Have you been blogging for a while? Do you already have a fair number of blog posts published on your blog? Then these old posts contain a huge traffic opportunity and you should update old blog posts.
Now could be an excellent time to head back to some of your older posts and give them a facelift. Because updating old content can quickly boost your traffic.
Often you have much more knowledge on how to drive traffic to old content than you have for new content. Because you already have data about how your audience received this content or how Google search reacted to it.
And all that content is already sitting there, why not put it to good use? You can easily optimize your existing content, add to it, or even rewrite it.
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Why Updating your old blog posts is a good idea
You evolved and you learned. The online marketing landscape changed.
New things came up, some of the things you wrote about are old and outdated now. You have more insights into keywords and search terms for your existing blog posts than you can ever have for newly-created posts.
Some old content becomes stale – updating it can revive it.
Also, Google favors fresh content, even if your old content is still relevant and correct. You can easily see Google’s preference for newer content for your self. Simply head over to Google search and type in a popular search term. The search results on the first page will most likely be no older than a year – two years max. While it is not impossible to rank with older content, it is a lot harder.
Updating your old content can increase the “freshness” of your content – and thus help to improve your rankings and increase your search traffic. I will get to how to do that later in this post.
Updating your old blog posts will help you to increase your SEO traffic. But that is not all that refreshing your content can do for you.
You can also improve your content and make it more valuable to your audience. Simply adding some new facts that you learned or correcting some tips that have been correct a couple of years ago but are now outdated will increase the value of your content.
Your audience will thank you – and eventually spend more time on your content.
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Again, this time that your visitors spend on your website (“time-on-site”) is also a ranking factor with Google search and will have a positive impact on your SEO.
Improving your content will help you to build your reputation as an expert and grow trust with your audience. Simply correcting everything in your old posts that is no longer accurate will earn you more trust.
Sending readers to outdated content is not the best way to earn trust. But the simple remedy is: Updating old content!
Adding some new content forms can also help you to get more traffic from social media. For instance, you may want to consider adding images for some social networks that have the power to drive traffic – or change some images to follow updated guidelines from social networks.
You can also consider adding new content types like videos, infographics, or slides. Some of these content types seemed out of reach for non-pros, but there are new tools that allow you to create most content even if you are not an expert for videos or a content designer.
Let’s recap why updating your old content is a good idea if you are looking for more traffic and blogging success:
What you can win through updating content
- Improve your content
- Improve SEO and increase traffic
- Increase traffic from social media
- Earn credibility and trust
Hopefully, I have now convinced you that updating at least some of your old content is a good idea. And here are some ideas that you can do to refresh your content, improve it, and enable it to give you more traffic.
Here are 12 ways you can update old blog posts to boost your blog traffic:
1. Check + update the facts
You do not want your audience to find wrong information on your blog – even if it used to be true a couple of years ago. Check your articles on faulty or outdated information and rewrite the relevant paragraphs.
If you recommended a tool that went out of service, you can simply add an alternative tool that can still do what the original recommendation could.
2. Add new insights, tools or ideas
Expand your content if it makes sense. This will also help you o increase the word count of your content, which in turn will help the content to rank better on Google search.
Do you need some ideas?
If you wrote about 5 ways to automate social media and now you know about 10 ways to automate social media, you can simply add the 5 new ideas you discovered since you wrote that article. If you covered 3 tools to help you create images for your blog and later found a new tool that you find even better, you could add that tool to your list.
This can go as far as creating a new post as the second part of an old well-received post. For instance, you can write an article “5 more ways to automate social media (Part 2).” Make sure that you interlink the two posts.
All of these additions can easily be done and will add a ton of value to your content without changing much in the original content.
3. Add new links
Links are part of our content creation process. We link to internal AND external content for additional information. Keeping these links fresh will also improve your content!
Whenever we create new content, we think about which existing posts on our blog this content is connected to and add a link to that older post. What often gets totally forgotten is to link from older content to new blog posts.
When you think about updating your existing content, also think about linking from some older content pieces to newer content (and vice versa.)
Internal linking is good for your audience as you point them to additional information. But internal linking also plays an essential part in your SEO. By linking from older content to new content, you can improve your SEO.
Also, if you linked to an external page from within an old post, you could try to find a newer resource to link to. Outbound links are a ranking factor with Google. Adding better and newer resources can improve your search rankings.
Also, some of your external links might be dead! The source that you linked to a couple of years ago may simply have gone out of business. Dead or broken links will hurt your SEO rankings.
You can find broken links on your blog or website with the help of some tools.
If you have broken links on your blog or website, research new content that you can link to and change the link in your blog post.
4. Check comments – delete spam comments
Comments are part of your blog’s first impression with your audience. Who is not impressed with an active discussion on any blog post – especially when you are aware of how hard it is to build an active community.
But spammy marketers are still flooding the comment section of blogs with worthless and unrelated comments that link to shady websites. By removing these shady comments on your old content, you can improve your branding and build trust.
5. Check your grammar and spelling
Yes, I know that I make mistakes in my writing. And I am aware that some of my blog posts still contain spelling and grammar mistakes. I am not perfect, but I try to become better. Whenever I edit some content on our blog, I also remove a couple of errors.
Fewer mistakes always make a better impression. So why not head back to some of your older posts and check them for grammar and spelling? You could even use an online editing tool like Grammarly.
Often the keywords for which we thought our content would get search traffic are not the keywords that our content actually gets views in Google search after all. And that means there is a massive potential for new traffic in the keywords that we did not consider when we created our content.
Visit the Google search console. Check the keywords for which your post gets impressions.
These keywords are the ones you should optimize your content for.
The top query should be the focus keyword – as long as it is relevant to your content. All the other relevant keywords should be secondary keywords. And that means you should try to add these keywords to your content if you have not been using them so far. It is highly likely that there are some keywords in this list that you have not considered so far.
7. Optimize your posts for the new keywords
The easiest way to do that is to consider the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress.
Try to follow as many of the Yoast recommendations for the new focus keyword. That will include optimizing your meta description and use the focus keyword in your content a couple of times.
Image Source: The Hoth Blog
Whatever you do, do not blindly change the URL of your post or your post will lose all the backlinks it already got! This old post is already ranking with the old URL. A new URL would mean you start at zero, AND you would be competing with your own already ranking piece of content.
8. Improve the CTA
To get more people to click on the article, you need to change what people see on the search page: Title and meta description. With the new keywords you researched, try to imagine what people are really looking for and recreate your meta description and the title accordingly.
9. Add images for relevant social networks – follow best practices.
If you want your content to be shared in social media, you have to provide images in the correct size. You cannot expect to get traffic from networks like Pinterest if your blog content does not offer pinnable images.
Even tweets will not give you all the traffic you could get from them if you do not have images to go with the tweets.
10. Check headlines and post texts
Now that you have added images for your most important social networks, you should also make posting to these networks easy and make sure the posts are optimized.
A click on a share button should provide a ready-made tweet with tweet text and link. A pin should already include a pin description with keywords and hashtags – this means you have to add this text to the image alt tags for each pin.
Hopefully, in the past months or even years of blogging, you learned some things about headlines that drive more traffic than others. Use the knowledge you acquired and create new headlines for your underperforming posts.
You can even test these new headlines against the old headline. Use Buffer to schedule your tweets with the old and the new headline. See which got you more retweets or clicks. This is not a scientific experiment, but it can give you a first impression on which headline has more potential.
11. Create more content
You cannot only update your old content – you can also create new content out of old content.
You can turn some old ebooks into new articles. You can create a curation post where you string together a couple of your old posts on related topics.
You can add new forms of content like videos, podcasts, slides, infographics, printables to your best posts, and use these content types to get more leads or more traffic.
Now you have done a couple of updates to your content. You added some new information or some new list items to an existing list. You added some images, changed some links, and added some new links. Maybe you changed the title and the meta description.
But you can still help your content to rank better:
12. Republish with a new publication date for Google
Be careful about this if your URL for your blog posts includes a publication date. In that case, you will need a 301 redirect to link from the old URL to the new one.
If your URLs (like ours) do not contain a publication date, you can simply republish the post with a new publication date that lies slightly in the future – a couple of minutes is enough.
Republishing content makes especially sense if you made some significant updates to the content or even rewrote the complete piece. Jonathan recently republished a post, which he virtually created totally anew. He just kept the title.
To let your readers know that they may already have seen an earlier version of this piece of content, you can add a short statement stating that a previous version of this post was published at an earlier date.
But updating old content is still a ton of work – even if it means that you have to create fewer pieces of new content. And that means you should go about your content updating strategically. Know which posts you should update and what you should do to improve your traffic.
How to find the posts you want to update
Before you now jump right into the list of ideas to update old blog posts for better SEO, you have to take a look at how to decide which posts are worth the effort.
Use Google Search Console to identify the posts with the most significant traffic potential that you are not yet utilizing. As an easy way to find these, you can use the following three aspects:
- A CTR lower than 1%
- A position that stands between 1 and 30
- A “high” impression rate (this one will depend on the amount of traffic your particular blog usually receives)
The high impression rate tells you that there are many searches for this topic. The position between 1 and 30 means that your post is already ranking in a position where it is realistic to expect people to click on it.
The low CTR says that you are not utilizing the full potential of your post. Some simple updates can tremendously increase traffic to this post.
Also, keep in mind that most social networks are also powerful search engines. In fact, Youtube is the second largest search engine right behind Google. If your post ranks well on Google and already gets you some search traffic, you could consider creating a video for Youtube on this topic and grab some of the search traffic the same topic may be getting on Youtube.
You can do the same with posts that already get traffic from social media. For instance, if you take a look at the posts that get traffic from Pinterest, you should consider adding a new pin image to some of the posts that have already proven that they respond well with your Pinterest audience!
If you want to decide which of your blog posts deserve an update, Google Analytics is the place you should be looking for clues on which posts you should start with.
Now is the time to update old blog posts!
Updating content is a lot of work. But if you do it right, you can earn a ton of traffic, trust, and branding through it. Don’t stumble blindly into the updating process just because someone told you that you should.
Make an educated and strategic decision on which content you should update and what updates you should make.
Then you will see your traffic grow!