It is the time of the year, when site owners run their domain through several audits like Site Audit, Content Audit, etc. to identify and remove elements harming their performance online.
After every audit, you come across several old pages on your website that are eating up the online space and driving less amount of traffic to your site along with the ones which are no longer valuable to your current audience.
Presence of such pages does not help your site’s online growth. On the contrary, they can affect your SERP performance so they must be removed.
However, removal of old content isn’t the only solution. You can reuse and recycle them as well. And that’s why I’ve written this guide.
By the end of it, you’ll learn EXACTLY:
- Why should you consider revisiting your old blog posts?
- How to determine which pages to remove, reuse, and update?
- What to do with the old posts you decide to keep?
Why consider revisiting your old blog posts?
Here are some reasons that might convince you to revisit your old blog posts.
Improve your site’s SERP performance
After Google’s Panda update, publishing low-quality content resulted in falling rankings and poor SERP performance. So, websites began publishing well-researched and high-quality content that the search engine juggernaut appreciates.
The old blogs on your site contain outdated information which is not valuable to your current visitor and Google regards it as low-quality. Keeping such posts active on your website is not advised for effective SEO. Therefore, you must handle them in a way that it favours your SEO and improves your site’s SERP performance.
Boost your online reputation
Outdated information can harm your online reputation. Visitors won’t appreciate coming across a solution to their query that is not practical in the current circumstances. And if you have several blogs on your site providing old information to your audience, then you need to prepare an action plan to deal with them immediately.
Increase your credibility
Updated content equipped with the latest information, figures, facts, etc., best satisfies the user’s query. When users find EXACTLY what they are searching for, they begin to treat the website, that provides it, as a credible source of information.
When trust is developed between the site and the users, the latter begins exploring the other related pieces of content published by the former. This helps drive more people towards different pages of your domain; thereby, increasing the amount of quality traffic received.
Before you start…
Here are a couple of things you must do before learning about how to deal with your old posts. Following these can help you execute the process seamlessly.
Create an inventory of your site’s entire content
First, you need to create an inventory of all the content on your domain. If you have a small website with 100 to 200 pages, you can do it manually. However, if the pages are more than that, you should use data extraction tools and compile all the data in a spreadsheet.
You can use Google Analytics to extract your site’s content. Here’s a short tutorial on how to do that.
Open GA and login with your account.
Source: Google Analytics
Select ‘Behaviour’ in the left-side menu of the tool.
Source: Google Analytics
This trigger opens a drop-down menu where you need to select ‘Site Content’ and then ‘All Pages’.
Source: Google Analytics
You’ll face a report which includes URL to all the content from your website published during a specified period.
Source: Google Analytics
You can select the time from the publication date of your first blog to the latest one.
Source: Google Analytics
Finally, extract the data into a Google spreadsheet.
Source: Google Sheets
Divide them into relevant categories
After creating the inventory, you should bifurcate the content into related categories based on how you’d address them.
All the data you require to determine the appropriate category can be found in Google Analytics. Also, study a year’s performance of each post to add it to the most relevant category.
Here are the data points you should focus on analysing:
- Bounce rate
- Avg. time on page
- Unique page views
Analyze all the pages with page views lesser than 100. Check whether or not their content is still relevant and can be reused in formats like infographics, videos, etc. If it does not seem likely that changing the content format can improve the page’s performance, then you should remove it from your website.
IMPORTANT. Removing old posts from your website does not affect its traffic. In contrast, eliminating old posts end up improving your traffic. Siege Media deleted old posts from their website and their traffic spiked by 50%.
During the analysis, if you come across pages that have not been performing well but still have the potential of engaging the current audience, then you can recycle those into infographics, podcasts, videos, eBooks, etc.
Keeping your old content updated with the latest information helps Google treat it as a fresh piece of content. Remember that simple tweaks to the content will not be helpful. You cannot edit the document and hope that Google will consider that you’ve updated your content because it will not. You need to perform your research on the topic again and focus on resolving queries of your current audience.
What to do with the old posts you decide to keep?
After eliminating the old blogs, which are no longer useful for the audience, you must put all your focus on preparing an action plan for the post you have decided to keep.
The entire action plan is divided into 3 steps, with each step having various sub-steps.
Step I: Update
Here are all the essential things that you must do to update your old posts.
Add the latest information to the blog
Google aims to deliver the most recent information to the audience because that’s what they are looking for.
This is the year 2019, and neither do people nor Google will appreciate that they receive information which was last valued in 2015.
You must perform new research on the topic, and while you are at it, you must keep in mind these things to ensure a better SERP performance:
- Study what your competitors have covered in their posts.
- Check that all the links point to the appropriate blog/source.
- Replace links to old stats/data with the latest ones.
- Remove parts of the content which you find no longer relevant.
- Add the latest content to the blog.
- Ensure that the word count is around or more than 1500 words.
Conduct fresh keyword research and optimize accordingly
When updating your content with the latest information, conduct new keyword research as well. It is crucial to keep updating your content with the current keyword trends because it keeps on changing.
For example, ‘World Cup’ was the second most trending keyword of 2014 (as specified by Google Trends).
Source: Google Trends
But, in 2018, ‘World Cup’ became the most searched query.
Source: Google Trends
Therefore, to improve your SERP rankings, you must keep updating your keyword database and optimize your content with the latest keywords.
There are numerous keyword research tools available on the internet that can help you refresh your keyword database.
Revisit SEO meta data and refresh the content
After updating your keyword database with the latest keywords, you should optimize your content and SEO meta data with the primary keywords. Also, you must rewrite their content with a fresh perspective and refine the information.
All the components of meta data which needs revisiting include:
- Title tag
- Heading tags (H1, H2, H3,…H6)
- Meta Description
- Alt tags
IMPORTANT. When updating the SEO metadata, remember not to change the URL structure. If you do, then all your inbound links will return the error code 404 (page does not exist) to both the users and the crawlers.
You must proofread everything. Go through all the pages on your website and revise everything so that the errors related to spelling, typos, etc. are all resolved. These errors have a slight effect on your SERP rankings. However, repairing them can help your content rank better.
Other than the spelling errors and typos, here are the other things you should focus on when proofreading your content:
- Check that all the links are placed relevantly with appropriate anchor texts.
- Ensure that the keyword placement is organic (i.e. it is not stuffed but placed according to their relevance) in the content body and the SEO metadata.
- Find out the keyword density of the article. Remember to keep it between 1 to 3 for optimum optimization.
- The SEO metadata has to be checked too. Make sure that you’ve structured your content with appropriate heading tags, alt tags, title tags, meta description, etc.
- Lastly, make sure that enough images are used in the post for optimum engagement.
Step II: Recycle
Here’s what you can do with the old blogs that still have the potential for improving your SERP performance but with a different approach.
Turn them into infographics
One of the best ways to recycle your old content is to turn them into infographics. There are two reasons to do so:
- Infographics are the best of both worlds. They present data in both textual and visual format.
- They are shared 3X more times on social media than any other form of content.
So, when you are converting your old blogs to infographics, you must keep these things in mind:
- Concise your blog into valuable pointers that are quick to grasp and understand.
- Prepare an attractive layout with graphs, images, etc.
- Choose easy-to-read fonts. Use a maximum of 3 font types.
- Stick to your chosen colour scheme.
- Share it as much as you can on platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.
- Provide all the sources to your data.
Remember to keep textual data to a minimum. Express more through visuals. It can take some time to ideate and prepare attractive infographics so you can use tools like Canva to make impressive infographics.
How about using them for videos and podcasts?
Over the years, the popularity of videos and podcasts has increased.
If we were to focus on the stats, you would find that 4 Billion videos are streamed on YouTube every day, and 92% of B2B prospects consume videos online. Also, a study by Cisco predicted that by 2021, videos would account for 82% of all consumer traffic.
Coming to Podcasts. There are over 750,000 podcasts and more than 35 million episodes (as of June 2019). Also, 80% of people listen to all or most of each podcast episode and an average of 7 shows per week.
The theme for your videos and podcasts can be based out of your old blogs. You can also add links of your updated old blogs to your related videos and podcasts.
Turn them into ebooks
If you have several old posts that cover the same topic, you can utilize that content, update it, and create an ebook.
For example, if you have three separate articles on email marketing, like:
- Making the most out of dynamic email marketing
- 10 practical ways to boost conversions using email marketing
- How to skyrocket your traffic using email marketing
You can compile them in an ebook entitled “An All-inclusive Guide to Email Marketing’.
Step III: Promote
The final and the most crucial step: Promotion. You may update and recycle your old posts, but if you are not promoting it, then what are all your efforts worth?
So, here are some of the most popular ways that you can put into practice and boost the traffic driven to your old blogs while helping them improve their rankings.
Feature them in your newsletters
72% of people subscribe to newsletters because they want to learn more and keep themselves updated about topics that interest them from your domain.
By subscribing to your newsletters, users permit you to send them emails with more interesting blogs to read. This ‘permission’ increases the probability of recipients clicking on the featured blogs and interacting with them.
So, you can include links to your old blogs along with the news ones to our newsletters and boost their traffic and engagement.
Internally link your latest and old blogs
Once your old posts are updated, hyperlink them to the blogs published recently on your domain. Linking your latest blogs to the old ones makes it convenient for the crawlers to discover it.
However, when you are internally linking the two posts, remember to optimize the anchor texts. Hyperlinking ‘click here’ to direct crawlers to another page is not considered optimum optimization. So, instead of ‘click here’ you must use anchor text which is relevant to the linked blog.
For example, here, the anchor text ‘various keyword research tools’ from an article on researching for a blog post directs users and crawlers to a blog entitled: 7 Keyword Research Tools For Content Marketing.
Link them to your guest blogs
Link building is an SEO strategy that never rests. Websites consistently build links to improve their SERP performance and rankings. And when we talk about link building, guest blogging is the first way that comes to mind.
You must be reaching out to grab as many guest posting opportunities as possible from high authority domains. So, every chance you get, remember to link your old posts to the guest blogs. This is an efficient way of promoting your old post because:
- The reach increases.
- More people will engage and interact with the post.
- Crawlers will be directed to your old post more often.
Another powerful way of building links is blog and forum commenting. In this process, you can include links to your old post in the comments.
However, before adding the links, you must check the guidelines to see whether the website allows adding links or not. Because if it doesn’t, there’s a strong chance that you’ll be marked as spam.
Extensive sharing on social media
One can never forget about social media sharing because it is an immovable part of online marketing.
When you are done with updating and converting your old posts into valuable ones based on the needs of the current audience, you should promote it extensively on social media. You must study the analytics of each social media handle and publish the posts when the relevant audience for your content is mostly active.
If you publish the post at the right time, you can improve its engagement rate; plus, it can receive more shares.
Dealing with your old blogs is a time-consuming process. It requires a lot of focus and optimum implementation of the strategies.
Once they’ve been applied effectively, you will find a sudden spike in your organic and referral traffic. However, it will take two to three months before you could notice the improvement in your SERP performance. These strategies can work well for all the websites, whether they operate on a CMS or not.
Here’s the last piece of advice that I’d like to give to you: While you are revisiting the old posts, check the comments and remove the spammy ones. It is essential because the search engine bots crawl over the comments as well before while they are indexing the page.
After reading this detailed guide to dealing with your old blog posts, do you have any query? If you do, mention them in the comments below. You can also share the strategies which you use to deal with your old posts. I’ll be happy to add them to the list.