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Review. Refresh. Remove. Time to review outdated content.

Over time your business evolves. And so your content should reflect those changes too!

Over time a business will mature, scale, diversify or niche; either way, things don’t stay the same. To stay relevant and project clarity, you need to:

  • Be sure who your audience and segments are
  • Be clear on what you offer
  • Be confident in your mission, vision and values
Performing a website content review to find outdated content is an essential part of this process. 

What is outdated content?

There is no one-size-fits-all definition to outdated content. What that means is different for every business. But here are some common examples that you should be looking out for. 

  • Old content: Not every piece of old content is outdated. But is it about an event that has long since passed? Does it refer to terminology that’s no longer relevant? Does it mention products or services that you no longer sell?
  • Thin content: We’re all guilty of throwing up a new page or a new blog post without thinking it through. You want your content to engage the reader and be as helpful as possible – this is vital not just for your customers but for Google, too, as it prioritises content that is helpful. Thin content, sadly, just doesn’t do that.
  • Case studies, white papers, and reports: Are these all relevant to your business as it stands? Is there anything more recent you could be promoting?
  • Content lacking engagement: It doesn’t matter how relevant the topic is, if your users aren’t engaging with it, then it’s deadweight on the website. We’ll go further into how to assess whether content is being engaged with further down, but it’s an important criteria.

Jump to:

Kill your darlings: WHY remove outdated content

Your website needs fresh and up-to-date content to engage your audience and drive traffic. 

Out-of-date content can harm your website in several ways. For example:

  1. Decreased search engine rankings: Search engines favour websites with fresh and relevant content. If your website hasn’t been updated in a while, it could hurt your search engine rankings, making it harder for potential customers to find you.


  2. Decreased user engagement: If your website has outdated content, it may not be relevant or interesting to your audience. This can lead to reduced user engagement, such as a high bounce rate or low time on the page, which can signal to search engines that your website is not valuable to users.


  3. Lost credibility: Out-of-date content can make your business look outdated and unprofessional, eroding trust and credibility with your audience. This can be particularly damaging if you are in a competitive industry.


  4. Content Bloat: In particularly bad cases, too much outdated content can lead to search engines not crawling your whole website. The last thing you want is your important pages not getting crawled properly – and therefore not ranking! – because you’ve got too many redundant pages on your site.


  5. Impact on the planet: Yes – you read that right. If you’re trying to be environmentally conscious in other areas of your life by, for example, eating less meat, or reducing your single use plastic consumption, then you need to take a hard look at your website. Reducing the carbon footprint of your site is a must-do. On average, 0.5 grams of  CO2 are generated per page view. So trimming down any of that content that is no longer relevant goes a long way to reducing your impact.

In 2022, Google rolled up their “Helpful Content” update, which really hammers home the necessity to look at your content with a critical eye. It emphasises the importance of providing fresh, relevant, and accurate content that meets the needs of your audience.

Websites that fail to do so consistently may experience a drop in search engine rankings, making it harder to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Even if you have lots of great content, thin, lesser-quality content on the site will drag your rankings down. 

We get it – content production is time-hungry and costly. Deleting pages or posts that you’ve spent money and energy on in the past may feel like a step backwards. 

But the benefits are worth it. It’s more important than ever to regularly review and update your content to meet the changing needs of your audience. As a result, you’ll improve your website’s visibility, credibility, and user engagement, ultimately driving more relevant traffic to your site. 


You can only have one priority!

We recommend a traffic light system of what to tackle first. Give deadlines to pieces of work and delegate to the best people to get the work done. Also, ensure that you have an internal/external briefing meeting so that everyone working on the project understands the overarching reasons why.

How to find outdated content

So, you’ve sat back, read all about the reasons why you should be performing a website content audit, but now you’ve actually got to do it. It may feel daunting at first, but we’ve put together a quick guide to help you find content you may want to review.

Gather all your content in one place

There are several ways to do this. The first and most straightforward is to find your sitemap (yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml is an easy way to find it – but it’s not always at that URL!) and grab a list from there. Just remember to check all the locations. Some sitemaps will be split up into pages, posts, categories, or more. 

You can also use a tool like Screaming Frog, which will crawl your website and return a list of URLs. This tool is free for up to 500 URLs, so if you have a bigger site, this option might not be for you.

Add the data!

For any sort of content review, the more data, the better. Data and analytics are essential when deciding which blog posts to keep and which to delete. Here are some of the basics you should consider including:
  1. Traffic: Reviewing website traffic data can help you identify which blog posts attract the most traffic to your website. Posts with low traffic or high bounce rates may indicate that they are not resonating with your audience and could be candidates for deletion.
    Where to find it: You can usually get this data from whichever Analytics provider you use.

  2. Engagement: Engagement metrics such as time on page, social shares, and comments can provide insight into which blog posts resonate with your audience. Posts with high engagement are more likely valuable to your audience and worth keeping. It will also give you insight into which topics are most engaged with, which in turn will inform your content strategy going forward.
    Where to find them: Time on page should be available in Google Analytics (or your equivalent), social shares can be found through tools like BuzzSumo, and you can review comments on your blogs or posts manually.

  3. Conversions: Another way to evaluate the effectiveness of your blog posts is to look at conversion rates. Posts that generate high conversion rates, such as sign-ups, downloads, or purchases, can indicate valuable content worth keeping.
    Where to find it: If you’ve got events or goals set up in Google Analytics, then you can filter these by URL to see where they are happening.

  4. SEO: Important SEO metrics to consider include backlinks, impressions from search engines, clicks from search engines, and average rankings.
    Where to find them: Your best bet here is Search Console to get the most accurate data. Here you should be able to find all of the above, although some SEO tools like Semrush and AHREFs will also be able to pull similar reports, especially regarding rankings.

How to Create a Content Audit Decision Making Process

So now you’ve got all your data, you’re probably sitting there feeling a little overwhelmed. Don’t be! The next step is to take a holistic view of the results and make a decision on what you will do with each piece of content. We recommend creating several different categories to place each blog into:

Keep: This is the holy grail – a blog that is performing well, and doesn’t need any updates to it.
Refresh: Add it to your content strategy to refresh, expand, and optimise the content.
Merge: Do you have several blog posts or pages that are covering a similar topic? You might be better off merging this content into one comprehensive post to really capture your audience.
Remove: And this is where we kill your darlings. We talk a little more about this process further down. 

So, for each piece of content, go ahead and use the data you aggregated earlier, and ask these questions:
  1. Has anyone read it in the last six months?

  2. If people are reading it, are they engaged? Do they spend time on the page, or do they bounce right off? Are they sharing the content?

  3. Is it ranking? Is it appearing in the search results for the relevant keywords and getting clicks? If it’s getting impressions, but not clicks, could it be further optimised?

  4. Does it have good quality backlinks? If other sites are linking to your content this is a very good sign that it is helpful and relevant.

  5. Are people converting

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can then sort each page or post into a category.


A plugin such as Yoast can help with the readability of any content on-site. Grammarly can help with content you are creating off-site.

Content to Keep

These ones should be obvious as soon as you look at your data. These are pages or posts that have good traffic, good engagement, and ideally good conversion rates. The topic will still be relevant to your business or industry. It is already well-optimised, and you can see no further improvements required.

Content to Refresh

This is content that is almost there, but missing the mark in a few areas. It might have good traffic, but users are bouncing. It might have amazing impressions in the search results, but no one is clicking. It might have great backlinks, but the content isn’t delivering the traffic. The topic might still be relevant, but the actual information within it is outdated. 

These are just a few examples, but if you think there is potential to improve the content, or improve the longevity of the piece by making it more evergreen, these are the sort of things you should be looking for.

Content to Merge

If you have several blog posts or pages covering similar topics, you need to evaluate each one on its own individual merits and as a collective. Having so-called ‘topic clusters’ are fabulous for both user-engagement and readability, but this only works if each topic stands alone within the larger category. 

The benefits of merging fractured content into richer pages or posts are many. From a user perspective, it can provide a better user experience by delivering more comprehensive and relevant information on a single page. This can reduce the need for users to navigate to multiple pages or posts to find what they need, resulting in higher engagement and conversions.

Content to Delete

The statistics alone can’t decide this. Yes, if a blog post has had no readers in the last six months and incredibly poor (or non-existent) rankings, there’s a good chance that it should go in the delete pile. But you also need to know your own business and your own industry here, in case there is another reason you need to keep it. 

However, in most cases, if you’ve got a post that has very poor engagement, you either need to think seriously about what you’re trying to achieve with the topic and add it to the Refresh pile, or delete. The biggest ‘culprits’ in this category are often those ‘one-off’ posts – anniversary posts, new hires, celebrating national holidays, and so on. All of these types of posts just add to the content clutter in general, and on your website. 


Break this task up! It's easy to get overwhelmed. Review a few blog posts a day until you've done them all!

What's next?

Schedule your next content review.

Yup. Just like SEO, this isn’t a one-and-done process. This first one will be the most time-consuming, but after that, you’ll find it gets easier and easier to assess. Depending on your industry and how much content you produce, this could be done quarterly, every six months, or annually. Pick a time that works for you and get it in the diary

At the next content review, you’ll be able to update your stats and see if any of the blogs that you have refreshed have started to perform better. You can also see if any that you chose to Keep now fall into the Refresh category.

Prioritise your Refresh content and add it to your content strategy

It’s no good adding a “refresh” label to a blog post and leaving it to rot until your next content review. 

Go through your list and prioritise them. Schedule them into your content strategy so that they are ready to be re-shared at the appropriate times. If you’ve got content that is particularly relevant for certain times of the year, ensure you’ve done your refresh and optimisation well in advance of when they need to be shared. Any that aren’t time-sensitive, prioritise based on performance, focusing on any that have a big opportunity for improvement.

General areas to consider when refreshing content

  1. Topic: Evaluate whether the content on the page is still relevant and up-to-date. Make sure the content is easy to read, scannable, and provides value to the user. Take a look at other blog posts out there on similar topics. Do not copy what they are doing, but ask if there is additional value you can add to what’s already out there.

  2. Headline: Check if the headline is relevant and compelling and communicates the main value proposition of the page. Google has long-since devalued ‘click-bait’ headlines, so if you’ve been guilty of these in the past, see if you can come up with something better. 

  3. Call-to-Action: Ensure a clear call-to-action (CTA) on the page that is visible, well-positioned, and encourages the user to take action. This doesn’t have to be just ‘get in touch’, it could be anything that makes sense for the user’s journey, even another blog.
  4. Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust: Review the page with these areas in mind, as Google values these very highly. If it’s a blog post, ensure it’s clear that the content is written by someone who is knowledgeable and authoritative. If it’s a page on your site that’s trying to sell something, ensure that you have trust signals clear and apparent – these could be awards, or qualifications, or simply reviews and case studies. This is also a good opportunity to review the internal linking of your blog post – are you linking users through to other relevant topics? This helps demonstrate to Google and your users that you know what you’re talking about. 

  5. Conversion Rate Optimisation: If you want your users to convert, ensure you’re doing everything you can on-page to assist them to do so. 
    • Simplify forms – make it as easy as possible for a user to fill out your form. Especially on mobile!
    • Pagespeed – make sure your site loads quickly so users aren’t discouraged.
    • Call-to-action – these must be clear, and not too many or you risk overwhelming them.
    • Navigation – users must be able to navigate around the page, and your site, in a straightforward way. This includes ensuring you don’t have any pop-ups that could frustrate a user.
      By implementing these quick CRO wins, you can improve the user experience, increase trust and credibility, and ultimately drive more conversions for your business.

Read this blog from Hotjar which has some great tips on creating relevant call-to-actions.

How to remove outdated content

It’s important to take care when deleting content from your website. First of all, double-check your decision making process to ensure you’re happy. 

Then, take a look at the statistics. Are there any backlinks from other websites? If so, you may want to place a 301 redirect on the URL, leading to a more relevant page, to ensure any benefits you have from those backlinks are not lost. This should only be done if it makes sense to, though. Don’t redirect a page on one topic to something completely unrelated. 

If you are still on the fence about the content removal, you could move the post or page to a Draft. This also helps if you are going to be merging the content to another page or post.

Once you’ve deleted the page, if you aren’t placing a 301 redirect on the URL, make sure you go through the rest of your site to make sure that you are not linking to that page from anywhere else and creating new 404 errors. These are a big thumbs-down from both search engines and users. You can use SEO tools like Semrush or AHREFS to detect these. 

If it is very critical that the piece of content you removed no longer appears in the search results, you can submit it to Google’s Outdated Content Removal Tool. This isn’t a guaranteed way of getting it removed from the search results, but it will fast track the review.

A lot of work, but so worth it!

To help you get buy-in for time and resources for this activity (and to serve as a reminder when you are only 25% of the way through those 3+ years of blogs), by doing this, you are:


  1. Ensuring your website performance is as efficient as possible regarding page loading times.


  2. Increasing your chance of converting by providing your readers and customers with current, valuable, and relevant content with various conversion points.


  3. Saving time and resources by not always having to come up with new ideas if you have content that needs to be updated yearly.


  4. Seeing how far you have come as a business. How often do we ever get the chance to do that?


  5. Being more planet conscious by not leaving old, thin and frankly useless content to fester.


  6. Keeping search engines and your website visitors happy = better ranking and conversions.


  7. Enhancing your content strategy by having cyclical content to review and refresh, as well as forcing you to view your own work with a critical eye. 

So all that’s left is to go forth and enjoy your refreshed website content, higher quality traffic, and better conversions!


See how it works!

BioteCH₄ commissioned The Typeface Group to do a full content review before rebuilding their website.

Click to find out what we did and the immediate results.

Image of BioteCH4 website pages side by side in a graphic