Why You Should Consider Updating Old Blogposts?
Let’s say you started a blog 3 years ago. Well, if you’re anything like me, then you probably went for some of your “best” topics early on. And wrote “evergreen” blogposts about those topics. As time, went on, you came up with more and more great topics, so that your most recent blogposts are also very relevant and engaging. But, you definitely have some really awesome posts from those early days, hidden on page 27 of your blog!
Some older content can be really effective in attracting visitors. After all, Google ranks webpages (rather than websites) and so, if you did post a great blog a few years ago, it could be attracting lots of traffic.
It takes a long time for a particular article to build up a head of steam, and if you consider, say, the next 2 years as your timeframe, then you might actually get more out of updating an old blogpost than writing a new one. That’s not to say you shouldn’t continue to write new content (you should!) but don’t lose sight of the fact that some older content that could give you a really good return for just a little time invested.
Why do you need to do anything with older posts?
Well, you might not need to. An older post might be working just fine. But sometimes the text might be out of date, the links broken, and overall the blogpost is just in need of a bit of a spring clean! So, if some of the content in that particular post is not great or you would write it much more clearly now, then it could be worth considering an update.
Evaluating Traffic to Old Blogposts
The first thing to do is to take a look at the traffic.
Use a tool such as Google Analytics to see how much traffic some of those older posts are actually getting. If the old posts are not getting much traffic, then there is not much point in updating them. Sometimes, however, the amount of traffic they are getting might surprise you!
You don’t need to change update everything at once, so you might start out by looking at a certain type of post. For example, you could focus on the 5 posts with the most traffic that were posted more than 2 years ago.
Assess Old Blogposts
Once you find older posts with traffic, then go and visit the posts themselves. How do they look? I often find that I cringe a little bit when I look at blogposts from several years ago. I have developed a different style, I’ve learned more about the subject matter and, well, I would just write things differently if I were to do it again.
Also, I tend to find that I don’t like the images that I used before and I find that I get better at choosing and / or creating images over time, and what’s considered a good image one year can certainly be viewed differently 3 years later: fashions change.
Another thing I look at is the links. Where am I linking to internally? And externally? Do the links work and are they still relevant? If not, they need removing / changing / updating.
The good news is that I do have the opportunity to re-write any blogpost, change the images and update the links. And I don’t need to re-write the entire post, but I can certainly update it. Here’s how:
How to Update a Blogpost
1. Don’t Change the URL
OK, so it might seem fairly obvious but you should definitely not change the URL. If you do, you would lose any backlinks to the post and you are going to lose the traffic. Changing the URL effectively creates a new blogpost, and that is not what we want to do here.
2. Review and Update the Text
Now it’s time to update the text. I think you should be looking to improve the text, and maybe change a few sentences or add a couple of new paragraphs. But I don’t think you should be completely re-writing the text – if you are going to completely re-write it, then maybe you should consider starting a new post.
3. Review Blogpost Images
Check the images and make sure you are still happy with them and that they are still relevant. If not, change them. But don’t forget to ensure the new image is included with the correct tags, especially the title tag and the alt tag, as these are going to help with SEO.
4. Check the Links
Click the external links and make sure they are still working, and also that you still want the link i.e. that it’s going to a relevant page on a quality site. You might remove 1 or 2 links, or add 1 or 2 others. It’s also a good opportunity for you to add / update the internal links.
5. Consider Changing the Date
It’s not always clear whether changing the date is the best idea, or it, but I really like this explanation from the experts over at Yoast. Whether or not you decide to change the date, you can include a note that indicates that that post has been updated. “Editors note: this post was originally posted in 2016 and was updated in June 2018.”, “This post has been updated since it was originally posted in August 2017.”, or something similar should do the trick
Updating Blogposts: Conclusion
Sometimes a little bit of an update will help you breathe new life into old posts. It can certainly be a worthwhile exercise – not something to base your entire SEO strategy around – but a periodic review every say, 6 months, can help to boost traffic for relatively little effort.
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