A New Life for WordPress Old Posts

31 days to a better blog

I have a guilty confession to make, when I first created this blog several years back, I was just interested in creating a site that got some traffic that was monetized with affiliate links. As most blog owners know, you need to have a steady stream of fresh content, so I signed up for a auto-blogging service with keywords such as internet marketing. These services then auto publish to your blog, the content usually has links placed by the author to their service or are affiliate links.

It was an eye-opener on what passes for decent writing. Fortunately I had moderated it so I had final publishing approval. Which was a smart decision, because most of it was awful. At best they were that general sort of forgettable writing that imparts no real value or knowledge. Many had obvious misspellings and were just thinly veiled attempts to get people to click on the links. I rejected many and there are not many that actually got published. After reviewing these posts for a while, I thought to myself, “I can do a better job writing than this”, and that is how my blogging career was born.

When Panda rolled out, it was a wake up call to me that I really should do something about these old posts. It is said that 1 billion pages disappeared from the web in the wake of Panda, as Google was uncharacteristically explicit in telling site owners that they should delete lower quality web pages, which many did. Although I was not impacted by Panda, clearly it was a signal that these lower quality posts should go.

So what to do? Once you publish a post and it is indexed by Google and the other search engines, you don’t want to just delete it. The URL would then get a 404, bad for Google, bad for people. One alternative is to 301 redirect them to another post if you have a good candidate in mind. But for some I am taking a different tack which is rewriting and updating them to be better.

For a post on long tail keywords, I embedded a YouTube video that covers the topic (it’s worth watching) and added a few notes about the video. Done and quick.

Then to draw attention to my new post I changed the date from 2008 to today, effectively re-ordering the post so it now appears on the home page. I didn’t know this would work .. but it did quite nicely, I just chose a date and time that was a half hour earlier than the present.

What do you do with your old posts?

BTW. I got this idea in part from day 21 of Problogger’s “31 days to Build a Better Blog” [affiliate link] This useful ebook is currently available for $19.95 but on May 10th the price goes up to $29.99. Grab it while you can.

About the Author Kathy Alice

Kathy Alice Brown is a SEO expert specializing in Technical SEO and Content. In her spare time she loves to get outside.

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1 comment
Chris says August 1, 2012

Hi Kathy,
I have a question for my website I write a post for all my upcoming events, what do you suggest I do once the event date is passed? Your right I don’t want to delete them because I will have a bunch of 404 errors. Is there a plugin that can archive all my old posts?

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