You are most likely constantly working on churning out brand-new content for SEO purposes. While that is one great strategy, you can also boost your SEO by updating old content for SEO. Do you have blog posts on your website that haven’t been updated in at least a year, maybe two (or even longer?) Those posts are a prime opportunity for you to improve your search ranking. Even if you aren’t visiting that old content, your audience and search engines probably are. If the content is out-of-date, it could even be hurting your SEO.
Why Updating Old Content for SEO is Important
If you are like us, you are constantly grinding out new content for your website in the hopes of ranking high on Google. But there is another easier way to boost your SEO: updating your old blog posts. While you could simply remove outdated content from your website, you can also update your content to make it more relevant. There are several reasons why it is important to update old content on your website on a regular basis:
Earn More Backlinks
Updating your old posts can potentially help you earn more backlinks, which boosts your SEO. No websites want to link to outdated content. When your content is fully up-to-date, you are more likely to earn backlinks. You can even pursue backlinks by using a backlink checker tool like Ahrefs, which will show you who is linking to other top posts on the topic. Then, reach out to those sites, inform them of your updated post, and offer your newly updated content as an alternative.
Build Audience Loyalty
If your audience is finding out-of-date content on your website, you can lose trust. They will go to other websites looking for newer information. On the flip side, if your audience sees that you are updating old content and keeping them informed, that can help build reader and audience loyalty and trust.
Update to Meet Today’s Best SEO Practices
We are constantly learning more about what makes Google happy. If you have old blog posts from 2017, the best practices back then are different from the best practices now. When you update older content, you can make sure that it adheres to the current SEO best practices.
How to Choose Which Old Content to Update
Now you know why updating old content on your website is beneficial, but which blog posts should you choose to refresh? Sure, you can start with your oldest content. Or, here are some other strategies for choosing which content to prioritize:
Pages Attracting Traffic, But Not Ranking High
The best way to choose which content to update is by focusing on pages that are attracting traffic. This might seem counter-intuitive, but you can further boost the SEO of posts that are already performing well by updating them.
Consider the Content
Choose posts to update that are relevant today. Perhaps you have newer content on the topic you can link to and add to the older post. Or, choose content that you know helps you convert.
Pages with High-Quality Links
When you are deciding which pages to update, choose blogs that don’t rank well but have accrued some high-quality links from other sites. These pages have the potential to rank, so give them a quick update and watch them spike on the SERPs.
Pages with High Keyword Impressions but Low Rankings
You can use the Google Search Console or Ahrefs to identify posts that are currently close to ranking (maybe they’re on page two of the search results) but not quite there. This can help you determine which pages to update.
Tips for Updating Old Blog Posts for SEO
These are our best tips for updating old blog posts for SEO:
1. Update the Date of the Header Tag
Our first tip is simple: add the current year to the H1 tag. The first thing readers (and search engines) see is your meta title and H1. If you wrote a blog post back in 2019, go back and add some new content to the post. Then, change the title and make sure to include something like [2022 UPDATED]. This tells your readers (and Google) that the post has been recently updated.
2. Consolidate Average-Performing Content
One way to update old blog posts for SEO is to consolidate mid-performing content. You can look for similar posts on the same topic and combine them. This eliminates cannibalization and duplicate content, both of which are no-nos for Google. Simply add the content from the lower-performing article to the higher-performing article, then redirect the link on the old post to the new post. This saves you time on creating new content and lengthens the original blog post, which Google likes to see.
3. Look for Pages with Low CTR and Update Meta Tags
Head to Google Analytics and look for pages with a low click-through rate (or CTR.) If your page has a low CTR, it means you need to update what people see on Google to make it more clickable. Look for high-ranking posts on the same topic and try to come up with a better meta description than theirs. This will earn you more clicks!
4. Answer Google’s “People Often Ask” Questions
If you are having writer’s block when it comes to updating old blog posts for SEO, add in the answers to recent “People Often Ask” questions on Google. Simply search the keyword on Google and look at the “People Often Ask” feature. Then, answer those questions in your blog post. You can even create a dedicated FAQ section. This has the added benefit of lengthening your post!
5. Boost Your Search Intent Match
Try to boost the search intent match in your old posts. When you look through your old content, ask yourself, does this post fully answer the question the searcher was asking when they found your post on Google? Make sure that your old posts aren’t just full of keywords, but helpful content that answers your readers’ questions.
6. Add New Internal Links
Chances are, since you last wrote a blog post, there is new content on your website you can link to. This is an easy and effective way to boost the SEO of your old blog posts.
7. Link to Newer Research and Studies
By the same token, there also might be new information available on the topic of your old blog posts. If so, link to this newer research in your old post. The ultimate goal of content is to provide your reader with the best and most accurate information. This is an especially important step if some of the vital information and statistics in your original post has changed.
8. Remove Broken Links
Use a tool like Google’s Check My Links to find any broken links in your old posts, and remove them. (And don’t forget to replace them with a new link!)
9. Add Schema Markup
Schema markup is code that helps Google’s crawlers better understand your content. Adding schema to the post will make it more attractive to Google and help it rank higher.
10. Update the Formatting and Layout
Check the formatting and layout of your old blog posts to ensure that they are up-to-date with the latest SEO best practices. Since best practices change over time, your old posts might not be up to Google’s standards. Or, perhaps you’ve learned a new way to format in the last few years.
11. Check Out Your Competitors
What are your top competitors doing on their blogs? You can check out their blogs. (It’s okay, it’s perfectly legal!) This can help you identify holes in your own content marketing plan and give you ideas for how to revamp your own old content.
12. Target New Keywords
Another way to update an old blog post is to add relevant keywords that you might have missed the first time. Perhaps an old post isn’t ranking because you are targeting an extremely high-ranking keyword. Try adding a more specific long-tail keyword to your post to increase its chances of ranking high on Google.
13. Add New Photos and Videos
If you have a blog post that is getting some traffic but could use a boost, add a video (or a photo.) A video from YouTube can increase how much time visitors spend on your page, which Google will reward you for. One way to do this is to create a video version of a high-traffic blog post. First, publish your new video blog post to your website, then upload it to YouTube. Or, just record a quick video that elaborates on the subject or demonstrates an example outlined in your post.
14. Update the Alt Text
Don’t forget to update the SEO of your old post photos, too! How do you do that? By updating the alt text. Alt text describes the images being displayed to search engines and users who are unable to view your images.
15. Set a Reminder to Update Old Content
Just like SEO, updating your old blog posts is a continuous process. Create a calendar or set up reminders to update your older content every so often. If you already have an existing editorial calendar, simply set a reminder periodically to go back and update old content. We recommend updating your content once every quarter.
16. Rewrite Your Introduction
Your introduction is the first impression you make on your reader. If a piece of content isn’t performing well, maybe it needs a new introduction. Make sure you accurately sum up the rest of your post and give the reader a reason to keep reading.
17. Remove Old References
If your old blog content has references that are past their prime, remove them. This is an excellent way to make your content more evergreen.
18. Add New Expert Quotes
Don’t hesitate to add new expert quotes to posts. Google priorities EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) in its Search Quality Rater guidelines, and adding more authority to your past posts is a surefire way to boost its ranking.
19. Promote Old Blog Posts
Once you have fully updated your old blog posts, make sure you spend time promoting them. Don’t hesitate to post your updated content on your social media feeds and reference the fact that they have been updated.
20. Never Change the URL
This tip is what NOT to do when updating your old content for SEO. Do not change the URL of your old blog posts, unless it is absolutely necessary. If you do need to change the URL for some reason, be sure to implement a 301 redirect.
Update Your Old Content for SEO With Our Content Optimization Services
If you would like assistance updating your old blog posts for SEO from the search engine optimization experts, then come to SEO Design Chicago. Our team can update your oldest content and boost your SEO!
- How often should I update old blog content?
- What are the benefits of updating old content?
- How do I choose which old blog posts to update?
- How do I update old blog posts for SEO?
- Should I change the URL on an old blog post?