If you update your website or blog more often, Google will love you! Don’t you want some Googly Love?….. Like me, I am sure you crave it every night before sleep.
Will get back on that thought but for a moment, I want you to think of your blog or website as a Store that you own and your individual blog posts as items you put on display in that store, obviously you are doing that to attract customers and make sales.
Each item displayed is your individual story.
Would you still display the same items that you did, say, a year back?
Will people still purchase an item from your store that they know is old and outdated?
While it may seem like common-sense that your precious store won’t survive that way for long. People often forget that the same goes for their blogs.
If you keep ignoring your old blog posts and continue to showcase it on your blog as they already are, you stack the odds against your favor.
How? Because The Internet is a keeper.
As your old blog posts still continue to generate some amount of traffic for years, they need to stay updated according to the reading habits of today.
That is the only way your old stuff will continue to generate some value for current readers and eventually may result in more pageviews and signups. Vox proves this perfectly.
Yes, I know creating new content is exciting and something you look forward to every week. But there is a glaring problem which comes with it…..it’s expiration date. In general, 95 percent of the content you create will get most of its traffic within the first two to three days of publishing.
After some weeks it will come under the category of ‘old’.
Old and outdated content=bad content.
So, the importance of updating outdated content can’t and should not be ignored.
Before we come onto defining exactly why it’s so important, we will first come on to who is it important for.
Amongst many other reasons, you probably write and will continue to write for 3 major things-
1. For Search Engines(The Googly Love!)
There is no doubt that Google sends you traffic, a lot of it. And the conquest to reach the top of your SERP’s seems like it will never end.
Higher you rank, more the traffic, more googly love, more sales!
2. For your Audience
When you put effort in your writing, you expect something in return. That can be to get more eyes on your blog, more exposure, more likes, more shares, or more sales. It can be anything but it sure is for an audience.
3. For Yourself
Whether it is your hobby, escape, desire, profession or you just write for the heck of it, you write for your own self.
And updating old content regularly makes all of them happy in some way.
Here are some reasons why updating old, stale content is important for all the above mentioned entities-
For Search Engines
- Google loves new Content
Whether you update an old article, add a new article, an image, some comments or just make some change on your site, ‘Googlebot’, google’s crawler, will LOVE it.
- Frequent content, frequent index
Doesn’t matter if its fresh content or updated content, the more you push out content, more frequently your site will get indexed by Google.
A site that is updated once a day, or at least two to three times a week, is considered a frequently updated site.
If you are active in the eyes of Google, you will see your search engine ranking shoot up automatically. It’s all about how often you can get yourself indexed by providing value to your readers.
For your Audience
- Hunt for Fresh Content
Like Google, your audience craves new content as well. As I said before, the links you build are forever. Some traffic may still continue to flow from year old posts and when you put the effort to update that content, people notice.
Ultimately this shows that your business is active, alive and worthy of your reader’s attention which can benefit you greatly in the long run.
- Keeping Links in check
Keep a constant check on the assets of your blog or website, its backlinks.
Over time, the resources you once proudly linked to may not be available now or worse, even be dead. You’ll have to check all of them one by one or better, save some time and use a backlink tracker to keep a close eye on them from one place.
Prevention is better than cure. It is always better to check and update all your links from time to time rather than disappointing an engaged reader.
- Builds Trust
You write for your audience to gain their trust and loyalty, once you do that you pave your way towards sales and growth. And the only way you do that is by providing value to them. Delivering fresh content consistently, updating old content, being active, providing value, no broken links.… this all leads to a happy, more engaged reader-base that loves you.
Is it not what every writer wants?
- A Second Chance
Some of your posts break all your personal records, while some make you feel worthless. By updating old content, you always have a chance to give your not-so-hot content a second chance.
If you had invested a good amount of time in a blog and knew it was worth a lot of attention but somehow couldn’t promote it well or it didn’t generate much buzz back then, re-evaluate where it went wrong, update and give it a second life.
- Stories Evolve
Sometimes you don’t have all the information when you publish something. This is especially true in news, where being first or fast is essential. You continue to reach out to sources. Stories continue to evolve. Sometimes facts come out days or weeks later.
If you publish this type of content, add updates, whether you call it an editor’s note, a post-script, or simply an update. You can indicate this by adding a note about the update near the beginning or at the end of the post.
- You Evolve too
The way you write today will undoubtedly be better than what you wrote years or months before, when you were still learning.
All your stories represent you and showing the best of you to your readers is a must. So, updating old stories that don’t match to your current writing style becomes as important as creating new ones, that way it keeps the tone of your blog constant and appealing.
Now that we know the importance of updating old content, let’s move on to the 9 steps describing how to actually update your stale content the right way-
“But I’d rather work on this with you, than to go ahead and start with someone new.” — Big Sean
- Identify popular posts
Your popular posts should be the first ones to get updated. To identify them, dig out some stats and data of your previous year.
Spend some time improving those pages to encourage readers to visit other pages of your site or add in some monetizing techniques to make those pages work a bit harder for you.
- Keep the existing URL
The popular URL is popular for a reason. While it may seem like a better idea to create an entire new page and replace it with the outdated page for getting a little more into your index, but why create a new page and start all over?
I’d rather prefer to update the existing content to keep all the authority in one place. Moreover, that way I won’t have to compete with myself.
- Remove excess words
Change some of your bigger paragraphs into lists, would an infographic say more than the big article you included the first time?
If nothing else remove all of the excessive jargon and extra words you used a few years ago when you were trying to make it.
- New Intro and Outro
The possibilities are endless on this one. Add some more spice to your blog by creating a different Intro altogether or change your CTA.
Ask for their advice, offer something rather than asking for comments and shares when you initially wrote it.
- Opportunity to add more Keywords
When you update, look for any new keywords that you could incorporate to capture a whole segment of new traffic. The way people search changes every day, so it’s likely they’re searching new keywords but want the same information. Synonyms.
- Add Visuals
The world is more image and video conscious now. People like pictures. If your site is light on pictures, dress it up with some new ones, but not the same tired pictures everyone already has. Bring your own creativity to the table or Invest $10 on some new images that will impress new and returning visitors alike. Just make sure the visuals you add are relevant, useful, and help tell your story — you should never add boring visuals just for the sake of adding them.
- Add new comments
Sometimes just adding new comments or replying to previous queries can reignite the spark your blog once had. Give it a try.
Once the content is updated and ready to publish, bring it back into your promotion schedule. Include it in your next email campaign, post it on social media, submit it to directories or incorporate it onto your homepage.
- Sometimes it’s better to just Delete
A lot of your content can be updated and optimized, but there’s some content that just doesn’t need to exist anymore. These are the things like:
- Old products or services you no longer offer
- Former employee/executive profiles
- Job postings
- Similar or duplicate blog posts
If you consider deleting your old content, simply add some custom messaging and related links to other places users could go if they land on your old content to provide a better reader experience.
Are you up for it?
Updating old content is a pretty amazing way to get into the eyes of Google without putting in much effort, certainly it takes much less effort than creating a new blog post from the ground up.
Just Follow these 9 simple steps on updating your old content the right way and It sure will deliver better search rankings, more links, more traffic, more social shares, and new customers discovering you to an extent you could not even imagine.
I’ve been slacking on updating my old content just because I find it boring, but I just recently discovered it’s potential and will start implementing it in my own content strategy. I am up for it, are you?
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I’m finding this really difficult. I updated a few articles a few months ago and haven’t seen any positive results. In fact, I’ve seen a decrease in my traffic. Not sure if it is related. Feeling quite frustrated. ;-( I’m worried that Google might actually rank an article lower because the article is re-evaluated. Any thoughts on that?