Should bloggers delete, update or republish old blog posts?
I had a question from Michelle, who blogs at Boomer, Eco Crusader.
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Many blogging professionals agree that keeping old, out-of-date blog posts reduces your blog’s overall SEO (search engine optimisation) rating. Even if you regularly publish new blog posts, your blog will suffer if you have old, out-of-date information.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SEOs dislike out-of-date information and will redirect readers to sites with up-to-date information.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Old, out-of-date, and irrelevant blog posts and pages (including your out-of-date ‘about me’ page) serve no purpose on your blog or your reading audience.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If a post has out-of-date content or is poor quality (including images), but you feel it is still relevant, rewrite it.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!
How to check for broken links
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?
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.
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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