Best Practices for Updating and Republishing Outdated Blog Content
When developing an SEO strategy for any sized brand, you’ll be faced with three options – you can:
- create new content
- remove content, or
- revise old content
Revising old content, or optimizing existing pages to better support your SEO goals, can be significantly impactful to b0th your rankings and your bottom line (i.e. your existing pages can make you more money if you fix them). Here’s how to refresh the existing content that’s on your site.
Why You Should Refresh Existing Content
Refreshing existing content is about more than just slapping an updated post date on your blogs and calling it a day. There are critical on page factors you’ll want to optimize or even test out (we’ll get to those) during your refresh, regardless of how old the content or page itself actually is.
The “freshness” of your content does matter, though. Freshness, as it relates to content marketing, speaks to how often your domain publishes new, never-before-seen content.
When other SEO factors are as isolated as they can be, “fresh” or newer content that contains newer, updated sources outperforms stale content that has existed for some time.
Fresh Content Influences Google Rankings
It goes without saying that most, if not all, SEO strategies should be content based. A “Content Strategy” can mean many things – blogs, articles, landing pages, emails, news, whitepapers, videos, infographics, case studies, portfolios, podcasts Q&A’s, interviews, the list goes on. While there are endless ways to utilize content in an SEO strategy, it’s safe to say that most SEO strategies will fall flat without careful content planning, as well.
Google’s (and the other ones, too) ultimate goal is to deliver the best possible results to a user’s request. It makes sense that Google gives preference to the most up-to-date, freshest content. Notice we didn’t say newest content. We said most up-to-date. You could post new content all day long, but it won’t help your SEO rankings if Google does not determine that content to be Expert, Authoritative, and Trustworthy.
How To Refresh Old Content: Updating Old Blog Posts for SEO
One way to prove to Google that your content deserves to rank higher than your competition is to frequently update and add depth, information, sources, updated info, etc. to your existing content. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to update your blog content, extend the life of your blog posts, and #StayFresh for your audience.
Identify Top-Performing Content
While updating all of your content sounds great in ideal situations, it can be difficult for large websites or enterprise level brands to optimize all of their content at once. It’s best to identify your top-performing posts and update in phases based on priority level. Here’s where your analytics come in handy.
Prioritize Posts that Drive Traffic
With a traffic analysis tool (like SEMrush) you can identify and prioritize content that drives the most traffic to your sight. Search Engine Journal reports that, once updated, “those posts can frequently see a 15-30% increase, which is significant since those posts already represent a significant portion of the site’s overall traffic.”
Improve Upon Your Old/Existing Content
Now that you’ve got your posts lined up, it’s time to dive in and thicken them up with new content and updated information. The best way to do that is to utilize the skyscraper method of creating content:
Find successful content from search results and social media and build on that content success by creating a better, more nuanced version (must be original). Be sure to add value and address any changes since your last update.
What about the blog topic has changed since your last update? Are there new rules and regulations concerning your industry? How have industry best practices changed in recent years? These are the types of questions you want to answer with the content you add to existing posts.
Best Practices for Updating and Republishing Outdated Blog Content
Don’t forget that the whole point of rewriting and republishing old content is to add value, over length. Ten pages of valuable content is always better than 100 pages of keyword stuffed garbage. Keep that thought and these best practices in mind when you’re updating and republishing outdated blog content.
Update Pages to Include More Interlinking
Interlinking your pages together as often it makes sense to do so ensures search engines don’t miss a single page of your site, and can give them a better understanding of your site’s structure. This can also help to strengthen the search engine’s contextual understanding of your website.
Chances are high that, if your brand regularly produces content, there are plenty of opportunities to add, update, or improve upon the interlinking of your site.
Fully Utilize Headers and Page Structure
Google and other search engine’s love to crawl a nicely organized, clean piece of content. Give that SE spider a walk in the park by utilizing headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.) and organizing your page in a way that outlines and organizes your information at a glance.
Include your core keywords in your headers, starting with the most important keywords in the Header1/H1, next level KW importance in H2, and so on.
What is The Best Way To Optimize Content for Google’s Knowledge Panel?
The best way to optimize your content for Google Knowledge panel is to structure your content in a Q&A style format where appropriate. Especially given recent BERT updates, search engines can understand context behind search queries, meaning if someone asks a question and your page has a direct answer to that question, Google just might prioritize you over similar content pages.
Fix Grammar Mistakes
It almost goes without saying that you should take this opportunity to clean up any spelling and grammar mistakes you find within the post. Google does consider things like readability when ranking content, and no one likes to read clunky, error-ridden content.
Plus, we’ve sworn to keep the web a clean place. Help us out, okay?
Remove Duplicate Content
As you’re moving through your old content, be sure to remove any instances of duplicate content. Google will penalize content it considers duplicated, like pages with multiple URLs, posts with large amounts of text quoted from other websites, and pages with a manufacturer’s product description that is found elsewhere.
Create New Page Layouts
One of the best ways to add an extra layer of freshness to your content is to shake up the page structure where you’ve updated. Don’t just add words to your landing page here and there. Create a new section of the page, add bullet points and updated subheaders, add in supporting imagery.
Remove Broken Links
This is probably an obvious one, but it bears repeating. Backlinks are one of the primary criteria that search engines use to index web pages. When updating your old content, you should also scrub it for broken links and restore any that you find with high-quality replacement.
SEO Blogging Mistakes to Avoid
Now that you’ve identified your top-performing posts and know how to spiff them up, it’s time to get to the actual writing. However, you should do you best to avoid these common mistakes:
Over-Optimizing Anchor Text
It used to be common practice to optimize anchor text with keywords to improve SEO for a given post. Nowadays, however, over optimizing anchor text can get you slapped with a penalty.
Let’s say, for example, that a brand wants their site to rank for the term “best wedding rings”. The brand would use the anchor “best wedding rings” to link to its wedding website, which used to work until Google warned against this practice in its Link Scheme document.
Avoid Muddying Your Page with Multiple Topics
As you update and refresh your content, be sure not to deviate too much from the original focus of the post. If you change the focus too much, you may pull the theme of the page (and its existing rankings) away.
As a rule of thumb, optimize for one concept, ideally a narrow one, per page.
Write Content for Humans. Period.
Write content that you would be proud to read aloud in a room full of your peers. Seriously, while it’s probably a bit much to read each piece of content you produce out loud, this is the mindset you should take when writing your content. If it doesn’t make sense to a regular human person, it probably isn’t helping you win any ranking awards (and by ranking awards I mean, you know, sales/leads).
Write content for humans.
Stay Fresh With VisualFizz
You’ve already invested the time, money, and resources into creating high-performing content strategies for your brand. Why let it go stale when it can still be hard at work driving traffic to your website? Stay fresh with the search engines and your audience with a content refresh from VisualFizz. Get started today.