Your website is the online public face of your business, so it’s important to make sure that it’s packed with relevant content. Maintaining your website content should be undertaken regularly.

From time to time you’re bound to find that some of your content is no longer valid. It may be that the information has become outdated or even obsolete, or perhaps your business model has changed since the site was created. You may even find that several pages across your website are competing for the same keywords with the search engines, effectively setting your site up against itself and lowering your site’s overall rankings.

Just as you go through your paperwork, collating, filing and throwing things away, you also need to be maintaining your website content. One of the tasks is to decide what to do with your old content. Should you delete it, update it, or merge it? We’re here to provide some answers.

Deleting old content

Old and outdated content won’t do you any favours. Prospective customers find it off-putting and the search engines will mark your site down accordingly. But simply deleting a post won’t be sufficient as the URL will still be in the search engine indexes, leading to a 404 error denoting that the page can’t be found.

When you delete a webpage, it’s essential that you apply a redirect to a functioning page on your site; preferably something related to the content that you’ve deleted. Failing that, redirecting the defunct URL to the homepage is your best option.

Don’t be tempted to remove any content which regularly ranks highly with the search engines. Content like this is highly valuable, so if you feel that it’s becoming out of date, your best option is to update it instead.

Updating content

Just because some of your website content is old, it doesn’t mean that it’s obsolete. But it’s important to go through old content, ensuring that it’s still up to date and relevant to your visitors. Outdated and incorrect information will work against you; you need to ensure that your facts and figures are correct and that your content sill aligns with your company values.

Set a date in your diary for reading through old content to check whether it’s still relevant. Make any necessary amendments to keep it fresh and keep revisiting it, updating it as necessary.

Merging content

As part of your regular website maintenance schedule, you may notice that you have two or more pages devoted to the same subject or offering very similar content. This is undesirable, particularly if these pages rank for the same keywords. As we touched upon earlier, this means that you are effectively in competition with yourself, at least as far as the search engines are concerned.

When this occurs, the best option is to combine the content from these pages to create one high-value web page. But as with deleting outdated content, it’s essential to redirect non-functioning pages to avoid the dreaded 404 Page Not Found error.

Want someone else to maintain your content?

If you use our Build Me a Website service, you’ll pay a very reasonable monthly maintenance fee for 2 hours of professional maintenance on your site every month. We’ll delete, merge or update content as you see fit – and offer advice if you’re not sure of the best option. Discover our Build Me a Website options…