Can old content hurt my website’s ranking?


We’ve all heard the saying, “Out with the old, in with the new,” right? But when it comes to website content, this adage may not always apply.

Danny Sullivan, a prominent figure in the SEO community and Google’s Search Liaison, recently took to Twitter to address a widely-held misconception.

Many site owners and SEOs have come to believe that older content can hurt their website’s search rankings. They assume Google has a preference for fresh, new content. This notion has led many to embark on content purges, removing articles and posts that they consider “outdated”.

However, Sullivan clarifies this misbelief by stating, “Are you deleting content from your site because you somehow believe Google doesn’t like ‘old’ content? That’s not a thing!” He further emphasizes that Google’s official guidelines do not encourage this behavior. Instead, Google acknowledges that older content can still be invaluable and pertinent.

Historical Relevance

Older posts often serve as a historical reference, providing insights into trends, shifts in public opinion, and the evolution of a particular topic over time. Think of them like the rings in a tree stump, revealing its age and the conditions it weathered.

Archived Information

Furthermore, archived posts often contain information that may no longer be available elsewhere, acting as a reservoir of knowledge. Imagine deleting a chapter from a history book. That’s what happens when you remove old content.

SEO Advantages of Retaining Old Content

Yes, SEO isn’t just about the new and the now. Old content can pack a punch in the rankings, too.

Loss of Valuable Backlinks

When you delete an older post, you may lose out on valuable backlinks that have accumulated over the years. These backlinks play a crucial role in building your website’s authority and boosting its ranking.

Loss of Established Authority

Older content has had the time to establish authority and credibility, and removing it can equate to throwing away hard-earned trust. Why start from scratch when you can build on a solid foundation?

How to Optimize Older Content for SEO

Alright, so we shouldn’t just purge our old content. But that doesn’t mean we leave it to gather virtual dust either. So, how can we spruce it up?

Update with Current Information

Bring your old content up to speed with the latest developments, ensuring it stays relevant and valuable.

Improve User Experience

Enhance readability, optimize images, and ensure that your older articles are mobile-friendly. This not only enhances user experience but can also give a boost to SEO.

Re-engage with the Audience

Re-sharing and re-promoting old content can reignite interest, drawing more traffic and engagement.


In the ever-evolving digital landscape, there’s a place for both the old and the new. Older content has its charm, authority, and value. Instead of discarding it, optimize and cherish it. After all, as the wise say, “Old is gold.”

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