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Updating Content Across Your Site

Read tips on how to make content updates across your entire site.

When you need to change the name of something across your entire site, plan to dedicate a block of time to work on the project.

As an example, four existing academic divisions have been retitled as the

  • School of Arts and Humanities
  • School of Biological Sciences
  • School of Physical Sciences
  • School of Social Sciences

If you have references to these as 'Division of X' you should update those to 'School of X.'

Manual updating recommended

Updating content across a site requires editorial decision making. You will need to locate the pages that have content that could be changed, then decide if that content should be changed.

Locate pages

Use Google's site-specific search to find the pages that have the old name:

  1. Go to
  2. Type site:your-site-URL
  3. Followed by your search term surrounded by quotations marks " "

Example: To search for Division of Arts and Humanities in the Department of Philosophy site, enter

site: "Division of Arts and Humanities"

This will return the pages that have the exact text "Division of Arts and Humanities" in the Philosophy site. Using quotes prevents including results that don't need to be changed because they only include some of those words. At the time of writing this page, the search with quotes resulted in 4 results, all of which should be updated. The search without quotes resulted in 53 results, only 4 of those should be updated (the same 4)! You can avoid having to sort through the 49 pages that don't need to be updated by searching for the full phrase.

You may also want to look for outdated references to "The Division" and similar phrasings.

Once you have the list of pages that need to be updated, set aside enough time to edit all of those pages at once. Google doesn't update instantly, so if you only update some of your pages, you will need to wait until Google has updated the search results for your page before you can check again. If you must split up the work over different time periods, record all of the search results from Google in a spreadsheet or other reference so you don't need to go back to Google to finish the project.

Edit pages

Check the content on each page and update as appropriate. Generally, news items and notices that pre-date the name change should not be updated. Update general references and references in material dated after the name change.

Automatic updating NOT recommended

Solutions that offer a find and replace option are blunt instruments without editorial awareness.

Such options run the risk of replacing words or phrases that are not perfect matches, or are part of larger phrases that shouldn't be changed.

Automatic find-replace also don't know when it encounters exceptional content, like when a older news item correctly uses the older name. Consider what an automatic find-replace would do to the sentence: "Important: The Division of Arts and Humanities has been renamed School of Arts and Humanities."