Us marketers constantly push new content. Since not everything sticks, we create, create and create until something does. From writing new webpages to scheduling a steady flow of social posts, we’re content creation machines!
Caught in this hustle of quick turnarounds and a high demand for results, it can be easy to focus ahead on the next new thing, instead of reflecting back on the old.
Many of us have active blogs, including some industry professionals that are posting weekly— even daily. With the word “optimization” thrown around all the time, especially in the context of search engine optimization (SEO), we’re mindful to optimize our content before it rolls out. But how are you extending its life beyond the once-and-done push?
Reoptimizing an old post often takes less effort than creating something from scratch and helps to create a solid foundation of quality, evergreen content across your entire blog.
We’re here to address the often overlooked concept of content optimization, or giving your already published posts a facelift, to save time and increase your blog traffic.
What Exactly is Content Optimization?
Content optimization is making improvements to your webpage’s copy and other elements that matter to search engines, like broken links, title tags, images, etc. Content optimization can also be used to enhance content for users— such as adding structure, depth and flow— to keep readers engaged.
Why to Update an Old Post Versus Write a New Blog
If you have some blog posts that aren’t performing well, they could use some lovin’. Here’s why:
- Saving time (and money). // Updating an old post typically isn’t as time-consuming as planning, researching and writing a brand new post. The meat is already there, you’re just adding some potatoes and veggies. If it takes you six hours to write a detailed blog, it might only take you two to reoptimize one. For clients, that’s less billable time for similar results.
- Minimizing effort. // Adding some revisions to something that already exists often requires less effort. Dropping in some links, writing a few more sentences, etc. could be much easier than tackling a new topic.
- Removing the “Panda penalty.” // The internet was a very different place back in 2011 than it is today. Back then, you could rank by adding a ton of keywords without content depth and many posts published before that time were guilty of keyword-stuffing. Google wised up and devalued exact match keyword usage with their Panda update, but sites with this kind of outdated content were penalized behind the scenes. Cleaning up this frowned-upon content could boost your current rankings.
- Increasing the overall authority of your blog. // Let’s say your old posts weren’t keyword-stuffed but they weren’t really optimized. Could these old posts be bringing down the overall rankings of your blog? Well, they probably aren’t tearing you down per se, but proper content optimization could mean more traffic, shares and comments on your domain, improving its domain authority and its chance of ranking.
How Can I Reoptimize a Blog Post?
Get ready to gear up. These six content optimization ideas could really help you increase your blog traffic and improve your organic rankings.
1. Sprinkle in your Keywords— YES, We Said Keywords.
We all know we’re supposed to optimize our blog posts for better search engine performance, but many authors aren’t sure which steps to take to ensure their writing is SEO-friendly. Keyword optimization is a good place to start.
You may have been hearing people saying “keywords are dead” and that Google and other search engines don’t use them anymore to determine rankings. This is a crazy exaggeration spun off of Google’s algorithm change to focus more heavily on topical associations, instead of strictly rewarding keywords.
Keywords are still a hella important part of your content marketing strategy, and a data-driven SEO refresh could drastically (and quickly) improve your organic rankings.
There may be some old blog posts that were published without a specific keyword phrase in mind, and these are prime targets for your reoptimization efforts. Each blog post should have its own main keyword and a handful of semantic, supporting keywords to show topical association. This helps to avoid keyword-stuffing and shows the search engine that you are genuinely addressing a wide breadth of topics.
Use this article to help you find the right Google keywords for your blog posts.
Once you’ve picked your targets, make sure to drizzle the terms into your:
- Meta description
- Image names and alt tags
- And well-spaced throughout your copy
2. Add more Content Depth, Not Necessarily Length
If some of your already existing blog posts aren’t as long as you’d like them to be, consider making them more robust by expanding upon your written content.
Although boosting your word count can also boost your rankings, the formula for its success is more complicated. More words doesn’t always mean better ranking. Content depth plays a huge role in the equation. The linked article outlines helpful tools to determine a rough word count for your topic and explains how you can add depth to your posts. Give it a read-through.
The key takeaway here is: access the value of your old blog post’s content. Look for sections that could use a facelift to further help your readers and spend the extra time to elaborate on what’s most important.
3. Optimize your Images
More people click on posts with images than not, according to every study forever (or at least that’s what it seems like).
If your old post only has one image in it, hunt for ways to add additional visuals. Not only do images add a change of stimulus for the reader, breaking up the monotony of heavy (and visually boring) blocks of text, but they also give your post some extra SEO juice.
Because images can rank on Google Image searches, forgetting to optimize your images is a huge missed organic ranking opportunity.
Here’s a few ways to fully utilize your blog images:
- Reduce your image sizes for quicker load time. Here’s a helpful post to show you how.
- Add a creative dimension to spice up stock photos, like doodling on them or creating a unique mash-up.
- Ensure all images are named and include keywords in them, separated by dashes for search engines to read them more easily.
- Once uploaded into your blog, make sure to add alt text. Although it’s not a ranking factor, it could be very helpful for the user experience.
- Get out there are take your own photos or create your own information graphics to better demonstrate what words can’t always express.
4. Add Helpful Links (and Build Backlinks!)
If you reference a credible source, link back to their page— especially if that site is already ranking organically for your query or similar search terms. Google’s validated it uses backlinks as a ranking factor, and linking off to other sites shows the search engine that you are talking about something related.
Not only does it help Google’s algorithm to determine semantic relation, but a post without any references could come off as poorly researched. Linking off to credible, trusted sources shows both search engines and readers that your information is valid and supported by reputable players in the industry.
But won’t adding links send searchers away from your page? Nope. Just another SEO myth. To be safe, check the option “Open in a separate tab.” This way, your original article will remain open and increase your time-on-page metrics— and give your viewer a chance to hop back to your page without starting a new session.
In addition to linking off to others, you should be mindful of who is linking to you. The more sites that say your blog post is rad, the better chance you have of ranking. While asking for links can come off as spammy or annoying, there are ways you can build new links through email— you just have to be genuine and strategic.
Simply reoptimizing old content could attract some new linkers, but you could also try to fix broken or lost links, write a guest post or get even more creative.
5. Embed a Video
More and more people are clicking “Play” instead of reading. In fact, one-third of all time online is spent watching video.
Try adding a video in tandem with your blog post. Whether it’s an instructional, step-by-step tutorial or a fast-paced preview of what’s to come in the text below, it’s been proven time and time again that videos not only boost engagement but that some people simply learn better through these motion visuals.
If you embed a video at the top of or within your blog, don’t forget to add closed-captioning so its content will be screened by search engines. This SEO play can help to boost your rankings!
Depending on where you decide to host the video, you could generate even more traffic from platforms like YouTube— the world’s second largest search engine— and create content that’s worth rewatching and sharing. It also means you have just one more piece of content to push on social media too.
Use video in more than just your blogs.
6. Republish for Freshness
Google itself compared search results to warm cookies, saying both “are best when they’re fresh.” The search engine likes results that are relevant and recent, and although different queries have different freshness preferences, making “frequent updates” to any form of content can help to improve your chance of ranking.
Even if you’re already getting a flow of organic traffic to a post, you can still go into the blog and make improvements. As long as you focus on adding more depth and don’t remove content, you won’t lose rankings— you’ll likely gain more traffic.
For older blogs that aren’t seeing the light of day, consider unpublishing them as you temporality rework them. We don’t mean making an edit, hitting save and update. Make this content no longer live by clicking “Unpublish” or “Archive.”
Spruce up the draft with some of the content optimization practices mentioned above. Once it’s ready to roll, republish it. If you keep the same URL, you won’t lose any backlinks. You’ll also have a fresh, recent published date and the search engines will recrawl your data, giving you a better chance to rank than if you simply made a revision.
Developing a Robust Content Marketing Strategy
This is just the tip of the content optimization iceberg. We’ve touched upon some ways to update your posts to increase your blog traffic, but one huge principal we didn’t cover is conversion path optimization.
- Do your blog posts target a specific audience or buyer persona?
- Is there a closing call to action or do readers just read and leave? How are you tracking their performance beyond page views
- Do you know if your posts are generating leads?
- Does each post support a pillar page, or one of your services?
If the answers is “no” to any of these questions, you could benefit from inbound marketing. Evolve your content marketing strategy by targeting the right audience and establishing some powerful lead generation methods, with our help.
Download the Beginner’s Guide to Inbound Marketing to get started.
Read more: Turning Old Blog Posts into Fresh Content