Which is better for SEO?

Should the bigger focus of your Search engine optimization efforts go towards creating new content material or updating current content material?

In my opinion, you must dedicate about half of your Search engine optimization efforts to updating outdated content material, and the opposite half to creating new content material.

Here’s why.

Webpages construct worth over time

The content material in your web site can stay related for years to come back.

Pages which have been revealed for a while have presumably constructed up hyperlinks and visibility. That creates quite a lot of web page worth.

That means these pages can nonetheless present up within the search outcomes for the queries your target market is utilizing as we speak.

Freshness is typically much less of a priority for Page Quality ranking. “Stale” pages can have excessive Page Quality scores.”Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines

What does this imply?

Older content material can nonetheless be related and regarded top quality.

Think: An informational web page concerning the American Civil War.

However, different kinds of outdated content material can solely stay related if the fabric is thought-about “evergreen” and updated.

Over time, any given web site may have a whole lot or 1000’s of outdated webpages.

Google could not belief a web site the place two-thirds of the pages are, say, three years outdated or older and have outdated info on them. Especially if these matters are being refreshed by your competitors.

You can do a fast examine in your older content material and see for your self. When you revealed the web page years in the past, did it rank on Page 1 in search outcomes? And is it on Page 2 or decrease now?

Usually a refresh of the content material can convey it again to Page 1.

Lately I’ve been requested concerning the worth of a webpage – notably learn how to present worth as an asset. Normal issues depreciate over time, and I consider that occurs to webpages. If not maintained, they finally rot away and turn out to be ineffective. But effectively maintained, they continue to be an asset.

If a webpage is designed and researched, outlined and written, edited and optimized – and engagement objects like photos and video are added – that may take eight hours for high quality work. That time has a major price.

You can ignore it and primarily write it off, or you may hold it contemporary. We want the latter as a content material technique and tactic.

What Google says

Google says you must spend time sustaining your web site as a way to guarantee high quality:

… unmaintained/deserted “outdated” web sites or unmaintained and inaccurate/deceptive content material is a cause for a low Page Quality ranking.Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines


An outdated or unmaintained webpage could also be thought-about low high quality. This is very true for “your cash or your life” pages – these that may affect an individual’s well being, funds, and many others.A webpage that incorporates inaccurate info is low high quality, interval. You would possibly have to replace your webpages continuously simply to maintain your data present, relying in your material.

In a 2019 “Office Hours” session, Google’s John Mueller talked about evergreen versus contemporary content material:

” … We do attempt to discover a steadiness between form of displaying evergreen content material that’s been round and form of being seeing extra as reference content material and form of the brisker content material and particularly after we can inform that individuals are wanting for the brisker content material.”

You can hearken to that reply right here:

Mueller is probably referring to the idea of “question deserves freshness” – the sorts of search queries whose outcomes have to replicate new content material. You can learn extra about that in a 2011 Google weblog submit right here.

In one other Office Hours video from 2021, Mueller addressed learn how to deal with outdated content material:

” … if it’s one thing that you simply assume is good content material that you simply wish to publish together with your web site, together with your title, then I’d hold it. Just as a result of it’s outdated doesn’t imply it’s unhealthy. But in the event you have a look at it and also you say, oh, this is embarrassing for me now, I don’t need it to be on-line. It’s like so unhealthy. Then that’s one thing the place I’d say both enhance it or take away it.”

You can hearken to that reply right here:

What to do? A content material audit

In addition to creating new webpages for your Search engine optimization program, an online content material audit is going to be key to prioritizing the way you refresh outdated pages.

A content material audit identifies weak and underperforming content material in your web site to be able to enhance it.

Using Google Analytics and a instrument like Screaming Frog, Semrush or our SEOToolSet, you may get all the info it’s essential to perceive the webpages in your web site.

Once you’ve compiled the mandatory knowledge, you’ll divide your webpages into three classes. Those that:

Garner probably the most rankings and site visitors (e.g., these on Page 1 of the search outcomes).Have the potential to get better rankings and site visitors (e.g., these on Page 2 of the search outcomes).Perform poorly and aren’t in both of these classes.

Then, you may:

Focus on strengthening the content material within the first two classes.Figure out what to do with the remainder, which is the poor-performing content material. Some webpages may have a content material refresh, others may have optimization. And some content material may want a 301 redirect to a extra present URL on the identical topic.

Grow and preserve your content material

The fantastic thing about Search engine optimization is that your webpages construct worth over time by visibility and hyperlinks. So all the nice work you set into them can proceed to repay in site visitors and, hopefully, income.

But you do want to keep up your web site all through its total lifecycle.

So to strengthen your Search engine optimization program, ensure you spend 50% of your content-focused time creating new webpages and 50% of the time refreshing the outdated.

As a final encouragement … Your web site would possibly have already got a whole lot and even 1000’s of outdated pages, and getting a deal with on it may be an enormous undertaking.

Build refreshes into a daily schedule simply as you do with creating new content material.

Get right into a rhythm of figuring out current pages associated to every new web page, and both replace or consolidate them as a part of your content material creation course of.

Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor writer and never essentially Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed right here.

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About The Author

Bruce Clay is the founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a world digital advertising and marketing optimization agency offering SEO, PPC administration, paid social media advertising and marketing, Search engine optimization-friendly web site structure, content material improvement, and Search engine optimization instruments and training.
Clay authored the ebook “Search Engine Optimization All-In-One For Dummies,” now in its fourth version, and “Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals.” He wrote the primary webpage-analysis instrument, created the Search Engine Relationship Chart® and is credited with being the primary to make use of the time period SEO. Bruce Clay’s famend Search engine optimization coaching course is accessible on-line at SEOtraining.com.


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