Many companies have been writing blog posts for years – blogs are a great way to drive awareness, leads, and sales from a website. However, the internet, particularly Google, changes fast. The way things worked 5 years ago can be completely different from the way things work today. So, even though these companies are adapting with the times and writing blog posts that may be optimized for today’s SEO, they still have posts from years back sitting on their sites that might not be quite up to standard. It’s easy to focus on creating new content and leave old blog posts in the past, but really, these old blog posts could be missed opportunities to bring in new qualified leads. Giving these old posts a content refresh could not only increase their position in Google rankings, but also give them a chance to gain more traffic and increase visibility to their brand as a whole. Here is how to give those old blog posts the update they might need to get them better rankings.
Identifying Blog Posts That Could Use a Refresh
Check Google Analytics
Google Analytics (GA) is one of the most useful free tools that you have access to, so it’s important to make the most of it. Go into GA > Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages, and then use an advanced filter for /blog/ (or whatever folder your blog content sits in) to find your highest- and lowest- traffic blog posts. Be sure to change the date ranges to see month-over-month (MoM) and year-over-year (YoY), so you can see how newer posts are doing on your site as well as older posts, and see how traffic patterns are changing over time. If you find blog posts that still bring in a good number of visitors to your site, but have seen a steady decline over the month/year, these are blog posts that could probably use some updating. Similarly, if you have posts that used to bring in a lot of traffic but don’t anymore, a refresh could help recapture some of that traffic.
Check the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)
We use different tools like Moz and SEMrush to check our sites’ rankings the SERPs. On these platforms, we can filter specifically for /blog URLs and see their rank changes based on different lengths of time. Any blog posts found on page 2 of the SERPs (and maybe even page 3) probably have some low-hanging fruit opportunities that can easily be changed to potentially bump the post up into the top 10 results on page one.
Updating Your Blog Post
Check Google Search Console for target keywords
Check your Google Search Console (GSC) find out what target keywords are getting people to these particular blog posts that you’re planning to update. This will help you find out what to search in Google to see what competitors in the SERPs are doing on their sites, as well as help you come up with additional content for your blog post refresh if needed.
Find out what competitors in the top 10 search results are doing
This doesn’t mean click on all 10 results and read the whole page every time. Simply go into each search result and skim through the pages to find any common patterns. For instance, are they using lists? What sub-topics are they including? How many quality links do they have on the page? Are they consistent with their headings? How big are their images? Etc. If you find any patterns, they’re probably worth trying out on your blog post as well.
Update outdated content & add current dates
One very important task is to make sure the settings on your blog show the time and date for when the post was last updated instead of only when the post was published. This will show Google that you keep this page updated. If you have a blog post with special dates or content that frequently changes, be sure to update it with the most up-to-date information. Any outdated information can lower your authority on the topic with Google and with users.
Check for easy wins on the page
Easy wins are always a pleasant surprise. They’re little things that you can tweak to help your ranking in the SERPs. Here is a short list of easy wins you might want to double check:
- Is the content formatted on the page correctly?
- Do you have only one H1 at the top of the page, and subsequent H2 – H6s on the rest of the page?
- Are any lists on the page formatted correctly as <ul> or <ol> (unordered or ordered) lists
- Are the links on the page all working correctly or are some of them broken?
- Do you have alt tags for images on the page?
Add content as needed
A lot of the time, old blog posts don’t need a lot of new content. Perhaps it might need new keywords added after a keyword refresh, but it’s not as often that you have to add entire paragraphs of content. If you find that you do want to add more content to your post, just be sure it has up-to-date information and does not change the entire topic of the post in any way. If you get too carried away with adding content and the topic does start to change, the webpage can easily lose credibility that it had previously gained on its original topic (and it may be time to change the focus keyword to reflect that).
Check page load speed
After the Content is Updated
If you want to quickly see your updated post live on the internet, you can ping Google to re-crawl your specific URL by using Fetch as Googlebot in Google Search Console. Once your changes are up and running, it’s important to remember that now you need to share your updated blog post with the world. Let people know that new information is on the blog and there to help its consumers.
At the end of the day, doing just one content refresh only helps you temporarily. To see optimal results, blog content refreshes need to be done regularly. How often you need to do this will vary depending on what you are writing about. You’ll want to update your blog content more often for topics that change frequently compared to topics that only change every once in a while. All in all, a successful content refresh should increase traffic to your site, improve your click-through rates, and hopefully boost your post higher in Google rankings in no time.