How to Get Content and Earn Credibility with Old News

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Brisbane 1959 – image by pizzodisevo.

Who wants to read yesterday’s news? This might sound like a rhetoric question but it’s not: Google users or searchers want to read old news. They actually seek out your old, even archaic content right now. What do they find? Outdated information and dead links.

I just checked a blog of mine which turns 5 this year and noticed a short post which had 20 visitors from Google this month for being #1 for a specific but still not that seldom used term. It contained 4 external links and 3 of them were dead.

Do you think people who end up on your blog and click your links to find 404 error messages or worse domain grabbers cheap ad infested sites will want to come back?

Well I guess this is really a rhetorical question. So what to do? Clean up months or years of archived posts? No, this is obviously too much work also not really rewarding work.

Instead view it as a positive opportunity to get fresh content without actually writing it anew, just update one old post at a time.

Also you can earn additional credibility doing this as people appreciate well kept websites as valuable resources. Just mark the post as updated with the classic line from static websites in pre-blog times “Update [date]” and also describe what it was exactly that you updated. Many open source projects do it this way with their software. This method works fine and tells the visitors: This project is alive and kicking.

Now with blogging you could argue that the visitor will see that it’s alive looking at the latest posts or visiting the front page, but most people won’t, they will exit your site on the broken page they entered.

In the above mentioned case it took me less than 10 minutes to research the new links, some were on a different page within the same site, one disappeared altogether but I found a very similar one elsewhere within minutes. Then I changed the date in WordPress to the current one and added an

“Published at [date]. Last updated at [date]“

line at the bottom as well as an update notice above stating that the links have been fixed. That post now appears as “new” on my front page.

  • So I did not have to write a new one today.
  • Also a post from 2005 has most probably been not yet read by the current blog readers.
  • Even if they either forgot it or the additional value of new links makes sense for them too.

So with a few minutes of work you can both get content and earn credibility for your blog with old news. Do not forget, your archive is your goldmine, when it’s full of rocks and dust readers won’t discover the gold though.

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