Snap! SEO: Should I delete my old Snap! pages?

Alexis Wilke's picture

Old Man in Saatchi Gallery, LondonThere is one thing that I always tell my customers: Do not delete old pages. Continue to grow your Snap! Website and keep that good old content.

Well... There is a more in depth explanation for this saying.

Aging Content

All content grows older in some way. However, some content survives time. For instance, 1 + 1 = 2 will remain true for a while1.

However, there are different types of content that need nurturing if you want it to remain relevant to your users.

O2 computer from Silicon Graphics Inc.Content that ages really fast are products that are sold out and not in production anymore, unless those are collectibles. For instance, I just sold an O2 computer from Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) This computer was brand new in 1997... we're in 2010. It's completely outdated (although some of the technologies used inside were great) and should not sell for anything. Yet, some people make collections and thus they want oldies like that. This means, having a website talking about the old SGI computers is an acceptable type of content and it won't just go totally insignificant.

Content maintenance

Now, there are some types of content that age but can be refreshed with time. I'd take SEO materials as a good example, although it may not be as easy for you to understand the example since... we're talking about SEO. However, this very page will itself age and will require maintenance over time. Be it just adding a warning at the bottom reminding people that a new feature in search engines algorithm cancels part of what I'm talking about here.

So.... say you're talking about astrophysics on your Snap! Blog. As you know, that field changes all the time. So your older content will get out of date pretty quickly. For instance, a page from the late 90's or early 2000 may say something like "We never discovered any organic matter on the Moon. People explored the Moon and brought back a lot of bare rocks." In 2009, we had two teams of scientists, one in India and one in the US, who discovered that there is actually some organic matter on the moon (outside of the one we left there on our few visits.)

What does that mean for your website?

Well... If you have aging content, make sure to maintain it. The idea is simple, review your content once in a while and make adjustments as required. Live content (content that changes all the time) is what Google and others like most2. Plus, content that's up to date is even more likely to be loved.

The Moon, picture taken by Adam CebulaAnother way to maintain your content is to write a new post and add a link from the old page to the new page saying something like "Please read the updated version: Organic Matter Found on the Moon!". If you have a set of related links on your website (Strongly advised!) you could also use that list to interlink those pages. But remember to avoid direct cross-linking whenever possible.

Now, for content such as products being sold out and not available at all from anywhere (except maybe e-Bay,) I suggest you delete those pages. There is only one exception: if you are the manufacturer, keep the page! Just make sure to clearly mark it as out dated in some way so potential customers don't ask you for buying the product. Why keep an old page about a product that's totally out of date? Simple: For good support. All the data collected about that old product can stay as support material for your customers. If you are not the manufacturer and have a lot of such data, you may also want to archive those. If your system allows it, change the path adding /archive/ somewhere. That's a signal to search engines that the data is not current.

Hmmm... Is there an easy way to find what's old on my Snap! website?

You can check with Google Analytics which is supported by your Snap! Websites and use the Google Webmaster Tools. The old data is what does not get any hits and has no page rank. You may also look at your pages. Check all the pages that were not modified for more than 12 or 24 months. Then check whether those pages have a rank. If not, they are possibly ready for deletion.

Ah! And as usual, use your instinct. Could that old page still be useful to anyone? If not, why keep it around?

By the way, know that the more pages you have, the more juice you need to have all those pages rank high. If somehow you have thousand of pages pointing to each one of your 10,000 website pages, fantastic. You probably can keep the 10,000 pages. Otherwise, if you have 50 pages with a rank of 3 or more and 9,000 that are n.a., you probably can take the 9,000 pages down.

  • 1. See the real proof that 1 + 1 = 3.
  • 2. I wonder if they take in account syntax corrections... You know, if you misspelled a word and you find the mistake and fix it. Is that a plus? Do you know? If so, post a comment!