Could information you’ve long forgotten about be sabotaging your web presence? Most definitely, says Demian Farnworth, Chief Content Writer at Rainmaker Digital. Farnworth pejoratively refers to it as ‘expired’ content, a label he extends to any online material that’s old, neglected, inaccurate or otherwise useless to visitors.
There’s some form of expired content on almost every SMB website. Common examples of interest to integrated marketers include:
- Obsolete products and service offerings
- Old reviews and blog posts
- Previous events or activity calendars
- Expired job or other listings (e.g. homes, vehicles)
- Executive bios
- Your FAQ page
The benefits of attending to your web presence, Farnworth says, include:
- Keeping your site fresh, interesting and engaging–Up-to-date information gives visitors an accurate and favorable impression of your brand, which, in turn, inspires trust, loyalty and repeat interactions. This is essential in today’s mobile-enabled environment, where winning the micro-moments makes you (instead of your rivals) a winner with on-the-go customers and prospects.
- Enhancing the user experience—UX is the golden goose of your online presence. Expectations are high that you’ll deliver, so everything about your site, from the home page and the color palette, to the layout and design should be aimed at providing a positive, memorable experience–especially the proper handling of outdated content.
- Staying in Google’s good graces–Because search engines are all about satisfying their users, Google and others may actually reward regularly updated sites with higher search-results placement. They’re also not shy about penalizing sites that have duplicate pages thin, low-value content, or an older freshness date.
Farnworth and other content professionals advocate for regular content audits, which clearly reveal opportunities for improvement. Once the offending info is identified, you can:
- Improve it--“Look at a page and ask yourself how you can make it better,” Farnworth counsels. This may include correcting some of these 7 Deadly Website Pitfalls, but also consolidating similar content or refreshing headline, image, navigation or links.
- Redirect it–This one may require a web professional’s help but the goal is to point the expired page to one that, though new, is as close to the original as possible in category, style and user intent, for a seamless and satisfying hand-off.
- Do nothing–If a page continues to drive traffic or earn inbound links, you could just leave it alone. But remember, stale content can frustrate users and send them bouncing away, never to return.
Last modified: December 1, 2017