Are you looking for a way to improve your blog traffic? Most bloggers post articles at a run in hope to drive more visitors. But they often forget that they already have a treasure chest – their old posts.
Bloggers who blog for some time already have in their archives a bunch of articles that store a great potential. You have to bring them back to life. I mean – update those articles and fill with fresh data. Let’s check out the steps that help you update old blog posts and get a stable traffic flow.
1. Choose the article for the update
You can start by updating one article to check out what tricks work exactly for you. Later you may wish to include a regular update of an article into your content plan.
Of course, not all your archived articles require an update – only the best ones. You can identify them by looking at the following characteristics:
- The posts that already have significant and, what matters more, stable traffic are the perfect base for the update.
- The more websites linked to your article – the better it performs on Google. Choose the pieces that attract backlinks from reputable websites.
- Not the major factor though, the number of shares may indicate the readers’ interest in the topic.
During the research, you may spot a bunch of articles that show spikes of traffic on some periods. E.g., those may be posts related to traditions, recurring events (like holidays or sports events) or seasons. You may check the keywords for those articles in Google Trends and update those articles with new data closer to the periods when users’ interest in such topics rises.
2. Rewrite old title and description
Title and description should incentivize users to click your link and learn what’s inside. You should examine your actual headline and come up with a couple of new variants. Those who run WordPress blogs may install the Optimizely plugin. It helps running A/B testing of several titles to choose the one that worked the best.
The description should correctly explain your content in a short sentence. Google’s snippets are usually limited to 230 symbols. Pay attention to your first paragraph, too. Google often shows its part as a snippet. So add a couple of sentences that tell about the article at the very beginning of the text.
3. Revise your keywords
Now take a look at the keywords that your old article ranks for. Your articles may not rank for the keywords you were targeting when creating the article. At the same time, they do rank for a bunch of other keywords that people use to find the information your post contains.
Your major task here is to understand the ‘searcher’s intent’ your readers use to find your article. And improve the quantity and quality of those keywords.
- Check out your article in the Google Search console or use your favorite SEO tool to learn what keywords it already ranks for in SERP.
- Inspect what pages rank for those keywords in Google’s Top10.
- Examine the content of those competing articles and try to figure out what helps them to rank high: check out their domain rating, the number of backlinks, the quality of content, etc.
- Take a closer look at the keywords those articles also rank for. Try to choose the best ones for your own article: ones with good search volume, high traffic, a good number of clicks.
- Use many long-tail keywords since they allow your article rank for thousands of other synonymous terms. They are also less difficult to rank for.
4. Boost the content quality
Now it’s time to revise the quality of the content your article offers. First of all, check all the data, statistics, and researches you used to confirm your thoughts. Many of them may be outdated or even proven wrong with fresher surveys. Add more up-to-date statistics that will improve user’s trust to the content.
Previously I mentioned that you should check out the content of the articles that rank in Google’s Top10 for your target keywords. Now, it’s time to use that knowledge for your own good. Improve your article with the points that you might have missed previously but your competitors not.
Don’t forget to revise your visual content, too. Add/change images or screenshots with new ones. Add videos or podcasts – they are perfect for attracting users’ interest.
5. Proofread your article
GoogleBot may not ‘see’ mistakes in your text as a bad signal, but readers will definitely do. Poorly written content lowers users’ trust, and thus it affects your rankings. All in all, if you already spend some time for the update, then it would be good to correct spelling and check out your grammar.
You can use various services that help you proofread your article, e.g., Grammarly. It checks your text for the mistakes. Hemingway Editor is another excellent application for enhancing your writing style – it highlights too complicated sentences, passive voice and offers suggestions for improvement.
6. Check out the links
Both types of links – inbound and outbound – are essential for your content. Interlinking on your own website serves many purposes:
- Helps users find more related stuff and read more useful articles from you;
- Increases time readers spend on your website;
- Improves SEO by building users’ trust to the page.
So definitely add some links from the updated article to other useful posts on the website. And add links to that article from related posts as well.
7. Build some backlinks
Backlinks are one of those factors that supposedly help the article rank higher on Google. At least, studies show a strong correlation between the number of backlinks and the article rank in Top10. Thus, you should spend some effort to attract more backlinks to your freshly-update post.
Reach out to bloggers who already posted similar stuff to give them a quick ‘heads-up’ on the update. But don’t disturb them if you made some minor improvements like changing the title or adding new images. Only reach out to people after some significant rewrite or addition of a new data.
8. Share the article with readers
After you’re done with updating, do some promotion of the refreshed article. Share it with your subscribers: add the link to the article to your email and mention what new information was added and how readers can benefit from it.
Share the article on social media. Make a short intro about the update and describe the article’s strong sides. Encourage your users to share the post and ask for their feedback.
Whatever you do – don’t change the original article URL! If you do this, all backlinks to this post will show 404 page, and your traffic and rankings will drop.
Monitor the comments to see what topics your readers interested in and what more articles can be updated. It will give you plenty of data and ideas for the articles.
Helen is a content marketer at Ahrefs. She explores new things every day to impress her readers with catchy stories. Apart from all that marketing stuff, Helen loves listening to rock music, reading and traveling. A lot! Feel free to follow Helen on Twitter.