Outdated content can drag down the overall authority of your law firm’s website on search engines. In fact, removing or reviving outdated content can improve your website’s visibility and rankings on Google. Deleting outdated content can also improve user experience and boost your brand’s reputation by ensuring content is as accurate as possible. Fortunately, Google Search Console has a Remove Outdated Content tool that does a lot of the heavy lifting for you and this month the tool was updated with a refreshed interface which makes existing capabilities more intuitive to use. Here’s what legal marketers should know about Google’s update to their Remove Outdated Content Tool.
What Is Outdated Content?
Outdated content is any page on your website that is inaccurate, lacks value, or doesn’t reflect your current brand positioning.
Here are a few examples:
- Discontinued service pages
- Outdated advice
- Content no longer relevant to your law firm
- Outdated job postings
- Former attorney profiles
This could all amount to a lot of content that would take a legal marketer a long time to browse for on their website manually – especially at a large firm with many practice areas and hundreds of attorneys.
Remove Outdated Content Tool: What is it?
The overall goal of the tool is to help site owners and managers quickly remove their own outdated content. The tool is to be used for removing outdated content and updating the search results for pages or images that no longer exist, or pages that have removed important content.
Marketers can go Google Search Console to access the tool and choose which property you’ll work on. The tool serves three main functions:
- Allows marketers to temporarily hide urls from showing in Google search (for example, if you know some content is outdated but haven’t gotten around to updating the page yet)
- Shows which content is not in Google because it is considered “outdated content”
- Displays urls that were filtered by Google’s SafeSearch explicit content filter
Temporary removals do not actually remove your url, but hides it in search results for up to 6 months. This is not a permanent solution – in the future, you’ll still need to create a 404 page or use another method to block the content – but it is helpful while you perform an audit of content and get around to updating items.
Google allows you to either temporarily hide the url from Google search results, or clear the cached page and wipe out the page description snippet in Search results until the page is crawled again.
The Remove Outdated Content function is a public feature that can be used by anyone to request removals based on out-of-date information. You can use this tool to generate a list of urls with a history of removal requests within the last 6 months.
The SafeSearch filtering shows you which urls were reported as adult or explicit content. These are urls that were reported by users as adult-specific using the SafeSearch suggestion tool. The urls are reviewed by Google, and those that are determined to be adult content are filtered out of SafeSearch results. This should be particularly helpful as, in the past, some website managers found it difficult to understand which urls were removed due to SafeSearch.
Remove Outdated Content Tool: What Has Changed?
Google added a lot more detail to the page on when to use this tool, when not to use this tool, how to use it and the various statuses. It’s also worth noting that Google revamped the look and feel of the tool to be more intuitive and more aligned with their Search Console interface overall. They also took steps to make the features more mobile friendly, should you need to work on outdated content tasks on the go. The old version will not be available after January 19, 2021 – so it’s time to get familiar with the new tool and what it can do for your content marketing initiatives.
There are tangible benefits to regularly updating content – including removing pages that may be considered outdated. Google has recently improved the tools that can help legal marketers and site managers to do this. For more information, see the official Google support page here.
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