Content Decay


What is Content Decay? 

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.

screenshot graph - what is content decay?
Image Source : Single Grain

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. 

Google Analytics

Identifying content decay involves searching for content that was once receiving a high volume of organic traffic but those levels have now diminished over several months. 

Use Google Analytics to monitor any overall changes to the organic traffic coming to your blog posts. Any sustained declines represent content decay. 


Use the position-tracking tool to alert you when any of your tracked pages rise or fall in the rankings. Any long-term decreases could be a result of content decay. 

Other tools include: Content Decay by ClickFlow, Google Search Console, Ahrefs, etc

How to Prevent Content Decay

1. Update any outdated stats 

2. Increase the word count and go into more depth

3. Include more internal links from other content to your page

4. Promote the updated content via social media and email campaigns

How Can We Help? 

Wanting to update your site’s content but don’t know where to start? Give us a call today and we can give you a free content strategy session to get you started.

For now, you can always take a look at our blog to stay in the loop with the latest SEO strategies.