Almost every successful site regularly updates or posts fresh content on their website. Some companies regularly update their blog section with fresh posts about the company, products, or latest news. This is a very good strategy for ensuring continuous SEO traffic and site indexing.
SEO performance generally depends on two things; one is backlink profile, and the number of indexed pages on the site. Though is generalization to the extreme, it still works best and is the most relied strategy by the SEO community. Pages or content that is indexed either brings in traffic or drags the website down the ranks.
Having said that fresh content is necessary it has to be regularly reviewed to check for effectiveness or you run the risk of going into a downward spiral and this could be a long term effect.
Here is how you can check if you have old content that is not returning SEO value and the steps you can do to correct the situation:
Find old content
Since our aim is to reduce the number of indexed pages, the first place we should turn to is Google. We can use site index operators or index date range tools to find out the pages on our URL that are indexed.
Proper use of the date range tools will reveal content that needs to be removed from Google index. Out of date content represents your old branding strategy and old site experience. It does not add value to your current brand image and hence it is better to remove it. Anyway it is no longer improving visitor onsite experience.
In case you have a CMS system that is flexible enough, you can use the URL/Content patterns and redirect the visitors to relevant fresh content on your website. However, make sure that when you use ‘301 redirect’ you do not leave any link references behind that will enable people to view the old content elsewhere.
To avoid this problem it is better to opt for a canonical solution whereby only search engines are redirected. This ensures that if the old content is still relevant to users it is still available for them. This approach is especially beneficial for large websites with tons of content e.g. News organizations like BBC or CNN