Whether you’ve been blogging for years or you’re new to the game, we commend you on your commitment to content! Publishing fresh, new content regularly is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site. But when was the last time you thought about your old posts? Once you hit publish, do you put them on the back burner? If the answer is yes, we’re here to help you breathe new life into your blog’s oldest posts. Below are the crucial reasons why it’s important to update old posts as well as some easy tips for boosting your traffic and generating new visits.
Why You Need to Be Updating Old Blog Posts
Think of your blog posts as investments you’ve allowed to mature over time. Thinking of them this way makes it’s easy to see that your oldest posts are likely your most valuable. Why? Because older posts have had time to build an audience through social media shares and email newsletters. And more importantly, those URLs have had time to rack up search value with Google.
At Twenty Over Ten, we did a little experiment to see if updating old blog posts is worth the effort and the results were eye-opening.
The above chart is just a glimpse at six different blog posts we targeted over the span of our two-year experiment and you can see we’ve increased the number of organic pageviews of old posts we optimized. It’s safe to say we are true believers in the idea of historical blog optimization now and we think you should be too!
Still not convinced historical optimization needs to be added to your to-do list? Here are a few reasons why you’ll want to start updating your old blog posts:
not doing so is a Waste Your Original Time and Effort
Somebody had to write, edit, publish and promote those posts. Deleting them (or letting them go by the wayside) means a serious waste of your or someone you hired’s valuable time and effort. Plus, it takes much less time to rework old posts than create new ones from scratch!
Not All Posts Are Created Equal
If thinking about updating all of your old blog posts sounds intimidating, rest assured this likely isn’t the case. When we say “old” blog posts, we mean anything you’ve already written and published – whether it was last week or 5 years ago. So, of course, anything you’ve written recently will need very little (or none) reworking done.
Instead, you’ll want to inventory your posts and use Google Analytics to determine what your best performing pieces are and which could use some TLC.
The Need for New Content Isn’t Growing
Confused? Think about it: There are over 4 billion new blog posts published every day. EVERY DAY. While the amount of content is increasing exponentially, the amount viewers are willing or wanting to consume isn’t necessarily following suit. That means consumers are continuing to consume content at the same rate they have been. It’s not more content they desire, it’s higher quality content.
An Old Post Is Still a First Impression
A very important reason to update your old posts is to ensure they’re still representing your firm the way you want them to. Making sure every post is up to your standards puts you in control of how your firm comes across to new site visitors. For example, someone landing on a stale, outdated post today may not know how old it is or that it’s below your current standards of content. To them, this post is a poor first impression of your firm that could keep them from exploring your site further.
Tips for Generating New Blog Visits from Old Posts
Now that you understand the need to revisit your old posts, here are a few easy tips to get you started on revamping and reoptimizing old content.
1. Collect Data Using Google Analytics
Never just guess on how to make a blog post better. Instead, you want to do a deep dive into your blog’s Google Analytics. Here, you can find which posts are currently driving the most traffic to the site, which see the best engagement and which posts aren’t doing either. Based on this data, you can better understand what it is your audience responds to and make changes accordingly.
2. Optimize for Relevant Keywords
Using those handy analytics, you can find out what keywords are sending traffic to each blog post. If your post is already seeing traffic from relevant or decent volume keywords, then you may just want to ensure those are being utilized in your most important page areas including the title or H2, meta title, meta description and any calls to action (CTA). In addition, you’ll want to do some more keyword research to see if there are any keywords you may be missing out on.
3. Check Your Internal Links
As you create new content, make sure you’re combing through your old blog posts and linking to any that may be relevant. It’s easy to forget about something you published two years ago, but it could be a great resource to add to your latest post – and it can help boost traffic to your older pieces. Don’t forget to go through your older posts as well and add in links to new pieces to ensure your internal linking strategy is well-rounded.
4. Boost Your Posts’ Inbound Links
Inbound links are the links pointing to your blog posts from third-party sites. These are SEO gold because they tell Google that other sites find your content to be legitimate and relevant enough to send their own audiences to. Adding more inbound links to your older posts is a great way to elevate your SEO efforts and drive more traffic to your posts. To do this, reach out to relevant organizations, publications and peers to offer guest posting opportunities in exchange for linking opportunities to your relevant older posts.
5. Do an SEO Audit
Because of the nature of SEO, we know it’s always changing. That means that, sadly, what worked two, three or four years ago could long be outdated today. Therefore, if your older posts have not been optimized since the day they were published, chances are they aren’t meeting SEO best practices today. We recommend creating or following a checklist to ensure you’re focusing on some of the biggest SEO heavy hitters. These can include mobile optimization, keyword strategies, the inclusion of metadata and alt text and a savvy internal linking strategy.
New to SEO or Looking for Today’s SEO Best Practices?
6. Ensure Content Is Evergreen
Go through your old posts (including any that have been recently published) and remove any references that could date your pieces. This allows your content to stay evergreen, meaning it remains relevant over time. For example, you should avoid (when possible) pointing out time spans, specific years or trends. By making your older posts evergreen, you’ll have to spend less time going back and updating your content on a regular basis.
Dated: Here Are the Hottest Investment Tips to Use in 2010
Evergreen: Here Are the Hottest Investment Tips to Use This Year
7. Refresh and Republish
Simply giving your content a much-needed refresh could be the key to driving more traffic to that post. Why? Because Google always values fresh content. In their eyes, your older blogs have become stale and outdated. Plus, as we mentioned before, these old blogs may not be meeting your standards of content today or SEO best practices. Give your old posts a look over and make sure they’re well-optimized for readability. If they don’t include headers and easy-to-ready, skimmable text, it’s time to reorganize and refresh. In addition, you’ll want to make sure the content is relevant, engaging and comprehensive enough to fulfill the reader’s needs.
If you’ve made a decent amount of changes to your posts, it’s important to republish the piece. Having an updated publish date is a great way to make your posts appear more relevant and up-to-date in the SERP. As users are choosing which listing to select in the SERP, do you think they’ll go for one published last month or the one posted 3 years ago? (The answer is almost always the newer one!)
8. Repromote Your Old Blogs
Another simple answer to driving traffic to your posts is to repromote them. Use these newly optimized and refreshed posts as content for your upcoming social media calendar or email newsletters. Not only is this a great way to highlight your older content, but it means that’s less original content you need to create as you work on your digital marketing efforts.
Generating New Visits From Old Blogs
Repurposing old posts is a great way to boost your blog’s traffic without generating brand new content. These posts are often full of potential thanks to their long-standing online presence. And with the simple tips and tricks we mentioned above, you can easily and quickly breath new life into your oldest content!
You put a lot of work into creating blogs that generate leads and drive traffic to your website. By historically optimizing your posts, you are able to get a lot more legs out of your content, and in turn, generate more leads to your site.
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About the author
Blair is a digital marketing assistant at Twenty Over Ten and has a passion for uncovering what drives online traffic and the highest engagement. She follows more animals on Instagram than humans and her greatest achievement is her daughter, Grey.