Want to know an SEO secret that almost nobody will tell you? Do not delete old content! Nearly all of your web content should live forever. It’s free to save pages on your site, so why delete them? Yet so many people do.
For example, I frequently see this mistake among conference organizers who have a site listing for their annual conference and each year delete the prior year’s pages, only displaying the current year’s conference.
Because media sites, speakers, bloggers, and exhibitors all link to conference content, if the content is deleted soon after the conference ends, those links break. Anyone who tries to visit the site via those links gets an error message. And all SEO benefits from the links are lost.
Keep the content from your annual events!
A well-organized conference site is an important historical artifact that provides valuable information many years later.
Who spoke that year? What panel discussions were held? What companies sponsored the event? People want to know that your conference has thrived for over a decade.
Most conferences I see have a website that is just a URL. But when that is updated with a new event, history is lost. Rather than using one conference URL, why not choose conference URL/2017 and then next year make it conference URL/2018 and so on? The homepage can then point to the current year’s conference and all past years are saved.
Inbound links from older content drives new business
There are many equivalent mistakes in other markets. For example, many companies delete old product content when the new model is released. Don’t do this! There are major SEO benefits from those old links to your site. Your search engine marketing benefits from multiple pages with many inbound links.
Cultivate your content with care and it will serve as a marketing asset for years to come. I’ve been writing my blog since 2004, and the vast majority of my traffic from search engines comes from posts that are more than a year old. Other people tell me the same is true with their sites.
For example, at HubSpot over 90 percent of leads come from blog posts that are more than a month old, and over 75 percent of HubSpot blog views come from these older posts.
Yet most content managers focus only on the latest blog post. That’s the primary content whose stats they measure. I’m guilty of this natural human behavior, too—I want to know about how my latest effort is doing. But with so many leads coming from older posts, we can’t afford to ignore them.