Are Your Old Blog Posts Damaging Your Blog? How To Stop It From Happening

Should bloggers delete, update or republish old blog posts?

I had a question from Michelle, who blogs at Boomer, Eco Crusader.

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Your old blog posts could be damaging the health of your blog

Here are Michelle’s questions: 

As I move into my fourth year of blogging, sometimes I look back on my early posts and cringe. It’s great that I’ve come a long way as a writer, but I’d love to refresh some of those old posts. Is it better to delete them and republish as a new post, or just go in and update them? Also, does deleting old posts impact SEO rankings?

I’m going to tackle Michelle’s last question first.

Many blogging professionals agree that keeping old, out-of-date blog posts reduces your blog’s overall SEO (search engine optimisation) rating. Even if you regularly publish new blog posts, your blog will suffer if you have old, out-of-date information. Your new blog posts will also receive a lower ranking.

SEOs dislike out-of-date information and will redirect readers to sites with up-to-date information. This is one of the reasons that I recommend every blogger updates their ‘About Me‘ page at least once every six to nine months, especially if it includes pingbacks and links. 

Old, out-of-date, and irrelevant blog posts and pages (including your out-of-date ‘about me’ page) serve no purpose on your blog or your reading audience.

I have a clearout of old blog posts at least once a year, usually in December, when I find the blogging world a lot less busy.

Do this first before deleting any blog posts

Before deleting any old blog posts, consider a few things. I’ll cover these in my answers to Michelle’s other question: Should bloggers update old blog posts or rewrite them and delete the older post? 

If a post is still relevant, useful and contains evergreen content, I’d recommend that you update it. More so if it includes valid pingbacks to other live posts on your blog or to other blogs and websites. 

Don’t forget to check if the post has any incoming pingbacks from other blogs that are still valid (you’ll find these in the post’s comments section).

I recently deleted a pingback from a blogger who had deleted the post that included a pingback to one of my posts. SEOs dislike broken links. They don’t look good on your blog, and if it contains too many broken links, readers will probably not return.

When should I rewrite an old blog post?  

If a post has out-of-date content or is poor quality (including images), but you feel it is still relevant, rewrite it. Don’t forget to delete the older version before publishing your new post.

When rewriting the post, give it a new title. Think of a title that would make you want to find out more or make you want to click the ‘read more’ link.  

If you have content that is out of date, irrelevant and/or poor quality, but you feel it can be salvaged – even if that means a complete post rewrite – then you should do that!

After you delete any old posts, I recommend that you also check for any broken links on your blog.

You can do this by running a report on a free broken link checker site such as Brokenlinkcheck.com. However, beware! If you’ve never performed a broken link check on your blog before, the report you receive could be rather overwhelming. I’d recommend pausing the report once you get to 20 broken links, fixing them, and running another report.

WordPress also offers a broken link plugin, although this will only be available to those on certain WordPress plans or bloggers with a self-hosted blog.

Once you have run a broken link check, I recommend you perform one at least once a month or whenever you delete any old blog posts.

Another good practice is to delete any pingbacks in blog posts you’re about to delete before deleting the post.

Can re-written blog posts become successful?

Yes, defiantly.

I have rewritten and republished many of my earlier blogging tips posts. Not only had they received few views, but I felt the quality was poor, and they had poor quality images. As I rewrote them, I updated procedures and added better quality images that did not slow down my blog. I also added pingbacks to some of my other most successful posts.   

Many of these posts have since become my most successful and best-performing posts.

Let’s wrap it up

  • Delete any old blog posts containing out-of-date information that can no longer be salvaged.
  • Before deleting old blog posts, deactivate the post’s incoming and outgoing pingbacks first.
  • Run a broken link report on your blog at least once a month or whenever you delete any old blog posts.
  • SEO will rank your blog and new blog posts lower if it contains out-of-date information.
  • If a post is still relevant, useful and contains evergreen content, update it. More so if it includes valid pingbacks to other live posts on your blog or to other blogs. 
  • If a post has out-of-date content or is poor quality (including images), but you feel it is still relevant, rewrite it and give it a new title.
  • Always delete older versions of rewritten posts before publishing the new post.

Thank you for your questions, Michelle. I hope I have answered them for you.


Photo of Michelle from Boomer Eco Crusader Blog

Michelle is a boomer with a youthful outlook seasoned with a dash of wisdom.

She lives in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, with her husband and one of her two young adult daughters. 

Michelle works full-time in financial services and is passionate about learning new things.

When she’s not working, studying or blogging, you might find her on stage singing rock music or enjoying a walk in the great outdoors. 

Visit Michelle’s blog for tips on environmentally-friendly living, decluttering and living your best life. 

Connect with Michelle

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Blog: Boomer Eco Crusader

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111 thoughts on “Are Your Old Blog Posts Damaging Your Blog? How To Stop It From Happening

  1. Thanks for giving such clear advice. I am currently going through a very similar process with my old blog posts, and am feeling very encouraged after reading this that I am on the right track! Jenny.

  2. I understand deleting or updating posts that provide specific information that is no longer valid. But what about posts, where you are sharing a photo or story – a post that is more for entertainment rather than imparting knowledge. Should they stay or should they go?

    Thanks, Hugh!

    Michelle

    1. If those posts have become, what I call ‘deadwood’ because they are not attracting any new views, comments or likes, I’d either republish them under a different title (because you don’t cringe when rereading them) or delete them, Michelle. Republishing posts certainly help put them in front of a new audience who may not have been following you when you first published them.

  3. Interesting – as ever – Hugh. As ever, food for thought. I hadn’t thought about Throwback Thursday but I can see its a good catalyst to review and keep posts relevant and up-to-date. How often do you do these Throwback Thursdays? I’m assuming weekly would be too frequent? Sorry if I’m digressing but you’ve sparked my interest

    1. Hi Brenda; it’s good that I’ve sparked your interest in Throwback Thursday.

      Before today’s Throwback Thursday post, it has been a long time since the previous one. I don’t like overwhelming my followers by publishing too many blog posts, so I’ll publish a Throwback Thursday post if I don’t have many blog posts ready for publication. Some bloggers use the featured weekly, but it depends on how often you publish posts. My only recommendation would be not to overwhelm your followers.

      I hope that helps.

      1. Perfect Hugh. I think it makes sense to repost when it fits/feels appropriate. I’ll be working on a few over the weekend and I think one of my previous posts fits in there, so might do my first Throwback Thursday next week 😁

  4. Hmmmmm . . . you have me thinking. I’ve been blogging since the end of 2009. I need to go through my old posts. I’ve made some posts inaccessible because they have information/photos that I no longer want to share, but maybe I have some sitting around that are clogging up the works.

    Love,
    Janie

    1. There are probably posts I call deadwood (not attracting any views, likes or comments) in your archives, Janie. Those that have out-of-dare information are doing nothing but damaging your blog. I’d recommend a clearout of them.

  5. Writing containing fresh meat. It’s been a long time not browsing on this cool blog. That’s because I’m in Indonesia very busy with Ramadan worship and other restrictions.

    Read the post above. I have a few questions. I hope you will be happy to answer.

    Regarding old posts. Should it be published new or just by rewriting the content of the article?

    If it is removed it means we have urls for more relevant posts?

    Thank You Btother

    1. Thank you for your questions.

      1. It depends on how old the post is and whether it’s still getting hits and comments. If it’s more than a couple of years old and not getting any hits or new comments, I’d recommend rewriting it and publishing it as a new post.
      If it’s under 2 years old and still getting hits and new comments, update the information in the post.

      2. WordPress always gives every new blog post a new URL address as the date of publication is also taken into account.

      I hope that helps.

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