Many companies and bloggers feel a constant pressure to post fresh content on a weekly, or even a daily basis.
And while there actually are statistics that say that posting frequently can help your search engine ranking – content production is an expensive and often quite time-consuming process.
This is where historical optimization comes in – a fancy term for re-optimising and updating your old content to help drive in new traffic. As my CEO would put it, it’s like taking two bites out of the same cherry.
We all have content that has either once performed well but has since been huddling in a corner, gathering dust, or content that has never actually done well, but could with a little love.
Here is what you can do to make the most of these old pieces and give them new life – and drive more leads at the same time.
First let’s look at some of the things that may be hindering the performance of some of your old posts.
At the time you were writing them, you might have overstuffed them with certain keywords. Or you may have focused on keywords which are now no longer in demand. You may have only promoted them once and have not built any links back to them. They may have no pages from your site pointing back to them either.
As time moves us on – online demands are shifting and reshaping and you may simply need to do a bit of tweaking to help old posts live a second life.
The first thing you need to do is a quick and simple content audit. This will instantly tell you which posts to focus on, and what to do with them.
There are two things I would advise doing: focus on on-page optimization and upgrade the content that has performed well.
For this step, you will need the help of a few SEO tools – Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
You should check which posts have performed well and make a list of your best-performing posts.
These we will also leave for one of the next steps. What you are focusing on now are your best and your mid-level posts, posts which can do with on-page fixes.
Using any keyword research tool you like (I prefer KeywordKeg) – do some exploring. Check which keywords you used in the past, and what you can update them into now. If you have used a really difficult to rank for keyword, try switching for something that still has a decent amount of search volume, but which is less competitive.
Review your meta tags and SEO titles – and update those. Make them sound a little more enticing. Titles with numbers and brackets work really well. You can also upgrade your metatitles to 320 instead of 160 words now.
Review your outgoing links, make sure they are all working and perhaps change them to more reliable or up-to-date sources. Make sure some of your newer pages are also pointing to this old resource. We often forget to link to our old posts in new articles, but this will give them a significant boost.
Update your images as well, review your call to action (if you have one) and once you are satisfied – republish your post, with a newer date. You can add a note in it to clarify that it has been updated. Promote your post on your socials as well.
Your best content deserves a bit more love. Apart from doing everything from step two – you should also update your best posts. Maybe you can add some new data, new research and new findings? If you have a “Best of” or “Top” post – expand it, and add a dozen or so more items to your list. Consider a new angle – you don’t need to delete any of the old content, just make sure you put a new twist on it.
Another great way to go is to reformat your best pieces. If they were once a blog post, try doing an infographic now. Or perhaps put all your research in a downloadable asset? Or a checklist? If you can turn it into a video, even better.
Once you have updated your post (and republished it with a newer date) – make sure you do some serious promotion. Add it to your newsletter, share it on your socials more than once, and reach out to your readers or customers to let them know what you have done. Also make sure to build some links to this new resource.
The best thing about reworking old content is that it will consume less resources and that you can easily track your progress. See how certain updates work, and if they don’t, try reworking your on-page again.
Sometimes just switching to a less competitive keyword can do wonders.
It is also easier to review something you have already written than doing research from the ground up. You will most likely have plenty of new ideas now that some time has passed.
If you are wondering how often you should do content audits and rework old posts – I would say once every couple of years.
You don’t need to go into this every year – you can still focus on new content, but make sure you are aware of the goldmine you already have on your blog, and use it to drive more sales and drive in new readers.
Written by: Michael Deane, Editor, Qeedle.com