Regular ideation and creation of new blog content form a strong content marketing approach. But what about poor-performing and outdated articles on your site?
Revamping old content can boost your strategy and is a step worth taking. Not every article will drive organic traffic. For every successful post, there may be many others hidden deep in your blog in need of improvement.
These articles deserve your attention. Revising old articles provides an opportunity to optimize and make them more appealing, which could lead to higher search engine rankings and more traffic. This also diversifies your strategy, rather than relying solely on creating new content.
Having outdated or poorly written content on your website can have a negative effect on your brand’s reputation. When you neglect the quality of your content, it sends a message that you do not value your audience.
This lack of consideration can then lead to decreased traffic, fewer clicks, and reduced social media engagement.
A well-crafted, up-to-date, and relevant content strategy is crucial for maintaining a positive image for your brand and connecting with your target audience.
Does updating content help SEO?
The freshness of content has been an important factor in determining the ranking of a website on Google’s search results since 2011.
We all know Google uses various factors, including the date when a document was created, to determine the ranking of search results, which suggests that the date of creation or date of modification of a document is one of the factors considered using by Google algorithm when ranking search results.
The latest and updated information is given more weight by search engines, causing older content to decline in rank gradually. Revising and refreshing outdated pieces conveys to search engines that your content is current, accurate, and relevant.
Moreover, search engines regularly alter their algorithms, and updating your content ensures you adapt to any on-page SEO modifications that may otherwise negatively affect your performance.
Less time investment, better result: revising an outdated article on your website much is quicker than creating a new one and would probably be able to turn it into top-quality content with an increased possibility of driving organic traffic.
I don’t mean to say that you should stop creating new content altogether, but allocating time to both activities has the potential to achieve results with less effort.
Again, if audience engagement with your content is a metric Google uses to identify content that has a better impact or probably covers more comprehensive information about a topic, then updating your old content could be the most effective way to improve engagement other than improving site performance, designs, etc.
Therefore, you can definitely say updating older content positively impacts SEO.
What is your ideal strategy for updating content on a website?
Revising old content can still be labor-intensive, especially for established websites. So you need the plan to identify content that is worth updating and make the best use of your time. Then you will have to figure out exactly what improvement a piece of content needs to perform better in SERP.
So here’s what we do when we are executing a plan to upgrade the content on a certain website.
1. Conduct a quick win content audit
The goal is to identify those contents that are close to being ranked high on search engines. The objective is to find and make slight improvements to the content to increase its ranking and make it more visible to users on search engines.
These are contents you have published previously and doing really great in the SERP by ranking multiple keywords but have not really ranked in the top #1 or #3 positions as you would have loved to.
So a quick win audit will help you find these moderately ranking contents. You can do such audits via Ahrefs by checking the organic keyword’s position for your website. But there’s another way I would like to include here:
For this method; you will need your site connected to the Google search console. If you have not done yet, check this guide. After a new connection, you might have to wait a couple of days for GSC to pull data from your site and populate their search performance dashboard.
For others who already have the search console collecting data for your site, open Google search console > go to search results.
Then make sure the search type is selected as web and the query tab is selected just below the performance graph.
Now, if you enable the average position filter it gives you the most updated avg. SERP position data for the queries in all countries. You don’t have to look at the overall average position number but look at the position data for each query to get an idea of pages that are ranking for those queries.
Here, what we want to do is add a filter to positions where the position value is greater than 3. This will give you all the keywords with an average ranking below 3 and then you have a list of high-performing keywords to optimize for where your pages are between position 3 and 15 or you can pick 20 as the range to consider content as closely ranking.
Now you have a set of keywords with average ranking data for a particular date range, but you don’t know if your pages are likely to rank even higher in the coming days without needing an update.
So it would be better for you to compare a particular date range, for example, the current 28 days’ data to the previous 28 days’ data, which should provide you with the direction of ranking those pages for particular keywords.
As long as the position difference is in (-) means that your page has improved its position in SERP. Sometimes when the position in the previous day range is 0 means the page was not indexed for that particular query.
Thus you can filter and analyze pages that are ranking between 3 to 20 positions for top query and are not improving or losing their rank; you can select those pages to your update queue.
Again, you will have to consider the amount of traffic these keyword brings in so you can enable the click and impression stats to see if a particular page is worth updating for the given query or not. You can always play with these data to collect your most update-worthy pages for the next batch.
2 – Find out contents that used to do well
In this method, the goal is to concentrate efforts on finding out and enhancing content that previously performed well in search engine rankings.
Content performance may stop its growth and start declining over time as search engines it’s no longer provide relevant information or competing content on the same topic has surpassed it. This is termed Content Decay, as it refers to the decline in ranking and decrease in traffic for a specific keyword.
You can find and analyze these contents by using a two-step method. First, you will have to identify such content via Google analytics > Behavior > Site Content > All Pages report.
Once you find the content that has dropped in terms of pageview performance from a previous period (In the example above, I’m using just the previous 30 days, but you should be covering at least a year or two based on the content’s age)
Now that you have the set of low-performing or decaying content, you can use the page URL and inspect it on Ahrefs to find out the organic keyword’s performance and consider whether to update that certain page.
What to focus on when you are updating content?
The process of updating content begins by identifying which content needs improvement.
After this, a plan of action needs to be formulated to execute these updates. I would follow these 5 steps to create a better piece of content:
- Make sure to check that the content remains relevant to the user’s search query and meets their expectations. It’s important that the content’s purpose and focus match the user’s intent behind the original search. This ensures that the updated content continues to provide value and meet the target audience’s needs.
- As part of updating the content, you should include more in-depth and comprehensive information and details about the topic. The aim is to provide a complete and thorough understanding of the subject matter to the reader, making it a valuable resource for them. This will increase the relevance and usefulness of the content, potentially boosting its search engine rankings.
- You should be focusing on improving the content in a way that makes it unique and noticeable. The goal is to make the content stand out among similar content on the same topic, making it more appealing and attractive to the reader. This can be achieved through various techniques, such as using visuals, adding interactive elements, or providing a unique perspective on the topic.
- Next, you should focus on updating the content to reflect current information and removing any information that is no longer accurate. This step helps maintain the accuracy and relevance of the content, which could positively impact its search engine rankings.
Once your new content is ready, you can publish and share the document on social platforms by letting them know that you have newly updated content on a particular topic that is highly searched on search engines that might be worth looking into.
This is an overview of the strategy I personally follow to update the content from time to time, and it has been a promising tool for the overall growth of my primary website portfolio.