What To Do With Your Old Seasonal Content?
Written by: Nick LeRoy
Merry belated Christmas and a happy early New Year! This article is a follow up to the one I wrote last month about what to do with dead e-commerce product pages. Just like product pages, there are good ways and bad ways to deal with your sites seasonal content. The first step in dealing with your seasonal content is to answer these questions.
Is this content updated on a yearly basis?
Will this year's seasonal content add any value for future years?
Once you answer the questions above you are on track to make the best decision regarding your old seasonal content pages.
Is This Seasonal Updated On A Yearly Basis?
Did you create content specific for a holiday in 2010? Will you plan on updating this content next year with info for the year 2011? You should consider utilizing one URL and transitioning content. Did I lose you with that suggestion? Let me rewind and walk you through a fantastic example.
David Mihm every year conducts extensive research and interviews 'local search' experts. After putting together the data he publishes it to the URL http://www.davidmihm.com/local-search-ranking-factors.shtml. This URL is what comes up number 1 when searching "local search ranking" in Google. This makes it real easy for people searching for "local search rankings" to find his site. What about next years data though? Simple, he moves the current content to a new URL. This brings us to the next question...
Will This Years Seasonal Content Add Any Value For Future Years?
Continuing with the local search ranking example, David realizes that some people may be interested in the data reported from previous years. Due to the value this content still offers David moves last years content to the new URL http://www.davidmihm.com/local-search-ranking-factors-2009.shtml. The newest data is then placed on the URL that already ranks number one. Doing this allows David to skip the pain of building links and doing additional SEO tasks to rank his new content in the search rankings. It also ensures the readers get the most up to date local search information. By creating a new URL and transitioning last years content it still allows users access to that data as well. When doing a search for "local search rankings 2009" David's new URL ranks number third. Unfortunately he doesn't have "2009" in the title tag; it might be possible to jump up the rankings just by making that little tweak. Regardless, the older information is still very much accessible to people specifically seeking it.
What To Do With Your Seasonal Content
You need to determine if your content is going to be updated yearly. If you know that it will be then make sure you don't create a URL that includes the date. Presenting content from 2010 with a URL that includes 2009 isn't a good idea and could even confuse readers.
Content is updated yearly and past content has future value.
You will want to follow the example mentioned above. You will receive traffic to the top ranking page as well as additional traffic from the old content being moved to a different URL.
The Risk - None, I don't see any risk associated with technique.
The Reward - You now have multiple pages of content that can drive additional traffic to your site.
Content is updated yearly and past content has NO future value.
Very rarely is there content that has no future value but it does happen. A one time event page comes to mind as a good example. This situation can be tricky but you still have some options. You can transition the old content to a new URL or you can delete the old content all together (which I don't recommend).
The Risk - Deleting the old content will no longer make it available to visitors
The Reward - Deleting the content adds no value but the new content residing on the old contents URL will benefit from existing search engine rankings. Moving the old content to another URL is the 'safe' decision. You can always go back and delete it later if your adamant about it.
If your content is NOT updated yearly.
You have two options in this scenario. Say you wrote about a specific holiday event that will occur only once. The first option is that you could keep the page and any links received will help your domains overall authority. You also would be able to maintain any search traffic it's receiving. The alternative is that you can 301 redirect the page to another page on your site that could benefit from the transfer of the link juice.
The Risk - 301 redirecting the URL to another page on your site will cause you to lose any search traffic that page is generating.
The Reward - Both techniques offer your site value. Look at your analytics and determine whether or not your site benefits more from the additional link juice being 301 redirected to another page or the search traffic the current page is receiving.
Too often I see people create holiday content that is routinely mishandled once the holidays are over. This content offers SEO value and if handled properly can give your site a SEO advantage for years to come.