Sometimes website owners have pages on their domains that perform well, so they never think about revisiting them, even if the text, visuals, research, etc. on those pages is outdated and doesn’t resonate with their audience anymore. While getting visits to these pages through search engine rankings is a great feat to achieve, if the content on the page is aging and outdated, people aren’t going to keep reading for long. In fact, outdated content could result in serious legal consequences if you’re publishing in the insurance, financial, or medical niche.
You see, your website is an entity that is “live”, with updates being the nourishment that keeps it alive. The frequency of the updates determines the way its web pages will interact with different elements of its ecosystem i.e. the visitors, the customers and most importantly the search engines. This interaction determines the number of visitors that the web pages receive on a daily basis and hence its commercial success.
This article lists some of the main reasons why you should keep your web pages up-to-date with freshly researched content.
The probability that a visitor will spend more time surfing through your website increases dramatically with a good first impression. Besides a bad layout and messed up page hierarchy, outdated content can result in a bad first impression. If the “Latest News” is weeks old and the copyright date is from the previous year, the visitor would most likely surf to another webpage thinking that the rest of the information on the page is outdated as well.
This is especially important for businesses that offer products or services through their website. Consider a scenario where a potential client lands on your website to get a broader understanding of your business and is greeted with outdated information. In an ideal world, that’d impact the prospects of your company and the potential business that the website can bring in.
On the contrary, an up-to-date website sends a positive signal of professionalism and the ability to stay on top of things. It also improves the traffic for your page as visitors are more likely to return.
- Ensure that the copyright footer is updated and the site states the date when it was last updated.
- Ensure that any content you display on the home page is no older than a couple of days.
Keeping Customers Informed
Another reason to have your webpage updated regularly is to retain current customers and provide information to new visitors that might help to convert. RSS feed is an important tool in this regard that notifies current customers each time new content is uploaded to your website. This helps with customer engagement and fostering customer loyalty.
For businesses that sell products online, up-to-date information helps to convince visitors why a particular product is good for them and how the products stand with other competing products in the market. Posting recent customer reviews play an important role in increasing the conversion rate. A visitor is far less likely to make a purchase from a website that has outdated information as the visitor might think the business is no longer active.
- Keep product descriptions up-to-date (sizes, materials used, etc.)
- Prominently showcase reviews and testimonials
Indexing is used by various search engines for the purpose of collecting and storing data about web pages. Whenever you search a phrase in Google, Yahoo, etc., it is the index that provides results pertaining to that search query and displays the page stored in the search engine. Search engine algorithms are designed to index regularly updated websites more than outdated ones. In layman’s terms, the more frequently a search engine looks at your site, the higher is your probability of achieving higher rating on your content.
However, it is important to note that the quality of the content matters in addition to the quantity of new content being posted. Hence, it is important to not only update your site regularly but also to publish high-quality content, as low-quality web pages stuffed with keywords could be penalized by search engines.
- Publish new pieces on a regular basis
- Double-check content’s quality. Proofread for a conversational tone, typos, grammatical errors, etc.
Higher Search Engine Rank
Keywords are an important tool used by webmasters to improve search engine rank. Although search engine algorithms take more than 200 factors into account when deciding a website’s rank, keywords are high on the list. Frequently updating your webpage allows you to optimize your website for newly discovered keywords. In fact, you can add more keywords to your site as well as replace the ones that might not be attracting traffic or are no longer pertinent to your product or services.
For example, say you sell financial services through your website and post new articles regularly that highlight the economic conditions and the changing regulatory environment. With each new article, you get an opportunity to add valuable keywords to your website that might result in improving search engine ranking of your webpage, bringing more traffic your way.
- Research and add new keywords to your web pages.
- Replace low-performing or unrelated keywords from existing content pieces.
Improving “Authority Site” Potential
Google is the biggest search engine right now and all webmasters strive to construct their pages around factors that dictate its algorithms. The aim is to become an industry authority. A quick glance through a Google search result will make you realize that authority sites have hundreds of pages indexed by Google. There are a few strategies that might help to achieve that goal. For example, frequently publishing quality content on industry related news on your webpage is a solid strategy that might be able to help you gain the same status as an authority website.
Authority status is also closely linked with customer loyalty and higher click to customer conversion rate. New customers feel more confident in engaging in business with an authority site and are more likely to return. Similarly, gaining the status can tremendously improve the conversion rate for new customers as well. People trust authority sites more than regular ones and are more like to make purchases on such sites. Becoming an authority can help even small businesses to grow exponentially or create their own niche market.
- Publish new web pages on a regular basis.
- Discard web pages that feature thin content or don’t showcase subject matter expertise.
Keep Your Site Secure
Outdated websites are more prone to being hacked due to outdated security patches. Hacked websites then pose danger to the customer who might be returning in search of a new product or a repurchase. Additionally, a site that is hacked or contains a malicious software can get delisted by Google. That will take a considerable amount of time to fix and to have everything in place to ensure that the website is eligible for relisting. The time spent between delisting and relisting can result in further loss of business.
Hence, it’s important to keep tabs on outdated content as well as the web pages it’s hosted on. Perhaps it includes a file extension that hackers can use as a doorway to plant malware into the webpage. As a best practice, site owners should not only remove outdated content but also remove outdated extensions, images, etc. from their web pages.
- Keep image files, extensions, and similar elements up-to-date.
- Keep up with technological advancements and software updates.
Best Way to Handle Outdated Content?
How do you treat outdated content? Do you just replace it with freshly brewed news? Not necessarily. When it comes to handling outdated content, you could follow more than one strategy.
Rewriting is an easy strategy that can be used to update already written content that only needs minor updates or content that has failed to grasp the attention of the customers.
Repurposing involves more drastic changes to the old content with the purpose to shift the focus of the writing. For example, if an article is geared towards the pleasant smell of a toothpaste but with time you realize that customers are more interested in pain relieving qualities of the toothpaste, then, in that case, you can rewrite parts of the content to focus more on that latter aspect.
Lastly, redirecting is a strategy that works perfectly when the outdated content because unusable. In this case, you just create a new content piece from scratch and put it in the place of outdated content (and you entirely delete the previously written blog post/case study, etc.).
If the content on your web pages explains your product or service well, presents your brand in a positive manner to your customers so they can familiarize themselves with its story, and drives good visits, then leave it alone. However, if you’re receiving comments like “this was applicable five years ago!” and “that happened back in 2000”, then follow the strategies mentioned above to replace outdated content with something that offers value to your visitors. When it comes to doing business online, it’s all about connecting with your audience in the most honest way you can.