Apparently, it’s just a fantasy that everything online stays accessible forever. Access to different outdated content probably leaves footprints on different databases, yes. However, it still requires a supreme skill of hacking to be made accessible again. Some content stays online for only a period of time. In this day and age where digital processes serve as a vital tool in every business, companies must always stay up to date and flexible to different changes. Most industries today move on a fast lane. Becoming delayed for only a single second might already equate to several losses. However, what can you do for instances when you need to look back and assess the things that have already passed? Let’s talk about how you can manage expired content.
What is an Expired Content?
Deep Crawl tells us that expired content refers to contents on a site that runs with an expiration date until it no longer becomes accessible for visitors. It can be anything: past events, outdated posts or products that are already phased out. Expired content does not leave without a trace. It can still impact how the SEO runs in a site. It can also affect search engine crawling. Some websites really have content that are naturally relevant for only a period of time and eventually becomes expired. We are talking about thousands of pages here.
Since expired content seems unstoppable and it still affects your SEO up to the present, you must do something to manage them. The key here is to have an automated retirement plan that will be SEO and user-friendly.
How to handle Expired Content
In an article, Jez Scholz has given ways on how to manage expired content. Here are the ways on how you can deal with expired content:
1. Leave them live
If you want to keep it simple, many leave their outdated pages live, only adding explanatory messages about the expired page users may visit. They also add related content recommendations so users will have something to jump on to. This option promises the highest amount of sessions.
Having expired content isn’t all that bad—sometimes, it can still come in handy. There might be users who are looking for a particular product or specification that has already been phased out. Keeping these expired pages will direct users to you. The key here is to provide a related page (that’s already active) that they can opt for. The only thing you need to watch out for is to keep expired content from outnumbering the active ones. This will cause your keywords to cannibalize each other, the expired pages competing with active ones.
2. Redirect expired content
Another common way to handle expired pages is to redirect them. You only have to be wary about location details. When doing this, make sure that the redirect destination stays on-site for the future. When redirecting, it will be best to add a dynamically generated message that would explain why they were redirected.
3. Destroy and provide an alternative
If you can’t 301 redirect, many would suggest having 404 status code instead, despite what others claimed that it will leave you with SEO penalties. Apparently, a 404 status code is really a valid option when removing content according to Google for Jobs guidelines. Along with destroying the page, the ranking signals that this page has also amassed goes down the drain. More than this, you will save budget on expired content as only a small amount of crawl budget is needed. However, from the user’s perspective landing on a 404 page can be frustrating. This is why an alternative page must always be ready.
4. Clean the page
This is a bit the same with having a 404 status code. The only difference is that having a 410 status code signals that your page is permanently gone. You must also customize your 410 landing page. With this method, expired content is removed immediately from the index.
5. Combine status codes
Who says you can only choose one option? If none of the options above sits well with you, you can also combine the approaches above. An example Scholz has shared is keeping the page live for a while. This is to capture long-tail sessions of people who might still be interested. After this, you can change your expired content to a 410 when the visits are not valuable anymore and it does more harm than good on the crawl budget.
Now that you know how to manage expired content, you can now remain calm during situations when you encounter one. We all know that we needed to stay up to date but sometimes, because of how fast we are going, there really are some pages that could not catch up. Since businesses might be focused on their own processes, the best option is to outsource your digital marketing services or anything that deals with situations like these. The key is to seek a reliable online reputation management provider in Singapore, like OOm.