Search Engines Never Forget: Can Old Content Hurt Your Ranking?

Very few aspects of a business are ever really “done.” You can’t cross customer service off your to-do list because you always have to concentrate on the customers’ concerns and needs. You can’t order today’s latest smartphones and then stop stocking new inventory because what’s new today is old tomorrow. And you can’t employ an SEO campaign for your websites and call it done.
SEO isn’t an end-product but an ongoing process. And part of that process is reassessing tactics your sites may have employed in the past. Could these be influencing your place in the SERPs today?

In short, yes, outdated content and strategies can influence your rankings. How? As an example: say that in your site’s early days, you relied on content written by content farms. This may have been effective then. Today, though, you have created fresh, relevant content to attract and retain traffic. But if that old content is still out there, it is dragging you down with it in the face of the recent Farmer/Panda update.

Other examples include links that were created by link farms or link exchanges, content sections with keyword stuffing, content and links below the footer, and social media comment spamming. Google uses a complex algorithm of factors to determine rankings, and techniques like these impact how well your site ranks.

In some cases, you may not be aware of the SEO tactics that were employed on your behalf, but it does benefit you to become aware now. Look through your site’s XML sitemap, look through URLs on your site and watch out for SEO red flags, including poor quality links. Remove outdated and ineffective content – and most importantly, stop creating content that could be considered “spammy” by search engines like Google.

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