Outdated content can reduce your website’s general authority in search results. In fact, removing or revitalizing outdated content can enhance your online visibility and Google rankings. By ensuring that content is as exact as possible, removing outdated content can enhance the user experience and strengthen your brand’s reputation.
Luckily, Google Search Console has an Outdated Content Removal tool that does a fair bit of the heavy lifting for you, and the tool was updated this month with a renewed platform that enables existing capabilities easier to use. Here’s what you need to know about outdated content and why you need to remove outdated content.
Any webpage on your website that is misleading, lacks value or does not reflect your existing brand positioning is considered outdated content.
Here are a couple of examples:
Isn’t that a lot of information?
If you have a large website or have been in business for many years, you may have numerous, if not hundreds, of the webpage of outdated content.
You should always keep your website up to date with the most recent information and advancements. Or else, Google will have a more difficult time crawling your website, leading them to believe that nothing has changed since the last time they tested their algorithm. Removing content can assist Google in focusing on the pages that are most important to you.
For example, if your company has discontinued a specific product or service, or if your marketing material has already stopped, it’s a good idea to have those web pages deleted from Google.
While removing outdated content is beneficial, there are some situations in which you should not remove your web content by using the Google tool. Some of the situations are as follows:
Google’s purpose is to provide users with up-to-date, relevant, and influential content. As a result, newly published content tends to ranks higher than old, out-of-date articles.
This is also why your website may be judged for having out-of-date content. Content that includes “misleading data” (aka outdated content) is considered low quality, according to Google’s recent Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.
How else would you feel about a webpage if you came across a product page that had been out of production for ten years? Not very impactful, right?
Now that you understand what outdated content is and why it should be removed, it’s time to discover and remove those pages. There are several methods you can go with:
You can even use Google Search Console to find pages that Google no longer facilitates — and pages that it never enjoyed in the first place.
Google Analytics provides an excellent overview of almost every page on your website.
The above two points were based on manual methods, however, there are some tools that help you to automatically identify outdated content. SuiteJar is one such tool where:
Pages with no traffic, have no quality links and no important information are candidates for removal. But don’t just remove it and move on. Removing content without taking the necessary precautions can drop you in hot water with Google, causing your entire site to slide in search results.
Here are three safe methods for removing outdated content from your website — and when to use them.
Is there a related, more recent page you could direct visitors to instead? Then, the simplest way to remove the out-of-date content is to create a 301 redirect.
Outdated product and service pages can be redirected to more recent ones. Old blog posts can be linked to more recent articles on the same subject. In terms of SEO, this is the most effective method for removing outdated content.
A 301 redirect keeps search traffic and incoming links from the original page. If an outdated piece of content has backlinks, you should redirect it. However, avoid using too many redirects. They can put a significant burden on your server, causing it to slow down and damage your rankings.
But don’t go overboard with the redirects — each redirect increases the load on your web server, slowing down your website, and it all adds up. In some cases, you can easily add some custom messaging and relevant links to other places users may go if they come on your old content. For example, “This job position is no longer open, but “check out our Careers page for more vacancies.” This works especially well with products that are temporarily out of stock. If the item will be available again in the future, don’t remove the URL; instead, show comparable products to help fill the customer experience.
If there isn’t a useful page to redirect visitors to, you can inform Google and other search engines that the page has been deleted on purpose by displaying a “410 Deleted” status. Apart from a “404 Not Found” status code, which is returned when Google or your server cannot find the page, a “410 Deleted” status code informs Google and other crawlers that you removed the page on purpose and it will not be restored.
Insert a no-index tag if you want to retain an outdated page on your website but delete it from Google. Google will continue to crawl the webpage, but it will not appear in its search results. To reduce the likelihood of the page being crawled again in the future, delete the URL from your XML sitemap and everywhere it’s linked on your site.
Here are the steps to remove outdated content on a page:
For the final time, click “Request Removal.” You’ll get a notification that Google has received your request.
After sending your request, you can monitor its progress in Google Search Console.
But how long does it take Google to remove outdated content when a request is made? These requests are typically processed within 24 hours.
You can track the status of your request to see where it is in the procedure. It will be classified as one of the following:
Getting rid of outdated content is no longer a difficult task. You can easily get rid of outdated content by using Google’s remove outdated content tool. Following these simple steps will allow users to easily delete your web content. Attracting potential customers is simple when your web pages display only the most recent content. Utilize Google’s tool to optimize your website by removing all outdated content and maximizing your company’s success.
When you delete outdated content correctly, you can boost your site’s ranking, enhance crawl capacity, and make sure your website visitors always have access to fresh, high-quality, and brand-enhancing content. Understanding when to remove outdated content is vital to optimizing the performance of your website. Skimming through the efficiency peaks and plateaus only requires a little knowledge and legwork.
After you submit the removal of the outdated content request, Google takes about 90 days to delete it. This takes effect immediately, but it will pop back up in search results as accurate info after about 90 days. Take the extra steps to permanently delete it from search engine results.
No, there is yet another side to this debate in which old content may be completely alright in conveying your message about your brand or offering and does not need to be changed. The trick is determining when this is the case.
These requests are typically processed within 24 hours. You can track the status of your request to see where it is in the process.