Why You Should Edit Old Blog Posts
Been there, done that, why are you making me visit old blog posts? You have enough trouble keeping up with the new fresh content, right?
Editing and refreshing old blog posts to improve and revive them, is an SEO trick not many know about. In fact, look at any super successful blog and you’ll notice that they spend just as much time fiddling and improving the old stuff as they do publishing brand-spanking new things. Why?
Blog posts are akin to the finest wine. The older they are, the more delicious they become. However, there’s a flip side to that. You also need to keep them relevant and on point. That means you can benefit from wonderful juicy evergreen content, but only as long as you go back and revamp it fit for purpose, now, today.
That’s all well and good me telling you that. However, before you either ignore me (because frankly you’ve got better things to be doing), or just get stuck in (‘cos you’re cool like that), let’s look at why this is.
Benefits of revisiting old blog posts
There are some real benefits – both for SEO and, most importantly, for your reader, about editing old blog posts. However, you do need to know what you’re doing. We see the benefits of falling in to two key camps:
It doesn’t matter if you’re a copywriting service like me, or a new site, your reader needs to always find you relevant. If they pop along to your site and get stuck in stuff wallowing in the dark ages (also known as ‘only’ 2015), then they’ll disappear lightning fast.
The thing is, whatever some supposed SEO guru tells you, you’re not massively in control of what you happen to rank well for in the search engines for specific pages unless you have a budget to rival Amazon.
Some of hitting the SEO jackpot is down to sheer luck. However, we do know that once you’re being picked up on the first page of search results, it takes someone mighty to knock you down a peg (well, that or a change in Google algorithms). The thing is, if that page that’s being picked up is super old, then the minute the reader clicks through, they go.
They need it to still be relevant. The only way to do this is to revamp old posts. This way the ranking result hooks them in, but you get to keep them there and hopefully convert them to a paying customer.
2. You need to protect your bounce rates
There’s another reason why you don’t want a post to get someone to click through and instantly disappear.
There’s this little thing called ‘bounce rates’. No, this isn’t how often you can slam dunk a basketball. A bounce rate is the amount of time someone is on your site before they bounce away.
This little parameter is one of dozens of factors affecting the ranking of your website. The shorter your bounce rate, the lower your website will be ranked.
So, if you’ve managed to achieve gold and get listed on the first page of search results, you want to make damn sure you keep your audience on your site.
This means the post needs to still be of fantastic interest to them.
How do you revamp blog posts?
So having decided that yes, this is something you should do, what approach do you take? Do you simply scrap it and start again?
Firstly, absolutely no, do not scrap what you’ve got. It’s good. It’s serving a purpose. It’s already put in some legwork. You don’t want to erase that.
It’s not a case of out with the old and in with the new. It’s about respecting the old and giving it a little bit of a boost. It’s very much a case of teaching an old dog new tricks, which, by the way, is perfectly possible if you know how.
Let’s start at the beginning. I don’t care how many times you read that post before you hit publish. I don’t care that you got your Great Aunt and her dog’s cousin to read it too. There will still be improvements you can make by proofreading.
Believe me on this. I’m a UK copywriter. All I do day in day out is write, and read other writer’s work. There are always typos which slip through or a turn of phrase which can be improved. A proof reader’s job is never complete.
Therefore, the first thing you can do is take a fresh eye to it.
If proofreading isn’t your idea of a good time, then there are a few little tools to help. You can pop the post back in to Word and check for grammar and spelling mistakes. Or, you can use Grammarly which is like pedant’s heaven.
Check you’ve covered the essential components
We’re not about to labour a point. However, there are some pretty essential components to a blog post which you want to nail.
Read this article about the 10 elements of exceptional content writing to get the low down.
You may also like this post about how to boost your article writing.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: images are worth a thousand words. This isn’t just a good mantra for wooing your audience, it’s a mighty essential mantra for SEO writing.
In this article, you can find out more about how to optimise images for SEO.
There are some key things you want to pay attention to. Ask yourself these questions:
· Are the images in this post relevant to what is being discussed?
· Are the images too big? (Large images will affect loading time which negatively affects rankings)
· Have I used alt tags and a file name to make it relevant for SEO?
· Is the image itself still up to date (for example, if you’ve used a screenshot).
Next, you need to look on your blog post and check if it really is still a leading authority on whatever topic it is on. When we look at high ranking posts, they typically have around 1700 words. Is yours too thin on the ground meaning it’s at risk of dropping off?
If so, it’s time to pad it out and get it a bit meatier, but still jam-packed with value. Throw out any content which is no longer relevant, and pop in all the juicy stuff that’s new.
In this way, you still benefit from the post’s current rankings (if it’s good) and just build on them. If the post isn’t performing well then ask yourself why? It may be worth ditching that post altogether and taking a new approach to protect your bounce rate.
There’s another benefit to be gained from adding some fresh stuff. You’re likely going to now be able to link out from that post to new ones you’ve created in the meantime. For example, if you wrote a post about ’10 ways to make a shoe look like new’ and listed ‘change the laces’ as point 3, maybe you’ve now written a post about ‘how to change laces’ which you can link to. Great example, no?
Search engine spiders love internal links. They are like a delicious morsel of chocolate in amongst shredded wheat. So if you now have relevant ones, use them.
The gold dust posts
If you have a post which is performing exactly as you want it to, i.e. enjoying top spot in the search engines, then don’t be afraid to tamper with it. The adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ doesn’t apply here.
In fact, quite the opposite is true. If you use these posts wisely, you can improve your bounce rate and, ergo, the rankings of other pages.
Use a freebie tool for checking which keywords your website is ranking for. We like Small SEO Tools – it’s basic but it does the job. See which of your pages or posts are ranking well, but importantly, which keywords or phrases are driving that performance.
Then go back over that post and others, optimising them for the best performing keywords. Take a look at things like meta descriptions, image alt text and headings, to see where you can improve things.
The beauty of evergreen content
When you take the time to edit old blog posts, each post increases its credibility and evergreen status.
When you know you’ve got a juicy delicious piece of evergreen content, don’t stop there. Continue to promote it through your usual channels, and also in new content. This way you capitalise on its value and continue to improve your traffic.
When you work on your content marketing plan (which is super important – see our digital marketing trends 2019 infographic), make sure you also include editing old blog posts.
Chrissie Brown is a UK copywriter with a reputation for building outstanding evergreen content. Working for a vast range of clients she knows that the most successful see content creation as a never-ending process of refinement. The rewards are worth it.
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