Content is like fish and house guests, after a while they can really start to stink up the place. The trouble is there is a lot of content on websites that is still interesting and informative. You need high quality content to rank well. But, how do you get Google to see the content as fresh and relevant over time? And, when should you toss it and start over?

One way to deal with aging content is to give it a refresh and work to make it “evergreen” so it continues to garner search and readers over time. Not all content can be made evergreen. For example, information that quickly is out of date such as hot trends for a certain time frame, is not likely to become evergreen. But there are many stories that can be given added life. Neil Patel offers tips on how to make content evergreen in a recent SerachEngineLand.com story.

He suggests the following:

  • Display the date on a story. This keeps people from immediately passing it by thinking the information is no longer relevant.
  • Update your content. Go back and look for new information that can be added to a story. Then note that you made an update.
  • Create referencable content like case studies and reports. These are often referenced in other documents and retain their value over time. Think Wikipedia.

Take a hard look at the content on your site. It may be out of date, or you may have completely rebranded the company and the old content is no longer relevant. This is when it is best to get rid of it. But you need to be careful when you go to delete content.

Ryan Dube offers three ways to remove content in a recent post to MakeUseOf.com.

You can create a 404 useful redirect page. This will protect any inbound links to a page you are trying to delete. If you simply delete a page, Google immediately recognizes that page of yours as a missing page and will throw a not found crawl error.

A better way may be to use a robots.txt file to tell Google not to index a page. This only works if you are deleting content from a site you own.

And if you want the content to be truly gone, you can remove it from the Internet Archive also using a robots.txt file.

Google is all about fresh and relevant content. What have you written for me lately? So it is important to work with your SEO to review your existing content regularly. When you have writers block, go back and update and existing story and still get the benefits of “fresh” content.