For a long time, I’ve been a strong advocate in keeping old content alive. Over on PhoneNews.com, you can see some really old articles. They may not be the best journalism out there, and they certainly would bring a grimace to anyone writing a proper grammatical guide.
There are even posts out on the web dating back to when I was in the 4th Grade… over fifteen years ago! Yes, I am a firm believer in that practice.
That’s why it’s so sad when I’ve been encouraged, by Google web search employees no less, to delete old content. What’s the reason? The search world has changed.
Search engines are now reflecting that the Internet is, well, getting older. Search engines now are starting to take into account the age of sites… not just the relevance of their content, but the caliber of their content. Articles that are too small, take long to load, and deliver what Google calls a “poor web experience” are better off not existing.
Generally, today, everyone has determined that inside one of Google’s major updates this year (which many call Panda, though that is a very broad term applied to way too much), that article content must increase. Simply, the size of articles needs to span a couple of full pages of text, if it were printed out. Generally, people have settled at between 300 and 400 words being the bare-bones minimum.
While I don’t agree with this, it’s the reality of web search today. And, as such, I’ll begin issuing the edicts to delete, modify, and redirect old articles… just about everywhere. From this blog, to PhoneNews.com, to elsewhere. It’s just what needs to be done to stay competitive in web search today. Old articles will be 301 redirected when possible to relevant content, and I’ll be making it a requirement that all old articles are documented for being updated/revised, in many cases years after they were first penned.
Granted, this opens a lot of new questions, such as what we do with old web content? Should it still exist somewhere, other than the web archives? In an ideal world, yes, people should set up separate domains for old content that sites like Google deem “poor”, and the give people the ability to still access them.
For now, what I’m doing is creating a backup of everything pre-realignment, and then pulling up my sleeves and getting to work. Having penned thousands of articles, I definitely have my hands full. Maybe you do as well, what’s your thoughts on this?