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After talking with @BlazingMinds and @Ileane on Twitter yesterday about how to handle very old blog posts that get no traffic, I realized it had been ages since I pruned my own blogs from what I call "void posts" these are blackhole posts that may as well not exist, they get 0 traffic, don’t even show up on Google Analytics and have no purpose existing anymore, especially if they don’t have relevant information.
Do old posts hurt your blog?
I don’t really know the answer, as many online magazines have posts years and years old that are still indexed and visible on Google. Some say that having old posts with 0 traffic may hurt your blog rankings, because Google detects posts in the sitemap and there are no visits/hits to those posts so may devalue rank overall but I am not so certain. I just think posts without traffic may not be regarded well for rank.
Either way there should be a spring cleaning of old blog posts if you will, clean out the useless posts that have no business existing 2-3 years later. So this little guide will help you figure out which posts to prune from your blog. Note, this is completely optional, if you want to keep them there forever, it is up to you I don’t have any evidence that it harms your site.
What blog posts to trim?
- Old Holiday Posts
Having Merry Christmas 2009 post in 2013 isn’t going to really do much good, unless you are a diary blog where you are sharing an event that happened in your life that people can read about your history, chances are these posts may not get any traffic and be useless. This is one reason I do very few holiday specific posts on my non-personal blog over the past few years was the fact that my 2008, 2009 holiday posts pretty much became void posts in a few months.
- Outdate News Stories
Posts about current events, trends that happened and were short lived are likely to die off the map fast. How many people are still going to search for the Susan Boyle who came out of nowhere, or the Season 1 Finale of Lost. These posts tend to age poorly and in some rare cases they may be relevant for archival info, but in most cases the age and become void posts.
- Outdated Technical Info
Posting about WordPress 2.2 doesn’t really do much when 3 years later we are on version 3.5 and nearly no features of 2.2 are the same way when it comes to accessing them. These posts can either be deleted or updated and refreshed with new content and versioning to rejuvenate them and keep the same URI. Except if you have comments for the old data, may need to purge them.
- Giveaways and Contests
These can sometimes draw traffic, but once they run their course past a year or so they may not provide any value anymore except as an archive. In fact I had people try to join a closed giveaway months after it closed one time, but since it still brought in traffic I kept it up. I also keep old giveaway posts to show that giveaways were actually held so this is one where it is subjective whether you want to clean them up after a year or two or just leave them. If you choose to rejuvenate a giveaway post you have to flush all comments anyway.
Some posts may be worth clearing out to make space or update to revitalize and perhaps bring in new life, but in general you can leave them too. Always check the post against Google Analytics to make sure it hadn’t gotten any traffic in the past 60 or 90 days before clearing it, because if it had some traffic a month or two ago it may make a comeback and just refresh it a bit.