Restarting old site - what to do with old, useless content?

by Fiddy6
12 replies
  • SEO
  • |
I could use a little input here.

I have an older site (using Wordpress software) that's been inactive for around 3 years that I'm considering starting up again. The site has roughly 5,000 posts that are, in my opinion, useless. A lot of the posts are poorly written and majority of the content is no longer relevant at this point in time. While these posts still do attract a little traffic, I would like to start fresh and not have the older content have a negative impact on the site, even if only a minor impact.

My question is, what should I do with these posts?

Would it be wise to just straight out delete every single one? There's potentially hundreds of backlinks pointing to these posts on forums and other blogs, links I have no control in removing. Would a large amount of 404 errors like that have a bad impact on me?

Would it be a better idea to file all the older content under a specific tag and/or category and add a nofollow/noindex tag in the robotstxt file telling Google to no longer index those posts?

An insight you could provide me would be greatly appreciated. I don't know much about SEO, but I do know I don't want to make the wrong choice here.

Thanks in advance for your recommendations.
#content #restarting #site #useless
  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Why not just do new pages and posts?

    Originally Posted by Fiddy6 View Post

    I could use a little input here.

    I have an older site (using Wordpress software) that's been inactive for around 3 years that I'm considering starting up again. The site has roughly 5,000 posts that are, in my opinion, useless. A lot of the posts are poorly written and majority of the content is no longer relevant at this point in time. While these posts still do attract a little traffic, I would like to start fresh and not have the older content have a negative impact on the site, even if only a minor impact.

    My question is, what should I do with these posts?

    Would it be wise to just straight out delete every single one? There's potentially hundreds of backlinks pointing to these posts on forums and other blogs, links I have no control in removing. Would a large amount of 404 errors like that have a bad impact on me?

    Would it be a better idea to file all the older content under a specific tag and/or category and add a nofollow/noindex tag in the robotstxt file telling Google to no longer index those posts?

    An insight you could provide me would be greatly appreciated. I don't know much about SEO, but I do know I don't want to make the wrong choice here.

    Thanks in advance for your recommendations.
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    • Profile picture of the author Fiddy6
      Originally Posted by DABK View Post

      Why not just do new pages and posts?

      While leaving the old content in place, or deleting it first?
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      • Profile picture of the author DABK
        If the content is bad, to the level that it reflects badly on your site and gets people to leave, delete. If it's bad as in bland but accurate or short, in other words, where the impact on people is not: Let me get out of here and never come back; remove.

        Of course, the question is, how do people find those 5,000 articles?

        Can you disconnect the navigation to them, only keep links from them to other, better, pages?

        I have sites with bad articles. Bad because they info is outdated or bad because my understanding of the subject has greatly improved. I keep them because every now and again, analytics says people land on those, then move to my good pages.

        What do people do when they land on those bad articles of yours?

        Originally Posted by Fiddy6 View Post

        While leaving the old content in place, or deleting it first?
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  • Profile picture of the author SEO Power
    Redirect them all to your home page without deleting them because you might need them in the future...and 5,000 posts is a lot of posts.
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  • Profile picture of the author hamellr
    Rewrite the content on the old pages to update it and change the "published date." If you can't change the published date, put in a line at the top "Updated xx/xx/2015" that way you'll get the best of both worlds.
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    • Profile picture of the author pluto1
      Originally Posted by hamellr View Post

      Rewrite the content on the old pages to update it and change the "published date." If you can't change the published date, put in a line at the top "Updated xx/xx/2015" that way you'll get the best of both worlds.
      ^ This. I would rewrite the content. 5000 is a lot of posts to remove. And you are right about backlinks from forums and other authority sites. You already have some traffic coming, people might be finding something interesting. Why lose them?
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      • Profile picture of the author Fiddy6
        Originally Posted by pluto1 View Post

        ^ This. I would rewrite the content. 5000 is a lot of posts to remove. And you are right about backlinks from forums and other authority sites. You already have some traffic coming, people might be finding something interesting. Why lose them?
        I understand 5,000 posts is a lot to remove, but if they're poorly written and useless at this point in time, what's the point in spending the time going back and rewriting them? There's nothing I can add to the content aside from including a line saying that the item discussed is no longer available and maybe direct them to a similar product. That, however, won't benefit the site in a way that providing new content will. Furthermore, there aren't similar items for majority of the items. The site will only thrive on new, relevant content, not outdated and irrelevant content. The traffic coming from the old content is merely 5% of what it can be and what it was when the site was relevant.

        That said...anybody else have any insight? Again, my main fear is that Google will see this old content as poorly written and spamy and hold it against the site in a negative way, especially since it will outweigh the newer, better written content in a major way for quite some time. Going back and rewriting it or updating it isn't an option in my opinion, at least not one that I want to put my effort towards. That leaves me with 2 options I guess; straight out deleting the content and letting everything going to a 404 page or keeping the content and tagging it so that the bots won't crawl or index it. Which would be the better option?
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan Brown
    Since 5000 is a lot of posts, I'd suggest the reply above. If there is a possibility not to delete it then go for it. Rewrite if you can do it and make it a quality/relevant content this time but one at a time since you can't change those in a blink.
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  • Profile picture of the author Markets
    Possibly update them to be current?

    By the looks of it though, it sounds like it was a news website due to so many post and them all being outdated now. Was I right? Was just a guess. :p
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    "There comes a time when people get tired."
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  • Profile picture of the author Fiddy6
    The thing around rewriting or updating the content is that the site was a news/product site and 9/10 out of the products are no longer available and are searched for very little anymore. While the posts still do attract some traffic, it's very, very little. I feel the time would be better spent adding newer content that readers can benefit from. Without it, the site is useless.

    As mentioned in my previous post, majority of the content is poorly written. There's a lot of spelling punctuation errors, and it comes across as if it was written by a 10 year old. It's a bad look for the new direction of the site.

    That said, does anybody's opinion change? While 5,000-plus posts is a lot, would it have a severe impact on the site if I straight out deleted all the posts and had 1,000's of 404 errors?
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    • Profile picture of the author san2hnl
      Just install a plugin that will automatically throw a 301 redirect (to your homepage) for deleted posts, and then go through and delete everything. Better than having 404 errors.

      This worked for me a couple years ago when I was in the same situation.
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  • Profile picture of the author KingServers01
    Old posts are always good as they have already crawled in search engines so better focus on new content while leaving the old content as it is.
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