How do you update content?
Old blog posts – what are you supposed to do with them? They’re still pulling in links, but they’re not as up-to-date or polished as you’d like them to be.
Sometimes, deleting them is the best thing to do. If you’re worried about giving outdated information or you feel that these old posts are tarnishing your reputation, they might not be worth keeping up.
On the other hand, think about why you should repurpose content that’s old so it can continue to benefit you. Creating high-quality content requires a great deal of time and effort, so why not shorten the process by taking old content that used to be good and giving it a bit of a facelift?
Today, we want to talk about how to repurpose blog content to serve new purposes on behalf of your brand. These tips will help you achieve better results with the content you already have and increase traffic without generating tons of new blog posts.
Pick the Most Effective Content to Update
If you’re like most companies, you’ve got an entire back-log of posts that could be updated. However, it would be a waste of time to update content for every post with the hope of reaping a big reward – you still need to produce content, and you likely don’t have the manpower to tackle both.
That’s why we want to talk about picking the right posts to update. First things first: identify your top-performing posts from the past. Here’s how.
Start by figuring out which of your blog posts have performed well in the past. You can do this on your Google Analytics dashboard. Otherwise, you can download performance tracking apps like Buffer or Beak.
Once you’ve identified your top-performing posts, think about the content updates you could make. Could some be updated with better information? Could you modernize some of the content or add better graphics to make it “new” again?
Typically, your best bet when it comes to repurposing content is to take a look at your “evergreen” posts. As many of you probably know, this is the content that continues to be valuable for months or even years at a time, and it ranks well in organic search results.
Although your evergreen posts are meant to last for long periods of time, you could probably update content within it. Whether it’s adding new statistics or updating keywords to match modern trends, your actions could transform an okay piece of evergreen content into something really powerful for your brand.
Update Content with a Better, More Relevant Title
Let’s talk about titles. We all know they’re important, but just how important?
Your blog title is what catches people’s eyes and draws them in. It’s the first bit of text that gives them an idea of who your brand is, what it’s about, and how this piece of content can benefit them.
Therefore, your title shouldn’t just be the first thing that came to mind – it should be the best thing that came to mind with the intention of snagging more readers.
Here are some statistics to help you pick the right title for a blog, new or old.
Image Source: Blog Tyrant
As you can see by the graph, people like specific blog titles that draw them in with numbers, personal calls, or even a simple “how-to” phrasing. Take a look at your old blog posts: were you really thinking about the titles when you published them? Could you update content and the titles?
Writing a great blog title for old content doesn’t just draw in more readers – it can also optimize your content for search engines. Your title tag is Google’s first indicator as to how relevant your content is for certain Google search results. Therefore, if it’s more specific and contains the right keywords, it’s more likely to appear in the right SERP.
You can find your post’s title tag in the HTML code of your webpage. It affects how your blog’s title renders in SERPs, social media posts, chat messages, and browser tabs.
Some other pointers about creating a better title tag for your old content:
- Keep the tag between 50 and 60 characters in length
- Capitalize the title tag according to AP style
- Go for quality over quantity when including keywords
- Avoid stop words like “a,” “with,” “or,” “so,” and “but”
A great headline can have a dramatic impact on the success of a post, even if it’s an old one. While you’re updating the content of outdated posts, take a minute to see what magic you can work on the title to give readers and search engines better material to work with.
Dive Deeper into A Topic
Now let’s take a step further than learning how to repurpose content by making minor changes. One of the best things you can do to update content is to make it more detailed and more informative.
In the past, SEO guides used to claim that writing snappy, shorter content was the way to snag the attention of fast-paced internet users. Now, however, we know that a 300-word blog post isn’t always the best – the average blog length post is now 1,151 words.
This gives you the opportunity to take an old topic you wrote about and dive a bit deeper into its intricacies. People want more detailed posts that answer all of their questions, so why not transform your brief coverage on a topic into something more useful?
The concept of forming longer, more informative content leads us to another topic concerning old content: building pillar posts. The question is, what is pillar content?
As you can see with this example from Nomadic Matt, he has a main blog post that centers on the biggest goal of his entire website: to help people travel cheaply. This blog post is one of his pillar pieces of content.
Image Source: Nomadic Matt
It’s a foundational post that supports the rest of his content marketing efforts, and it’s a piece of evergreen content that is essential to his end goal.
Image Source: Neil Patel
When you’ve got great pillar content, building out your cluster content and internal links becomes much easier (and more effective). You can create a map within your website that’s built off of your core content and broken down into more niche subjects.
Additionally, pillar content makes it easier for humans and search engines alike to navigate your content and determine if your site is credible. Amateurs write short, snappy posts – experts write detailed, informative guides.
Think about the old posts you’ve posted as a content writer. Are some potential pillar posts if they are bit flushed out and more detailed?
Add New, Specific Long-Tail Keywords
Another excellent way to bring your old content into the new year is to revamp your keywords. Things have changed a lot in terms of keyword research for SEO over the past decade, so chances are, your oldest posts need some work.
Most obviously, we’ve turned away from keyword stuff for two reasons: it’s super annoying to readers, and search engines see right through it. Therefore, jam-packing your posts with SEO keywords is a thing of the past, and old posts that are overflowing with keywords and phrases should be re-analyzed.
Additionally, the length of beneficial keywords has changed. Experts no longer recommend focusing on just one word at a time. Instead, “long-tail keywords” have taken over. These are phrases that are highly specific and more efficient in targeted searches.
Image Source: SEMrush
Take a look at the graph provided by SEMrush. Although the keyword “tomato plant” might have a higher search volume, the phrase “why are my tomato plants turning yellow” has a much more significant conversion rate.
This change reflects a general shift toward more specific, helpful information when it comes to blog posts and content in general. If your first blog posts were published many years ago, they might have quality content, but the keywords likely aren’t as on-target as they could be.
Take some time to do some research on the long-tail keywords you should currently be using based on your topics, industry, and expertise. Then, turn to your old content and ensure that you’re using keywords that are truly beneficial at improving website rankings.
Replace Your Media with Updated Visuals
We’ve known for a long time that using strong images can attract more people to your content and help them retain more ideas from what they consume on your site. Graphics, pictures, and visuals of all kinds play a role in the success of your post, new or old.
Think about that post you uploaded back in 2014. It’s performed really well, but what do those graphics look like? Do they stand up against modern visual features, or do they look outdated and worn?
Image Source: Orbit Media
Take a look at the example above from Orbit Media. It’s not a huge change, but it’s pretty obvious that one graphic had little to no creative elements or color and the other is much cleaner and striking.
Consider the visuals you can improve in old blog posts that have done well. Here are some good places to start:
Hopefully, if you’ve made it this far into the article, you’re smart enough to know that Comic Sans and other janky fonts are huge no-gos in the world of internet visuals. Your website should be full of clean, easy-to-read fonts – even the old blog posts that you made on Blogger years ago.
That video you uploaded ten years ago was originally fine to post in 360p, but nowadays, videos are being uploaded at 1080p and even 4K. Avoid looking like you’re behind the times by uploading a new video or even removing old videos that just detract from the overall appearance of the post.
Did you know that an infographic is 30 times more likely to be read than an article that purely consists of text? Try transforming some of the heavy numbers and information in your old content into something more shareable and engaging.
Optimizing your images is an excellent way to improve search engine ranking. If your images on old posts haven’t been optimized, you’re wasting a valuable opportunity to reach more readers.
Ensure that all of your photos are in PNG or JPEG format. They should also be compressed to allow for fast loading speeds and clear quality. Name the file in a creative way, and most importantly, write an alt text description that Google will actually understand.
If your old blog post currently has no visuals, this is the perfect opportunity to add some. Articles with images get 94 more views than those with no visuals. Add a few to increase the likelihood of better viewership.
Update Your Statistics and Sources
This last tip might seem obvious, but we cannot stress how important it is as you update content. You could say we saved the best for last, so pay attention.
Image Source: Neil Patel
Whether you’re writing about hair extensions, the stock market, technology evolution, or any other topic, you should always incorporate information from credible sources. It’s how readers know they can trust your content, and it’s how search engines deem your website to be credible.
Not only do your sources and statistics need to be from respected sources, but they need to be up-to-date. If your old content is genuinely helpful and still accurate for readers, then you can leave it alone, but if it’s outdated to the point where it’s provided harmful or incorrect information, that’s a problem.
Although a post used to be popular and rank highly with Google, if its information is inaccurate, it will eventually be replaced by another more useful post. That’s why it’s essential that you update website content to reflect modern research, quotes, statistics, and sources.
With these tips, you can update post content you already have into something new and surprisingly valuable. Although updating old blog posts should only be one part of your content strategy, it’s an important one, especially when it comes to improving Google rankings.
Don’t assume that outdated posts and videos should wind up in the trash if they’ve offered value before. Maybe they can become something new and beneficial.
Riley Heruska is a full-time writer at a E2M Solutions specializing in producing content in the realm of SEO, marketing, and features. Her passion lies in helping others through the use of written word, and she can often be found sharing her travels from around the world.