Content decay is a piece of content that has been decreasing in organic traffic over a long period of time.
If the content has continuously been declining in organic traffic over a period of three months or more, it can be defined as content decay.
You can see it really clearly here from Single Grain's dashboard on Click Flow.
Why does Content Decay Happen?
There are several key reasons why content decay takes place. Understanding these reasons is crucial to fixing any content decay across your site.
1. Strong Competitors are Beating your Content to the Top Spot
It’s not uncommon for other competing sites to see your high-ranking content, figure out what you’re doing right and improve it in order to grab your top SERP spot.
2. Your Site is Focused on Creating New Content
Often sites will focus on producing more content as opposed to promoting older content via social media, ad campaigns, and email newsletters. This results in a drop in organic traffic to the older pieces of content.
3. Google Values Fresh Content
Google prioritises fresh, up to date and relevant content that is creating lots of user engagement. Google wants to see up-to-date information on current events, and topics that frequently change.
Failing to update or publish new content can result in a decline in SERPs over time.
How Content Decay Impacts your Rankings
Content Decay negatively impacts your SEO and rankings resulting in less organic traffic coming to your site.
This can then create a negative loop which is hard to break if you don’t act fast.
Less visibility will result in fewer visitors which will cause a further fall in rankings. Eventually, it will become harder to rank again and get your content back to its original top spot.
How to Detect Content Decay Across Your Site
Since content decay takes place slowly over a long period of time it can be difficult to detect manually. You’ll need to use some analytical tools to identify the content decay.