72% of marketers agree that content marketing increases leads and engagement. It’s no secret that producing high quality and actionable content is an incredible strategy for scaling companies.
However, that’s where a lot of businesses with active blogs stop. They publish new content and that’s it. They forget about the dozens to hundreds of blog posts they published in the past collecting dust.
What if I told you that your company blog could be experiencing better rankings and traffic without making any new content?
Don’t believe me? Let the data speak for itself.
The CRM company Zapier revamped an old blog post on email marketing and its traffic jumped by 362%! This is one example of many proving the power of bringing old content back to life.
That also means revamping your old content can bring in more traffic than producing entirely new material.
If your business has a long archive of blog content, keep reading.
I’m going to show you how to refresh old blog posts like Zapier did and climb the SERPs.
Identify content that needs updating
The first step to revamp old content is finding blog posts that need touching up in the first place. This means using tools like Google Analytics to narrow down pages that are low in traffic.
You can do this by navigating to the “All pages” section under “Site content” and “Behaviour.” Here you will find all of the data on your site’s pages including pageviews.
Click through the pages to find articles that are experiencing low traffic or that you’ve published a long time ago.
Similarly, you can look at content that has a poor bounce rate or average time spent on-page.
Export these out via the “Export” button to share with your team and for further analysis. 🔍
This brings me to my next point.
Increase the word count
Long gone are the days where 500 word blog posts could rank on the first page of Google. It’s all about long-form content these days and that means writing upwards to 2,000 words or more.
In fact, Backlinko performed a famous study in which they analyzed over one million search results. They concluded that the first position was 1,890 words on average.
This is very important because when you’re auditing old content you need to measure the word count.
If you’re not on WordPress or a platform where the count is easily displayed, paste the content into a free tool like Wordcounter.net.
It will display how many words and characters make up the content you enter. If it’s below the 1,890 word threshold, you should try increasing it with further information, resources, and tools.
Keep in mind you don’t want to fluff up the content. That means adding words for the sake of it. Doing so can have a negative impact on rankings and the reading experience.
Instead, ask yourself how you can make the article genuinely more useful. This might mean adding another tip, trend, or quote depending on the exact type of post.
Add Google Search Console keywords
SEO and content marketing go hand in hand. I’m sure you performed keyword research before publishing the article you’re revamping, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
There are a handful of keywords you’re not targeting that could be driving more traffic to your article.
Where can you find them?
Google Search Console.
Navigate to your website in Google Search Console and visit the “Performance” tab. Find the article you’re updating through the “Pages” section and click “Queries” afterward.
Here you will find all of the queries people are searching to discover your content. You may notice that there are many keywords that are driving traffic but you aren’t directly targeting them.
The next step is to add these search terms into your article. When Google recrawls the content, they will locate these keywords and rank you accordingly.
Some of the main areas of content search terms should be added to include:
- The headline
- The URL
- Within the first paragraph
- The title tag and meta description
- Alt text and file names of media
- Within header tags
Add extra tools and resources
People read content to learn something new, right?
That’s why one of the best things you can do when updating old blog posts for SEO is add more resources and tools. This makes it more practical and actionable than it previously was.
A lot of content on the internet is full of fluff. You can cut through the static by guiding users step-by-step through what you’re explaining.
Check out this snippet from a Moz article to see what I mean:
The author shows readers how to generate an API key instead of simply stating that they need one. This makes the article much more helpful and as a result, can boost social sharing according to recent studies.
Marketers can also improve the usefulness of their content by including tools. Look how legendary digital marketer Neil Patel mentions how one of his web apps aids in coming up with new content ideas:
The overall goal of taking these approaches is to never have a reader wondering what they should do next. Providing tools and instructions like this ensures they can take action right away.
This kills two birds with one stone…
Readers get a more useful piece of content. ✅
Google ranks you for the first reason. ✅
The bounce rate of your website is the number of users that visit a single webpage and leave. This metric is important because it signals to Google whether or not users are finding the information they searched for.
Keep in mind that the average bounce rate is within the 56-70% range. Use this number as a benchmark.
On the higher range? Your content needs a couple tweaks under the hood.
On the lower range? Keep doing what you’re doing. 🙂
You can begin improving the bounce rate and user experience of content by including more relevant internal links. If you’re updating old content, then you clearly have new content that can be linked to.
However, there’s something else to consider. Avoid simply highlighting generic anchor text for hyperlinks. Instead, think about creating calls to action.
While internal links can be self-explanatory, readers don’t always 100% know where they’re being led. Clearly stating where the link will take them and what they’ll learn can greatly reduce bounce rate and improve the value a reader pulls from visiting your site.
Income School does this with call to action button on its website as you can see here:
You don’t have to scratch your head thinking, “Where is this button taking me?” because it’s clearly explained.
I also suggest improving the page speed of your blog as it greatly impacts how many users leave without visiting other pages.
Use the free speed testing tool GTmetrix by entering your domain and clicking the “Test your site” button.
The following page will display grades for areas like image compression, browser caching, and other critical components of good web page performance.
Clicking an individual section will break down the assets that need improvement.
Fixing these slow areas of your website can help reduce the bounce rate and ultimately improve how users interact with blog posts.
If you’re not the Steve Jobs of web development and fixing these types of bugs, I got your back.
I recommend installing a plugin like WP Fastest Cache. This plugin includes dozens of features that will fix speed bottlenecks in an instant.
After installing it, click the “WP Fastest Cache” icon on the left sidebar of WordPress.
Replicate the above options under the “Settings” tab. Adjust any as needed for your individual website performance.
The main feature of this plugin is its ability to cache pages. This saves a snapshot of the page and delivers that to a user’s browser versus having to load everything from scratch. This greatly speeds up the website and user experience.
Other nifty things it can do include:
- Compresses images to save space.
- Decrease the sizes of HTML and CSS files.
Reformat for readability
Your article can be the most amazing piece of content on the internet, but if it’s difficult to read, nobody is going to finish it. 👎
That’s why re-formatting is another crucial step to take when updating older content.
Begin by breaking up the article’s points with header tags. H2 tags should subsection all of the major ideas while H3 and smaller tags can be used for diving deeper.
Seeing as most people skim through content, you’ll be aligning with this consumer behavior and helping people get what they want. Big blocks of text are difficult to read and navigate which will hurt the bounce rate and user experience as we touched on previously.
Next, take advantage of lists and bullet points. These can be used to quickly sum up information, helping the reader to quickly digest content.
While it depends on your exact writing style and audience, I’d also recommend keeping paragraphs short and sweet. One to two sentences per paragraph makes content less intimidating and easier on the eyes.
Final thoughts on updating old blog posts
Many businesses focus purely on pushing out new content and never consider refreshing old blog posts for SEO benefits.
You can improve your rankings and organic traffic by revisiting aged content and giving it a quick polish.
This is achieved by first using a tool like Google Analytics to identify which content should be updated. Target articles that are experiencing low traffic and engagement.
From there, focus on increasing the word count if it’s not 1,890 words or longer since long form articles rank better. You should also add more internal links and resources during this process to enhance usability.
Secondly, implement terms from Google Search Console’s queries tab. There are often many keywords you aren’t targeting that act as quick wins to boost traffic once you index for them.
Making the content easier to digest through short sentences, headers, and lists is another step to refreshing content. Most people are skimming through articles to find the exact piece of information they want versus reading every word.
Lastly, don’t neglect page speed. It greatly impacts both bounce rate and reading experience. Freely available tools will diagnose speed issues and provide you with advice for fixing them.
With that being said, don’t wait around and let your content collect any more dust. Contact me if you need a content writer to clean up old blog posts like new and rank them on the first page of Google.