How to update old blog posts for SEO
Updating your old content on your blog is vital to keeping your posts fresh in the eyes of Google. But learning how to update old blog posts for SEO can be daunting!
Creating new content takes a whole lot of time, and you should definitely be doing this on a consistent basis. However, refreshing your old content to stay relevant is another way to help drive more traffic to your blog and to help your Google ranking.
Setting up your schedule to post a certain number of posts per week or per month has its benefits… But don’t forget about all that gold you have sitting in your blog already!
Google and your target audience are still searching for those topics you write about 2 years ago! They just want up to date info… and if you’re creating evergreen content chances are a small tweak could have you skyrocket up the SERPs once again!
I want to run through a few things to consider as a blogger when thinking about updating your old blog posts. This is a simple and straightforward look at some of the easy things you can do right now to improve your seo! It’s not full of jargon and tech speak… hope it helps. 🙌
Why you should regularly update your old blog posts
New users are potential new fans
Google loves fresh content! And so do your readers. You could be spending a massive amount of time creating new content for your readers, however… don’t forget that plenty of those readers are NEW TO YOUR BLOG!
New users vs returning users is one of those metrics you should be paying attention to!
Think about that for a second. So many of those eyes that are hitting your site for the first time have never seen any of your content!
According to a recent Databox survey a whopping 68% of users to a site are new users!
That’s a massive amount of potential right there to gain a new loyal audience and have them spend a bit more time on your site.
Don’t forget that a whole heap of traffic to your site is NEW. So take the opportunity to delight them with ALL of your content.
Google likes to serve up the most relevant information in its search results… What this means for you is that you want to make sure your well performing posts are continuously being tweaked to remain highly valuable to both your readers and ultimately to Google.
If Google sees that you are continuously improving your content and ensuring that it remains relevant this will greatly increase your chances of it featuring on the top SERPs.
If you have had content that has previously performed well, it will already have a good PA (Page authority) … tweaking this content is a whole heap easier than creating from scratch and ensuring it maintains its place in Google results.
Google trends to crawl sites more often that have new, fresh content. By updating your content regularly you are signalling to Google that you are remaining relevant and have value added content to share. The more Google crawls your site, the more likely you are to show up in rankings.
Google also changes its algorithm over time. And what was once super vital to Google may nowe not be as relevant. Also, because Google is ever evolving, it’s important to make sure your posts are too!
Take for example Google Featured Snippets … Google Featured Snippets are the result #0 right under the paid ads on the 1st page of Google results. That’s a pretty powerful position!
Not so long ago this was something that you wouldn’t have imagined to think about in the structuring of your blog posts.. But now… hmmmm you probably want to make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance to feature!
How to refresh old blog posts for SEO
Ok, so let’s get to it! There’s one thing you need to consider BEFORE you jump in!
Which blog posts should you refresh first?
Which blog posts should I update?
This one’s vital! You don’t want to be spending your time and energy jazzing up old posts that didn’t perform well the first time… or those that are irrelevant to your target audience…
Run yourself a little audit… (you should be checking your stats regularly anyway)…
Carry out a blog post audit
- Which blog posts are continuously performing well for you?
- Which ones have great traffic already?
- Which ones are close to ranking on page one of Google?
- Which posts have great external backlinks to them?
- Which keywords are you currently doing well in in terms of ranking and impressions?
- What is trending right now in terms of topics? And, do you have an old post that you could revitalise?
- Do you have a particular set of posts that did extremely well the first time round on social media?
Capitalise on these factors when choosing your posts to revamp!
I suggest to schedule in updating your old blog posts once every quarter as ongoing maintenance. Keep a spreadsheet of your updates to keep track of your edits.
6 key ways to update your old blog posts
1. Update structure and design
I wrote a fair bit about how to delight your readers and Google by structuring your blog posts properly recently. The main thing to remember when updating your old blog posts is that you want to make sure the pages are easily crawled… AND that they are friendly to the reader. You want to make it easy for both your audience and Google to find relevant snippets of info.
The main things to focus on here are:
- Create plenty of white space
- Update headers (H2 and H3)
- Create lists where applicable
- Add in potential for Google Featured Snippets
- Make paragraphs shorter
2. Improve your posts SEO
Some simple ways to do this are to take a look at your keyword or keyphrase. Is it relevant? Is there a better keyword you could be targeting?
Do your research here. Plug your keyword into UberSuggest or Moz and search for alternatives. Check how easy or difficult it is to rank for that keyword. Check what your competitors are ranking for. Can you tweak your keyphrase to rank for a slightly easier term? It may be about simply adding in a word or two, like “how to”… or “”simple tips for” … or even “Top”.
Have you included your keyphrase in your title? Intro? And meta description? Is your keyword featured once or twice in your article? Does your keyword feature in your image alt text?
Can you add in secondary keywords to your blog that make sense for your content?
One way you can easily see alternatives to your main keyword by scrolling to the bottom of Google search and looking for the alternative searches for that keyphrase.
Or use a tools like Moz to search for alternative keywords.Simply head over to Moz and select keyword research on the left hand sidebar.
You can then enter your search term and click through to more suggestions.
Internal links are super important for both Google and for user experience. Make sure that you are pointing to your own posts where relevant in your content.
This helps the reader navigate your site and also tells Google how to navigate your site.
Regularly updating your old posts with new internal links is one of those tasks that should be part of your quarterly routine!
At the same time you should be updating any external links to make sure they are current, accurate and useful.
4. Add new multimedia
By incorporating infographics and various types of media on your blog posts you get your readers tos stay long… AND you offer them a far more interesting and enriched experienced, building loyalty.
Updating your old posts with new infographics, new videos, new imagery and tables is an easy and creative way to add value and help optimise your pages for search. Google loves tables and graphs!
Another way to add in new multimedia content and kill two birds with one stone… Is to create new pinnable images… you can either simply add these into the post… or you can hide them with a plugin like Tasty Pins, making them visible only when someone goes to pin your post.
Also take this opportunity to make sure that all your images, old and new have appropriate alt text. This is a biggy for Google.
5. Increase word count
Gone are the days when a 400-600 word post is what Google wants… Yes, there were days like that in the past! … Now, Google likes longer form content… so, I generally try to make sure my posts are between 1200- 2500 words long. But every now and then it’s great to also make sure you have some grounding posts… so long as they are useful and not waffly! … of more than 2500 words… These mega posts can do very well on Google.
Add in step by step processes where applicable, create lists, include customer stories or case studies, or dive deep into one or two areas that you previously skimmed over to help add value to your post.
So, if you have a post that was a bit thin… and you now know a whole lots more about that topic… Go to town! And make that baby a beauty!
You can also add in a wee paragraph at the end of your post to include the information about when the post was updated and first published.
6. Ask Google to reindex your blog post
Nice work! You did it !….now, the best part… you get to ask Google nicely to please review your blog post.
This part is super easy and means your post will get reindexed.
- Head on over to Search Console
- Click the URl inspection tab on the right hand sidebar
- Add in your page URL
- Click request indexing
The one thing to NOT do when updating your old blog posts
Do not change the page URL or page slug! You will create yourself a whole world of pain if you do this with all of that hard work you’ve put in over the months or years to direct traffic to that blog post. This is the one thing that needs to stay the same. DO NOT CHANGE THE URL.
How to update old blog posts for SEO in 6 easy steps
#1. Update blog post structure and design
#2. Improve post SEO
#3. Add in new Internal links
#4. Add in new multimedia
#5. Increase word count
#6. Ask Google to reindex your blog post
It’s so easy to create something new out of your old blog posts and in the process boost your blogs SEO. You needn’t recreate the wheel every single time you want to add content!
Just be sure to take this opportunity to let your readers know that there is new content! And don’t forget that oftentimes your audience will have missed it the first time round anyway!
Updating your old blog posts needn’t be laborious! There are some really simple things you can do to up your traffic and rankings. And remember – track your progress!
Grab your free checklist for updating old blog posts and make it super easy to refresh your old content.
Let me know what’s worked for you in the comments below! 🧡