Imagine for a moment, that instead of constantly coming up with new ideas and pumping out new content there was an easier way to get traffic. Well, I have great news for you – there is! Read on to learn how to increase traffic by updating old posts!
At first, I was not sure if I should get excited about this as my blog is relatively new. However, a recent visit to Google Search Console revealed a mini project for me to work on and I will be excited to see the results over the course of the next few weeks and months.
What is the benefit of updating old posts?
There are a number of benefits to updating old posts:
- Google values fresh content – dated content is likely to drop down the SERP (search engine results pages) over time if left to its own devices
- It’s easier (and generally quicker) to update old content than create new content
- It can improve traffic to a particular post
- It will improve the user experience and potentially reduce the bounce rate
- It’s a waste not to! Depending on the age of your website, hundreds of hours may have been spent creating this content and it still has the potential to do better.
How do you find what blog content to update?
The general consensus is that you should be updating posts that are one year old or older. However, it makes sense to update any posts with a date in the headline. (E.g. Top Tips For Ranking On Page One On Google in 2020.)
I discovered this topic through a Neil Patel video explaining how you can increase traffic to your website using Google Search Console. I noticed that my best performing post was heading down the rankings and, while it’s not one year old yet, thought I would give this a shot.
What you are looking for is:
- Posts with the highest number of impressions
- Posts with the highest number of clicks
- Posts with the highest positions in the SERP
To find these, first, go to your Google Search Console account. (If you haven’t got set up yet, click here to find out how to get started.)
1. Once on your account, click on Performance, scroll down to the second chart on the page and click on Pages. Once on the pages tab, you can click the Impressions filter so that it will put them in order (from the largest) so you can see what pages have performed the best for impressions.
2. If you click on the top-scoring post you will see in the graph (at the top of the page) what the click-through rate is and how many impressions it has had.
3. You can then click on Query and it will bring you a list of the keywords that sent traffic to that post. Make a note of all of those keywords.
4. Do this for all of your top posts. Also, look for posts that have lots of impressions but minimal clicks.
I knew I had one post that always looked better than the others in Google Analytics, but it was only when I did this exercise that I realized it drives more traffic than most of my other posts combined! (It’s only about 6-months old so I will let you know how I get on!)
Even if your post is on page one of the SERP you should still do this exercise as the difference between being number one and two, three, four, or below is considerable.
It’s also good to see how many social shares your posts have. You can do this by heading over to Ubersuggest and putting your main URL in the search. It will bring up your top posts including the number of social shares. Again, make a note of these.
if you have an older website with lots of posts to list, you can save them to Google Sheets or Exel by clicking the Export button at the top right of the report. If you have a newer site like mine, a pen and paper are all you will need.
What exactly should you change?
I would start off with the easy fixes which I am listing in order:
- Start with the posts that seem to have plenty of impressions and are within striking distance of ranking. It could just be a couple of tweaks that make a huge difference.
- Integrate the keywords listed on the Google Search Console. Make sure to make them seamless in the post.
- Look at the top-performing posts with the same keyword, look for any gaps in your content, and amend accordingly.
- Tweak the headline if it needs a refresh (while retaining the keyword).
- In the case of posts with lots of impressions but no clicks, change the first few lines to encourage people to click through.
- Update any copy that is no longer valid, break paragraphs down into smaller chunks if necessary, and generally check that it is easy to read. You will find some good content creation tips here.
- Check your spelling and grammar. I was horrified when I went through some older posts. I was so sure I had checked and double-checked them (but the recently installed Grammarly said otherwise!)
- See if there are any images (especially the featured image) that could do with updating.
- Could you add a video to increase dwell-time on your site?
- What internal and external links could you add to this post to make it more current?
- Check that the existing links go to valid pages and swap if necessary.
- Are there any up-to-date stats you could include in an infographic? These can make a surprising difference.
- Does the post have a strong call to action? If not, that is your next job!
- When you are happy with your updates, make sure to change the actual date. (See the image below.)
- Do you have the date included in the URL? if so, it will seriously impact your posts’ performance in the years to come. It’s not a quick fix (sorry!) as your internal links will need sorting too. This video explains how to do it.
- You can set up an email alert with Google Search Console and it will let you know when your SERPS go up or down!
What else can you take from this exercise?
By doing this exercise you may find that there is a particular type (or types) of post that drives all of your traffic. If so, you can create more content around the aspects within this topic and expect good results.
This has been an eye-opening exercise for me! As I wrote the list of amendments required, I see that I have missed some from the post I have been working on. Must get back to work on that!
Do you update your posts? If so, I would love to hear about what you have updated and the results experienced. Please share this post if you know anyone who would get value from it.