Ever wondered if there’s merit to updating old blog posts for SEO instead of always focusing on new content? One of the most popular questions we hear from a review of our content calendars is “why are we doing a rewrite — do we need to do that?” (The short answer? Yes!)
When it comes to your blog, new isn’t always better. Sometimes there’s value in refurbishing what you have.
That’s why we’re going to take a closer look at the top 5 benefits of rewriting blog content. And towards the end, you’ll find tips on how to update blog posts for SEO in a way that can help your performance in search.
1. It Can Boost the Performance Of Your On-Page Optimizations
If your blog was published several years ago, you likely have some new competition trying to rank for the same query. But with some research into keywords, you can assess what kind of keyword updates will help your content writing strategy.
Plus, since our language is always evolving you’ll be able to capitalize on new ways of speaking about a topic. That way you’re capturing trending terms in your industry.
Keywords aside, you can also look at re-organizing the internal links used in your blog. An up-to-date internal linking strategy is important since it creates a better journey for visitors navigating your site. Plus, you can include new, relevant pages that were created and those pages will also benefit from being linked to applicable blogs.
And last but not least, when you update a blog you have a fresh chance to look at the schema. That way you can make changes that will positively affect which queries the blog is showing for. (And make sure it isn’t showing in the wrong searches, which can frustrate users.)
2. It Creates A Positive UX (User Experience)
Old blogs can have a few problems, such as:
- Broken links
- Dense content (with no/few headings or images)
- Poor display on mobile
But fortunately, when you go to update a blog there are some workarounds. To start, you can use this handy tool to find any broken links. And while you’re revising the writing, you can also look at doing more visually with the blog.
With the help of tools like Canva, Unsplash, and Pexels, you don’t need to be a designer to create infographics or pay for an expensive subscription to find stock images. Although, when possible it’s better to use in-house over stock imagery, since it lends a more authentic feel.
Either way, including multi-media content in SEO-optimized content can extend your reach. Using rich media like videos, infographics, etc., can help your blog get pulled into different types of search features.
Visuals aside, make sure you consider mobile visitors. Keep paragraphs extremely short (2-3 sentences) so they don’t appear as walls of text on someone’s device. Otherwise, you risk someone immediately leaving because of how difficult the blog is to read.
Ultimately incorporating these practices will help ensure that anyone finding your content has a better experience. Which can affect important digital marketing metrics, like reducing bounce rates or creating a higher pages per session.
If you want more ways to improve your site’s UX, read our blog on 7 easy UX improvements to make on your site.
3. It Can Boost Your Brand’s Credibility
In Netflix’s show “Inventing Anna” (based on a real story) there’s a moment where a journalist is discussing the effects of content and the internet. She tells her husband “People forget but people use Google… and Google never forgets.”
And as a marketer, I couldn’t help but resonate with that line and commit it to memory. It’s easy to forget all the blogs published on your site once you have a lot of them — but Google doesn’t.
This means that an old piece from several years can still pull into a search, even if some of the information is a bit dated. And that in turn can dilute your brand’s reputation as a credible expert.
A good blog content strategy will help boost your E.A.T. (expertise, authority, and trust) on different search engines. But old blogs with incorrect information can degrade that among users.
Any time you see new research released or notable consumer shifts, take note of older pieces that should be revisited. Make sure the content you have in them holds true to the current industry.
It can definitely be difficult to keep tabs on your content library if you have a lot. So we recommend setting up a content index where you at minimum log details on the pieces you’ve created, keywords targeted, and publish dates.
That will help you identify blogs that need rewriting. And further down we’ll also look at how you can use Google analytics to spot potential targets for updating as well.
4. It Can Increase Your Click-Through Rate in the SERPs
At the end of the day if two pieces are pulled into a search and look fairly similar, but one was published more recently — which one do you think users will pick?
In the SEO world, fresh content is a google ranking factor. Google (and other SERPs) will tend to show more recent results at the top of searches. Keep in mind that you can’t trick the system and just re-do the publish date on a blog to take advantage of this.
Based on how search engines crawl your content, they’re also looking to see significant content updates paired with that date change. (Something we’ll discuss below in getting started updating blogs.)
5. It’s A Time-Saving Content Creation Tactic
If you’re in charge of any marketing efforts, you know that some seasons are busier than others. An added benefit of working blog updates to your blog publishing schedule is that they are typically faster to do than starting from scratch.
Where to Start: How to Update Old Blog Posts for SEO
Now that you have an idea of the benefits of rewriting content, you may be curious how often should a blog post be updated. There’s certainly no hard or fast rule, but what we find works best is a blended approach.
For example, in a 6-month content calendar, you could work on 2 blog rewrites and 4 new blogs. That way you’re still creating truly fresh content, but you’re holding your business accountable to keep older pieces in good shape.
As you look to get started, here is some helpful advice to guide you.
Tips For Identifying Blogs To Update
The most successful way to create a content strategy that wins in the SERPs is to identify your topics based on data instead of gut decisions. So you’ll want to make sure that you have a content reporting system in place to track the performance of what you’re publishing.
Once everything is tracking properly, you can identify blog updates in a few different ways:
- Find low-ranking queries on Google Search Console and see if there are opportunities.
- Identify blogs with an extremely high bounce rate. (Above 90%, since blogs typically have bounce rates between 70-90%.)
- Find blogs getting the top clicks from queries and spot-check titles to find ones you know are old but are still getting a lot of traffic.
Steps For Updating Old Blog Posts for SEO
Whether you’re wondering how to republish a blog on WordPress or update one on a different CMS system (Shopify, Squarespace, etc.), here are some tips to keep in mind.
Step 1: Find the original blog and make sure that when you have content finalized, you update it directly in that post.
Step 2: Revisit your original primary keyword and do research. Is it still relevant or is there a new one with more opportunity?
Step 3: Re-write the content as you see fit. Keep the parts you think work well, but create new content wherever it’s needed.
Step 4: Once it’s ready to post, go into your post and replace the old blog with your rewritten one.
Step 5: Make sure to add an editor’s note at the bottom of the updated post to clarify. That way if someone finds your blog but sees comments on it from before the publish date, it doesn’t look suspicious.
Eg., editor’s note: “This blog was originally published on April 25, 2019. It was updated on March 25, 2022.”
Step 6: Keep the URL as is if possible. If not, update it but make sure you have a redirect put in place, in case someone saved that old link and tries to access the piece.
Step 7: Adjust the blog snippet to ensure it accurately describes the updated blog when users find it in SERPs.
Step 8: Revise the publish date to reflect the date you’re pushing the rewritten blog live and publish the piece.