Legacy B2B Content: When to Refresh, Redirect, or Remove

Content is critical for B2B business to attract potential customers, capture leads, and guide those leads toward conversion. Different types of content, of course, play their unique parts in the buying cycle. SEO-focused blog content can pique your audiences’ interest; a gated whitepaper helps you capture their information; detailed product collateral will help you close the sale.

However – the mantra “quality over quantity” is particularly important for B2B content marketers. Fluffy content, off-brand content, and outdated content isn’t doing you any favors to get visitors to your site and into the lead funnel.

Every so often, it’s important to audit your site and ensure your content assets – whether it be a landing page, blog post, eBook, or product brochure – are high-quality, on-brand and valuable for prospects, leads, or customers. Two core benefits of this practice are:

Improving Organic Visibility

Several notable Google algorithm updates (Including RankBrain, Hummingbird, and Panda) penalize “shallow”, low-quality content and keyword stuffing. Pages are considered “low” if any of the following applies, among other factors:

  • An inadequate level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T)
  • The quality of the main content is low
  • There is an unsatisfying amount of main content for the purpose of the page

Even if your site didn’t get hit by an algorithm update, it’s never a bad idea to update or remove content that falls into one or more of these categories, thereby increasing the site’s authority and potential organic visibility.

Consistent Brand Messaging & Authority

For content that holds less SEO value (such as gated assets), audit for brand messaging purposes. This type of content usually comes into play later in the buying funnel, after users read a few blog posts and product landing pages.

From a user’s perspective, having gated content that isn’t valuable (aka isn’t worth giving a name and email address for) or has outdated information (such as features that are no longer available) will discredit your authority and make it unlikely they’ll lead to an actual sale. In addition, your site will tell a more cohesive story if brand and product information is up-to-date.

Let’s take a closer look at how to audit your legacy B2B content:

Step 1: Review Content Performance

First, take advantage of Google Analytics to identify content that isn’t driving traffic to your site. Export the Behavior > Site Content > All Pages report from the past year or two.

Make sure you’re looking at total traffic to account for content that’s accessed directly or through referral channels like social media, in addition to pages accessed via organic search engines.

Along with traffic, take a look at content that drove conversions and acquired backlinks. Top-converting URLs can be found in the Google Analytics Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages report, backlinks through tools like Buzzsumo or SEMrush.

Though your top converting pages/posts may not be your top-trafficked, you don’t want to get rid of them or modify too much at risk of losing lead generation value. Any content that’s linked from external sources should also stay.

Step 2: Refresh, Redirect, or Remove

Take a closer look URLs that didn’t bring traffic to your site and have no conversions or backlinks. Are there any that are are no longer relevant? This might mean a page, post or asset that:

  • Covers an event that has passed,
  • Has the wrong brand messaging, or
  • Doesn’t offer value in any stage of the buyer’s journey

Once you have a list of underperforming, outdated content…it’s time to get to work.

When to Refresh Content

Certainly, the search landscape has changed quite a bit over the years and to be successful, you have to pivot your content marketing strategy – what worked five years ago is certainly not what works today.

One example of this is optimizing for Google Answer Boxes – a SERP feature that didn’t even exist a few years ago. To improve an existing post’s chance of ranking in the answer box, the keyword target must be prominent within the page or post title and the most important information should be highlighted at the beginning of the post. Thus, an older post that ranks relatively well for a keyword with an answer box result may just need a bit of title tweaking and formatting updates to reach that coveted spot and improve traffic.

Consider refreshing legacy content that’s:

  • Underperforming, but still relevant to your brand and/or serves marketing/sales purposes

In certain cases, you can boost organic visibility and traffic by modifying existing content. It may be necessary to update the keyword target, adjust page tagging, and/or add content based on past performance and search results. For content used during the sales process, make sure all brand messaging and product information is current.

Also, make sure to refresh top-performing legacy content to maximize SEO value. Say one of your top posts, which covers LinkedIn advertising, is from 2013. Certainly, a lot has changed since then. By updating this content with the most relevant information, it has a better chance of ranking organically. Similarly, if the content performs well but utilizes outdated product names or features, update it.

When to Redirect Content

Sometimes, it makes sense to implement a 301 redirect for legacy content. This includes:

  • Underperforming or outdated content that is similar to a more valuable asset
  • Duplicate content

301 redirects are valuable if you want to pass the value from one piece of content to another. If an older blog post doesn’t fit with current branding but does have a few external links pointing to it, you’ll want to redirect to a post of a similar topic to ensure that value passes to the new page once live.

If you find any instances of duplicated content (the same content existing on different URLs), redirect duplicates to the version with the most traffic, conversions, and backlinks.

Note that you want to avoid too many redirects since they can put a strain on servers and slow load times, so don’t go redirecting all legacy content.

When to Remove Content

Certain legacy content is best dealt with by removal, especially:

  • Underperforming content that doesn’t provide value and/or is outdated

For underperforming content, ask yourself if it’s something worth refreshing. If the content is not driving traffic, conversions, or backlinks and is not relevant for your audience today (whether it’s a recap of an event passed or collateral for a retired product) it’s likely not worth keeping on your site.

In this case, by removing the content you may be able to increase the value and authority of your remaining blog and resources, and save search engines’ crawl budget for your more valuable assets.

Step 3: Measure Success

Just as critical as measuring performance before you start the process of refreshing, redirecting or removing legacy content is measuring success after the fact. Make sure to monitor traffic and keyword ranking for any severe dips after modifying content. Refreshed content, in particular, may need additional changes every so often to optimize performance.

Final Thoughts

A recent CMI study found that 93 percent of the most successful B2B content marketers are extremely committed to content marketing. Part of that commitment isn’t just creating content and never touching it again – every so often, you need to review legacy content and adjust for relevancy to improve organic visibility, increase authority, and ensure brand consistency of your site.

Any other ideas about how to deal with legacy B2B content? Connect with us on Twitter!

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