Should You Update Old URLs for SEO When You Update Content?

One question that marketers have frequently is whether or not they should update URLs when they are updating old content. It is a best practice to keep your content up to date, but it can be a challenge. If you update your old articles once per year, should you also update the URL each time you do it? The answer, in my opinion and based on comments from John Mueller, is no.

Google and John Mueller have repeatedly said as far back as 2013 that you should not update old URLs for the purposes of SEO. While you should set-up your URLs so they can be used long-term, if you are consistently refreshing your old content, especially on a WordPress website, you don’t need to change your URLs to reflect that. There are some scenarios where you can update your URLs, and maybe if the content drastically changes then it is worthwhile, but otherwise you should keep them the same.

I had this question myself as I was updating some of my old content and refreshing old blog posts, but I kept coming across the same answer of NO, do not update old URLs for the purposes of SEO. There are plenty of examples as well in the Google Search Results of companies and websites that continuously update their old content and refresh their blog posts to keep rankings.

If you decide to update the content or a page on your website because the content is out-dated, you do not need to change the existing URL.

Most people who work in Search Engine Optimization will tell you to avoid changing URLs. SEOs and SEO webmasters understand that you can hinder rankings and hurt your traffic in the long run by changing your URLs. In addition, backlinks will not follow your new URLs. Permanent 301 Redirects can be useful when you want to make sure traffic is going to the correct page, and 301 Redirects can be useful to help Google know which pages to index on your website, but backlinks should be going directly to your URL. In addition, the social shares you have built to a specific URL will not follow to your new URL.

Helpful URLs on the Topic:

Google Says Keep The Same URLs For The Long Run:

Google: Don’t Change URLs When Replacing Old Content With New Content:

Google’s John Mueller Recommends Keeping URLs Under 1,000 Characters:



3 Comments

  1. Alex Paulsen says:

    Hi. I’m managing a big webshop, where all product-URL’s are generated based on the products SKU (= identification number/phrase in the inventory system). Example: ‘…/product/gfs000016’, which only makes sense if you know the SKU. To me, this looks terrible, particularly in terms of matching searches on Google. So I thought of finding a way to change the product-URLs the match as much as possible with the products real name and H1, and insert 301’s to point to the new URLs. But I gather from your video, that this is not recommended. So now, that the product-URL’s already look terrible, but shouldn’t but altered due to Google’s own recommendations, what can I do to ensure, that these products will match searches on Google, that they are relevant for? Thanks for posting this. 🙂

  2. Douglas Ison says:

    Great tip thanks

  3. Surfside PPC says:

    Please let me know if you have any questions about updating your URLs for SEO. Thanks for watching my video!