What’s the shelf life of a blog?
Current times have thrown up a whole new set of search terms for blogs. This time last year, who had heard of ‘coronavirus’, ‘Covid-19’, ‘lockdown’, or even ‘Joe Wickes’?
The temptation in writing blogs for today is to throw today’s popular pandemic terms into the content with abandon.
That’s certainly not wrong, especially if you can find niche terms that will draw the right audience into your blog.
There is another side to this though, and that’s the longevity of the piece.
Updating inhouse blogs is hard work but feasible
Let me jump here into my role of website owner and editor, offering hundreds of high-quality articles sharing knowledge and offering advice to my readership.
They’re the families of older friends and relatives who want to know how to provide and get support to maintain the best quality of life in later years. Or in other words, they’re looking out for their oldies, and they’re frequently utterly bemused by what’s available on the health, wealth and welfare front.
For those readers, it’s really important that the information I give is up to date. That means I have to revisit as much as possible regularly to update or at least sticker the content with a warning about its age.
The coronavirus pandemic has put this process into a much higher gear.
I publish advice one day about self-isolating for the over 70s, or how to get help if you’re highly vulnerable, or social distancing in shops across the UK, and within days it’s been superseded. And not only does it change rapidly, but we’ve now split into four nations, all doing our own thing.
This is really difficult, because in my opinion there’s nothing more useless than outdated advice, and its effect on a blog’s credibility can take a major hit as a result.
The takeout from this, then, is that I update articles where I can, I warn about pieces that might not be up-to-date but I haven’t had time to revisit properly, and I sometimes just delete.
Contributed blogs are another matter entirely
This is OK for the inhouse-written blogs. But it becomes much more difficult when the post has been contributed by a third party.
That partner wants their post to remain where it can be seen by the search engines. But if it’s offering old information, it’s damaging. So somehow the blog owner has to balance being faithful to their audience, their partner, and the search engines.
The answer may be to sideline the piece so it’s difficult to find by the audience, but pertinent links are still there. This is fine if all the partner wants is the link. If they actually provided the post to be seen as experts in their field, it’s more problematic.
It’s about being realistic
Right now I have a growing number of posts on my blog that have been hung on the major topic of the last few months – Covid-19. But anyone who contributes a post has to accept that the shelf life of these posts is going to be much shorter than those on topics that last forever.
What do you want to achieve? Short-term popularity or long-term credibility? Worth considering as you create your content plans and finesse your SEO.