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After you’ve been blogging for several years, there will come a time when you need to update your older blog content.
No matter what topic you write about, things change and information needs to be updated. Google prefers fresh content, so updating your older blog posts with new relevant information can help keep your blog posts high in the search engine rankings.
These are some strategies and methods for figuring out which blog posts to update first and what exactly to update within them.
In this blog, I’ll discuss how to update old content and blog posts!
Decide What to Update First
First, you need to find a way to decide what blog posts need to be updated first. Then you can decide on each post’s priority level. This is a messy process, but here is how I do it.
I have a Chrome folder bookmarked on my browser called “Update” where I have links to these tools, followed by specific posts that I have deemed to be high-priority.
Posts that Aren’t Ranking Well
You always want to update the blog posts that aren’t ranking for their target keywords. This is the best way to prioritize which posts need to be updated, however, it typically involves paying for an expensive SEO tool to do so. You can also search each keyword manually of course, but this is obviously a huge time investment that may not be worth it.
Sort Blog Posts by Word Count
The next best way, which I prefer, is to sort your blog posts by word count and update the ones that have the least amount of words. You can almost never go wrong with adding more content to a blog post.
The way I do this is with a plugin called WP Word Count. I have a bookmarked link to this plugin’s page on my site in the “Update” folder I mentioned earlier!
Your XML sitemap automatically keeps track of when you last updated any post on your website. It’s great for seeing which posts haven’t been updated in a list with the oldest first.
The only problem with this method is that it counts any kind of minuscule update as an update, even as little as adding a comma or adding an internal link.
So it’s not the best way to keep track of major blog post updates (as you should be adding internal links to older posts on a regular basis) but it’s one method.
You can find your blog’s sitemap if you use the Yoast SEO plugin by going to : yourblog.com/post-sitemap.xml
Posts without an SEO Keyword
I use the Yoast SEO plugin to keep track of the SEO keywords I want to target. On my older blogs, there are quite a few posts without an SEO keyword attached to them. These posts need to be either updated with a keyword, repurposed to target a keyword, or deleted.
You can see your blog posts without an SEO keyword assigned to them by going to Dashboard > Yoast SEO Posts Overview > Posts without a focus keyphrase.
Or, you can visit this address directly: yourblog.com/wp-admin/edit.php?post_status=publish&post_type=post&seo_filter=na
A combination of all these methods is ideal.
Try to Repurpose Old Blog Posts Rather than Delete
While many of us are happy to just hit “delete” on those old, cringeworthy blog posts, stop and think about whether you can repurpose the post into a new post that you have on your to-do list.
I’ve found that many times, there’s an image or paragraph that is relevant to my readers today, so the post just needs to be updated with a new title, slug, and extra content.
Should You Update the Blog Slug on an Older Post?
Many of us have older blog posts with extra long convoluted slugs like /6-ways-to-make-dinner-faster-when-youre-super-busy-all-the-time/ that are an eye sore!
What to do with the slug of an older blog post? I update them! I try to edit the content at the same time and make the post more SEO and reader-friendly, and then when I’m ready to publish the update, I change the slug at the same time.
Make sure you have the Redirection plugin enabled to capture your slug changes.
The only time I hesitate to do this is when the post is receiving a high amount of traffic! If that’s the case, then I make the slug change during the “low season” of the post, ie, when it receives the least traffic.
Old Content Improvement Ideas
Once you know what needs to be updated, you can get to work. Here are some old content improvement ideas you can use to make older content better.
The content you provide needs to be fresh and new, especially if people expect to hear from their favorite brands every week. While the ideas in this post may not be new, they can serve as a good resource for improving content marketing efforts now that the other tactics are not working for your business.
Re-Write Your Blog Post Titles
First, you need to revisit your old content and make sure the titles are enticing and clickable. When creating headlines for your blog posts, think about how they might look on a Google search results page. Your title needs to be about the reader and their desires, not just your company, product, or opinions.
Think again about what kind of words people would use to search for information on that topic. Find out what those keywords are and insert them into the title where it makes sense. It’s best to put your target keyword at the beginning of the title if possible.
Finally, make sure your titles are unique across your blog posts, so they don’t get confused with each other when they show up on Google’s search results.
Add More Valuable Content
When you write a blog post as a beginner, it tends to be pretty short. Sometimes you find that it doesn’t come out quite as long as you wanted. In other cases, you might have started with the best intentions but then found yourself running short on time and cut the length of your blog post short. The good news is that adding more content to a blog post is often easier than writing something completely new from scratch. Add more words!
Break up Long Paragraphs
As a beginner, you probably wrote very long paragraphs. Break them up! Small paragraphs increase your ad RPM. They also make your post easier to read on mobile devices.
Use more subheadings (like I did in this post) when appropriate. Using headings and subheadings makes it easier for people to scan your content and has an SEO benefit because Google uses them as clues on what the page is about and how it should be ranked.
Divide Longer Posts Into Sections and Use Headers
While updating your text, check to make sure that your headers still make sense. Headers makes your post easier to read and understand.
Headers are also handy for search engines because they provide a road map for the search engine about what the article contains. To make a header, create a new paragraph in WordPress and then click + and then “Heading.” Headers should go in order beginning with H2.
To get a boost in your page time, consider embedding a YouTube video to your website that can be played by readers. Mediavine allows its publishers to upload their own video and play ads before it, boosting your RPM.
When you add a video to a blog post, you allow the reader to consume the content differently. If the topic is more complicated or the reader learns better by watching and listening, adding a video will appeal to them. You’ll also make more money in the process!
Add Current Statistics
Updating your blog post with current statistics on the topic can have multiple benefits. It adds to the post’s authority and increases relevance, which also adds educational value for readers. When you update your statistics, do it from high-authority websites such as .gov websites or other reputable sources. The links will help your site’s authority and ranking as well.
Link to High-Authority Websites
Updates are a great time to check your original links and make sure they still work and lead to high-authority websites that provide value to your readers. When you link out to high-authority websites, especially those that link back to yours, it helps your domain and page authority on search engines like Google.
This article has hopefully helped you update old content to make it more attractive to readers. By following these steps, you can improve your old blog articles and make them relevant to what’s happening currently!