off-page links and on-page links without commensurate ranking. However, if you must delete a post, be sure you check for its links, within your website/blog.


In the same way, find out if the post has been linked to from other websites other than yours. Undoubtedly if any, it's more likely that those websites or content linking to you are not really relevant or worth it. Check and delete from those sources if possible.


While there a few free tools to get yourself around this such as Google Search Console, Ahrefs, SmallSEOTool, etc, there are other paid services that may add more value for the premium.


2. Delete Only if You Can Implement 301 Redirect

While deleting inbound links, you may not sweat. If you must delete the outbound links, you may feel some hits if those links were not originally shared by you.


Let's say you earn some off-page (inbound) links through the forum and social media sharing, you may just go back to where you posted those content and delete them without stress. However, if other writers make reference to your posts, you may not be able to delete that yourself.


It will take a hell of a time to convince a few webmasters to remove your links because you don't keep them again.


And if you just ignore that, a few people who find their way to your websites through those inbound links will be greeted with errors 404. 


We both know this is a bad signal to the visitors and search engines.


In order to avoid greeting visitors with errors, you should redirect your links to other relevant or related pages.


A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect that passes full link equity (ranking power) to the redirected page. 301 refers to the HTTP status code for this type of redirect. In most instances, the 301 redirect is the best method for implementing redirects on a website.


To implement this, you'll find Moz guidelines resourceful.


Conclusion

It may sound unthoughtful to cut the plants you'd really worked hard for. Yet, a reasonable and experienced farmer knows with a few cut-downs, he is sure to reap more.


If you have content that wins little or no visit in more than one month, something must be wrong. This post has detailed what could be wrong. If completing a few recommended touches doesn't resurrect things, turn to your delete keys.

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