Let’s say your business published a blog post twice a week, every week, for three years. That’s outstanding. There is a ton of content and value being created for your audience, not to mention an enormous amount of keywords you’ve surely been optimizing for.
There is a downside to all this posting however, and even though it’s a small one, it does matter: eventually, your older posts become buried under everything else you’ve written, and as time goes on, they’re seen as irrelevant even if they aren’t. When we’re looking for information, after all, it’s common to want to find the newest and most up to date information, and Google might not even prioritize a three year old blog post even if it’s great.
Fortunately, there’s an outstanding solution that’s starting to come into fashion with successful blogs, and that’s to refresh older content. In this post, we’ll look at why this is a solid strategy and how you can optimize old blog posts to bring in new traffic.
Why You Want to Refresh Old Posts
Refreshing an old blog post will help to keep it more relevant, ensuring that all the initial time and effort you put into creating it don’t go to waste with time.
Old posts can be updated with new, relevant information, adding all the additional context and updates that come with more time. Since you don’t ever want to have out-of-date information on your site to make you look bad, this is a great solution.
Updating older posts also gives you a chance to add more value; even if the post isn’t out of date, adding three more sections to provide more in-depth coverage, make it more actionable, or include current best practices is always to your readers’ advantage. The more thorough a resource, the better.
Since both Google and users typically prioritize “fresh” and “new” content that’s most likely to be up to date, you can give them that newness while also utilizing the strong authority that comes with an established page and its longevity. It’s a winning combination that can help you rank higher, offer more value, get more shares, and drive more traffic.
1. Choose the Right Posts & Refresh Them
The first step to optimizing old posts is to choose the ones that are worth optimizing. Some, as much as it isn’t fun to admit it, just aren’t worth the effort once it’s all said and done.
Look at your analytics and identify the past blog posts with the best history of driving traffic to your site, the highest number of social shares, and the strongest performance with conversions. Other indicators like low bounce rate or higher amounts of average time spent on the page can also tell you what content your audience was most happy to see. Google Analytics can help with this.
Adding new content to an old post is the best way to go about a refresh because it will keep people coming back even if they’ve seen the post before and give you a reason for the refresh. Add in all the cutting-edge information that’s come to light since the original publication, or explain how something covered in the blog post has affected the industry since.
If you’re worried that a well-known post won’t drive new traffic ot keep users engaged, you can add a sentence or two in the introduction explaining that it’s an updated post and where the new content begins.
And as always, make sure that you update any old internal links and CTAs within the post, linking to what will benefit you and your audience most right now.
2. Go Back & Change Up the Keywords
Keywords can go in and out of popularity just like everything else in the world, and sometimes going through and updating an old post for newer, more high-volume keywords is a good option. Do some research and see what will work for you.
You can do this to appeal to waves in keyword trends, but you can also adjust keywords as your domain authority increases, too. Maybe you start out with lower volume keywords because they have lower competition, giving you a chance to rank, but as your site establishes more authority, you’ve got more options.
In most cases, updated keywords will typically yield best with legitimate new content even outside of just edits of in-post optimization.
3. Share Your Best Evergreen Posts Regularly
Evergreen content include posts and ebooks that stay relevant for long stretches of time. Breaking news pieces about changes happening in an industry typically wouldn’t be great for this purpose, but longer, value-packed, actionable resources for your audience will be.
Share them regularly on social media, and not just immediately after publication. You can share your most high-value posts for years after you publish it, as long as all the information within it is still relevant and up to date. Tools like CoSchedule or Buffer can help with this, letting you automatically schedule posts at given intervals.
To increase clicks and social shares, you can put a trendy twist on the social posts sharing your content. Every time Facebook releases a new update of custom audiences, for example, I like to share a post I wrote about how to use the conversion tracking pixel and comment on how you’ll need it for the changes. It always gets great clicks.
You still want to create new blog content, so your entire content marketing strategy shouldn’t revolve around updating past posts. Instead, a mix of refreshed older, evergreen content and new, original posts is the way to go, giving you the combined benefits of longevity, improved ranking, and the ability to rank for newer posts. Diversity is always a strong choice when it comes to content marketing, after all.
That being said, make sure that you are prioritizing old content whenever possible. Even a quick addition of 500 new words to an old post or a fast edit to add current information can go a long way, and a quick keyword shakeup can make a big impact. Optimizing older posts for new traffic allows you to maximize your return on investment here as much as possible, so grab that opportunity while you can.