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How Updating Old Blog Content Can Help With Your Search Rankings

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

We hear the same complaints on a daily basis: “I hate writing! I want to get a bunch of blogs done and move on.” That’s when we have to break the bad news that that isn’t how it works.

One of the best ways to improve your search engine optimization is to post new content on a regular basis. As ideal as it is, though, that can be time-consuming and challenging. Running an effective site is all about balancing time between all your responsibilities, so you might not have time for two new blogs every week.

In that case, you may be able to reap all the benefits you want by updating old blog content instead. Here’s how it can help.

How Updating Old Blog Content Benefits Your SEO

It’s great to have a blog that’s several years old, but you can make it even better by updating your earlier blogs.

More Recent Updates to Your Site

It should come as no surprise that the more often you update your site, the more helpful search engines will think it is for their users. Search engines look at the date a page was updated rather than the date it was posted the first time.

This leads to the million dollar question: how often do you need to update your site? In general, aim for one or two updates per week. Those updates could involve posting a new page or revising an existing page.

Keep in mind that some industries are more competitive than others. If you’re doing two updates per week and you aren’t getting the rankings you want, it might be time to step it up.

More Focus on Your Current Areas of Business

It’s common for your scope of business and your specialties to change over the years. In fact, it’s often the best way to keep your business strong as your industry changes. However, that also means you want to optimize for different keywords today than you did the first time you posted a blog.

For example, let’s say you’re a cosmetic surgeon. Ten years ago, you posted a blog about the benefits of liposuction. Today, though, the nonsurgical fat reduction trend is strong and that’s become your focus.

Maybe it’s time to revise that liposuction blog to emphasize the pros and cons of surgery compared to nonsurgical fat reduction.

Get Up to Speed with Search Engine Algorithm Changes

Each search engine has an algorithm or formula it uses to determine which content is most relevant. To keep offering their users the best possible results, search engines update these algorithms on a frequent basis.

That’s tricky for businesses because the factors that made a blog attractive five years ago are different than the factors you need to aim for today. When you update your blog content, you can cater it to the most recent search engine algorithm criteria.

Make Older Posts More Accurate

Let’s revisit that plastic surgery example. Perhaps ten years ago it was true that there weren’t effective methods for targeted gat reduction without surgery. Today, though, it’s common knowledge that that isn’t the case.

If a reader sees that old blog, they may not look at the date when it was posted. All they see is an inaccurate blog, so they’ll navigate away and see you as an unreliable source.

This impacts your SEO rankings in a few ways. First, chances are that the user won’t go anywhere else on your site, so the visit will increase your bounce rate.

Second, now that the user sees you as unreliable, they’ll scroll past your site if it pops up in future search results. There goes your click-through rate, which impacts future rankings.

By keeping your content accurate no matter how old it is, you can avoid these problems.

Make the Change to Long Tail Keywords

Years ago, sites used one-word keywords. For example, a mechanic might have optimized for “mechanic.” As the internet has grown, those one-word keywords have tons of competition, so it’s hard to rank high for them.

People’s search habits have changed as well. Today more people search for full phrases instead of single keywords. To accommodate these changes, it’s better to use long tail keywords.

Long tail keywords are multi-word phrases rather than one or two words. For example, that mechanic would optimize for “mechanic who specializes in BMWs” instead of “mechanic.”

Make More Attractive Headlines by Today’s Standards

Remember the days when headlines like “You won’t believe what happens!” and “This one secret” worked wonders? Today people are tired of clickbait titles like this, so they tend to avoid them.

When you revise existing blog content, you can change the headline so it appeals to today’s readers.

Show Off Your Updated Date Stamp

In most search engines, the date of a page’s latest update will appear next to the page description. While some users pay more attention to that than others, there’s no doubt that a more recent blog is more attractive.

You may ask, “My search result is already there, so why does it matter if the person clicks on my page?” Your click-through rate is a way for search engines to see how often your content is as relevant to a user as they expected it to be. The higher your click-through rate, or CTR, the better your future rankings will.

Keep Up With Changes in Keyword Popularity

If you’re taking an active role in your SEO, you do keyword research to see what related keywords are most popular. As great of an idea as that is, those statistics change on a constant basis.

Trends and buzzwords that were popular five years ago may be unused today. If that’s the case, you’re wasting valuable real estate on your site on poor keywords.

When you revise your content, research related keywords to find out how to optimize the updated post. Be sure to look at the search volume as well as the keyword density for each keyword.

The keyword density tells you how much competition you have for the top rankings.

Get Your Linking Structure Up to Date

Just like best practices change for keywords, they change for linking as well. Years ago, it was good to include a large number of links on each page. Today, that practice will work against you.

As you revise your old content, you may need to remove some links. It’s considered ideal to have links about every 100 to 200 words.

Updating old blog content also gives you a chance to link to new pages you’ve posted since publishing the blog. More helpful links mean more active sessions on your site for users, which will boost your SEO rankings.

Avoid the Latest Reasons for Ranking Penalties

We’ve talked a lot about taking advantage of new best practices for SEO. However, you also need to do the opposite: remove strategies that used to be fine but are now hurting your rankings.

Keyword stuffing is a perfect example. It used to be good practice to have a main keyword that you included many times in your page’s content. Today, search engines read that as spammy and unhelpful content. Revisiting old blogs gives you the opportunity to fix these outdated strategies.

Lower Your Bounce Rate

When your content is outdated, it becomes clear to the user in a hurry. They’ll be quick to navigate away from your site to look for more reliable content.

If a user visits one page on your site and then navigates away, it increases your bounce rate. When a search engine sees a high bounce rate, it says, “Users are going to this site and not finding what they’re looking for, so it must not be good content.” Down go your rankings.

By turning old content into updated, reliable information, you’ll build a user’s trust and make them want to check out the other great content on your site. It’ll lower that bounce rate while winning the trust of a repeat customer.

Put Your Improved Writing Skills to Work

Practice makes perfect with most skills, and writing is no exception. When you go back and revise your old blog content, chances are that you’ll find some poor word choices and grammatical mistakes.

Errors and cumbersome writing can add up to a high bounce rate in a hurry. They’ll also hurt your professional reputation, so now’s the time to use those improved writing skills.

Repair Broken Links

If you posted a blog ten years ago, chances are that at least one of the links is now broken. This is most common with external links because you have no control over sites folding or changing their structure.

The problem is that broken links hurt your SEO. The search engine sees them as a sign of inattention. When you update your blog content, use a tool like the Google Chrome Broken Link Checker to find and fix these problems.

Making the Most of Every Page

Posting new content on a regular basis is a vital way to keep your site relevant and improve your SEO. However, it’s just as important to update older blog content as you go along.

If you’re ready to turn around your poor SEO, get started with our popular ranking checks.