Imagine putting so much effort into creating dozens of blog posts and then… letting them gather dust on your website.
Okay, so maybe it’s not that hard to imagine: it’s what you’re already doing, right?!
That’s ok: it’s a common mistake. But it means you’ve been missing out on juicy website traffic, new leads and sales.
The best thing is that updating old blog posts can be way easier and faster than creating a new one (depending on how good the blog post was in the first place).
So, in this article, we’ll show you how you can breathe ‘dormant’ articles back to life and boost your SEO rankings!
Why refresh old blog post content?
At Jammy, we believe that stand-out content is what sets you apart from everyone else – and by that we mean creating “content that’s not already out there or includes a unique perspective.”
One thing we do for our clients is check out their older content, and refresh it if there’s a good chance it’ll increase in rankings. It’s the simplest way to get to page one of Google!
For example, this is what happened to the rankings of a blog post we re-wrote in June 23.
So yes, creating a blog post is obviously the most important part.
But if you never update it? You’ll miss out big time. Here’s why…
The benefits of refreshing your old blog posts
- Boost your SEO rankings – That new section or some additional keywords could be all you needed to go from Google’s 2nd page to the 1st, or from the 3rd spot to the coveted top result
- Get more (and more relevant) traffic – Makes sense when you rank higher and for the right keywords, doesn’t it?
- Link to more recent articles and boost their SEO too! – We bet you have so many recent blog posts that expand on topics mentioned in older ones. But because you hadn’t written them yet, they’re not linked
- Provide better user experience – Did you link to websites that no longer exist? Or mention a service you don’t offer anymore? These might seem like small problems but can undermine your credibility and annoy your readers
- Stand out even more – Now that some time has passed, you probably have new original content that you can add to your older blog posts (like videos, case studies and data)
- Harness strong calls-to-action – Imagine having a blog post that keeps bringing you traffic… but without telling your readers what to do next! Maybe, when you wrote those old articles, you didn’t have a newsletter (and now you do – so, you can encourage your readers to subscribe). Or perhaps you can direct them to a new service
- Generate more leads and sales – That’s what all the previous points boil down to (hurray!)
How to update old blog posts to boost your SEO rankings—without getting overwhelmed
“You’re telling me I need to read all my blog posts individually and update EVERYTHING?”
Not quite. We’re all about using our time effectively, so yes, in theory, you’d regularly review every article you’ve ever published and re-optimise/edit it. But if you’ve published hundreds or thousands of articles that’s not realistic (unless you have team to do this for you).
So, remind yourself of what you aim to achieve with your SEO content strategy (growing your newsletter or selling a specific service?). Then, focus your blog optimisation efforts on that.
Step one: Check your current content topics and performance
As they say, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” So, identify what exactly needs your attention first.
Get a good overview of your current content
Have you been keeping track of the blog posts you’ve published? If not, start ASAP (your future self will thank you).
Create a master document – like a spreadsheet – to log your blog posts, their topics and the keywords you’ve targeted in each of them.
Check what’s ranking (and what isn’t)
To boost your SEO rankings, you need to know what they are right now.
The first thing you can do is check the search results section (under ‘Performance’).
What keywords are you already ranking for? What blog posts could be better? And which ones never gained traction?
You can also look at the difference between clicks and impressions. For example, if something gets loads of impressions but not many clicks, it means it is optimised well from an SEO point of view… but your title and meta description aren’t compelling your readers to click on it (so, fix that!)
On your original document, where you’ve listed all your blog posts, start writing action points against the blog posts you want to prioritise.
We’re looking at targeting the ‘low hanging fruit,’ so this could be…
- Identifying blog posts that are already ranking on pages 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. of Google that you can re-optimise to bump up your rankings
- Identifying blog posts that are ranking well and making sure the CTA’s and links to your services or products are all correct – you DON’T want to waste that traffic!
- Identifying blog posts that are ranking well and inserting internal links (where it makes sense) to newer blog posts to boost their rankings
And Ignore the rest for now! As we said before, keep it realistic. If some blog posts aren’t relevant to your current goals, don’t waste your limited time on them. Instead, focus on evergreen content that feeds into your top-priority offers and objectives
Step two: Update your blog posts using the ‘Stand-Out Content’ principle
If you’re updating blog posts that are currently ranking on pages 2, 3, 4 etc. of Google, you can’t just reword what the other top-ranking articles are saying.
You MUST bring something fresh to the table.
A lot of people ask (genuinely, we’re not just making that up), whether they need to re-write old content, and that really does depend. If you’re looking at a 300-word that contains more fluff than candy floss, then yes, re-write.
But if you’ve got a decent, in-depth article here, it could mean adding things like…
- Original research or unique content like interviews, case studies, surveys and your own data. For example, we often link to our entrepreneur mental health statistics
- Harnessing your perspective and personality through storytelling, real-life and business examples or your take on that topic
So, if you haven’t already done so, take your blog posts from ‘generic’ to ‘stand-out’ when you update them.
You also want to consider:
- Has any of the information changed? – If so, look for new stats and sources. Or maybe it’s your personal view that’s evolved? Be honest, and edit the article accordingly (for example, from a different angle)
- Can you delve deeper into that topic? – Over 90% of blog posts get no traffic from Google. So, to do better, don’t just scratch the surface: go more in-depth!
Adding other types of content to improve SEO
Your blog posts don’t need to be just about written content. In fact, it’s better not to do that!
The right visual elements will complement your text and make your blog posts more varied (perfect to keep your readers engaged and stand out even more).
So, consider adding:
- Custom graphics
For example, if your blog post is a tutorial, it might benefit from a video on how to put it into practice.
Finally, make your visual elements accessible to everyone, including clients with disabilities:
- Use descriptive names – Don’t upload your files as ‘image007.jpg’ but rather ‘infographic on social media stats’
- Add captions to your videos
For more help on how to do this, check out our article on how to optimise a blog post.
Step three: Review keywords, meta titles and links
Time to boost your SEO rankings by tackling the more technical aspects of your blog posts (don’t panic! We’ve got you).
- Are you still using the BEST keyword for that article? Maybe it was when you picked it, but now it’s too competitive or no longer matches its new focus
Once again, you can invest in paid and more accurate SEO tools, but if you’re a beginner, Google Keyword Planner (free) is a good place to start. The sweet spot? A long keyword that’s searched a lot, isn’t too competitive and perfectly describes your blog post (e.g. ‘how to build a WordPress website’ rather than just ‘WordPress website’).
Things to think about are…
- Are there similar and additional keywords that can reinforce your main one? (like ‘how to make a WordPress website’ and ‘WordPress website tutorial’)
- Weave them all into your blog post – Don’t stress over specific percentages: keyword density is a really outdated practice. Just repeat them strategically (in your first 100 words, headings, last paragraphs, title, image alt text and the body of your blog post) but only whenever you can do so naturally
- Optimise your title and meta description – They must stand out against all the other ones in the SERP (search engine results page). So, showcase your unique perspective or make your readers curious
- Include external links – You might be worried about people clicking away from your website, but trust us: linking to external ones will benefit both your SEO and user experience (for example, you’ll build trust by backing up your data with sources). So, include a few links to relevant websites with a high domain authority – and Google will also start treating you like one of those cool kids!
We use a (somewhat) controversial rule, and that’s to have external links open in a new window. Normally, that’s fine as there aren’t too many external links in an article so you won’t end up with loads of tabs!
- Add internal links, too – Are there blog posts that expand on something you’ve mentioned? Services and products that would solve the problem you just covered? Internal links help Google understand your website better and they direct your human audience to the right next step. Bonus tip: instead of just saying ‘click here’, use keywords and descriptive words as your anchor text
Step four: republish and reshare the post
Don’t repeat that initial mistake of posting and ghosting! When you repurpose and share your content, you can significantly boost your SEO rankings.
Yep, you read that right! Even though sharing your content happens off your website, it still dramatically helps increase your rankings. This is because…
It helps drive traffic to your website
By promoting your blog posts on social media and email marketing, you can increase the number of visitors to your site. A higher traffic volume can be a positive indicator for search engines that your content is valuable – potentially improving your ranking.
It Builds Backlinks
Promotion leads to more visibility, more visibility can lead to more backlinks!
Backlinks are a crucial factor that search engines consider when determining the authority and relevance of your website. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the better your chances of ranking higher in search results.
Promotion can also lead to higher engagement on your blog posts, such as more comments, likes, and shares. Search engines can use these engagement metrics as signals that your content is valuable and trustworthy!
When you promote a new blog post and it gains attention quickly, search engines are likely to crawl and index that content faster. The quicker your content gets indexed, the sooner it can start ranking in search engine results.
So don’t forget, after updating your blog post, you should:
- Share your blog post on your social media
- Promote it in your newsletter
- Log it in your (new?) spreadsheet overview
- Make a note to promote it regularly
- Repurpose it into other types of content – After all, you’ve just put a lot of work into updating it, and it’s all still fresh in your mind! So, identify relevant sub-topics and nuggets of information to turn into social media posts, newsletters, short-form videos and more
Step five: Track your SEO rankings
Finally, monitor your results. To do this realistically without getting overwhelmed, allow your blog posts around 3 months to gain traction again. Then, go back to Google Search Console (or your chosen tool):
- Are your updated blog posts ranking higher now?
- Are some of them doing better than others? If so, look at what you did differently and consider implementing it elsewhere, too
For example, you might realise that your audience prefers blog posts with short videos: film more. Did your infographic earn you several backlinks? Add them to your other blog posts, too.
Then, keep checking your analytics regularly.
Ready to update your old SEO blog content?
The most important thing to keep in mind is that this is an ongoing process.
Content marketing works when you’re consistent, but that doesn’t always have to mean creating something new. As you now know, updating old blog posts will also make a MASSIVE difference.
Too time-consuming? Can you already tell you’re gonna stop doing all that after a couple of months?
We can take your entire content creation and optimisation off your hands. Let us craft, manage and update your SEO optimised Content – and use your limited time and energy for your zone of genius instead.
We regularly re-write content for our clients, with brilliant results!
Owner at Jammy Digital, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer of Young-Adult Fiction.