If you’ve been writing for a while and have an archive of old blog posts, you are sitting on a goldmine of content. As with most digital marketers or small businesses, our mission when we started blogging was to get as much new content out there as possible. It was important to provide variety to attract visitors and build a strong knowledge base. And, while some of the posts gained traction and brought in page views, many fell by the wayside and got lost in the jumble of new content we were creating. Developing a large library is never a bad thing, but it can quickly become your worst enemy as the posts become outdated.
In this two-part series, we will discuss why it’s important to update old blog posts and discuss practical ways in which you can begin reviving old blogs to work to your advantage.
It makes sense to update old blog posts so you’re driving people to relevant content. Things are changing fast no matter what industry you’re in, and those changes need to be reflected in your content. Your site visitors are able to land on any of your posts from search engines or via referral, but if you have a post which might be older than a year, it may contain irrelevant information.
Consider Google’s Freshness factor — a small piece of their search engine algorithm that prevents old pages from appearing at the top of the results when newer content appears to be more fresh. Google wants to give the best search results, which often means the newest ones. New posts generally adhere closest to modern best practices that are relevant to what’s happening in the world. SEO is also constantly changing and what worked yesterday may no longer work today. A newer post using the latest SEO practices will likely outrank your post that was written three years ago.
Also, Google displays dates right on their SERPs to show users when a piece of content was last updated. Likely, the visitor who lands on old information will hit the “close” button and move on to other options, which means you just lost a valuable visitor. Not to mention, your bounce rate will increase and the average site stay time will be low.
If you have a post that requires an update of information, take the time to review and edit. Your blog — like food — has an expiration date.
It’s easy to upload a blog post and forget about it, but that can seriously hold you back from increased traffic and rankings. Strategically improving your old posts brings new eyes to every page and maximizes your chance to monetize.
Databox ran a survey that found 61-80 percent of organic traffic comes from “old” blog posts. If that’s the case, updating old content with relevant and actionable information matters! Brian Dean of Backlinko did a content relaunch of its blog post on “White Hat Case Study: How to Get a #1 Ranking” and saw incredible results. In two weeks, the organic search engine traffic for that page increased by 260.7 percent.
This increase in traffic led to an increase of backlinks, which in turn led to higher search rankings.
While each of your blog posts stands alone in the search rankings, you may not realize that they act to influence search rankings. If you have 100 posts and only 10 of them get any traffic, the other 90 are dragging you down. If you practice regularly updating and make sure you’ve included best practices for SEO, those 90 will no longer be dragging you down, but moving you forward.
Poorly managed content certainly limits your potential, but it can also cause damage by hurting your reputation — costing you customers and decreasing your revenue. If your customers find outdated posts on your site, they’re less likely to trust you. Old (or even legally-binding) content shared unintentionally — leading to PR nightmares — can be expensive, cumbersome and make your company look bad to the public.
Creating new content on a regular basis is time-consuming. Many times, the content you spent hours creating doesn’t get the desired effect. an old post to make it relatable, relevant, and evergreen takes far less time than writing something completely new, and you’ll boost the quality of your site and business.
Evergreen refers to something that has continuous value throughout time. For example, “How to improve SEO” is an evergreen topic, while “Last month’s Google updates” is not. The Pareto principle — also referred to as the 80/20 rule — can also apply to blogging, meaning that 20 percent of your content will produce 80 percent of your traffic. Helping to create posts that are evergreen means you’re spending less time and money on marketing and more on building your core business.
On the more practical side of things, updating old content is important simply because you learn! What may have sounded intelligent and cohesive to you three years ago might now sound childish.
Re-reading and coming back to information you haven’t set eyes on for some time is an excellent practice for seeing just how far you’ve come. It allows you to catch misspellings and grammatical errors that may have gotten through the first time. Typos are also a big turn-off to anyone reading your content, and when you revisit your old posts and read them with fresh eyes, you are more likely to find those silly typos.
Also, when you update old blog posts it also gives you the chance to redeem yourself. The possibility always exists for you to have changed opinions or learned important industry information that moved your business in a different direction. The last thing you want is old content sitting on your site that may confuse current or potential customers. Remove unwanted stances and breathe new life into posts regarding practices or opinions that may have changed.
Old posts are bad only if you let them stay the way they are. They can be extremely beneficial if you know how to update or recycle them correctly. In the next part in our series, we will focus on the best ways to update your blog content and prepare it for ongoing success.