This past week, I spent a ridiculous amount of time updating old posts on my blog.
And let me tell you, it made me want to cry.
I’ve become a way better writer since I began working on this site, and my writing style has changed dramatically. Some of my old blog posts were absolutely horrific, and downright embarrassing.
Yet, the majority of my traffic arrives to these old, embarrassing articles. So I had to ask myself… is this really the impression I want to leave on my new visitors? My potential subscribers and potential buyers? Is this what I want them to think of my site?
It’s time for you to ask yourself the same thing. Let’s talk about updating your old blog posts.
Why Update Old Posts On Your Blog?
We already know a bit about why we should update our old blog posts, but let’s look into this a bit further.
Other than fixing your spelling and grammatical mistakes, there are plenty of other reasons updating old blog posts is well worth your time.
A Better Experience For Your Readers
To start off, you’re more knowledgeable now then you were in the past. You have more information than you did previously – information that may just fit into your article. As a blogger, I’m going to hope you want to make the best articles you possibly can, so this is a perfect time to add that new information to your article. Your visitors will love you for it.
Additionally, things change all the time and information that was relevant in the past may no longer be relevant today. Therefore, this outdated information is going to do nothing but waste your visitor’s time. I can not tell you how many times I’ve gone through an article only to find out the information is no longer true.
Heck, just the other day I followed a tech guide for two hours just to find out I couldn’t finish it all the way through because it was written in 2008, and hasn’t been updated since. You could imagine how upset I was at the end. 🙂
Google And Fresh Content
As I’m sure you already know, Google loves websites with lots of fresh content.
It makes sense after all – Google wants to give the best experience to its users and fresh content is a good indicator of up-to-date info. Updating your old blog posts almost guarantees you a SEO boost to some degree.
Retain More Visitors With Links To New Posts
This is a huge one.
In my case, most of the visitors that arrive to my old posts come from search engines. A type of traffic that almost never sticks around.
If you’re updating your blog regularly, chances are you’ve written a ton of awesome new content that wasn’t there when you wrote your older blog posts. This means you have a ton of awesome new articles to link to.
This accomplishes two things – first of all, it passes pagerank from your older posts to your newer relevant ones, and interlinking your blog posts gives your readers somewhere else to go, keeping them on your site longer.
With search engine traffic, you want to do whatever you can to keep visitors on your site. You want them to get to know you, so hopefully they’ll connect with you or hop onto your email list.
How To Update Old Blog Content
So now we know why we should update the old articles on our blogs, but how do we actually go about it? There’s a good process I’ve found that is both productive and saves a ton of time while having the maximum impact, so I’d love to share it with you.
Identify Your Most Popular Posts
First and foremost, you’ll want to identify the old articles on your site which are getting the most amount of traffic. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to take the time to edit my old content, I’d rather improve the content that’s seen by a ton of people rather than the content that’s rarely viewed at all.
If you have Google Analytics installed, it’s pretty easy to see which pages on your site are receiving the most visits. Make sure to select a time span of a month or two to get a better idea of which posts are getting the most long-term traffic!
Read Over Each Post For Spelling And Grammar Mistakes
I used to be lazy when editing. Really lazy.
The truth is, I never read over each post more than once before hitting the publish button, which was a big mistake. So many spelling and grammar mistakes flew over my head, and I was embarrassed to discover how many mistakes went unnoticed while I was updating my old articles.
Additionally, I recommend reading each post aloud to help you identify phrases that don’t make much sense and can use improvement. You’d be surprised at how much you missed!
Update Information, Interlink Articles
We talked about updating information and interlinking articles earlier, now’s the time to do it. Any information within each article should still be relevant today, and hopefully remain relevant in the future as well.
If you haven’t already been encouraging your visitors to complete some action after finishing your article, now’s the time to ensure this is happening.
For most people, this would be encouraging the visitor to subscribe to your email newsletter. If you aren’t already, I highly recommend using a service like GetResponse to build and manage an email list. After all, this is where most of your money will be made.
Avoid Changing Top Performing Keywords and Page URL
If you’re already ranking well for certain keywords, try to avoid removing those from your article while updating it if possible. The goal is to get more out of your old articles, and removing good keywords is going to have the opposite effect.
Additionally, avoid changing the URL. Old articles likely already have backlinks and social shares, and you don’t want those to be taken away by changing the page’s URL. While WordPress will automatically redirect the old link to the new one, changing the URL will hurt you more than it helps you.
Reshare and Remarket
After you’ve finished updating your old content, it’d be a good idea to market this old content again. Chances are, if people liked it before, they’ll like it even more now. Plugins like Revive Old Post can automatically share older posts on your blog at set intervals, bringing fresh traffic from Twitter to your old articles on a regular basis.
Plus, Google loves new links to old articles. This shows the articles remain relevant over time, which ensures the articles will maintain their high ranking for years to come.
When An Old Topic Merits A New Article
Sometimes, it’s a better idea to post an entirely new article rather than try and edit an old one.
Usually this is the case when an article requires such heavy editing, that updating it would not only ruin the search engine rankings of the article, but take more time than writing a new article itself.
If you feel it would be a better use of your time to simply write a new article than update the old one, than do so. Just be sure to make it clear to visitors who arrive on the old article that a newer version is available.
How Often Should You Update Old Blog Content?
As you can tell, this isn’t exactly a quick process, especially if you have a lot of content on your blog that needs updating. You may find yourself asking, “how often should I be doing this?” The answer is, it depends.
If you know something on your blog has become outdated, it’s a good idea to update it as soon as possible. Of course, it’s not exactly easy to keep track of every single article you’ve posted on your blog. While editing all of my old blog content, I actually discovered a lot of articles I completely forgot I’ve written!
I try to aim to update my old content at least twice a year. If the information is still relevant, updating each post doesn’t take very long at all.
Regardless of how often you update your blog content, it will almost always prove to be more rewarding than writing an extra blog post!
There you have it. You no longer have any excuses – if you haven’t already repurposed some of your old blog content, now’s the time to do it. Plan out some time as soon as possible to update as many of your old posts as possible. You won’t regret it.
Additionally, if you have any comments or questions, or you’d like to share some additional tips with us all, feel free to post a comment below or shoot me an email. We’d love to hear what you have to say!