A reasonable percentage of our site is news articles (probably around 35%). They are all uniquely written, but since we started this in 2007, an increasing percentage are old news now!
What is the best practice for these - they were never low quality or duplicate content, but I suppose the older they get the lower quality they are.
Would it be an idea to 404 or 301 all articles over a year old? Or what other arbitrary timeframe? Analytics suggests that some old ones still get some traffic, but there is a definite trend towards them receiving less visitors.
I've always advocated keeping an archive and keeping them live and visible, but would be great to hear any thoughts.
I don't think this this harms a site. Old articles are just that old, but could be used for a research project using the old articles as a timeline. I would just move on allow access to them and continue doing what your doing.
Thanks for the input - what about the potential that they become an increasing percentage of the site? I.e. we don't keep any other content that is more than x days / weeks / years old, and generally keep everything completely fresh. In the background though the percentage of our site that is new and optimised etc will be decreasing as the archive of articles gets bigger and bigger.
I haven't seen any sites that archive old news, but it doesn't seem ideal to have that archive constantly growing.
i think your site structure should reflect that the old news stories are old ...
by which i mean presumably you don't link to old stories from your home page or from the top of category pages or whatever.
therefore the search engines can tell that you don't value those pages as highly anyway. personally i cannot see any problem with 'old news' ... indeed many archive sites seem to make a living from it!