Building a solid blog is more than a mere article-writing affair. On average, 3.2 million new blog posts are published each and every day. So regularly updating your articles for accuracy, relevancy, and SEO can mean all the difference between you being stuck on page two of Google or getting seen by your target audience at the top of the SERPs.
Regularly refreshing your old blog posts is something you want to do no matter the niche you are in — whether that’s fashion, marketing, finance, or health. Every day, new changes and findings are made in your niche/industry. You want to make sure that your blog posts are always updated and relevant.
So how can you update your old blog posts? In this article, we look at proven tips to help you refresh your old articles. But before we get started, let’s look at why you should update your content in the first place.
Why should you update old blog posts?
You’ll get more backlinks
Quality external sites will only link to articles that are high-quality and represent value to the reader. By updating your blog post and making it relevant to your audience, you make it more link-worthy.
For some kinds of blog posts, updating before your competitors presents an opportunity for you to get extra backlinks. For instance, if you updated a blog post to contain the newest findings in your industry, but your competitors hadn’t, any website linking to them is linking to content with outdated information. You can reach out to those sites to inform them that they are linking to outdated content and offer them a better alternative. Most of the time, the website owners will be happy to link to your post.
Keep up with SEO best practices
Google’s algorithm is constantly changing. So to keep up with these changes and ensure that your blog posts are visible in search results, you need to constantly ensure that they are SEO friendly.
When you initially created the post, you most likely followed the best SEO practices of the time. But these practices are constantly changing. As the search algorithm gets smarter, SEO evolves alongside it. In fact, some old SEO practices will only get your website in trouble with Google.
For instance, writing your articles with a specific keyword density in mind can lead to keyword stuffing. This is something Google frowns upon as it can make an article read unnaturally. Search engines have also become so advanced that they do more than crawl your article for specific keywords. Google now uses different signals to determine which articles rank on the SERPs.
One example of these signals is search or user intent. Google’s priority is to make sure that searchers are getting the right results and search intent reveals the purpose behind any search query.
For example, if you search for “how to make a cake”, the top results are from blog articles. Google knows the search intent is looking for tutorial style content, so it doesn’t display results from online shops that sell cakes.
On the other hand, if the search query is “where to buy cake”, the top results will be from ecommerce pages and cake stores. Google knows that the searcher wants to make a purchase and not learn.
You need to make sure you update your blog post with the user’s search intent in mind. Regularly updating your posts will ensure that you are keeping up with SEO best practices.
Proven tips to refresh your old blog posts and build relevancy
When revamping older blog posts, you have to prioritize some content. Here’s how to do it:
1. Focus on high-traffic pages
The first step for updating your blog posts is to update the ones that have high traffic first. By regularly updating your high-traffic posts and keeping them up to date, you ensure that they continue to do well in the SERPs as Google values content freshness when ranking articles.
The best practice is to check your older high-traffic blog posts a couple of times a year and identify how you can make them more relevant today. For instance, you can add new information and infographics to make the content more valuable.
When updating a high-traffic post, find out all the phrases the article ranks for. The article might be ranking for phrases you didn’t intentionally set out to get. You don’t want to de-optimize the article by mistakenly deleting these phrases.
2. Include the current year in the heading tag
The words in your headline hold weight and play a role in how your post is ranked by search engines. If you want to rank for a certain keyword, you should include it in the heading tag. The same goes for the current year.
Updating the year goes hand in hand with updating the article overall with new information. To illustrate, let’s say you are updating an article titled “Online marketing statistics for 2021”. By changing the year to the current one while adding new data to the post, you tell Google and the reader that the article is updated with the latest information. You might even lose organic search traffic if searchers think that content in your blog is not the most recent. Studies also show that adding specific numbers and data to your articles makes them more appealing to readers.
3. Add new research studies
Your goal in refreshing your old blog posts should be to make them more relevant and valuable to readers. Adding new research ensures that your article continues to be up to date. You are also improving the blog post’s topical authority. As Google crawls the article and sees that it is constantly updated with new relevant information, it will reward you by making your article more visible in the SERPs.
4. Remove broken external links
Broken links in your blog post give a negative user experience. And user experience is an important SEO ranking factor. If readers regularly click links on your website and they are broken, they might get frustrated and leave your site. You should note that external links are key in content development because they reinforce reputation, and credibility and boost traffic. So it’s important to replace broken links with live ones.
5. Check your competition
One of the key steps of starting a successful blog is to identify your competitors. You’ll also need to keep an eye on your competition as you refresh the old content to identify gaps in your blog posts that need improvement.
Your competitors’ content can also serve as inspiration. For instance, the blog posts that rank above you might have ideas and keywords you can add to yours to improve their quality and ranking.
You can also make updates to your blog posts based on the featured snippets your competitors have won on the SERPs. So if their article has bullet point lists, images, reviews, tables, videos, or FAQs, include them in yours too.
6. Incorporate new keywords
One way to improve the SEO performance of an old blog post is by adding new keywords. Apart from the main keyword you want to rank for, you can also incorporate related keywords and phrases in your content.
For instance, let’s say you wrote an article about dog grooming and your main keyword is “how to groom a dog”, you could add new secondary keywords that will make the article more robust and authoritative. And a great place to find ideas is the “People also ask” action section on the SERPs.
You can use keyword research tools like Ahrefs or Semrush to help you find relevant keywords you can add to your posts to help boost their rankings.
Note: To scale up your content production, you also need to come up with new topics. The demand for content is ever-rising. So to keep up with your competitors, you need to continue to create valuable, high-quality content. Keyword and SEO research tools will come in handy when looking for new topics you can write about. You can also look at your competitors for ideas on topics you can write about.
7. Optimize new images and videos
Video and images are the largest items on a webpage. HTTP archive estimates images to make up 21% of a webpage’s weight. And since we know that website speed is a ranking factor for search engines, you must optimize the images and videos on your website.
A slow website can also be costly. A study from Portent found that website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time (between 0–5 seconds).
Here are some tips to help you optimize your images and videos:
- Image file format: The best file formats to use are JPEGs, PNGs, and GIFs. JPEG files are compressed and have a smaller file size than PNGs which are uncompressed and have a higher quality image. GIFs are best for animated images.
- Compression: If you have images that have a large file size, you can use an image compression tool like Tiny PNG to reduce its size without losing quality. WordPress users can use plugins to automatically compress images.
- Image dimensions: Reducing file dimensions can help decrease the size of the image. For example, let’s say I have an image that is 2 MB file size and 3500×2800 pixels. If I resize the dimensions to 1200×800 pixels, the new image file size can be 184Kb. That is a 92% reduction in size.
- Video optimization: When uploading a video, avoid embedding the video file directly into the webpage so that the video doesn’t have to be downloaded in its entirety before the webpage is loaded. Instead, embed a link to the video so that it can be streamed from another location (e.g. YouTube) if the user chooses to view it. This will make the webpage load faster.
8. Improve content and correct typos
As mentioned earlier, user experience plays a role in determining how well your blog post will rank. While refreshing your old blog post, correct any typos and errors, as this will improve readability. Improving your blog post’s readability will also increase the chances of your audience reading and interacting with your content.
It may take a little effort to refresh your blog posts and optimize them for SEO. But benefits like getting more backlinks, increasing traffic, and improving the user experience make it worth it. No matter your industry, you want people to see your article. Whether your goal for creating content is to increase brand awareness or drive sales and conversions, you won’t reach your goals if there are no eyes on your blog posts. And for sales and conversions, readers will not take the desired action if they have a negative user experience.
So the tips in this article will help you get started with refreshing your old blog posts and build relevancy.