In Six Pixels of Separation, Mitch Joel points out that even through Wired magazine’s mandate is to publish the latest and greatest on technology news, over half of the traffic to their web site is to older archived content.
This is not because people are necessarily looking for Wi-Fi articles from 1998 in Google. They are looking for Wi-Fi articles and the older articles are being returned higher in the search results due to the ‘accrued’ credibility in being found, linked to, read, cited, and shared for a longer period of time.
This is important to thing about when determining your content strategy. Some organizations have a wealth of material that they might not bother migrating to a new site in a redevelopment. Not migrating older content and/or instituting 301 redirects to ensure search engines can find your new site could set your search engine ratings back years. And, more importantly, it erases a considerable amount of your history. For some organizations, for which long-standing involvement in their field is important to their credibility, this is crucial. Your authority, as evidenced in your historical content, reinforces your engagement. Is your impression of an organization different if you see 12 months of content, or 15 years?
What do you think? Is it worth mining years of content and spending the time migrating it to a new site?