How To Increase Traffic By Updating Old Posts – It Works!

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.

 

Google alert
You can set an email alert to receive notifications of movement on the SERPS. Once your blog is mature, you will see lots of movement!

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.

 

 

Google Search Console
Having an average position of 1.9 is great for the CTR rate! (This is not my website btw!)

 

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Integrate the keywords listed on the Google Search Console. Make sure to make them seamless in the post.
  3. Look at the top-performing posts with the same keyword, look for any gaps in your content, and amend accordingly.
  4. Tweak the headline if it needs a refresh (while retaining the keyword).
  5. In the case of posts with lots of impressions but no clicks, change the first few lines to encourage people to click through.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!)
  8. See if there are any images (especially the featured image) that could do with updating.
  9. Could you add a video to increase dwell-time on your site?
  10. What internal and external links could you add to this post to make it more current?
  11. Check that the existing links go to valid pages and swap if necessary.
  12. Are there any up-to-date stats you could include in an infographic? These can make a surprising difference.
  13. Does the post have a strong call to action? If not, that is your next job!
  14. When you are happy with your updates, make sure to change the actual date. (See the image below.)
  15. 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.
  16. You can set up an email alert with Google Search Console and it will let you know when your SERPS go up or down!

how to change the date of a post in WordPress
Make sure to update the date so the post gets crawled.

 

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.

Conclusion

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.

6 thoughts on “How To Increase Traffic By Updating Old Posts – It Works!”

  1. Thanks a lot for sharing this lesson. I absolutely agree with your post here! I started updating my old posts about a few months ago and my traffic increased. I noticed a lot of posts have moved from position #15, for example, to position #4 in SERP! And the more I update the old post, add more value to it, refresh the text, improve grammar, it just keeps increasing its ranking in SERP. In other words, this method works indeed!

    As you said, it’s much easier to update an old post than to crank new ones all the time. In fact, your posts will lose freshness and drop eventually, so updating them makes a lot of sense. It would be a shame to lose all the good work you did a year or two ago. All you have to do is refresh it and you can keep high rankings for years and years to come!

    Anyways, I just wanted to share my experience with this method and say great work! Keep it up! 🙂

    Reply
    • Hey Ivan

      Thanks so much for the validation that this is a good plan! It’s one thing to detail the process, but even better to see it in action. Delighted it’s working for you. You must be chuffed with #4! Keep up the good work!

      Kind regards,

      Jean

      Reply
  2. Really great post. I learned a ton here.

    I have been researching both how to update my content as well I have been trying to figure out how google search console works. This post has really helped me out with both. I have book marked it and I will definitely be referring back to it.

    One other method for updating contents I have come across is to add a FAQ section to your post. Pick the top 3 questions people ask about your post and add them to it.

    I see you recommend Ubersuggest, I have just started following Neil some what, he certainly appears to know his stuff. Do you subscribe to this service?

    Thanks again!

    Robb

    Reply
    • Hi Rob

      Many thanks for the comments (and thanks for your tip!). I’m glad you found it helpful. I have only used the free membership to Ubersuggest but I know it is one of the lower-priced options which is great for people starting out. (And given that Neil uses it to drive 3 million visitors a month, it must work!) I was lucky enough to win 7 days of the Semrush ‘Guru’ level membership in a writing competition! My plan is to get all the keywords I need to fill my content calendar for a year!

      Kind regards,

      Jean

      Reply
  3. Hi Jean, thanks for this great post! my blog is just one year old with plenty of posts that could be updated! I have been updating older posts with Amazon links as these can become outdated very quickly. I delete old reviews and insert new ones in their place. I then end up adding more text and checking for any spelling or grammar mistakes. The only thing I’ve not done is use Google console! I’m getting plenty of traffic from Pinterest though and been using that to see which posts are most popular. I’ll certainly follow your tips and also check out Neil Patel’s post!

    Reply
    • Hi Kathy

      Many thanks for this. I can see how updating your older posts with Amazon links would be important for sure. That’s interesting that you do well with Pinterest. That’s interesting that you do well with Pinterest. I tried it with a previous niche and did okay but with have had no success with my current niche.

      Kind regards,

      Jean

      Reply

Leave a Reply to Rob Corbett Cancel reply

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close