Historical optimization is a way for you to refresh and update old blog content to generate more search traffic and conversions than what current articles may be bringing in. This method is ideal for those blogs that have been around for a few years, have achieved strong performance, and are ready to bring in more new leads and readers with a few tweaks.
Since the idea of change can be a little scary to some, here are four reasons why optimizing your past blogs is a must.
1. The Supply of Content is Growing
Here’s a crazy statistic: WordPress estimates that users publish 87.6 million blogs per month, and that stat is just for blogs affiliated though WordPress. As more and more businesses realize that content creation should be a vital piece of their marketing efforts, this number will only grow.
Paul Hewerdine, Partner & Planning Director at B2B marketing agency Earnest, puts it simply: “The supply of content is growing, but demand is static.” Despite the growing amount of content, readers are only going to consume so much. This is why historical optimization is essential for getting content you already have to readers in an environment that is only getting more competitive.
2. The Need to Generate More Leads
To prove that historical optimization is the bee’s knees, HubSpot provided some insight on their own experiences with optimizing past blogs. HubSpot focused on optimizing the specific keywords people were using to find certain posts. Once they figured out what keywords were ranking high for these posts, they updated the content offers and CTAs to reflect these searches. Using this keyword-based conversion method, HubSpot increased the conversion rate of one post by 240 percent. They then used the same method on 12 more of their top performing posts and they doubled the number of leads they originally generated.
This isn’t just about bringing a higher level of traffic to the site, but rather, these are people who are genuinely interested in their content, with the potential to become paying customers. That’s awesome.
3. Ensuring Content is Updated and Still Relevant
It’s likely that over the last few years, the design of your blog posts might have changed. Maybe you’ve included different design aspects in newer blogs that you now need to incorporate into older ones, such as use of different colors, typefaces, feature images, etc. While this may not directly bring in new conversions, optimizing your posts is a perfect time to make such updates so the posts stay consistent across your site.
Since the time these older posts were published, it’s also probable you’ve created additional resources which could be more relevant to searchers stumbling upon these older blogs. Remember that 240 percent conversion rate HubSpot had on a previous post? They optimized their end-of-post CTA with a more relevant resource offer, which was huge in terms of driving more leads because it was exactly what the readers were looking for.
Also, if you learn that a CTA isn’t performing well, despite being relevant to the blog topic, consider adding a text-based CTA within the post’s introduction or a higher-up body paragraph—it's possible readers aren’t seeing it at the end of the post.
4. Easy to Do at No Cost
The best part about this whole deal? It costs you nothing, but the return can be SO GREAT. To help you get started, these are some of the things we look for when optimizing our old blogs at Weidert Group:
- Evaluate the post for accuracy, current stats and other things that may need to be added, modified or removed
- Update outdated copy (dates, places, people, etc.)
- Incorporate any new best practices that have emerged
- Optimize the post using a keyword-based method
- If no section/subheads exist, add them where appropriate
- Check and replace internal links, especially if there are now better resources or advanced content
- Update the post’s call-to-action as needed.
- If the post doesn't have a feature image, add one; if the image is outdated, replace it
- Bold or bullet key areas for readability, if necessary
For posts you’ve optimized, keep track of the results! Calculate the conversion rate (leads divided by views) of each post before you’ve optimized, and then re-calculate the results afterward. If the rate went up, great! If it went down, revisit the post and re-optimize using more tips mentioned above.
Have a success story about optimizing your past blogs? Let us know in the comments section below!