How to Clean Up Old Blog Posts
Blog posts and pages should be reviewed, updated, revised or deleted as needed whenever new information, procedures or new technology are available, new rules or new laws are passed, or content is too short or poorly optimized for SEO, outdated or no longer factual or relevant.
Keeping old information online, without a periodic update or warning readers that the information is outdated, may cause a high bounce rate from educated readers who know the information is outdated, hurting web page SEO. Or, readers may waste time reading or take actions based on outdated information. Readers may leave comments that the information is incorrect or outdated, hurting reputation and credibility.
Website Cleanup Priority Sequence
Use website analytics to see which posts and pages attract the most visitors, comments, shares and backlinks. Start by reviewing the most popular old pages in keyword search rank positions 3 to 20. With some changes, ranks 3-10 may move up page one to rank 1 or 2. Ranks 11-20 on page two of search results may move up to page 1.
For each post, review it and decide to keep it, update it, delete it, or replace it with new content. If you delete a post or page, be sure to redirect the old page to a new relevant page with updated content, or to your homepage, or add a 410 (Gone) response status code that the old content has been permanently removed.
If backlinks are pointing to an old post and you delete it, you’re throwing away SEO link value. Keep posts with valuable backlinks. An old post can be demoted and renamed using -old in the URL rather than deleted. A replacement post would use the original post URL to preserve backlinks.
Tip: WordPress will keep old edited revisions by default. Use a plugin to purge outdated versions and save only the latest few versions, to reduce storage space and page load times.
Backup your files before starting the cleanup process.
Fix Broken Links
Use a broken link checker website, tool or plugin to find and fix broken links, with status code 404 (Not Found). External websites may be gone or may have moved, removed, or renamed pages.
Add Internal Links
As you add new content, include internal links to older posts that provide useful relevant information or lead to getting a new subscriber, showing special offers or making a sale. Or, use a plugin that lists related posts in a sidebar to make it easier for the reader to find more information.
Use an SEO Audit Checklist
If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, correct any SEO warnings or errors. Add your own additional SEO rules in a checklist.
Include popular keywords or long-tail keyword phrases based on keyword research in the title, meta description, headings, and text. Do not stuff in any keywords that are not mentioned in the page content.
Check that selected tags and categories match the content.
Check for spelling and grammar errors. Use the free or paid version of Grammarly to find errors.
Create Evergreen Content
For a long useful life and high return on your investment of time, create content on evergreen topics that do not become outdated quickly. Avoid fads, trends, seasonal topics and current events and using dates.
Keep image size small with lower resolution for fast loading page speed, especially for mobile devices. Use an image compression plugin to reduce image file size for fast loading.
Use relevant images that include alt text with relevant keywords. Use only one image above the fold for fast loading.
Change or upgrade images if there is a better choice available. Do not use images protected by copyright.
Clean up Blog Comments
Use a spam filter. Manually delete any comment spam that gets thru the filter. Reply to any comments using keywords to boost SEO.
Add Schema Code
Learn about schema markup code and add it to the blog to enhance SEO by including rich snippets in search engine results. WordPress schema plugins and themes are available. Coding is not required.
Clean Up Old Blog Posts Conclusion
Add a text note to the page to indicate the Last-Reviewed Date or Last-Modified Date. This will help readers and future reviews. Include initials if there are several writers/editors.
Make sure the XML Sitemap shows the page has been updated so the search engines will re-crawl the revised page.
Once old posts are updated, share news about the updates on social media, email, blog or newsletter. You could create a blog category of recently updated posts.
Investing time to review and clean up old blog posts and pages can help lengthen the useful life of content, attract more lifetime traffic, and improve the user experience (UX) and SEO.
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