In a recent post on Web Ink Now entitled Do Not Delete Your Content Because It Should Live Forever, David Meerman Scott analyzes the various reasons why your web pages should never be deleted and continue to provide a historical perspective on where your company has been as well as providing ongoing valuable linkage. Although this strategy is not recommended for sites such as catalog etailers who clearly must eliminate listings of discontinued or no longer available products, there is ample wisdom in imbuing immortality onto your HTML and reaping the link benefits.
Deleting a million+ view video should be a criminal offense
Scott points out to an Air New Zealand video which had garnered over a million YouTube views and then was surprisingly taken down by the airline. Although the Kiwis claimed that there were some rights issues at play, it seems wholly counterproductive to expend the effort required to make a video viral when you’re just going to take it down anyway. If there were rights issues then the airline would have been well served to resolve them and keep the video visible and continuing to attract massive page views. There are countless YouTube viral wannabes who would give their eye teeth to get a million views and to erase a video like that from the public view is tantamount to a criminal offense.
Past conference details illustrate the event’s positive evolution
In the blog, Scott explains that he has often come across annual conference websites who routinely delete their previous year’s information to strictly focus on the upcoming powwow. This habit is deleterious to the extreme as visitors would happily browse through the information presented at previous symposia, and the details of the speakers, exhibitors, and presentation schedules could serve to reinforce their motivation to sign up for the latest iteration. Furthermore, the evolution of the event could easily be highlighted through a review of the development and expansion of the entire program, providing an insight as to how progressive the entire event and its organizers actually are. By deleting all of this historical information, the visitor has nothing to rely upon but a bunch of forward-looking hype with no background substance whatsoever.
Embarrassed by blinking marquees & silly animated gifs
One of the primary detractions to keeping old content alive on your website is the swiftly evolving status of web design. If your company’s had a web presence since the dawn of browsers you’re likely embarrassed by your late 90s pages with their blocky type, kindergarten colors, and reliance on horrific period features like blinking marquees and the pandemic proliferation of silly animated gifs. The best way to handle these Jurassic web pages in the era of Responsive Web Design is to simply port their content alone to your new look. You won’t lose any linkage by simply modifying the design of the page as long as the URL and overall hierarchical positioning remains identical, and your visitors won’t have to suffer through the infinite parade of dancing mice that screams “It’s 1994 and we have no taste!”
Sift dead links
Another aspect to pay close attention to in porting your content and rendering it immortal is to meticulously comb through each and every link to ensure that it’s still alive and active. Many of the websites that were thriving way back then have since gone the way of the brontosaurus, so a thorough review of all your internal and external links will pay dividends in keeping both your visitors and the Google bots happy. Check each dead link to see if the site still exists and you can link to a similar existing page, and if not, substitute it with a similar site which features content that is relevant to the original link. This process of link sifting and reconstruction is not necessarily easy or quick, but you cannot afford the chance of blowing up your SERPs and your site’s entire credibility and validity because you can’t be bothered to fix obvious problems like this.
The turritopsis nutricula jellyfish is essentially immortal, so emulate its example and keep stinging the competition with your eternal links!