When short on time, updating old blog posts for SEO makes a lot of sense
Your company blog can be a goldmine for search engines. These strategies will give your old blog posts an SEO boost — without days of work.
When time and resources are in short supply, use them well. That leads us to your company blog. One of the quickest ways to get search engines to pay renewed attention to your website is to update old blog posts for SEO.
Google and other search engines reward new content. When your site is stagnant, Google takes note and will not crawl the site as often in search of updates. The result is a lower freshness score and lower rankings. But writing brand-new posts is time-consuming and may not be at the top of your priority lists when urgent matters demand attention. You need a quicker solution where the bulk of the work is already done.
The fact is your library of old blog posts is a goldmine for SEO. Content drives traffic and leads long after it was published. A look at our own most-viewed posts in July shows a post from 2018 has suddenly sailed to the top our lists as well as Google’s search engine results pages (SERP), driven by searches for “benefits of corporate social responsibility”.
But resting on old laurels is really not an option. Old posts that relay dated information can actually hurt your content marketing strategy. To get the most out of the hard work we pour into content creation here at Fronetics, we need to regularly extract the best of past blog posts and let them shine in a new light. Cue optimizing old blog posts for SEO.
Updating old blog posts for SEO comes with a range of benefits:
- It’s a win not only for the updated post but for the entire site since Google prioritizes frequent activity.
- It lets you rework keywords for improved organic search traffic.
- It helps you stay relevant in the eyes of your target audience (dated product launch posts do you no favors).
- It saves time as you don’t have to start from scratch every time you need to publish.
But how do you know which blog posts are worth repurposing?
Setting out to randomly update old blog posts for SEO makes little sense. Some, from years ago, may event warrant deleting, especially if they contain keywords that compete for attention with newer pieces. Rather, there are certain characteristics that make some posts more worthwhile to update than others. The point is not to spend hours rewriting the post or entirely changing its premise, but to give it good once-over that makes it useful again — and, by extension, drive improved SEO.
Here are a few themes to look for:
The number of inbound links: Posts with a lot of high-quality inbound links have something those without lack: authority. That feature gives these posts a better shot at ranking when you do a page refresh.
High conversion rates/low traffic: These posts have served you well in the past but something is amiss about their reach. If you can improve traffic with more relevant keywords, you have created a top lead generator.
High traffic: Some posts consistently draw lots of visitors, but are you putting your best foot forward? You can squeeze more value out of high-performing posts and extend their life span by giving your audience the most up-to-date information available. If conversion rates are low, you may find revising the Calls-to-Action (CTA) could have a big impact.
Ranking opportunities: Does the post rank on, let’s say, page 5 of search results? It can make it a good candidate for updating. Free tools like Moz Keyword Explorer or Ubersuggest can help you identify alternative keywords that could help lift the post to a better position.
Trending topics: If your business keeps getting questions about a certain topic that you covered but that now sits buried on the blog, a refresh means a chance to capture those search queries. It is also a better option than creating a new, duplicate post that could hurt search rankings.
Next question: What exactly should you do to SEO optimize old blog posts?
1. Evaluate keywords
Adding content to target new keywords is the No. 1 priority of marketers who update old blog posts for SEO, according to a Databox survey. Again, free SEO tools can help you take proactive steps to improve the keyword focus of your piece. Use Google Search Console, for instance, to identify keywords that the post is already ranking for and that potentially outperform the original keyword. Even a small tweak could give the post a boost.
2. Rewrite headlines, subheads, meta description, and intro
Once you have nailed down one or two long-tail keywords that match the intent of your target reader, incorporate them into the headline (H1), subheads (H2), and meta description. To underscore the freshness of the piece, rework the first paragraph and include the keyword. If you are sticking with the original keyword since it is already ranking well, make targeted alterations to potentially draw even more traffic and check back in to see how it performs a few weeks later.
3. Find new internal links
What has happened on your site recently? Internal links to old product pages and resources need to go. Improve the user experience and boost SEO at the same time by linking to your newest and most relevant work. Internal links give search engines a road map that benefits both the post that you’re working on and the pages that you’re linking to. And, while you’re at it, make sure there are no broken links. Do it manually or let Check My Links do the work.
4. Update stats and link to new research
Few things will make me leave a page as fast as old stats. Multiply that tendency by X number of readers, and your post will gradually lose its authority and keyword ranking. A quick search should identify more up-to-date information from outside industry sources. In a fast-moving industry like the supply chain, new reports are usually not hard to come by. Add an expert quote or two, link to new research, and you’re on the way to re-establishing the page as a trusted, quality source in the eyes of crawling search engines.
The supply chain stuff is really tricky. — Elon Musk
5. Add images and video
Time on page matters to SEO. And the more that draws visitors to stick around on the page, the better. Again, if time is limited, there are quick ways to update old posts for SEO. Consider adding a quick infographic, more engaging imagery, pull quotes, and anything else that is readily available, like a video produced for another part of your page. High-quality visuals also send a strong message of professionalism and trustworthiness that raise the profile of your blog in general. Remember to add alt texts that include the keyword.
6. Combine posts to turn the focus on high performers
Do you have posts with similar themes, concepts, and keywords? They may be competing with each other, eroding traffic and ranking for all. Here is your chance to pull segments of the weaker posts and add them to the higher performer (redirect the old posts to the new updated post). The benefits are twofold: the elimination of duplicate content and a content-rich new post which search engines favor.
7. Set a new publication date but don’t change the URL
Your work is almost done. Changing the URL, however, is generally not recommended. It requires a 301 redirect and means the loss of the authority the post has built up on your website. Instead, change the publication date, set it live, and share on social channels.
The bottom line
Optimizing old blog posts for SEO takes the pressure off producing new content when other tasks are calling. Even during less busy times, it is an integral feature of any content marketing strategy. The benefits are simply too good to pass up.
- Cancellations call for trade show contingency plans
- Key step to moving beyond survival mode: Revising B2B buyer personas