More isn’t always better; sometimes more is just, well, more. That’s the current mindset surrounding online content and inbound marketing. With more than 2 million posts being published every day, it’s no wonder your latest blog has a hard time gaining traction.
Optimizing or refreshing your existing blog posts can get much better search results than trying to come up with fresh, relevant content. In the words of Stephen King, “Sooner or later, everything old is new again.” While he wasn’t talking about online content, the same principle still applies and can get you blockbuster SEO results.
Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look.
Will Optimizing Old Blogs Get Results?
We work with a technology provider that has been blogging for several years and built a nice library of content. Overall, their search engine results are fairly robust, but we noticed some topics and blogs could use a refresh.
We assessed their blogging strategy and determined that reducing the number of new blogs that got posted each month and supplementing their content calendar with optimized blogs was the way to go, based on our analysis and how search engine algorithms rank content these days.
Using analytics and a couple SEO tools, we pinpointed target keywords that were already driving traffic to our client’s site and focused on boosting articles that ranked for them. We also discovered some articles that resonated with readers in the past, but kind of fell off the radar over time.
Starting with the lowest hanging fruit, we went to work and gave selected blog articles new life by polishing them up. Some steps we took to improve existing content included:
- Updating relevant information and including current statistics
- Incorporating additional related keywords
- Typically, increasing the article’s overall length to be more exhaustive
- Adding current internal and external hyperlinks
- Including additional visuals to keep readers interested
The Results:To give you an idea how well our evolved strategy is working, consider these results on one blog article that ranked fairly well for the long tail keyword “best file sharing software for business.”
- Increased organic search traffic by 121% and time on page by 1,271% in the first 2 months
- Increased total number of clicks by 83% and the click-through rate by 50%
- Increased overall average position in SERPs by 7 spots
The results speak for themselves. But how did we get there?
Find the Low Hanging Fruit
Knowing which content is due for — and worthy of — a refresh isn’t always cut-and-dried, and making the determination requires both art and science. First, start by making sure you understand your target audience.
Too often, certain industries rely on “insider” terminology rather than words their ideal buyers would typically enter into a search engine. If you want your website to provide relevant answers, then you need to know what questions your potential customers are asking. A tool like Answer the Public can help.
Then, assess which blog posts currently drive the most traffic to your website and whether they have enough monthly search volume to warrant the effort of updating.
Many tools are available to help guide your decision, including Google Search Console, SEMrush, HubSpot, Keywords Everywhere and others. Below, you can see a report we ran through HubSpot’s integrated Google Search Console for the article about file sharing software and which search queries received the most clicks:
Tips for How to Improve On-Page SEO
Once we knew which articles were worthy of optimizing, we then had to make the updates in line with our keyword findings. In particular, SEMrush is a handy keyword research tool that provides search engine optimization recommendations, and their on-page SEO checker and writing assistant make it easy to see where improvements can be made.
It can be as simple as copying your blog post into a Google document and installing the SEMrush Writing Assistant add-on tool. Once implemented, you can get recommendations and writing tips for your article, including:
- Recommended additional keywords
- How long your article should be
- Whether your paragraphs are too long
- Whether your language is too formal or difficult to read
- And a host of other writing tips
One thing we’re discovering as we optimize older posts is that they need to be more in depth. Instead of a basic overview of 300–500 words, many now recommend a minimum of 800 words and sometimes as many as 1,200 or more depending on the topic. That’s because Google and other search engines prefer long-form content that’s relevant to the reader and can be a one-stop resource.
Other questions you want to ask as you analyze your content include:
Is the on-page SEO as strong as it could be? Look for simple things that could have been overlooked when you initially published the content. You may need to improve the meta description, HTML code, title tags, and alt tags. On-page SEO is in your control and can make a difference in your SERP position and click-through rate.
Is the blog linked to from other related content on your site? This topic cluster and pillar page approach creates a directory-of-sorts for readers and can strengthen your authority on the topic (and keep visitors on your site longer).
Does it need higher quality backlinks to boost page authority? When other trustworthy websites backlink to your content, it will earn more authority and Google will reward you for it.
Give these blog optimization tips a try and test the results for yourself. We’d love to hear how it worked for you, so be sure to comment below. Also check out our handy SEO Survival Guide for even more in-depth information on how to optimize your content. Just click the button below.