Online content can be a powerful tool when it comes to promoting your business. We have in the past discussed problems with stale content and how search engines now prefer fresh and up-to-date content. The problem is, old content still rises to the top in search results, especially when it comes to images and videos. And that old content could be a time bomb waiting to destroy your business.
Old content doesn’t just get stale. Old content can contain information that is now dangerous, or that could, legally, leave you liable for a law suit. With print media, the saying went something along the line of “today’s news wraps tomorrow’s rubbish”. And it did. Online, your content is there for ever. Create a sales video that makes an offer, for example, buy A and receive B free, and, unless you are very specific with expiry dates, that offer could have an infinite life span. Is that your intention?
How to posts have the same potential. A how to post two or three years ago may have suggested a certain action. That action may not now be relevant with the latest model – it could in fact be dangerous. If you have not been explicit with model numbers and details, someone could mistakenly follow that how to example – more so if that content happened to rise to the top of the search results.
It won’t happen you suggest? People are smarter than that? I think not. I recently looked at a video that was four years old. The first thing that struck me was that the offer made was not time limited. The service in question now costs 50% more and the ‘free’ offers are now very much restricted. Yet anyone watching that video could, legally, claim that service and the ‘freebies’. There was not time limit placed on the offer at all. In fact, unless you looked at the date of posting, you would think the video was made yesterday.
Do you have old content that could perhaps compromise your business? All you need do is edit the content and place a warning that the content is now expired and link to the latest. With old videos, simply edit them with a warning that the offer is no longer valid. The alternative is to totally delete that out of date material.
The lesson going forward is much simpler. Be sure to fully document any offers including expiry dates. Another option is to create a mini-site for any special offers, then delete the site once the offer has expired. Content in the online world has the same legal standing as printed material, the only difference being it is around for ever – unless you edit or delete.