One of the things I’ve been doing lately, as shared in my income reports, is updating old blog posts.
Why? Where do I begin!
Turns out I’m not the only blogger who realized that the good stuff is hidden in the archives of a blog. In fact, Neil Patel said:
“Your old posts are the key to growing your blog and taking your business to the next level.”
As a content creator, it’s easy to listen to each and every new blog post idea in your head and write like crazy. What you end up doing is leaving little room for optimizing old content and distributing new one. So you just write and hit publish and your posts rarely get the attention they deserve.
There’s a smarter way to keep your blog alive that can also grow it, double your traffic and sales, help you build your personal brand and much more. It’s by editing, updating and even republishing old blog posts.
When I did my research (which was after it hit me I should be doing it with 1700 articles published on Let’s Reach Success), it turned out every big publication and blogger had written about this incredible and simple blogging strategy. They all claim this increased their blog traffic, helped them turn their site into a profitable blog, got viral on a social media platform like Pinterest, or else.
Of course, this depends on how you’re going to update old blog posts. There are plenty of things you could be doing such as:
Replacing old images with better ones;
Optimizing for a keyword using the Yoast SEO plugin;
Improving the title with a free tool like this headline analyzer;
Adding an opt-in form;
Fixing internal links;
Updating outdated information (things change, some products aren’t available anymore, your knowledge of the Internet world is better, etc.);
Breaking up the text to make it easier to read;
Fixing broken links;
Adding affiliate links;
Eliminating grammar errors with Grammarly;
Creating a Pinterest-friendly image and pinning it (like the one at the end of this article);
These are just some of the things I’m doing and that you should be doing when editing old blog posts to boost traffic and improve your rankings.
But now, let’s focus on the reasons why all bloggers should be going back to old posts and update them.
Increasing Traffic by Updating Old Blog Posts
1. Drive more traffic to your blog.
“ There is often a “power law” that applies to existing posts where a small number of older posts drive a significant percentage of traffic (maybe 10-20% from the top two posts and as much as 75-80% from the top 25-50 posts). This can happen even if their previous content creation efforts were uneven and not particularly focused on SEO.
Those posts have not been updated in several months or even years.
When updated, those posts can frequently see a 15-30% increase, which is significant since those posts already represent a significant portion of the site’s overall traffic.”
That’s the simple explanation for why updating old blog posts (and even turning that into a regular practice) can grow your traffic.
2. Improve the reading experience of your best content.
With the help of Google Analytics, you can see your top 20 performing posts. Most bloggers rarely go back to them, when actually it’s where the conversion opportunities are.
Head to Google Analytics and click Behavior -> Overview.
These are exactly the posts you should update so readers won’t leave immediately once they land on them (which increases your bounce rate). You want to engage readers, make sure the page is designed well and loads fast.
That means adding beautiful images, breaking the text down, including a video, using lists, etc.
It’s also where you can mention your affiliate offers, link to your own products or add an opt-in form to grow your email list and/or earn from this post for years to come.
Last but not least, you don’t want the reader to stumble upon one of your most popular articles and immediately realize it hasn’t been updated for more than a year. Fix any irrelevant information, place links to your latest articles, make the images and other design elements align with your brand.
3. It’s easier than publishing a new post.
Just think about it. Coming up with an idea for a blog post, outlining and researching, then writing it and preparing it for publishing, is a lot of work. Additionally, you need to find external links, images, optimize and proofread it, then start sharing it and interlinking it.
But you already have a ton of valuable information in your archives. Why not give it a second chance by updating it and sharing it across different platforms instead?
It takes less time and effort and might bring even more benefits than a new piece of content.
4. Get an SEO boost.
When you first started blogging, you probably didn’t know what search engine optimization was. Even if you aren’t a pro now, you got the hang of it and know how to optimize your blog posts.
There’s a lot of potential in your old blog posts, especially those already ranking high naturally. You can boost them even further by adding text here and there, optimizing your images, linking to quality external resources, targeting the right keyword with a tool like LongTailPro, and giving your article a chance to rank in the top results on Google.
This doesn’t need to take long and it’s still easier and faster than writing a new piece of content and optimizing it.
What’s more, Google loves updated old blog content and will immediately know it should crawl it again.
5. Create buzz on social media.
It’s a good idea to start with your most shared posts when updating old blog content. That’s because these are proven to have got attention on social media, so it’s worth pushing this further and getting more eyeballs.
Head to BuzzSumo to see what your most shared content is and update these blog posts first.
Make sure you create a graphic for Pinterest and pin it to one of your boards. If you don’t have a business account on Pinterest that’s optimized for keywords related to your niche that already has a few boards with good titles, you should do it right away.
For example, I got pretty active on Pinterest, learned more about it, and managed to double my page views there in less than 30 days.
Tips for Updating Old Blog Posts
Don’t change the url or the main idea and topic of the article. That’s been decided already. Now you can just improve it and add additional subheadings to make it even more useful and optimize it better.
Find not just a keyword to optimize it for but also relevant ones to include throughout the post to rank for the term sooner.
If you make many changes to a post and are proud of how it looks like, it’s worth republishing it and sharing it across all platforms over the next few weeks.
You might want to delete old comments. Some time ago I removed all comments on Let’s Reach Success and deleted thousands. While that’s a bit drastic (but something I’m happy with), you don’t need to get there if you like your comment section.
Don’t try to update all your old blog posts at once. Even if they aren’t many, you should still turn this into something you do 2 times a week, for instance. That will also mean a constant flow of new/updated content for your social media channels, updated pages for Google spiders to crawl on your site, and slowly growing your organic traffic over the next couple of months.
I believe these tips are enough to help you see why it’s worth taking a look at old blog posts and editing most or all of them to revive your blog.