No matter how many years go by, content is still king. Writing high-quality, intent-serving content is still a foundational strategy up to today. Other strategies may have become obsolete, but delivering the best possible content you can while supplementing it with other well-known, effective strategies will almost always take you to the top of the search results. But what about old blog posts that aren’t performing all that well? Should you leave them be? What can you do to improve their performance drastically? Here’s how you can update and enhance them:
Knowing Which Blog Posts to Update
The first step to updating and enhancing old blog posts is knowing WHICH blog posts to update or enhance. This is applicable for all webmasters but is especially true for publishers where the main source of attracting traffic is through their content, like this website. The problem happens when you have blog posts dated to 5+ years back. This means that you’ve published hundreds of blog posts or maybe even thousands. So, there has to be a large number of old, underperforming blog posts in your arsenal. How do you choose the blog posts that you will update and enhance?
Through their rankings and traffic. Easy enough, the primary way to determine which of your blog posts needs updating is to check Google Analytics and Google Search Console (or rank tracking SaaS). Here’s how you can do it:
- On Google Analytics account, go to Behavior → Site Content → All Pages. There you’ll see your top 10 viewed pages for the timeframe you set.
- You can further refine it by searching for particular blog posts you have in mind through the search bar. Though you have to remember to search using your blog post’s URL slug only. If you accidentally include the domain name, it won’t show the results for the specific blog post.
- If you want to check the pages they visited to enter your site, go to Behavior → Site Content → Landing Pages. Here you’ll see which pages they see first when they enter your site. This is also a great way to check which pages are attracting the most visitors from various sources.
- To view which blog posts are performing well organically, you can use Google Search Console’s Performance page. Just go to your Google Search Console property, then go to Performance → Search Results → then scroll down until you see the QUERIES table → click on PAGES
- Here you’ll see the blog posts that are garnering the top clicks/impressions on Google search results. You can even search for a particular blog post by clicking on the inverted triangle on the upper right side corner of the table to filter the results.
From these two, essential tools alone, you’ll be able to determine which blog posts are underperforming and have them updated AND enhanced immediately. So, how do we do it?
Updating and Enhancing Your Old Blog Posts
Now that you’ve determined which blog posts you’ll be updating, you will need to know where to start. I’ve actually written in the past about content augmentation and how to improve an old blog post’s reach. So, I’ll only be including recent and timely strategies that I haven’t written about yet in my other posts.
Intent should now be the primary focus when you’re trying to make your blog posts rank. Historically, keyword optimization was more technical and straightforward where you just needed to put in the keywords in the title tag, meta description, H1, and the body of your content. But as times have changed and Google has continuously improved their machine learning algorithms and content understanding capabilities, serving the right intent for your target keyword is more important than ever.
The buzzword for the industry in recent years is “LSI keywords” while this may hold some importance to some extent, it doesn’t necessarily help you with serving intent. Why? Because in a nutshell, latent semantic indexing keywords are terms that are conceptually related to your target keyword – so if you’re already writing about your keyword topically – which you should, not focusing on the particular keyword, but the overall topic it covers, you’re automatically targeting LSI keywords without having to research, think, focus, and write about them.
Knowing semantic search and serving intent – through manually checking what kind of pages is Google ranking for your target topic or keyword – will not only help you save time and effort but will also help you in determining if you will rank well. There have been many instances in the past where my team and I wrote about a specific keyword or topic while not checking the search results for them. What happened was we were not able to rank well for a considerable amount of time because the search results were serving category and product pages instead of content-heavy pages. If we had just understood the right intent to serve, we wouldn’t have had to rewrite and repeat efforts which took more time and energy.
Republishing (and updating) sounds simple but is still an underrated tactic for updating old blog posts. There are some blog posts that are so outdated that the content it contains is not even applicable to today’s day and age.
Republishing and updating the information contained in that blog post does not only improve its freshness signals but it’s also an opportunity for you to gain more valuable traffic by having otherwise useless blog posts turn into a traffic-attracting one.
This is the easiest and most used tactic for updating old, underperforming blog posts. If you believe that the information of your old blog post is still sufficiently applicable to today’s time, then maybe it just needs a refresher. Maybe your title tag isn’t attracting clicks? Or your meta description doesn’t necessarily imply what the page is about which is why users don’t click on your search results. Changing them to become more appealing and adding timely and informative content will sometimes do the trick.
Through tactics like the ones I’ve mentioned and the ones I’ve written about before, we’ve achieved more traffic count. One of the best examples I can show is an old and underperforming client blog post that jumped right into their top 10 most visited pages over the course of a year:
We did a mix of the tactics I’ve mentioned and optimized the page to be eligible for the featured snippet position. In a matter of a few months, it already gained traffic that’s immensely better than the numbers it used to have. Once it reached the featured snippet spot, it only enjoyed a larger number.
Updating and enhancing your blog posts shouldn’t be an arduous task and will only take you an hour or two of your day. If done properly, you can enjoy a higher traffic count and hopefully more loyal readers. SEO is not only about adapting to algorithm updates, stuffing keywords into important places of your website, etc. But it is also about spotting new opportunities on otherwise old and outdated website facets, experimentation, and innovation. How do you update your old blog posts? Let me know in the comments below!