SEO Best Practice: Updating Old Content For New Traffic
Got a blog or a business website? Well then, you’ve no doubt accumulated plenty of web content over the years. It’s about time you did something about your old content, and work with SEO best practice to help increase your website page rankings. Update old content to create classic, evergreen, always useful posts that will attract more visitors for years to come. Here’s how.
Why do I need to update my old content?
When you check your website data, do you see a pattern? Notice most of your website traffic directs to just a few of your pages? It’s a common issue for many people who haven’t optimised articles. Google rewards “freshness” and if you’re not updating old content, you’re serving up a soggy salad to your readers. You can improve this by working with what you’ve already got. By following SEO best practice, this is how to go about it:
You may notice, your website pages that get the most visitors are:
- Your homepage
- Your landing page
- One or two random articles or pages
Take a look at your random pages. You’ll see they aren’t actually as unsystematic as you think. Pages that attract visitors often rank higher than others due to the correct use of SEO keywords. Updating old content can breathe new SEO life into your pages. Use the right keywords and you will reach the right audience. The best way of finding your keywords, and word groups which can be used to make up a phrase:
- Make a list of words and topics associated to your brand
- Sign up to Google AdWords and go to Keyword Planner (free if you spend $30 a month on ads)
- Search for new keywords, ad group ideas, under the ‘Tools and Analysis’ function.
- If you’re really ready to go pro, get proper keyword research done by a professional
Keep the URL
Even if you’re adding new keywords, you should keep the original URL for your post. This is an aged URL and will likely have some “SEO oomph” especially if it was a good performer in the past. If your URL structure isn’t very SEO friendly (it has dates or random letters or anything other than what the article is about) you can change the URL but you must redirect the old one to the new one using a 301 redirect. Google says that this looses none of the SEO oomph but most SEOs agree you’ll lose between 5 and 15%.
Change old content and publish dates
The best way to freshen up your page is to rewrite old content, updating it to keep it current and useful and then changing your publish date. This encourages Google to come back and take a fresh look at your freshly updated content and ranking it accordingly. Blogging platforms make it easy for you to change your publish date. If your website is hosted under an independent platform and you would like to change your web content publish date, you’ll need to check with your web developer.
How much updating is enough?
Adding in a few keywords into old content is great if you want new visitors to find you, but, it’s better to re-write your content as mentioned above. You don’t need to completely re-write, but it is recommended you refresh at least 75% of your article content to make it start ranking again in google search.
Out with the old, in with the SEO new
SEO changes. Rapidly and constantly. Make sure that when you update your old content, you’re apply current best SEO practices. When you wrote the original piece, it may have been best practice to add the exact match keyword all over the place. Now it’s all about user intention. Make sure that the refreshed content answers all the questions a user might ask when Googling your keywords. Optimisation is still vital but user intention, level of interaction, time on site… all these more complex ranking factors play a far greater part in SEO performance than they did a few years back.
Right, let’s do it!
- Research and use keywords that are appropriate to your brand.
- Once you’ve established your keywords, refresh some of your less dominant web pages with 75% or more new content using your found keywords.
- Make sure the new content is “evergreen”, useful and answering the user’s intentions when they search
- Keep the old URL or 301 redirect it to the new URL
- Update your content publish date.
You don’t need to work too hard to rank well on Google, when following SEO best practice. And SEO best practice is always about providing the best possible experience for your readers.