Last month, Google announced that it’s rolling out Panda 4.2 over the next couple of months. It’s the first refresh in almost 10 months of the now-infamous algorithm update that’s partially responsible for the “content is king” mantra that’s swept the search industry.
That’s great news for anyone who was hit last September and has worked to remedy their low-quality content; your hard work should be rewarded as your site slips back into its organic positions. But with every update, it undoubtedly puts some webmasters in a tailspin thinking they’ll be on the losing side of things.
Every time a Panda refresh is announced and the biggest losers are tallied, I can’t help but wonder how it’s even possible there are sites out there still putting out crappy content. Maybe it’s my journalism background, but I’ve always felt that creating irrelevant, spammy content just for the sake of a link or a ranking was never an option; there was just no point.
However, given all the stir Panda updates have caused, it seems I am in the minority on that stance.
But spammy, keyword-stuffed and low-quality content is not the only reason why webmasters and content strategists get a little antsy around Panda updates.
Even if you know you have good content, it makes you pause and question all the content on your site: What did I miss? What will Google find on my site? And while you should be evaluating your site’s content regularly, I know I’m not alone in admitting that it doesn’t always happen. Guilty.
One of the common issues you find during a content audit is “dead” content. Dead content is old or outdated content that at one point was useful to your user but may not be helpful any more.
Depending on how much content you have, it could also be slowing down your site, causing Google to crawl and index these less important pages rather than focusing on your more important pieces.
It happens a lot: You focus so much on creating new content that you forget about the content you created a year (or longer) ago. And it happens quickly; blog posts or articles get moved off the home page, tweets stop going out, links stop coming in. So what do you do with this dead content?
New content is necessary, but it takes far more time to create something new than it does to update and optimize something old. That old content is probably still ranking well, but it’s outdated — technology has changed, new information has been presented, or there’s a better way to accomplish the same task.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re re-optimizing dead content:
A lot of your content can be updated and optimized, but there’s some content that just doesn’t need to exist anymore. These are things like:
Here are some tips for handling these types of pages:
There’s a lot you can do to make sure your old content is still working for you, but remember not to forgo creating new content to update your old content. You need a healthy mix of both tactics to continually provide the best experience for your users and to keep your content fresh for search engines.