We have events that happen annually, that we want to have UTD content on. I’m sure this is very common with other CS communities.
To avoid an ever increasing pool of duplicated content, would it be better to edit the existing content? Choose one topic as the go-to, and link other older duplicates to this new topic. We can add a clear time stamp so customers know it’s relevant (alhtough is that enough… is the old publish date, at the top, enough to risk the content being disregarded as old…?) and edit the title as well.
But does this effect that content’s SEO? What hurts content’s SEO when editing? Is changing the title worse then only changing the content copy? Is changing the content category a big no no?
Maybe a duplicate and a good archieving system is better. At least the publish date makes it clear that it’s the right topic to look at? Thoughts welcome!
Best answer by Julian
Thanks for sharing your questions here with us! :)
I also discussed this with a colleague of mine, as updating older content can have both positive and negative effects:
- Google likes new content, so in general it is not bad to update old/outdated content
- However if your update results in less powerful keywords in the title / body, it could actually also damage it’s value long-term
Maybe you want to check first how much value you get out of that specific topic - GA can tell you how many clicks you get and if it is ranking high for certain search queries. Should that be the case, I would suggest to not remove too much from the topic title and the body which could harm the performance in the future.
As this is about events, I would assume that more people will be searching for this years’ event than for last years’ event. So probably you should be able to improve / maintain a good SEO performance by updating the title and details to the current event.
I personally choose to publish a new topic each year, for several reasons:
- some users might want to check back what happened last year, updating content would wipe that info from my community
- I think it is more important to keep the user experience high of users browsing my community - however I am talking with a B2B background where organic search performance is not a high prio, while that is much more the case for a B2C community
- You also mentioned timestamps - I see the risk as well that content is not “trusted” as much when the timestamp is showing the topic has been published a year ago. In general users will continue to read and learn that it is new content, however I get that it might cause a bit of confusion.
And to answer your question if a title edit is worse than a content edit: both have their impact, I personally do not think that one is worse than the other. Of course it also depends what you do with it - an edit to a super long title could hurt the SEO performance, just as removing all keywords from the body… If you maintain the level of keywords or add more to it, you should be safe.
Also, speaking about the content category: In the end this should be fine as well, as far as I can see it: The topic ID is a unique identifier of your topic, so Google will follow and update the location. I am not aware of any negative impact on your SEO value.
I hope that this gives you a better feeling for how to tackle this challenge. I think in your specific case it might be a good idea to update the older topic and then “bump” the topic by adding a new comment. It should not hurt the SEO performance in this context too much. Should you still not feel sure about it or should you have more questions, just let us know! :)