When was the last time you cleaned out your closet? Got rid of clothes that were outdated, no longer fit or just didn’t look as good as they did when you bought them? We all love the feeling of throwing out the old and making room for the new.

If throwing out the old, outdated and unneeded is good for your closet, it must also be good for your website content. Is it time to delete old blogs, pages, and information and make room for newer, fresher content?

We don’t think so. We’re busting this Marketing Myth.

“Content is King”

Bill Gates coined that phrase in 1996 with an essay he wrote suggesting the way to succeed in the digital future was to create all kinds of compelling and entertaining content. That’s what people did.

Fast forward to 2011, Google Panda launched to reduce the prevalence of “content farms” filled with low-quality and misleading information. This ushered in Google’s quality classifications for websites and search engine ranking.

Jump ahead to 2016. To help improve rank and recover from Panda, marketers began optimizing their websites and removing old blogs, articles, and pages. Out with the old, in with the new.

A Fresh Perspective

Today, we’re seeing the effects of website purging. Unlike a closet cleanout, throwing away old website content is probably doing more harm than good.

Some SEO experts believe that removing content hurts your quality score. You also run the risk of a cross-linking pointing to information that is no longer there. Google may still want to send traffic to the page, but when the user gets there, they get “Oops. What you’re looking for isn’t here.”  You’ve lost a lead and potentially a conversion.

Other SEO experts say you can remove content but you have to do it strategically. We did a lot of research on this topic and found all kinds of advice for auditing and optimizing.  Search Engine Journal “hacked and slashed” their archives using a very strategic process and saw an increase in traffic. You can read what they did and see the results they got in our Marketing Myth podcast show notes.

What it comes down to…

Google says removing content will hurt your website (and they’re sort of running the show here!) We agree with Google. We think that removing content is not the best idea. Instead, we suggest you update it. Freshen it up with new insights, information, and statistics. Just like that outfit you found in the back of your closet… a few new accessories may just bring it back to life.