As a blogger, creating new content is a never-ending task. Without new content, your traffic would taper off and your blog would stop growing.
But did you know your blog has a treasure trove of content already available to help you grow your blog?
All it needs is a little help.
If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, you probably have plenty of old blog posts that you’ve forgotten about.
Don’t leave them abandoned! You can get a lot more traffic just by updating and optimizing those old blog posts.
How to choose which posts to update
If you have a lot of content on your blog, it may be much too time-consuming to optimize each and every one.
Instead of going through each post one by one, you can identify the best prospects for updating:
High traffic posts
These posts have already proven themselves with your audience, so you know they’re in demand. Why not make them even better, boosting their rankings and your traffic?
You can find your most popular posts in Google Analytics by navigating to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages in the sidebar and choosing a date range. The resulting list of pages will be sorted by number of pageviews.
(Go ahead and leave Analytics open – we’ll use it again in the next step.)
Posts with broken links
One definite sign of a post in need of updating is a lot of broken links!
Numerous broken links in a single post means the content is probably outdated, and will need a serious overhaul.
You can use a tool like Dead Link Checker to scan your site for broken links.
After you’ve identified a list of posts that need updating, follow the steps below to give them new life.
Step 1: Review the SEO
Since you’re already in Google Analytics, let’s take a look and find out what keywords this page tends to rank for.
On the Analytics sidebar menu, navigate to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages. The results will be automatically ranked by number of sessions.
Go ahead and click the first page.
Now, right above the page, click the small blue link that says “Keyword.”
Now the keywords that page ranks for will be listed below.
You can use these keywords to see if you’re missing any specific content in your post that your audience is searching for. Use the keywords as a guide to your audience’s intent. Will they find what they’re looking for in your post, or should you add more information?
You can also try searching Google (try using incognito mode) for those keywords to see which other pages you’re in competition with. Then you can compare and see how you can improve your post in order to stand out from the competition.
Step 2: Fix any errors in your post
First, quickly scan your post for any glaring errors, such as broken images, orphaned shortcodes that no longer work, or obvious typos or formatting errors.
Test all the outgoing links and make sure they still work and go where they’re supposed to. Sometimes other websites may change around their structure and neglect to set up proper redirects, so your link may not lead to the same place.
If there are a lot of broken links in your post, you may have to rehaul the content completely, which leads into the next step…
Step 3: Review & update the content
After any obvious errors are fixed, it’s time to review and update the content. Now that it’s been a while since you’ve written and published it, you can read it with fresh eyes and see what needs to be changed and updated.
- Replace outdated information, advice, and recommendations with new ones
- Add new resources that have become available since you wrote the post
- Add your new experience or changed perspective
You may find some posts on your list that need to be rewritten completely.
Step 4: Add internal links
Since you published that post, you’ve probably published other posts that are related in topic.
You can now add internal links to the more recent posts, recommended reading to the end of the post, or even link up some old posts in a series.
Your goal here is to keep visitors on your website, reading other articles. Whatever other content a reader of that post might find helpful on your site, link it here.
Step 5: Update images and multimedia
It’s a good idea to also update the multimedia, not just the content.
You may want to update the featured post image to comply with new social media size standards, to be more consistent with your current branding, or just to give it a refresh and make it more attractive to readers.
You may also decide to add new multimedia, like creating an infographic or video based on the post information to draw in a new audience.
Step 6: Review your call to action
Does your blog post have an outdated call to action (CTA)?
Maybe you’ve removed comments from your blog, but still have posts ending with asking readers to leave a comment. Or maybe you want to add a new call to action to reflect your new blogging goals, such as building your email list.
Make sure that the CTA you’re using is still appropriate and fits with your current blogging goals.
Step 7: Republish the post
Once your post is updated, you can choose to change the date and republish it, so your readers will be sure to see the updated version.
You may want to add a quick note at the top so you don’t confuse your long-time readers who recognize the post.
To re-publish your post, enter the post editing screen from your dashboard.
In the Publish box on the right, click Edit under the date:
You can change it to the current date and hit “Update” to republish the post to the first page.
(Make sure you don’t change it to a future date, because then your visitors won’t be able to access it until it publishes again.)
Step 8: Promote your updated post
Now you can promote it again!
- Share it on your social media platforms
- Email it to your newsletter
- Email a link to any person or brand you’ve mentioned in the new version
That’s it! Now you can repeat the process for the rest of your list.
How often should you update your old blog posts?
Most bloggers should do a content audit at least every 2 to 3 years. The web changes quickly, and you’ll find that a lot of links and resources can come and go in that time, making many posts obsolete.
If you blog more frequently (more than once a week), you may want to do so every 6-12 months so the work doesn’t pile up.
Auditing, updating, and optimizing your old blog posts is a great way to get more traffic to your blog with the posts you already have. It keeps your blog fresh and current, and makes you look more professional to your audience.
It may be a time-consuming task, but the rewards are very much worth it!