Steve Rubel is a pretty well known dude. As a popular blogger and PR firm Edelman's EVP of digital strategy, if Steve does something radical on the web, people will take notice. And that's exactly what happened when he decided to trade the two blogs he'd maintained over several years for a new Tumblr blog , deleting the hundreds of his blog posts he'd created along the way.
That's right -- he deleted all of the content he'd created and started with a clean slate. Um...what?
Discussing his reasoning for his use of the scorched earth policy in a recent blog post, Steve said he moved his digital presence to Tumblr because, with Google's increasing focus on social signals, it was the best social platform available. So why delete his old posts, too? Steve says it's because he wanted to centralize his web presence, and he didn't want to confuse Google with multiple sources of content and a scattered web presence.
Only time will tell whether this was the right move for Steve, but he still admits that while the move to Tumblr and adoption of the scorched earth policy might make sense for thought leaders' personal brands, it might not be the best strategy for businesses. Here's why...
Why Deleting Blog Posts Is Stupid for Businesses
1. You'll lose all that coveted SEO juice you built. If you're a regular blogger, you like understand and value the SEO benefits of blogging frequently. You know that every new blog post you create is more real estate for your business to rank in search engines, and that each new piece of content affords you some extra SEO juice for the keywords you want to get found for. And if you've been blogging for a while, chances are you are actually experiencing those benefits and generating more traffic to your website. Chances are, you also remember all of the time and hard work you put in to get your blog where it is now. If the thought of losing all of that previous SEO authority you've generated and starting from scratch scares the bejesus out of you, congratulations -- you're a sane human being.
2. You'll sacrifice a whole lot of inbound link love. While blogging is a great way to boost your on-page SEO, off-page SEO and inbound links to the content you create are even more powerful influencers for your website's authority and its ability to rank in search engines. By deleting your blog posts, any inbound links you've generated will disappear. If someone linked to an article on your blog in their own blog post, that link will essentially be worthless (it won't work!), and it will ultimately affect referral traffic to your website.
3. You'll miss out on valuable lead generation opportunities. Steve argues that being in a social platform like Tumblr is more important than having old blog posts, but this is definitely not a best practice for businesses. Old content, or " evergreen content " as we like to call it at HubSpot, can be a valuable lead generation tool. In fact, HubSpot still generates leads today from blog posts we published three years ago. Some of these posts have risen to the top of search engine results and are found via searches every day. Each article includes a call-to-action that leads visitors to a landing page with a lead generation form, and we still collect leads from those pages. Just because content is evergreen, doesn't mean it's still not useful or that it can't continue to generate leads for your business .
4. You'll be retroactively wasting a lot of time (and burning a library of resources!). Particularly in the world of inbound marketing, time and brainpower is money. While blogging may not cost anything besides the platform or tools you've built your blog on, creating, nurturing, and maintaining a successful blog still takes a lot of valuable time and effort. Think about all the time you spent creating the content that has built your blog up to what it is today. Throwing away all that content would be like throwing away money and burning a library of resources. What a waste!
5. You'll limit social media mentions and content sharing. Ironically, Steve made his move to Tumblr in an effort to be more social, but let's face it, the content people share in social media isn't always brand new. Just like businesses can still generate leads from evergreen content, they can also generate traffic and get found in social media through the sharing of that content, too. Eliminating old content altogether will severely limit social sharing and negatively affect social media referral traffic to your website.
In Steve's case, his dramatic change is only affecting his personal brand, not a business. And because he is already so well known, he can afford to take the risk. That said, for small businesses that are trying to make a name for themselves and beat out their competitors on the web, such a radical move would be ridiculous.
What do you think of Steve's adoption of the scorched earth policy?
Photo Credit: Sharat Ganapati