Should You Repurpose Blog Content or Delete It?


There’s a debate about archives in the blogosphere: Should you repurpose blog content that needs an update or should you just kill it?

What do you do if you decide some old stuff needs to go: repurpose blog content or delete it once and for all?

Last week, I wrote about the important first piece of action you should take.

This week, I thought I’d look at the two sides of the debate on your blog archives.

Repurpose blog content

Some people insist that you should always repurpose blog content you feel is in need of an update. Just go in and rework the old content right where it is.

Don’t worry about deleting the old post, they say. Rewrite it and leave it at the same URL.

The reason for this is that if the old content, even if you feel it’s obsolete, still gets page views, you’re creating a broken link when you delete it. If other sites have linked to that piece specifically, that will definitely break those links.

That’s generally considered a bad idea.

Here at Patrick’s Place, I post daily. And while I’ve written before that archives are more important than your front page, I still want new content coming.

So assuming there are no links to the old content that I can find and that analytics shows me that URL isn’t generating any traffic, I might just rewrite the content and post it as something new. Perhaps the rewrite and republishing might give it a better chance at being seen.

Delete blog content

Some people insist that content you’re not happy with should just be deleted. Lower quality content, after all, could hurt the overall image of your blog.

That’s a possibility.

If your content comes up in search results for something someone queries and what they find is sub-par, they may not return. And if you’ve written about controversial topics on which your position may have changed, you might have a valid reason to remove it.

Deleting means it’s gone — at least to the extent anything deleted from the web is ever actually “gone.” But when you delete it, the idea is it can’t come back to hurt you.

But the issue here is the same as before: if others link to your content, deleting it will break those links and that could hurt your SEO. If those links do get traffic, even for the wrong reason, removing it could also make Google notice something’s wrong.

Generally, you’re better off if Google doesn’t think something’s wrong with your blog.

I just repurposed a post myself.

Last week I wrote a post I wrote about 11 years ago. It was the first in what was meant to be a series of 10 posts about my 100 favorite movies.

The trouble is it was part of a larger feature on my blog that, for personal reasons, I no longer am comfortable keeping. So I’ve deleted several posts and am repurposing others.

This one, however, was the first that I repurposed.

When I originally wrote it more than a decade ago, I wasn’t using Yoast for SEO. In fact, I didn’t make any effort toward SEO then. So this new version has already improved the product. And in this case, since I’ve eliminated dates from the blog URLs, this one kept its same URL and appears as new content.


What do you do more often with your blog? Do you repurpose old stuff or just kill it when you feel it’s lost its usefulness?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.