It's time to refresh your old blog posts! Pruning and updating old posts can give you a 50% traffic boost. In this post, we'll share 11 things to do with your old blog posts.
Last year, Siege Media deleted nearly 15% of their old blog posts.
Woah– that must have significantly decreased their traffic, right?
Actually, quite the opposite happened. Apparently, their traffic increased by 50%!
As surprising as it may seem, deleting your site’s old blog posts can result in a spike in your traffic.
Updating your old blog posts can also result in a traffic boost.
In this post, we'll show you 11 ways to rejuvenate your old posts and prepare them for dominating the SERPs.
But first, we need to decide...
Is it Bad to Remove Old Blog Posts?
As we saw from the example above, removing blog posts can sometimes increase–not decrease–your traffic. But you have to know which blog posts to remove and which are worth keeping and updating.
In general, low-quality posts that don't perform well should be removed. Posts that have redeeming qualities, however, can be updated and improved.
To figure out which are which, you'll need to analyze data related to your old blog posts using Google Analytics.
You'll also need to keep track of which posts you are going to keep and which you are going to toss. To do this, you can prepare an excel sheet and separate the links of the old blogs into two separate categories: ‘"To Update" and "To Remove."
To decide which blog posts go in which category, take a look at your Google Analytics and note the following:
You need to analyze the performance of your old posts. Start by checking the organic rankings, the inbound links, and conversion rate, of every blog post.
Do not forget to track the traffic driven by individual blogs. Then focus on the session rate, and how much is the blog being shared on social media.
Blogs that are unable to drive traffic and hardly have any inbound links, let alone conversions, may need to be removed.
Many websites have several blog posts that are no longer relevant today. They may have been useful the first time you posted them, but now, they are no longer considered useful or relevant. These need to be removed.
However, if certain old posts are occasionally driving traffic to your site, then you can consider keeping them, but it is necessary for you to update them first.
Apart from that, if specific old posts on your site are not relevant to your business anymore, you need to start pruning them.
If Google has flagged some of your old blog posts for using plagiarized content, for example, and you somehow forgot about removing them or fixing them, this is the right time.
Decide whether you want to keep that particular post or not. If you are convinced about keeping it, then remove the plagiarism and rework on it completely. And if you find the process time-consuming, either remove it or activate the page's Robots.txt file, so that the Google bot does not scan it and flag it again.
OK, now you know which blogs to remove and which blogs to update. Go ahead and discard the blogs in the "To Remove" section.
How to Refresh Old Blog Posts?
Next you should start turning your old blogs into new ones by updating and improving them.
You'll also want to take your high-performing posts and send fresh new traffic to them.
Here are 11 things you can do with your old posts to refresh them and give them a traffic boost...
1. Update with Fresh Keywords
Begin updating your old posts by optimizing them with the latest keywords because your old posts are targeting old keywords.
You need to remove those search terms and start replacing them with the latest keywords in which people perform their searches.
For instance, your old food blog about "Best Pizza In Chicago" (posted in 2010) had "Yummy Pizza in Chicago" as the focussed keyword. This keyword helped position your site in the top SERPs for that year. But now, in 2019, its ranking has dropped because the search volume for "Yummy Pizza in Chicago" has dropped.
After conducting keyword research, you will find that the latest keyword searched by the people (in 2019) is "Tasty Pizza in Chicago." So, you need to start updating your content with that keyword and several other latest keywords related to your content.
Furthermore, you should rephrase the content in its entirety while you are placing the latest keywords so that the crawler starts to crawl and rank your post again.
2. Update Your Meta Tags
After enhancing the content body, you should start updating the meta tags and optimize them with the latest keywords. This includes your H1 tags, meta description, and the anchor texts as well -almost every on-page optimization factor.
If they remain unchanged, the crawler will consider your post as old; hence, your rankings will only face slight fluctuations.
I will advise you to never, EVER change the title nor modify the URL of your old post!!! If you do, every inbound link to your article will return a 404 error and you'll lose your rankings.
3. Add Fresh Internal Links
Internal linking is one of the essential element of Search Engine Optimization. If you have internally linked a particular blog post with another one of your posts, then it becomes more comfortable for the Google bot crawler to discover those posts.
Whenever the crawler crawls over your site, it will identify those old posts and crawl over their updated versions, scan it for black hat SEO techniques and if there are none, then it will rank your post accordingly.
It is crucial not to internally link your updated old posts with generic anchor texts like "click here," "here," etc. because that will not affect the rankings of your linked posts. However, if you choose a specific anchor text that gives the reader a good idea about what he or she will find when they click on it, then that will improve your old post’s rankings. For example, "improve your SEO" or "search engine optimization tips."
Also, while you are internal linking, you should link those articles that are related to each other. For instance, you cannot link a blog on SEO with eCommerce; you should link it with a blog on On-page optimization instead.
4. Add the Latest Information
People consider old posts as old because they were written in a different period and since then, a lot has changed. There has been new technological advancement, new updates, new techniques, and new trends.
So, if you are planning to update your old posts, you should add new information to it. You should research about the latest statistics, techniques, and prepare your old post accordingly.
The audience does not want to read old content; they would like to keep themselves updated with the latest trends of the industry. Plus, Google does not want to serve its audience with old content pieces that are invaluable to them during this period.
While adding the latest content, you will find posts that are short. You need to increase their length (with valuable insights) and extend them to around 1500, to increase your chances of ranking higher in the SERPs.
5. Proofread Everything
After updating your old posts with the latest keywords, research, and information, you should proofread them.
You should check whether the on-page optimization has been done appropriately and also, how organically has been the keyword placement in your content (i.e. does it sound natural, or does it sound like you are stuffing the keywords in?).
When you proofread your content, you can identify grammatically incorrect sentences and misspelled words. By correcting them the chances for your post to rank increases.
Make this a habit that you proofread every content that goes live on your website and check the internal and external links as well because some of those might lead to 404 errors. These errors can harm your SERP rankings yet again.
6. Remove Spammy Comments
If your blog is about digital marketing, would it make sense for it to have comments about weight loss? It would not. And this portrays a negative impression on the crawler as well as the visitors.
If the number of spammy comments on your site is high, your credibility is put into question by both the crawler and the visitor.
So, without any delay, start deleting those spammy comments and reduce their number to 0. And if you do not have any spammy links, then you can skip this step.
7. Link to Old Blogs in Your New Guest Posts
One of the most critical constantly running off-page SEO strategy is link building, and the essential part of this strategy is Guest Posting. It always runs in the background. You keep approaching domains for guest posting opportunities to build as many links as possible.
Therefore, while you are writing guest posts for some blog, link one or two of your updated old posts in that blog. By doing this, you will be increasing the online visibility for your old post and start driving traffic and link juice.
However, the guest posts and your old posts should have a connection or be related. You cannot link a post about Social Media Marketing to a post about Offline Marketing. They are two separates contexts; linking both of them together will have a lasting negative effect in the rankings of both your guest post and the linked old post.
8. Convert Them into Infographics
Gaining online visibility is necessary for old posts to start ranking again, and converting them into infographics is the most effective way to doing that.
Infographics are a perfect combination of both textual and visual data. They can have an astonishingly high engagement rate. When you look at the statistics, you are going to find that infographics are shared 3X more times than any other form of content on social media.
Although the process of converting your old posts into articles is a time-consuming task, still the outcome of doing that can be beneficial for your old post and your online rankings.
9. Create Video & Podcast Versions
Here’s another great idea: you can repurpose your old posts into videos and podcast episodes and boost the engagement.
Statistically speaking, nearly 4 Billion Videos are watched every day! And it has been speculated that videos will account for 81% of all internet traffic by 2021.
Furthermore, as far as podcasts are concerned, there has been a visible spike in the popularity of this form of media. People are interested in listening to podcasts over the years.
You can ideate your podcast and videos based on your old posts and link them to the updated versions still live on your website.
10. Share Them Again
Social media is a powerful medium to connect with millions of people around the world in a snap!
You have been working on updating your old posts and building their online visibility through videos, podcasts, and infographics, but you do require the perfect medium to make it reach your audience. And there’s no better way to do that other than through social media.
There are nearly 3 Billion active social media users; imagine reaching to even half of them -your old posts would gain a tremendous amount of engagement.
So, every platform that your brand is active on, you should share across your old post with your target audience. Although, you have to choose a platform that is normally used by your target audience.
You should also monitor the Social Media Insights to get a better idea about when to publish a post so that it gets more shares.
11. Promote them in Your Newsletter
Newsletters! There’s no better way to drive traffic to your old posts (and it also happens to be an important Google ranking factor).
People subscribe to your blog because it provides them with valuable insights and they like reading it.
If they have subscribed, they permit you to send them emails and newsletters about the latest posts, so that they are up-to-date with everything that you publish. Therefore, when you include your old posts into your email newsletters, people will click on them and read the posts.
However, it is not a good idea to formulate a single newsletter that is all about your old posts. You should mix them up with new blog posts in different newsletters.
It is better that you begin updating your old posts right now and stop procrastinating. I know this will be a hard task that is going to consume a lot of your time. But, you will have to manage it. The changes in your rankings can only be experienced after a while.
I have listed out every way in which I have updated and utilized my old posts, and I still look for several other ways in which I can be more successful in doing that.
If you have more ways in which you can utilize your old post, I would like to hear about all of them.
Sahil is the CEO and Founder of Rankwatch - a platform, which helps companies and brands stay ahead with their SEO efforts in the ever growing internet landscape. Sahil likes making creative products that can help in automation of mundane tasks and he can spend endless nights implementing new technologies and ideas. You can connect with him and the Rankwatch team on Facebook or Twitter.