The old or the new?

When it comes to content this is the decision and the dilemma that many webmasters have. For a long time now there has been rumours circulating the internet saying that Google prefers and gives greater weight to newer posts and content rather than old ones that have existed for a long time. So strong is the opinion on this that many people have reported to taking down their older content because they feel it might affect updates such as Panda or simply that Google will not deem the site quality with older literature.

Well we can confirm that this has now be answered by Google’s own office hours discussion with John Mueller, who says that older content is generally not discriminated against in verses new content.

 You will notice the addition of the word ‘generally’ here as like always with such bold statements there does appear to be a few caveats.

1) If you have substantial old content on your site then this could have an effect on your crawl rate. Quite simply, this could be down to the fact that the crawl is ‘seeing’ most of your old content and therefore having problems seeing the new.

2) Over the last few years there has been a greater push for quality content. If most of your posts are old and were made before this big quality factor came into being, it is again likely that some of your older content may be problematic in this way.

The truth is that most webmasters update and engage with their websites regularly, and so the above two factors do not apply. It is however something to consider.

If you do have older content and are worried, then one way to investigate this is to look at your analytics data. By seeing whether Google is directing people to those pages it can show where users are coming from. Then you may notice that despite content being old, simply removing the pages would be no good as you would lose out on visits.

We think you do not need to carry out the above experiment as Google’s statement of declaration is sufficient (so long as those supplementary two points do not apply to you.)

Remember at the end of day, there is new content which is of poor quality, old content which is of great quality and everything in between. Some things also do not need updating. E.g. Writing about history does not radically change once any facts are known, as it is not an evolving subject. With all of this mind, it would be wrong and perhaps unethical for Google to penalise webmasters in this way.

Hopefully that has at least clarified the issue a little more for you!

Have a look at our SEO services page where you can find out more about why you may need us.