Recently, we started noticing traffic to some of our old offers. We don’t want traffic to go to “old stuff” when it has been replaced or updated. So, how did the traffic get there? From older relevant blog posts which had an outdated CTA (Call To Action). We could just update the CTA on the blog post, but it is also a good opportunity to optimize these “oldies but goodies”.
Some of your content is timeless. Potential new customers who are just beginning their journey are looking to get their feet wet on the topic. Google uses a “freshness” score to determine the best content to show for queries and considers the extent of changes as well as the date published. Re-publishing evergreen content can provide a significant boost to your traffic.
Here is how to do it!
Find the Stars
Older blog post that are “evergreen” are golden! They continue to generate traffic years after being written. However, like a reliable old car, they still require some maintenance. It is a good practice to monitor the performance of all blog posts and keep them tuned up.
HubSpot provides a handy report to show the best performing blog posts, landing pages and website pages. The report can be generated for whatever time period you select. Select a longer period of time to view and uncover some of your golden content.
You should identify the top 12 to 15 posts to examine and tweek with the steps below. This is something that should be done on an annual basis. You can also see top performing blog posts from within your Google Analytics account.
We use Hubspot and generated the report below to show how our blog posts are performing.
Determine Key Words
Search engines continue to improve. Have you noticed more relevant results for your long-tail searches? Key words people use to search change over time. Not all of them, but new words and phrases emerge and prior phrases lose popularity. It is important to update to the “freshest” key words that are pertinent to your post and within your reach to optimize your blog post.
For the first post you identified, what were the key words used to direct traffic to your post? You can use Google Analytics to uncover some of the keywords except the “not provided”. Your CRM, like HubSpot, should also provide this info. Depending on the platform used for your blog, like WordPress, you may also find the target keyword listed there. Of course, the blog should be limited to only one topic so this should also tell you what they keyword is likely to be.
You can use Google Trends tool to stay up to date on emerging keywords. You can type in your keyword at the top for “search term” and find a graph showing interest over time, find the related topics and related searches listed at the bottom.
Google indicates “Results marked ‘Breakout’ had a tremendous increase, probably because these queries are new and had few (if any) prior searches”. Clicking on related topics: Content Marketing provides the following:
You can see how interest of this topic has increased over time where interest for “internet marketing” has waned since 2004.
The Google trends tool also lets you compare selected terms as shown in the screen shot below:
Generally, look for search terms with a volume over 100 per month and a difficulty level of 60 or less. The difficulty level is a measure of how competitive the search term is. We can refine the above search to gain more insight by changing the filters. This would make sense to look at the geographic area your customers are from. The chart changes to the one below when we select US and look at just the past year.
Use the remaining filters to see how the keyword performs in your geographic target market area. You can even set it to check “YouTube” searches. The same search above looks very different when filtered with YouTube.
Based on the info gained above, the Southeast region generally uses term “internet marketing”. We could update an older inbound marketing blog post with an internet marketing video optimized for internet marketing to attract traffic from the southeast. Of the three terms for the topic, most people treat them as synonyms for search. I would reference all three terms for the topic in the blog post. If we found a new trending term, I would update the content of the blog post on the topic by using the new term. If we found a complete reversal to a new term, then you can remove the old keyword and replace it with the new one.
After you have determined the keyword for the blog topic, make sure your blog post is optimized for the keyword in the following locations.
- Blog Title
- Meta Description
- Body of blog
- Anchor text for internal pages
- Alt text for images
Don’t change the URL for the blog post unless you have to. You want to continue the traffic and measure the performance of the blog post over time. Changing the URL is the same as having a new blog post. If you do have to change the URL, redirect the traffic from the old post to the new post.
You can use the synonymous keywords identified within the body of the blog to make the writing more natural. Incessant repetition of the keyword is not going to get you more readers or even gain points with the search engines if you are stuffing.
For each blog post you are updating, make sure your internal and external links are still valid. If the link is not valid, you can replace with an updated valid link from the same source (contact webmaster) or locate a better link to illustrate your point.
Better still, do you have other internal resources that supports the point; a separate blog post or internal research? Take the opportunity to link to internal blogs or website pages to provide helpful content to visitors and make it easy for them to take the next step.
Consider the newer blog posts on the same topic you have written since the subject post. Find ways to link the re-published post to other related posts that did not exist when the post was originally written. Both, internal and external link updates will boost the post. Better still, is to get high domain authority external links to the post.
If you have quoted statistics, update older statistics with current data. Your readers will not be impressed with stats that go back to 2005 unless it is compared to data from a year or so ago. Change happens quickly in today’s world. Readers will quickly lose interest in a blog that seems too dated to be relevant.
Now, is a great time to update the CTA in the blog post. You do have a CTA in ALL your blog posts, right? The CTA in the blog post is the next step you want your readers to take. It could be the next step in the buyers’ journey and lead them to an in depth offer on the same topic. It could be an upcoming event you want them to attend. (If it is a short term offer or event make sure to include updating the CTA once the event or offer expires).
Select a fresh image to update the new post. Frequently the image can make an older post look ancient. Make sure to add the keyword to the Alt Tag and even the file name for the image. You can even select some alternative images to use on the different social media platforms or in your email campaigns so it does not appear monotonous and so it is appropriate for the audience of the platform.
Is there new research or data available for the post? Take the time to add any new best practices, tools or industry research to your post to make sure it is the freshest and up-to-date. If there is significant change or updated info for your topic consider making a new post and link between the old and new post (both ways) or you can add an “update” section at the bottom of the post.
Publish & Promote
Re-publish the updated post by setting it back to draft and then publishing. This should make it the lead post for your blog.
Alternatively, you can also edit the post date instead of republishing. This works if you do not have the date of the post in the URL. If there are no significant changes to the post, changing the post date or the update date will get more eyes to the post and not risk Google viewing it as “duplicate content”. If you have old comments on the original post, you may want to hide the comments so these do not show.
Consider the topics on your best performing blog posts. Can you create new content using a different format? Perhaps, a video on the topic or create a infographic? Use the insight that you have gained from this exercise to improve your site and to deliver the content your customers want.
Your work is not done but promotion is where you make the work pay off and earn dividends. Add the updated blog post to your scheduled post for social media and email marketing campaigns to get the most mileage out of it.
Updating old blog posts is not re-inventing the wheel. It provides you the opportunity to remain an authority on a subject by keeping your content fresh and up-to-date with any new data. It also injects some energy for a well performing topic to continue to drive traffic and fill the funnel.
Got marketing questions? Let the experts at Paveya help you reach your company goals. From building a strong website foundation to creating content and promotion on social media, Paveya has the experience that will save you time and expense.