How to update your old content to maximise performance.

Posted on
January 17, 2023
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Content Marketing
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When you’ve written and published a piece of content on your website, that shouldn’t be the end of your task.

In order to make the most of your content strategy, you should also be allocating time in your plan to review and update your old content, so that it can perform the most successfully.

We understand how difficult it can be to consistently produce blogs when you’re a small team of content creators, or even a solo writer for your company, which is why refreshing previous pieces is crucial.

Not only will it help you save time thinking of and creating brand-new content, but it will provide SEO (search engine optimisation) benefits too.

Carry on reading to learn how to effectively update your old content with our top tips.

What are the benefits of updating my content?

There are many benefits to refreshing your previous work, especially when putting out lots of new content can be daunting.

It’s also often difficult to compete with blogs on other websites which have a higher domain authority, however, you can still one-up your competition by making changes to your pieces.

The other benefits, include…

  • Time-saving – you won’t need to think up new blog ideas, or spend time writing from scratch
  • Better conversions – revamped headers, titles and calls to action (CTAs) can help to boost conversion rate
  • Improved Click Through Rate (CTR) – internet users are more likely to visit a blog which has been published recently with up-to-date information
  • Higher rankings on Google – by improving your CTR, it will positively affect your rankings on Google
  • Increased organic reach – if your content ranks higher, it will help to increase the visibility of your article, so you’ll reach new audiences
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Choosing which content needs work

First of all, you need to identify which content might improve your results if it is given a refresh.

When reviewing your monthly content reports, you may have already spotted some patterns amongst your pages. Without regularly looking at the data and reviewing your content, with tools like Google Analytics, it will be difficult to see what is performing well, and what isn’t.

Some things to check, include:

  • Bounce rate – the % of single interaction visits on your website
  • Average session duration – how long someone spends on the page
  • Number of sessions – the number of times users have visited the page

It’s important to be aware that the purpose of your content will determine what consists as a good result. For example, a blog which is written for building SEO will differ in what you want to see results wise, compared to a blog that wants to achieve a direct response from readers.

In general, you should be looking out for content which fits the below criteria:

  • High ranking content which is no longer performing
  • Pages that never performed
  • Top-performing pages which you don’t want to drop

Once you’ve picked out your priority articles, it’s time to decide what needs refreshing in them. From adding new imagery and correcting spelling mistakes, to analysing search intent and removing broken links, we’ve explained more below.

Tips for updating your old content

Here are 12 things you can do to refresh your blogs (bear in mind that you don’t need to do all these updates in one go!).

1. Check what your competitors are doing

Before you begin any major edits, take some time to look on the SERPs (search engine results pages) to see what’s currently ranking. How do these pages look? What structure do they follow? Are they informational or transactional?

Now, compare your article to these. Does it follow the same trends? If not, it’s time to make some tweaks.

As searcher behaviour changes over time, seeing what your competitors are doing will help you to better understand your user intent.

2. Improve the user experience

It’s essential that your content is usable, accurate and helpful, to allow for a great user experience.

Where you can, provide additional context to improve the worth of your piece and keep things as current and up to date as possible.

Consider the structure of your content and what the audience wants to consume, whilst making it easy to digest and understand.

If your readers aren’t engaging with the content, you need to work out why.

Does your blog answer your audiences’ problems? What do they want to know? What do they expect to find when they visit your page? These are all questions you need to be asking yourself to ensure you’re fulfilling what the audience is looking for, which will improve their overall experience.

3. Carry out keyword research

When reviewing your articles, you may find that some are performing better for keywords you didn’t expect. Using tools, such as Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner, you can see what the piece is ranking for and what the estimated search volume is.

Using this data, you can tweak your content to improve the keyword focus and better target them. This can help with your rankings on Google if the purpose of your piece is building SEO.

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4. Refresh imagery and products

If your company sells a product, it’s a good idea to double check that you still sell the products that you’re pushing in your blogs. Alternatively, you may want to swap them for any new best-selling products that you want to shout about instead.

This is the same with images. If you’ve taken any new product shots, update them in your website content too.

Adding visual supporting elements to your pieces tends to help it perform better, so make sure that you include some. For instance, infographics, videos, graphs and animations.

5. Check facts and statistics

Facts and statistics can quickly go out of date, so when new figures are released, it also needs updating in your blogs.

When someone searches for something on the internet, they will want to find the most recent data and numbers, so it’s essential you keep on top of these to keep your content accurate.

6. Amend the post date

At the start of the year, we suggest you go through any old articles where you’ve mentioned the previous year and update it to the new year.

However, be careful not to change the URL, only the title, meta title and body copy. Changing the URL will lose all the hard work your blog has already achieved, so you’ll basically be starting from scratch.

7. Add new information

Similarly to adding the latest facts and statistics, if there’s new information that has been released, it’s worth discussing.

For example, you’ve previously written a blog around social media and provided some tips, but a new platform or feature has just been announced. In order to keep this blog fresh, it’s worth revisiting it and adding a new section about this announcement.

This will help it remain relevant to your readers who may be interested in reading more on the latest news.

8. Consider Google ranking factors

When refreshing your content, you should also keep in mind Google’s ranking factors and make sure it follows best practice.

Google is regularly pushing out updates to its helpful content system. The latest update aims to aid searchers in finding high-quality content which was written to help users. It will reward these over pages which are primarily designed for search engines.

This means that you need to ensure your content is authentic and beneficial to your audience.

9. Remove broken links

There is nothing worse than reading an article then clicking on a link and it not working properly.

Sometimes, when you link to resources or other web pages, they may get removed or no longer work, so make sure you check and remove any broken links in your pieces.

It’s also beneficial to add links to new and better resources at this stage too, along with internal links to existing pages on your website. This will help with your overall SEO efforts.

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10. Correct any spelling and grammar mistakes

We all get it, even the best copywriter can have an off day with their spelling and grammar.

Instead of just ignoring it though, make those amends when you spot them.

Although it’s not meant to be a Google ranking factor, it can still have a negative effect on your user experience if something isn’t written well.

11. Update headings, titles and CTAs

Compelling headers and sub titles can help to hook your audience from the start.

Your content could be improved simply by tweaking your meta title and description, so that it grabs the attention of your audience when they’re searching online, as this is the first thing they’ll see.

You also need to consider your CTAs and whether they’re fit for purpose. Make sure they match your goals and are simple and clear to follow. This will help with conversions, if relevant.

12. Share content and promote it

Once all the relevant edits have been made, it’s not the end of it. Now it’s time to share away on social media, online forums and user groups.

By re-sharing and promoting your content, you can reach new audiences and show-off the value that it now offers them.

Another way to boost the performance of a piece is to repurpose it. For example, you could turn it into a podcast or video to attract more users.

Also, don’t forget, well read articles make great content for e-newsletters, which helps to raise brand awareness.

How frequently should I refresh my content?

We advise that your old content is tweaked every 3-6 months. This allows time for the pieces to build traction online, so you can see which are performing better than others.

Another important time to make updates is when Google makes a change to its algorithm, as this could affect how well an SEO piece is doing if there are certain trends your content must now follow.

Looking for more help with your content marketing?

Hopefully, we’ve helped to explain the importance of refreshing your old content, but if you’re looking for support in creating content which performs, Purpose Media can help.

Get in touch today to learn how our team of creative copywriters can assist with your content-related queries.

We’ve also put together 10 handy content tips for in-house marketing teams here.