Regular readers will know that this blog regularly undergoes an overhaul. It’s vital for my business that I move with the times. The type of content has also changed. During the summer I made arguably the biggest change to the website since changing its name in 2012 and giving it a more professional sheen. During the change, I deleted around 500 posts. Overnight, the number of posts went from nearly 1,000 to around 500. Almost immediately, my hit rates took a sharp upturn that never not yet dropped off.
This was not the first time I deleted content, but it was the first time I deleted so many posts in a short space of time (500 posts gone over 2-3 days). I and many other professional bloggers have suspected for some time that a large number of poor quality posts damages SEO. To me, this was the biggest indicator yet and I felt vindicated in removing so many posts that I had once relied on for my outreach and building an audience. If your blog has been around for a while and visits are tailing off, perhaps it’s time to review your content. Here are some blog post types you should delete.
Out of Date Current Affairs and News
“Who could replace Matt Smith as The Doctor?”
“Merry Christmas 2012!”
“RIP Elisabeth Sladen”
These are all titles I’ve had on my blog. They are no longer here, but I deleted them much later than I should have done. Nothing will date your site quite like something that is vastly out of date. As much as Sladen was a popular Doctor Who legend, few people will want to read her obituary or the thoughts of a random blogger more than a couple of years after her death (she passed away in 2011). It can be a chore to keep on top of this sort of content. Unless you’re getting hits more than about 6 months after the event, delete.
“Ghost Town” Posts
What surprised me going through my blog posts this summer is just how many hadn’t received any hits in over a year. In some cases, their last hits were around a week after it was initially posted. Unless the content can be recycled and improved (including new images or applying better SEO techniques) just get rid of it. For me, this meant most of my book reviews. Web users tend to prefer Good Reads these days and other well-known book database sites. It’s hard for bloggers to compete so I decided not to bother. I now have around 80 book review posts, down from 700 a couple of years ago.
Content No Longer in Line With Your Brand
The two previous points is useful advice to anyone. But there are good business reasons for updating your blog too. When I renamed the site in 2012 and decided it wasn’t just going to be an outlet for my fiction, I offered a number of features and services. I invited self-published and indy authors to send me their books and I would give a review. This was taking up too much of my time. I deleted many blog posts, but also the pages and content directing authors to contact me, and posts that discussed my content on The Indie View (which I am no longer a part).
Posts About Defunct Services
Going back to the 2012 changes, I reviewed useful sites for writers as a Site of the Week. It was fun and helped me develop as a writer. I did try out these services, gave them a trial run, and then gave an honest appraisal. I also invited people and small businesses to send me their links and content for review and I featured a page of my favourites. External links are good for SEO. Over time, some of these sites disappeared. The parent company either went bust or bought out by a larger business. Sites like Read It, Swap It for example are no longer trading. If you have blog posts about your love for a site that no longer exists, then there is no reason for the blog post to live on.