Happy New Year! 2022 was a productive year for the K&A team and we hope it was for you too. Before chasing down the promise that a new year brings, however, we always take a moment to look back at the previous year first.

After all, there are typically lessons to be learned. What worked and what didn’t? What’s worth keeping and what should be discarded and replaced with a better approach?

As content marketers, we generate large volumes of content. Wherever possible, it’s a good idea to keep some of that content updated. Once updated, it can be put to good use as both a communication tool and SEO tool. But how do you decide what to keep?

It’s helpful to think of website content in two ways: timely information and evergreen content. Timely information focuses on current trends and news. On the other hand, evergreen content remains relevant and continues to deliver value over time. It’s important to remember that evergreen content often can atrophy, with outdated stats and dead-end links.

Instead of allowing old blog posts and related content to gather dust in the inter(cob)webs, a solid refresh of previously well-performing content can make it relevant once again. And extend its shelf life… while also reducing the need to generate new content as frequently.

A refresh is especially beneficial when a particular blog or article has reached a traffic plateau — a period where clicks on the post — have grown stagnant. In many cases, updating the content can boost search engine results. And drive more traffic to a site.

Making the Past Present

Traffic to blog posts and other content on a website also originates from backlinks. It takes time to acquire backlinks for new content. Old content is less likely to receive new backlinks… simply because the information is seen by audiences as outdated. Fortunately, updating an old blog post maintains the page’s existing backlinks. And when combined with any new backlinks the post acquires… the value and authority of the page is reinforced.

As an example: imagine a ten-year-old post called, “The Best Barbecue Restaurants in Atlanta” (yep, Georgia is known for some pretty darn good barbecue). Looking at this post today might be of limited use… as some restaurants may have closed, and new ones have since opened. Updating a post like that with current information would increase its value immediately. While improving its standing with both users and search engines.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that reviving an old blog post for SEO isn’t a one-and-done process. Following are a few best practices and key steps to consider.

Target new keywords

Depending on when a blog post was published, one of two situations could be true: The keywords being searched have changed over time. Or the keyword research at the time the post was published… was simply inadequate.

Search volume indicates how many people are entering a keyword into a search engine. Keyword difficulty is a measure of how difficult it is to rank on the first page of a search engine for a specific keyword. Both of these metrics are tools used to help determine the best keywords to assign to a particular piece of content.

If a blog post originated years ago — even if the SEO was top notch — the keyword difficulty and search volume for targeted keywords will have changed. And, if that SEO from years ago was inadequate, the content is likely missing keywords altogether.

That’s why targeting new keywords is crucial. Especially when it comes to long-tail keywords.

Update on-page SEO

Keyword research is a significant part of SEO. However, refreshing other on-page SEO factors can also improve content ranking. Updating and implementing an SEO strategy on an old blog post involves a few key areas, including:

SEO Title Tag. The SEO title tag is the clickable name of the webpage that leads to the post. To optimize a post and its perceived relevance… simply include the keyword at the beginning of the title.

Meta description. The meta description is the short caption of text that appears after the title in a search result. This text should include targeted keywords. And state the purpose of the content. An eye-catching meta description could provide just the motivation that inspires audiences to click on a link.

Article Titles. SEO title tags and article titles aren’t required to be the same. While the title tag appears on the search engine results page, the article title appears on the destination page. Update this title with any new keywords as well.

Subheadings. Subheadings act as a content outline. Before readers decide to commit fully to reading a blog post… many will merely skim through it. Add keywords to the main subheadings. This will increase the perceived relevance of content and, as such, help to boost rankings.

Refresh the content

Despite all the keyword strategizing, most of the updates should be targeted to the body content. It’s pretty simple — remove out-of-date data — and replace it with current information.

Cleaning up outdated content also includes eliminating old sources. This is important for updating internal links. As well as for external ones.

Focus on links

Search for broken links… dead ends that take visitors to a “404 error” page. When a reader clicks on a link, it’s because they want more information. If they find a broken link — it immediately diminishes the credibility of that content — and increases frustration. Instead, remove, repair or redirect any broken links. This practice keeps website visitors on the site longer. Boosting content quality. And improving SEO.

Add and optimize new images and videos

High-quality blogs have high-quality visuals. Adding new images and videos provides a better user experience and can increase SEO. After all, Google indexes images found in blog posts. For a search engine to understand why an image is important, the file name should include a keyword along with a brief description.

Pay attention to formatting

Perhaps it should go without saying… so forgive us for the reminder to correct any typos. And fix grammatical errors. And make posts more readable by breaking up long sentences. The goal is always to improve readability.

Readability directly connects to the user experience. Readers will “bounce off” or exit the page… if they decide that a blog post is too hard to read. And high bounce rates negatively affect SEO. Some key points to improve readability are:

  • Use shorter sentences
  • Break up long paragraphs
  • Avoid the passive voice
  • Resist the temptation to use jargon not universally understood

Republish with a new date

One of the easiest ways to revive an old blog post for SEO is republishing the content with a new date. Audiences and search engine simply won’t invest a lot of valuable time on old content. So ensure that an updated post or article also has an updated date.

Another common practice is adding the current year to an SEO title tag. A SearchPilot case study demonstrated a five percent increase in organic traffic for a blog post with an SEO title tag that included the date — versus one without.

Stayin’ alive

Online marketing, which includes SEO, has best practices that change constantly. To keep up with current SEO practices and create a good user experience, it’s important to perform regular content updates. Reviving old content can keep it engaging for both users and search engines.

The New Year is the ideal time to develop a new, more robust content strategy. Let’s talk about your building product brand’s thought leadership. Email sk@kleberandassociates.com to get the conversation started.