How to handle old content

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When a community becomes more mature some of the provided information or answers given might become outdated. Since a community should help people to find the right information, this outdate information should be taken care of.

Please note that removing older topics or moving topics to an ‘archive’ category is not an option. By doing so you will delete community pages (that might have had a lot of traffic) which can lead to a huge decrease in visitors via organic search since Google notifies a decrease in informative pages and the older forum topics can attract visitors.

Instead of deleting old content it is advised to update the content of the outdated topics. Of course, it will be impossible to check every single topic in the community, but with the following approach the information on the community can be updated without putting in too much unneeded effort. It is advised to check for topics that need to be updated twice a year.

4 steps to update topics

Step 1: Create a list of the most visited topics of the last year

Visit the Google Analytics page that covers the analytics of the community or any other analytics tool you might have in place like Omniture.

Step 2: Export the top 1000 mos read pages

To check if 1000 topics make sense, you can take a look at the number of views. You can also decide on the number of pages to check based on the views and for instance only check pages that are viewed over 100 times. You may not need to check the content of 1000 pages. You may not need to check the content of 1000 pages. You should look for the most viewed topics to make sure you are only changing topics that are still being visited. You can export the most read pages via the ‘export’ button on the top left corner in Google Analytics.

Step 3: Divide the topics among your moderators

Now that you have all your most viewed topics in the last year, it is time to divide the work among your team. For instance, every moderator can check 100 topics. This might look like a lot of topics, but in the top 1000 pages there will be a lot of topics that are still containing the right information, category pages, profile pages, etc. In most cases only 1 out of 10 to 20 topics have to be adjusted.

Step 4: Update the topic content

Updating a topic can be done in two ways.

1) You can update the first comment of the topic by adding the right information.

The updated information in bold. In the updated comment it is important to mention the date so that vistors can immediately see that the topic has been updated, e.g.:

Edit 11 November 2016 by [company name]: The new rates for 2016 are….

Instead of adding the new information you can also link to a newer topic that contains the right information like:

Edit 11 November 2016 by [company name]: The new rates for 2016 can be found in this topic:…

This approach might also contribute to a higher ranking of the updated topic in Google since it will lead to clicks and visitors to the newer topic.

2) Another approach is to edit the answer that is marked so the right information will also appear in the first comment.

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