Home » Blog Content » Should you delete old blog posts?

33 Comments

  1. I just translated my blog, including all my posts. Now I realized a lot of them are oudated, even some of them have wrong URLS translations. I was worried about delete them, but no more. Thanks!

  2. This is such helpful advice and makes me feel more confident about cleaning up my site. Not having to worry about redirects is a real timesaver too so thanks so much for your advice!

  3. So thankful for this post. I’d always heard you shouldn’t delete posts, and your step by step article has given me confidence that not only should I, but i can do so successfuly. Found this post thru a Google search, and have read a lot more content on your site. So helpful!

    1. Aw, thank you so much for this lovely comment, Margaret. I am so happy you are finding my blog helpful and that it has given you the confidence to delete blog posts! Eb 🙂

  4. This article is SO well written and helpful, thank you! My biggest concern at the moment is that I did exactly what I wasn’t supposed to do… I deleted old, outdated content but instead of letting the 404 work its magic, I 301 redirected them to the homepage!

    I did some of these two years ago. Is it too late to delete the 301 direct from my plugin and just let the 404 run instead? I don’t want to make things worse! Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. Aw, thanks! I am so happy you like my writing. Yes, you can absolutely go ahead and delete the 301 redirect and just let those URLs return 404s. There’s no reason why that should make anything worse. Eb 🙂

  5. I am updating old recipes from many many years ago, but I want to change the urls because they are basically really long copies of what I titled the blog post. I know I can change the titles but can I actually update the url to reflect the new title? Or do I need to delete and start over?

    1. Definitely don’t delete and start again! Only delete a post if there’s no way to salvage it – it’s just old and pointless and not worth updating. And definitely don’t just change the URLs either. Those URLs will have built up ‘Google juice’ over the years – and you don’t want to lose that. Personally, I would just edit the post and keep the old URL… it really doesn’t matter if the old URL is not ‘perfect’. If you really really want to change the URL, make sure you set up a redirect from the old URL to the new one. I use Yoast Premium for redirects >>> https://www.productiveblogging.com/yoast-seo-premium-review/ but there are free plugins, such as ‘Redirection’, which will also do the job. Hope that helps! Eb 🙂

  6. Hi Eb
    That’s a really helpful and useful post – thank you for sharing it
    I just wanted to ask, after deleting old posts I have errors in Search Console. Should I just leave them, or ‘validate fix’?
    Thanks again
    Robert

    1. Thanks Robert! Good to hear you found this post helpful. Just ignore the errors on Search Console. They will drop out naturally. Eb 🙂

  7. Thanks for this post!
    Just to clarify, I have several 301 redirects that I put in place a couple of years ago, but I didn’t delete the old posts. So my understanding is it’s okay for me to delete them now and the 301 redirects will still work even if the original post is gone?
    Thank you.

    1. H Barb, Yes that’s correct. You can delete those original posts and the 301 redirects will still work. Eb 🙂

  8. This is a very useful post. I have never bothered to delete any old posts on my blog. But having read this, I can see I will have to do some prunings. Thanks for your advice.

  9. Eb, great post, thank you for this but I wondered what you would do in this situation.

    A client has asked us to promote a whitepaper for them for 1 month. The page is a lead capture page and has been heavily promoted on social channels etc.

    The campaign has ended so do I just delete the page? I’m concerned it’s not very helpful for anyone that might click the link and get a 404. But also, I don’t want to clog up my site with landing pages that are no longer valid either.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciate please.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Mark, good to hear you likes the post! And good question… I guess my question back to you is what happens right now when someone clicks a link to the landing page. Because if all their getting is a landing page which is no longer valid, then that’s not a great user experience either. So I guess the next question is what would be a good user experience? In this example, maybe that would be redirecting the lead to an ‘oops you missed it, but…’ type page with something else for them. But I guess it all depends on what sort of relationship you have with your client. If it’s an ongoing one, then this would make sense. But if this was a one off and you are no longer interested in nurturing / converting the leads the social media might be generating, then the right answer might just be to hit delete. Hope that helps!

  10. Hi,

    By accident, my techie person deleted all my blog posts on a theme update. The site was bloated with old photos / posts (I’m a photographer) and the website needed a good prune. Now I’ve lost all 300 posts, should I restore a backup or embrace the change and start afresh? Wondering how much SEO damage it will incurr? Thanks,

    1. Oh my, that’s awful! I would certainly restore a backup ASAP as, yes, that is likely to have quite a significant negative effect on your SEO and traffic. But then what I would do is carefully go through your old blog posts and figure out which are a) still relevant and useful and should be kept b) out of date / poor quality, but which could be improved and updated c) out of date / poor quality and can’t be improved and updated. I would then keep the a’s, update the b’s and delete the c’s. Then you can start afresh with some new high quality content! You might also like to take a look at this post >>> https://www.productiveblogging.com/update-old-blog-post/ Hope that helps! Eb 🙂

  11. Hi, Love this post. It answered my question almost completely. My remaining concerns are about doing a deletion of more than half of my 600 posts. My blog was really a journal-type RVing blog for several years and there are hundreds of basically useless posts. When I really started focusing on growing my blog as a business I began SEO optimization and started writing for my readers rather than journaling.

    Will my site be negatively impacted by deleting over 300 posts? I have almost no traffic to those posts and no SEO work has been done. They are using a huge chunk of my data storage and it just seems like the best thing to do is make them go away.

    Thoughts?

    1. Deleting posts which provide no real value to your readers, get very little traffic and are not optimized for SEO is almost always a positive thing as far as SEO is concerned. But if you are at all concerned you could delete them in batches over several weeks/months and monitor it. An alternative is that – at least for some of them – you could re-write the post in a way that does deliver value and is optimized – even if that means a complete rewrite. My usual approach with each post is to see if it is possible to salvage the post / rewrite and improve it first… and if not I delete it. Think of it as pruning! Hope that helps. Eb 🙂

  12. Wow, this is so helpful. I knew that I wanted to delete some old posts but I feared the consequences. Now, I have done it quite happily and checked my 401 message in my theme editor (I am not techie so feeling quite proud). Thank you for all this information.

  13. Hi EB,
    my blog is on WordPress. once a post is published, there’s an option at the top where it says ‘switch to draft.’ Can’t I switch to draft and delete instead of figuring out a 404 or 410?

    If I’m deleting a page forever, won’t Google catch on eventually? I would have deleted all my internal links pointing to that deleted blog post so won’t the URL eventually disappear? How would people find that link anyway?

    I’m trying to clean up some of my blog posts but I’m still pretty confused about the deleting process.

    Thanks,
    Nicole

    1. Hi Nicole,

      Yes, you can absolutely just delete your post! Once a post is deleted, it will automatically serve a 404. And, exactly as you say, Google will quickly catch on and understand that that post is no longer available and drop it from their index.

      Hope that helps,
      Eb 🙂

  14. How many unsalvageable blog posts is it safe to delete at once? Is it possible to be penalized by Google for deleting too many at the same time?

    1. As far as I know, it’s safe to delete all your unsalvageable blog posts in one hit – I’ve never seen anything from Google to suggest otherwise… And TBH it wouldn’t really make sense for Google to have a maximum, as their focus is on sending its users to high quality content on high quality websites, so you deleting all your poor quality content could only be a positive thing from Google’s point of view… (If you are really worried, though, I guess you could do a few per day and spread it out over a few weeks.)

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