I don’t know about you, but both my written content and my imagery when I started my blog was shocking. Seriously embarrassing.
Knowing that people could go on and find these posts actually devastated me. So I decided to delete them. I work in a content marketing agency, and spoke to the on-site SEO team before I did so; I was all, “hey can I delete these mega cringe posts or will it affect my blog?!”.
So for anyone who is thinking the same, here’s the deal.
Deleting posts or pages that are essentially dead (i.e. they get no traffic) can help your blog’s rankings, but it needs to be done properly. Google hates ‘page not found’ so just deleting them willy nilly can be harmful to your blog. You need to set up a 301 redirect; anyone who clicks on to this page will be automatically redirected to a page of your choosing (usually the homepage).
If you’re on WordPress, it’s pretty easy as there are plugins. Easy, but time consuming if like me you have a billion posts that don’t pass the quality mark.
Before you delete your posts, ask yourself these three questions:
Does the page get any traffic?
If the page your thinking of deleting regularly gets organic traffic from search engines, you probably don’t want to delete it as Google thinks it is helpful. Instead…
Can you update it?
If it’s just the photography that you’re not a fan of, can you replace the old photos with newer, shinier ones? If the content is a bit rambly, why not add in bullet points so those visiting can get the information they want at a quick glance?
Can you build on it?
So you’re getting traffic, but the post is still embarrassing and you don’t have the energy or time to change it. Can you create a new blog post on the topic, a later version with additional information and better content? By creating a new post, and putting something like *new/ updated/ amended version here* link in your original post, you direct readers attention away from your cringe old post and to your new, better looking, more snazzy post.
If, at the end of the day, you’re not getting traffic, your post doesn’t really hold much use, and you really hate it, go ahead and stick a 301 redirect and delete it. It’ll make you feel better, won’t harm your blog, and will probably give you a few good content ideas now you’re writing and photography are A+.