In the context of 2023’s SEO landscape, John Mueller of Google emphasizes that removing outdated content or older news articles from your news site may yield little benefits. According to Mueller, merely eliminating obsolete news might not be a fruitful approach in terms of SEO.
Mueller further elaborated,
“Simply discarding old news might not bring substantial advantages.
This advice holds especially true for news websites, as the information in older articles could still be relevant. Thus, I discourage this approach for the sole purpose of SEO enhancement.
Those are valid considerations if your intention behind content removal or placement in an archive section is driven by factors such as improving user experience or ensuring website maintenance. However, I caution against haphazardly deleting older content based solely on its age.”
Although last year when this topic was buzzing around the internet his statement was a little different, he stated
“My primary recommendation would be to focus on the new content (since that’s what – probably – drives the visibility & traffic of your site). Regarding the older content, I don’t think there’s a simple answer that works for all sites, some just end up removing old, unused content, others try to improve it, and of course, there’s all of the middle ground too. Personally, I appreciate being able to find old things on the web, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep everything. For example, you could just keep category pages indexed, and index the articles (perhaps based on yearly views, or whatever metric you find is useful). That way, if someone wants to find an announcement of the PS1 they can still find it, indirectly, by looking for something in the title.
My guess is Google already doesn’t crawl this old content much so probably you won’t save much in terms of overall crawling. In terms of indexing, we also try to figure out what makes sense to keep indexed, so most likely that won’t change significantly either. Will the rest of the site rank better? Assuming mostly your new content is what’s ranking, then probably not. If on the other hand, you have a ton of evergreen content that also drives a lot of visibility, then I could imagine that a cleaned-up site around that evergreen content makes it easier to recognize it as being useful.”
But to make the fullest use of your old content or news, you must follow these easy steps to kick off the dilemma of removing old content.
Learn a method for auditing and analyzing your existing content, as well as a set of standards for selecting how to improve or link to it.
“Give Google only your best content and make it optimized, useful, and relevant.”
In 2023, the essence of SEO improvement lies in recognizing that enhancing content can lead to upward shifts in rankings, while content removals might inadvertently result in ranking losses, contrary to the perceived gains.
The pivotal juncture in this process involves making data-informed choices on whether to enhance (revise, update, or consolidate) or remove (deindex) aged content from search engine visibility.
The value of retaining these older articles stems from their potential usefulness to users, contingent on the specific niche or industry. They could hold considerable significance.
However, it’s worth noting that Google might frown upon articles with numerous impressions but minimal clicks, indicative of low traffic, or those with a subpar “score” involving Google’s proprietary bounce rate (distinct from Google Analytics bounce rate) when users return quickly to search engine results.
If the intent is to preserve articles accessible to both Google and users, specific fundamental benchmarks need to be met:
- Distinctive Content: Content should exhibit originality.
- Appropriate Length: Articles should have a moderate length.
- Content-to-Ad Ratio: A balanced ratio of content to advertisements is crucial.
- Content Focus: The content should prominently feature on the page, especially in the top or center sections.
The rationale for retaining aged news articles on a website remains robust. An archive continues to hold merit. Removal could be justified if these articles are duplicated versions of externally published texts or exhibit subpar quality. Nonetheless, avenues for enhancement exist, and content could be linked for individuals seeking its information.