If your website has old news content, you might be wondering whether to keep or delete it. News content doesn’t have the same shelf life as evergreen content. While evergreen content stays relevant for countless years, news content is only relevant for a few months or a few weeks. After losing its relevancy, you’ll need to choose between keeping or deleting your website’s old news content.
The Argument for Deleting Old News Content
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Because it’s no longer relevant, some webmasters delete old news content. They assume that visitors have no desire to read it. Visitors typically read relevant content. Old news content has lost its relevancy, so webmasters often delete it.
News content, of course, encompasses topics that are relevant when it’s published. It can consist of stories, interviews and articles. Regardless, all forms of news content cover an immediately relevant topic. They may stay relevant for a short period after being published, but all forms of news content will eventually become irrelevant.
Another reason some webmasters delete old news content is to preserve their website’s crawl budget. Crawl budget is a search engine optimization (SEO)-related term. It represents the maximum number of pages on a website that search engines can crawl during a given period. To ensure that search engines can crawl pages with other, more relevant content, some webmasters delete pages with old news content.
Why You Should Keep Old News Content
You should typically keep old news content on your website. It may generate less traffic than evergreen content, but some visitors will continue to seek it. They won’t be able to find your website’s old content if you delete it. By keeping it, your website will be valuable and useful to a larger audience.
Google recommends keeping old news content. During a Google Hangouts session, a user asked John Mueller if deleting old news content is good for SEO. Mueller said that from his point of view webmasters shouldn’t delete old news content for SEO reasons.
Google doesn’t discriminate between new and old content. It may rank a page of premium content high in the search results, regardless of when the page was published. With that said, older pages are more likely to rank high than newer pages. If you publish a new page, you’ll have to wait for Google to crawl and evaluate it. Even then, Google may not rank it until the page has generated some credibility signals, such as Facebook shares or backlinks.
You can see how much Google traffic your website’s old news content generates by using Search Console. It’s a free SEO analytics platform. Search Console offers analytics for keyword rankings, organic clicks and more. Deleting a page of old content means it will no longer rank on Google, nor will it generate organic clicks or traffic from the search engine.
Keeping your website’s old news content will allow you to repurpose it. You can take the key facts from an old news story, for instance, and turn them into an infographic. Just because the news story itself is outdated, some of the key facts within it may still be relevant. After pulling these timeless facts from an old news story, you can add them to an infographic.
By keeping old news content, your website will probably experience fewer 404 errors. A Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) code, 404 errors occur when the page requested by a visitor can’t be found. Pages with old content may have backlinks pointing to them. If you delete the pages, the backlinks will point to the page to empty URLs. Therefore, visitors who follow the backlinks will trigger this status code. Keeping your website’s old news content will preserve the function of its backlinks, resulting in fewer 404 errors.
You don’t have to worry about old news content affecting your website’s crawl budget. Search engines typically prioritize crawling pages according to when they were published. In other words, they’ll spend more time crawling newer pages than older pages. The bottom line is that keeping old news content won’t stop search engines from crawling other pages.
How to Optimize Old News Content
Rather than leaving it untouched, you may want to optimize your website’s old news content. A little optimization will go a long way at maximizing its value. You can often update old news content by adding new information to it. If it’s a news story for a past event, for example, you can discuss what happened at the event.
You can upload new images to pages with old news content. If a page only has a text-based news story, a few images may improve its performance. Pages with images have longer session durations, lower bounce rates and are shared more frequently on Facebook and other social networks.
Another optimization tip for old news content is to conduct an on-page SEO audit. Pull up each page while analyzing its ranking signals. You should analyze its meta tags. Meta tags include the title tag and description tag, both of which affect search rankings. Other ranking signals to analyze during an on-page SEO audit include load time, image alt text, mobile compatibility and keyword usage.
Conducting an on-page SEO audit will help you optimize your website’s old news content for higher rankings. If you find a page with missing or poorly optimized rankings signals, you can add or improve them.
You should consider disabling visitor comments on pages with old news content. Moderating comments is time-consuming. While pages with old content typically won’t generate many comments from real visitors, they may generate a lot of comments from bots and automated programs. You can still keep pages with old news content; just disable visitor comments on them.
There are arguments for deleting old news content, and there are arguments for keeping old news content. Of those options, though, the latter is usually the best choice. By keeping your website’s old news content, your site will generate more traffic, have better SEO and experience fewer 404 errors. Besides, it won’t affect your website’s crawl budget.
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Last Updated in April 2022 by Lukasz Zelezny