How Content Can Improve With Age — 5 Reasons Why Older Web Pages Still Matter

SEO Jul 15, 2014

When it comes to live music, some artists never go out of style.

Take U2, Bruce Springsteen, and Madonna. All three ranked as the top-grossing touring acts of the last five years, playing to bigger audiences than newer artists HALF their age. 

When it comes to your web pages, newer isn’t ALWAYS better.

In fact, you don’t need to put your old pages out to pasture if they can still command an audience and OUTRANK the newbies.

Google will often prefer older articles to fresh content, especially if they are jam-packed with on-point information relevant to your niche.

However, you may need to re-purpose some of your older content to see better results in the long term.

Here are 5 ways you can ensure that your older pages outrank your new ones

1. Rewrite content 

Although it’s important that you keep creating NEW content, older pages don’t have to be put back onto the shelf just yet.

In fact, older websites that have ranked well on the SERP in the past can still be updated or rewritten to reflect recent changes in your industry or Google algorithm changes. 

+ You shouldn’t have content just for content’s sake. You need to go back to older posts and make sure they are still factually correct. 

+ Add 200 or 300 words to some of your older articles to give it a fresh twist.

Alternatively, make a feature out of “re-visiting” several older posts every week, with new information on how a particular development has changed since you first created the article.

This will all depend on your niche of course, but in fast-moving industries (tech, science etc.), you can update content and ask your readers how they feel about a particular change.

Heck, you can even dive into your comments and add your visitors’ points to the post’s discussion.

+ When re-writing your articles, remember to resubmit the URL for every article you’ve changed.

+ Going forward, it might be worth creating content that avoids references to a particular point-in-time, which will make it easier to update your pages in the future. 

+ Matt Cutts has spoken about “evergreen content” that will never go out-of-date. This is more difficult than it sounds, especially if you are in an industry that is constantly evolving.Evergreen content

Instead focus on creating GREAT content that reflects your niche and targets your demographic, and you can always re-jig the articles in the future if you need to.

2. Old links could have greater authority

Older content can be of great benefit to your business when it comes to outranking the new boys in town.

For starters, older pages are seen as having more authority by Google–they have been around for longer and might also have more links directed at the page.

As long as these links are coming from highly-reputable websites, older pages SHOULD rank higher on the SERP than newer ones. respect-my-authority

Newer information can sometimes take prominence on Google, even if it pushes older, more reputable content further down the list.

For example, if you sold audio transformers as part of your business, you might be on the second page of the SERP for the term “Transformers”. With Transformers: Age of Extinction recently being released, expect to have your position drop as information about the latest movie in the franchise takes up all the best positions. 

3. Change information on your home page 

There are different schools of thought when it comes to updating your home page. Older information on this page may still rank highly, and changing it around COULD make you slip on the SERP.

Find out if your newer pages outrank your home page, and if they do, THEN update your home page with brand-spanking new information.

If you don’t want to rock the boat, leave your home page just the way it is, especially if it targets your title and content effectively. 

4. Newer content can still outrank old

Google doesn’t want tired, no-longer-relevant content, and instead wants to improve the online search experience for all users. It’s easy for a new website to replace your position on the SERP by creating longer, more useful, and more relevant content – especially if they have researched their niche well. 

 The trick here is to never let yourself get into a position where your rankings can be compromised.

Remember:

young-old-3+ Keep your content fresh and keep your readers coming back for more

+ Revise older pages and update them so they can still be accessible if read TODAY. 

+ According to Audience Bloom, if you’re writing to attract an audience who are looking for a topic that is currently TRENDING, it’s better to write shorter articles that can be released as new information over time – helping to keep your articles at the top of search engine results.

Google may give your site less prominence if web users start clicking on a newer development in the story that you have failed to cover. 

And what does Google have to say about it all? Well, articles are “partially scored” based on the date they were created. However, that’s no reason to neglect your older pages and hope that they will continue to rank with no input from yourself. 

5. The importance of search tools

Google’s Search Tools is now deemed popular enough to have a position on the SERP (even Maps, Books, Flights and Apps are only accessible by clicking on the ‘More’ drop-down menu). This is great news for older pages. 

Why?

Well, when people use the Custom Range feature when searching for content, they are specifically looking for older information – meaning your older pages could experience plenty of click-throughs. 

CONCLUSION

Now’s not the time to rest on your laurels! In order for your content to be appreciated by future generations, you will need to cultivate it, and give it plenty of room to grow.

Remember to check your search rankings on a regular basis, and see which older content is outranking newer content, and vice-versa.

Updating older pages can give them a much-needed boost, although leaving historical information on your site can also be great for research purposes if people are using a custom-search. 

Google uses various criteria to decide whether older or newer content should take prominence. When you understand what makes the Big G tick, you have the edge when it comes to outranking your competitors.

4 comments
  1. Tim

    This article was encouraging since I’ve been fond of rewriting old articles to improve the writing and content before re-releasing them.

    But what do you mean “resubmit the url”? How?

    1. Max Wegner

      Hey Tim,

      I think he means updating your Sitemap or doing the “Fetch as Google” in your Google Webmaster’s Account.

      Cheers,
      Max

  2. Menorca-Live

    Hi,

    As you have pointed out we find that most of our older content still performs better than a lot of the new stuff we publish.

    Over time we also have found that longer content performs better shorter articles, so we are currently in the process of making our existing content better, and longer, by adding as much useful information as possible.

    Great article.

  3. weddings in the Bahamas

    Great Tips Damian. Looking forward to reviewing my website and seeing how we can incorporate some of these tips.

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