Some industries don’t experience a lot of change throughout the year as it relates to their products or services, so it can be hard to come up with fresh blog content. There are days when it feels like an endless cycle of rinse and repeat.
Maybe that’s not such a bad idea...repeat, that is. Don’t get me wrong; writing new posts is a key part of inbound and SEO success. But if you’ve been blogging for some time, you’ve likely got some great content that was written in those early days that has fallen off the radar. If it hasn’t been updated with current information, its rank in online searches will certainly decline.
Let’s take a look at some best practices for optimizing existing posts and some blogging tips to get the best results.
Use Metrics to Your Advantage
At Weidert, we’ve written over 1,500 blog posts, so the thought of choosing which ones to repurpose might seem daunting. But with the help of our Hubspot analytics, we can quickly run a report to show which articles are performing well, which are seeing declining engagement, how long visitors are spending on each page, etc. In addition to analyzing metrics, our strategy involves optimizing and reposting the blogs that speak directly to our target personas or those we feel have high value but maybe aren’t performing as well as we’d like.
When reviewing your metrics, look for trends. Has a blog post that once performed fairly well slowly declined in engagement over the course of several months, or was traffic growing and now plateaued? These are sure signs it’s time to revisit the post and make some adjustments.
Update Outdated Information
One sure sign that a blog post needs to be updated is when the subject matter has changed significantly or if it has outdated information. For example, if you have a blog that shares about an industry regulation that recently changed, it’s important to make sure you’re sharing accurate information to show you’re on top of the latest compliance concerns. Also, if your post shares old statistics or references research that is no longer relevant or outdated, it’s time to update.
There are other parameters to consider, however, and it refers back to those analytics I talked about. Just because a blog might not be as up-to-date as you like doesn’t mean it should be a priority for updating. With some exceptions, you still want to choose blogs that have relatively high traffic to maximize their SEO possibilities.
How Often to Optimize Blogs
You probably have your rockstar blogs that continue to receive the greatest engagement and outshine all others. Even if a blog continues to perform well and sees traffic growth, it’s a good idea to optimize it when the time is right. That timing can differ depending on the timeliness of the subject matter and any dated content. But even if nothing’s changed, you’ll typically want to revisit top-performing posts at least once a year to freshen them up.
Be smart about the ratio of republished blogs versus original blogs, however. There needs to be a balance of new and updated posts, so don’t stop publishing original content. It’s still critical to publish between 55-70 blog posts if you want to see exponential growth. Remain consistent with new material to reap the most benefits from your marketing strategy.
Types of Content to Update
In addition to updating statistics and other information that may have changed; consider some the following:
- Featured image. A featured image will appear when the article is shared on social media, so make sure it’s appropriate and engaging. Also check that the alt-tags accurately reflect the subject matter of your post.
- Meta description. Now that Google allows for longer meta descriptions, take advantage by updating them.
- Headline. If your blog post used to be titled “7 Things Every Industrial Manufacturer Needs to Know About the Supply Chain,” and you’ve now added to that number, you’ll obviously need to update the title. Updating the title to leverage keywords is also a good idea.
- Keywords. Yep. Make sure you review whether the post has an appropriate number of short- and long-tail keywords.
- Author. If you’re tasked with making significant updates that are basically a rewrite and you didn’t write the original blog, then you may want to update the author. If the original post was actually written by a ghost writer and the person listed as author no longer works for your company, it might also be appropriate to update the author.
- Graphics. Do any graphics look dated? Did your company go through a rebranding effort and the post still has remnants of your old color palette or maybe even a graphic containing your old logo? Time for a change.
- Call outs. Is there a statement or quote that could be highlighted in a callout or bolded text? Look at ways to emphasize major points or take-aways.
- Internal links. You’ve hopefully published plenty of new blog articles, too, so add a couple links to other relevant posts you’ve written or updated product pages.
- Outbound links. Did a recent online article about industry news or research prompt you to update your blog post? Reference it and share the link when appropriate.
- Long paragraphs. Take the opportunity to break up lengthy paragraphs and blocks of text to make it easier to digest.
- CTA. Make sure the CTA is still relevant. You may have created new gated content since the blog was first published, so it might be an opportunity to feature it instead.
- Conclusion. Strengthen your closing thoughts by creating a good lead-in to your CTA and an invitation to visit your contact page to talk more. After all, the whole point of an inbound marketing strategy is building connections with qualified leads.
One thing to note is that you don’t want to update the URL for high-traffic posts. If you change it, then any SEO data tied to that URL will be eliminated and you’ll eventually be starting from scratch. On the contrary, however, low-traffic posts may actually benefit from an updated URL as shorter URLs that are better targeted with higher volume keywords could perform better.
We’ve optimized a wide range of blog posts, from very low traffic (less than 30 views per month) to our highest trafficked blog post (over 15,000 views per month). Every single optimized post averaged a higher amount of views, CTA clicks and new leads.
Take a look at some of these optimization results:
Previously Low Traffic Blogs (100–250 views per month)
- 208% increase in views
- 200% increase in CTA clicks
- 300% increase in new blog subscribers
Previously Well-Performing Blogs (1000+ views per month)
- 44% increase in views
- 40% increase in CTA clicks
- 522% increase in new blog subscribers
We should note that updating blog posts isn’t the only change we made. We redesigned our website in September 2017, which also had an impact on our engagement. But based on other metrics such as the time spent on the pages and increased submissions, it’s clear the updated content resonated with readers.
You really can’t go wrong with optimizing and republishing your top viewed blog posts (or those you feel have value but aren’t performing as well as you like), as long as you continue to remain consistent by adding original posts to your blog. By optimizing existing blog posts, you’ll not only create better user experiences and position your company as a thought leader, you’ll feel just a little less pressure to come up with that next big idea.