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Which is better for SEO?

Should the majority of your SEO efforts be devoted to developing new content or upgrading old material?

In my opinion, you should spend around half of your SEO efforts maintaining existing content and the other half developing new material.

Here’s why.

Web Pages build value over time

Your website’s content may be relevant for years to come.

Pages that have been published for a while are likely to have accumulated links and visibility. This adds a lot of page value.

That implies those pages may still appear in search results for the queries your target audience is typing right now.

Freshness is generally less of a concern for Page Quality rating. “Stale” pages can have high Page Quality ratings.”

Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines

Older stuff can still be useful and of high quality.

Other sorts of ancient content, on the other hand, can only be deemed “evergreen” and up to date.

Any particular website may accumulate hundreds or thousands of obsolete webpages over time.

Google may not trust a website if two-thirds of the pages are three years old or older and include out-of-date content. Especially if your opponent is refreshing such themes.

You may perform a fast audit of your older material to see for yourself. Did the page rank on Page 1 of search results when you first launched it years ago? Is it now on Page 2 or lower?

I’ve recently been questioned about the worth of a website, specifically how to demonstrate value as an asset. Normal things devalue over time, and I feel that webpages are no exception. They decay away and become worthless if not maintained. They are, nevertheless, an asset if properly maintained.

If a webpage is created and researched, outlined and written, edited and optimized, and engagement elements such as photographs and video are included, excellent work can take up to eight hours. That time comes at a high price.

You may either disregard it and dismiss it, or you can keep it fresh. As a content strategy and approach, we prefer the latter.

What Google says

According to Google, you should invest effort in updating your website to ensure quality:

… unmaintained/abandoned “old” websites or unmaintained and inaccurate/misleading content is a reason for a low Page Quality rating.

Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines

Takeaways:

  • A website that is outdated or unmaintained may be deemed low quality. This is especially true for “your money or your life” pages, which can have negative influence on a person’s health, finances, and other aspects.
  • A website that includes incorrect information is of poor quality. Depending on your subject, you may need to update your webpages regularly merely to keep your information up to date.

Google’s John Mueller discussed evergreen vs new content in a 2019 “Office Hours” session:

” … We do try to find a balance between kind of showing evergreen content that’s been around and kind of being seeing more as reference content and kind of the fresher content and especially when we can tell that people are looking for the fresher content.”

You can listen to that answer here:

Mueller is most likely referring to the idea of “query demands freshness,” which refers to search inquiries whose returns must include new material. More information may be found in a 2011 Google blog article here.

Mueller discussed how to manage outdated information in another Office Hours video from 2021:

” … if it’s something that you think is good content that you want to publish with your website, with your name, then I would keep it. Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s bad. But if you look at it and you say, oh, this is embarrassing for me now, I don’t want it to be online. It’s like so bad. Then that’s something where I’d say either improve it or remove it.”

You can listen to that answer here:

 

What to do? A content audit

A web content audit, in addition to establishing new pages for your SEO campaign, will be critical in prioritizing how you renew old pages.

A content audit discovers and improves poor and underperforming content on your website.

You can gather all the data you need to analyze your site’s web pages by using Google Analytics and a tool like Screaming Frog, Semrush, or our SEO ToolSet.

After gathering the relevant information, classify your webpages into three groups. Those who:

  1. Get the most traffic and rankings (e.g., those on Page 1 of the search results).
  2. Possibility of improved rankings and traffic (e.g., those on Page 2 of the search results).
  3. They perform badly and do not fit into any of those groups.

Then, you can:

  • Concentrate on improving the material in the first two areas.
  • Determine what to do with the remaining material, which is underperforming. Some webpages may require a content refresh, while others may require optimization. Some material may only require a 301 redirect to a more recent URL on the same subject.

Grow and maintain your content

The beauty of SEO is that your websites gain value over time as a result of increased visibility and links. So that all of your hard work can continue to pay off in traffic and, perhaps, income.

However, you must maintain your website over its whole existence.

To boost your SEO campaign, spend 50% of your content-focused time producing new webpages and 50% of your time renewing the old.

As a last word of encouragement… Your website may already contain hundreds, if not thousands, of obsolete pages, and getting a grasp on it may be a major undertaking.

Create a regular timetable for refreshes, just as you do for new content creation.

Establish a habit of recognizing existing pages that are connected to each new page and updating or consolidating them as part of your content production process.

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