With the benefit of hindsight, and new ideas, I often find that posts that I have written in the past, really should be updated.
Many of my archived posts continue to offer real value to my audience but there is no disputing that some of the content could do with revamping or updating. If the content can be refreshed, then the entire article can continue to be relevant and to reflect current practices.
In fact, after using Long Tail Pro extensively to find low competition keywords, I know that many of my archived posts could do with title updates to include keywords that are much more competitive than those originally published with the post.
So the main reasons I like to make a practice of revisiting archived posts are these:
- Update the content where needed.
- Check the title tag and, if need be, replace it with a more competitive keyword phrase.
- Add additional keywords to the content if I find any additional competitive phrases while looking for improved title tag possibilities.
- Check the post’s monetization and replace or add links that make sense and that offer value to my readers.
- Improve the formatting (presentation) if readability can be improved.
Managing Larger Blogs
If you have a large blog then revising older posts, that need new life breathed into them, can be a daunting exercise. And given competing demands on our time, it can thus be the type of activity that ends up being pushed further down the priority list.
However, the approach that I now use is an approach I find much easier to manage and much more effective with side benefits. Not only that, it is an approach that builds up your internal linking structure at the same time, helping to send link juice to new posts.
A Strategy for Refreshing Older Blog Posts
So, the approach I like to take after each new post that I publish is this:
1. Find an Older Post Relevant to the New Post
If your blog is large, then there are a number of ways to find older posts that relate to the content that you have just published:
- Use your site search to search for a keyword phrase that best sums up your new content.
- If you are using a Related Posts plugin, it should list some relevant posts at the bottom of your new content.
- Simply scan your spreadsheet that you use to record the posts that you have published. This should uncover some related content.
I like to keep such a spreadsheet so that I have a detailed inventory of the content I am publishing. I can use one of the columns to record the date published, other columns to record the title tag, the GWT rank of the title tag, sales, internal links, revision dates etc. I use cell notes to record additional information such as the changes that I made when I updated a post. I can’t recommend this idea of a posts’ inventory enough.
2. Add an Internal Link From the Older Post to the New Post
Read through the content of your older post looking for a section that relates to your new content. Edit it to include a context link to the newly published post. Try to make the conversation flow such that it makes sense to link to the new post.
3. Update the Older Post’s Content
While you are reading through the content, looking for internal link opportunities, you will no doubt discover some post sections that suggest updating:
Ask yourself the following:
- Is the content now out-of-date and in need of modifying?
Update any out-of-date content (indicating that it is indeed an update). In fact, I have included code that means that every time I republish a post, the date at the top of the post reflects this. (Update: The theme that I am now using, Customizr, does this automatically for me.)
- Is the presentation of content not as well formatted as the work you now publish?
You might have discovered much better ways to make your posts more readable and aesthetically pleasing. Make improvements accordingly.
- Does the content refer to some tools that your audience might want to buy?
For example, you might have written a post in the past about gardening. When you look back at the content, it might for example refer to shovels, wheelbarrows and ceramic garden pots. If you are part of the Amazon Associate Program, then you can simply make each of these tools an affiliate link that takes the reader straight to the tool on the Amazon site.For this purpose, I can’t stress how handy I find the EasyAzon plugin for inserting Amazon links. I don’t have to leave the post that I am working on. I simply highlight the phrase I want to link from (e.g. ceramic gardening pots) and click on the EasyAzon button that sits at the top of my editing screen and then follow the prompts. I love it!! Yes, I am an affiliate of Chris Guthrie’s EasyAzon plugin and there is a very good reason for that: I find it such a fantastic tool. I use it all the time and find that it saves me an incredible amount of time.
4. Review the Older Post’s Title Tag
This is extremely important and can have a big impact on the visibility of your post and how much organic traffic it receives from the search engines.
- Check if the title tag is ‘doing its job’. That is, if the keyword phrase used in the title tag is not ranking on page 1, it might as well be on page 100. I use Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) to check the title keyword’s average ranking.
If the title tag keyword receives adequate traffic and is well positioned in the search engine results then I skip the next step, otherwise I continue.
- Check the title tag for competition. I look at the top 10 sites ranking for that keyword phrase and note their average Page Authority (PA). The tool I use for this is Long Tail Pro,
If the average PA is 30+ I do a search in Long Tail Pro to find other relevant keyword phrases that record an average PA less than 30 for the top 10 competing sites. I then marrow these choices down according to search volume and relevance. In other words, if I have 5 keywords that qualify I would normally choose the one with the higher search volume.
I would rather include a lesser searched-for keyword in the title tag if it has a PA less than 30 than include a keyword that gets a few thousand searches per month but has a PA of 35 for example.
5. Re-Publish the Updated Older Post
If you included code or a plugin that displays the ‘Last Updated’ date then this is an added advantage as your readers will see that your blog is being refreshed. Either way, search engines will register that your blog is active.
6. Rinse and Repeat
Now that you have completed these steps for one older post, try to find 2 more that are relevant to your new content and repeat these same steps.
End Result of This Blog Revitalizing Strategy
At the very least, you will end up with 3 internal links pointing to your new content.
But most likely you will find ways, as suggested above, to improve the older posts at the same time.
This is a win-win situation and is certainly more easy to digest than trudging through post after post trying to bring each one up to date.
To add a little more fun to the process, record your before and after status in your post inventory spreadsheet. To do this, record the average ranking positions of each of the title tags in Google Webmaster Tools before you start. A few weeks later, check again. I find that it can take several days to a few weeks for movement/improvement to be detected, sometimes even longer. If the changes to older posts are slow to take affect (a few months) then I conclude that my new title tag is not up to scratch and look for something better.
I hope you find this strategy useful. What methods have you tried for keeping older posts up-to-date?