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Managing Old Content Online

If you have had a website or blog for a while, chances are you have a lot of content online. On one hand, that establishes your longstanding expertise. But there is a down side. Search engines and people look for fresh content when determining relevance and accuracy, so that legacy content can actually work against you unless you actively manage old content online.

Update Valid Content

Content you first published years ago may be accurate and helpful today. Set a schedule to regularly revisit this content to make sure nothing needs tweaking. Make sure there are no new nuances that need to be included. Perhaps cite a most recent example or case study to illustrate the main point.

If the content has gotten long, consider breaking it onto more than one page or post to freshen it. Have a checklist of your current brand guidelines, writing style and SEO needs and make sure the content is updated as needed.

The goal is to ensure readers and search engines know that the content is still timely and worthwhile.

Delete Unneeded Posts and Pages

Take a look at your analytics. Likely, you have many posts and pages that aren’t getting any traffic. (Personally, I am hoping that all my COVID-related content becomes obsolete very soon!)

This old content adds no value anymore, now or for the foreseeable future. In that case, you need to either tell Google to forget about these old posts or pages or give the URL another purpose.

When I talk about deleting old content, I don’t mean just pressing “delete” and then forgetting about it. If you do that, the content might show up in Google for weeks after deletion. The URL might actually have some link value as well, which would be a shame to waste.

So, what should you do? Here are two options:

  • 301 redirect the old post to a related one. When a URL still holds value because, say, you have a number of quality links pointing to that page, you want to leverage that value by redirecting the URL to a related one. With a 301 redirect you’ll tell search engines and visitors there’s a better or newer version of this content on your site. The 301 redirect automatically sends people and Google to this page.
  • Tell search engines the content is intentionally gone. If there isn’t a relevant page on your site you can redirect to, tell Google to forget about your old post entirely by setting 410 deleted status. This status code will tell Google and visitors the content didn’t just disappear; you’ve deleted it with a reason.

Create a Maintenance Plan

Cleaning up old content should be part of your content maintenance routine. Go through old posts regularly. Refresh the content that still has value. Unpublish the rest.

Are You a SME?

We are all subject matter experts (SMEs) for something. Few of us really leverage that expertise to its best potential in our online marketing.

Highlighting your expertise can benefit any business. It shows that you have a high level of knowledge about your field. Further, algorithms used by search engines and social media platforms, look for and elevate content from SMEs.

Know Your Niche

The first step in leveraging your subject matter expertise is to define it well. You want to have a clear focus on what it is that you know especially well. Narrow expertise is fine, and may even be helpful.

Concentrate on a highly specific area of your industry. Don’t recommend everything you come across or try to spread your reach across the entire field. Stick to what you know well.

The more specific you are, the better. For example, if you want to become well-known in the auto industry, don’t start a blog that discusses all things about cars. Focus on one aspect, like the safety issues and features or car repair.

Create Quality Content

Share content online that demonstrates your expertise and the valuable insight you have. Content can be blog posts, articles, interviews, images, infographics, podcasts, etc. Pick ways that you are most comfortable with, because you will need to create a consistent stream of content.

Make sure that every piece of content you create delivers genuine value to people who read it. An expert should add value over the other information already available. That’s the key to gaining attention.

Share Subject Matter Expertise Widely

Share your content everywhere that people who are interested might be. You can’t just post on your own blog and social media pages. You need to get your name out there.

Join related groups and post. Guest blog. Comment on content from other experts in your industry. When people look for content related to your industry, you want your name to be part of what they find.

Think Network

You need a network. Your network should include industry professionals who will help increase your knowledge, standing, and connections.

Social media is key when it comes to this. See who the people you admire are following to get ideas about who else to connect with online.

Networks are a two-way street. Connect and also interact. Regularly engage with your followers and share new information with them.

3 Essential Ways to Establish Yourself as an Expert

Every business is an expert at something. Sharing that expertise online is a crucial component of marketing success. Your expertise matched to customer needs is the groundwork for business development.

There are three great ways to establish your expertise online: social media, LinkedIn and forums. In this post I look at each.

Social Media

All social channels are great platforms to share your knowledge and insight. Among your options, you can leverage the short format of Twitter, the visual format of Instagram, and the longer posts allowed by Facebook.

People use social media to learn things and to connect. When they find content of value, they can read, engage and follow for the longer term. All of these actions are a win for your brand marketing.

Be most effective by sharing a variety of content. You can offer your own words and images as well as share and engage with content from others. In everything you do, be sure to highlight your expertise and the key value of your brand.

LinkedIn Articles

LinkedIn is the social platform for professionals, but it deserves separate mention as a means to establish your subject matter expertise. Like other social channels, LinkedIn allows you to post regular updates. Added to that is the option to post articles.

LinkedIn articles allow you to do a deeper dive into a topic. The platforms’ tagging system exposes your content to everyone interested in the topics you choose. This is a great opportunity to expand your influence.

Forums

There was a time when most interaction online happened in discussion forums. Social media has eclipsed most of these, but there are still very strong discussion communities online. Quora and Reddit are two examples. There are also countless discussion forums supported by industry groups and professional organizations.

Forums allow you to ask questions and to offer answers. Both activities position you as an expert in your topic area. Taking time to make valuable contributions will earn you a following. When someone needs your expertise, they will know who to tap.