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Deleting Posts: Should I Be Careful When Doing It?

Steven 6 responses Blogging

With Google focusing more and more on top-quality content and actually penalizing sites for low-quality posts you might be tempted to do some heavy-duty housecleaning, just to stay in their good graces. Some bloggers are deleting everything and starting over from scratch and others are deleting individual posts and pages. Let’s take a look at what you should do.

deleting posts and pages

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What Happens When You Delete Content?

When you completely delete a page or post, including the URL, the first thing that happens is you lose your incoming links. Lose enough and your blog drops in rank. So the first thing you need to do before you start punching that delete button is look to see which of your posts or pages have incoming links. Don’t delete this content unless you’re absolutely sure that’s the best answer.

You also need to consider that those other blog that linked out to you are now sending people to a 404 page, which puts their ranking at risk. You worked hard to develop those links and relationships you should notify those bloggers so they can change the links on their end.

Can You Rewrite The Content?

If you’re deleting the content because you feel it’s poor quality, why not save the URL and just rewrite the text? Even if it’s completely worthless you may be able to start over so you don’t have to sacrifice that URL.

While you’re working on cleaning up this content, don’t forget to work on your internal linking structure. If necessary, create a few pillar posts to tie everything together.

Can You Add New Categories?

If you’re deleting content because you want to change niches, is the new niche close enough in relevancy that you could simply add it to your existing content and create additional categories? There’s nothing wrong with broadening your focus once your blog is established. In fact, it helps strengthen your brand.

Remember, the search engine bots have been crawling your blog since its inception. If you’ve been blogging about Dog Food for two years and you completely delete all your content so you can start blogging about Dog Collars those bots are going to notice the change. You’ll lose all the authority you already had when you delete URLS, and if you make too many changes you may even be penalized.

Can You Add A Sub-Domain?

If you’re deleting everything because you want to blog about a completely different topic your blog will definitely be penalized when you start replacing that content. Google will see it as gaming their system – you’re trying to take advantage of the authority you built for your root domain.

If it’s not possible to leave your old blog intact and build a new blog on a sub-domain, then get yourself a separate, new domain name and give your new blog it’s own home.

If your old blog is just … horrible – the domain name isn’t working, the content is ALL terrible and it’s not worth the effort to try to revive it – then just dump the whole thing, buy a new domain, and start over again.

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  1. Mike Allton

    I recently ran into an issue along these same lines, but with a twist. I had been writing regularly on a website for a business that was devoted to website development. Over time, I realized that my articles on social media and marketing were getting a lot of traffic, but weren’t benefiting the business. So, earlier this year, I started an entirely new business whose focus is on internet marketing and consulting. I had years of great content that I wanted to pre-populate this new site with. But, as you point out, simply deleting all the old posts on the original site didn’t seem like a good idea, so as I re-created each post on the new site, I deleted most of the content on the original post, leaving just a teaser and a link to the new post. I didn’t want to simply leave the original articles intact and risk being flagged for duplicate content.

    Do you think this was the best course, or should I have done something different?

    1. Hey Mike, it sounds like you handled it like a chief!

      Leaving just a preview and a link to the new post was most likely the best way to handle this both in terms of SEO and user-friendliness.

  2. Victor

    Steven I think you’re spot on. People often underestimate how valuable it is to have links that from legitimate sources that been pointing to your website over a long period of time.

    Why not write a new page but use a 301?

    Do you think that would be a viable tactic for queries that are heavily influenced by QDF?

    1. Using a 301 redirect is one way of handling it. I also really like the idea explained in the previous comment.

  3. Gettysburggerry

    Some great points here, people are really getting paranoid and are willing to throw the baby out with the bath water so to speak. Give this one a read…you will be glad you did.

    1. Thanks for your comment Gerry!