Republishing Content: How Updating Old Blog Posts Helps Boost Ranking
Republishing content is a win-win SEO strategy. It allows you to achieve high positions in the SERP and increase traffic with less effort than writing posts from scratch. Your audience also benefits from republishing content. Even if you leave the text unchanged, the information will still be new for those who have just started acquaintance with the blog. Experienced subscribers will be able to update their memory with useful recommendations and interesting facts.
You’re not going to stop halfway, are you? Since the first publication, you have gained more knowledge and practical experience that you want to share. The world around us did not stand still. New trends and technical possibilities appeared, the interests and tastes of readers changed. By tying these factors together, you can make the post even better than it was in the first edition. You can make it more informative, useful, interesting and, most importantly, relevant.
What Posts Should be Updated
It doesn’t make sense to update all posts since the blog was launched. News or posts tied to a specific news feed are only interesting for a short period of time. Place your bet on evergreen content that remains relevant for many years. Choose posts with the highest-ranking potential that have already been successful with readers and may generate repeated interest.
A well-written post is like vintage wine. It only gets better over the years. From the moment of the first publication to the update on the site, at least a year should pass. During this time, the page will have time to build up a solid PageRank. Each natural reference to the text from third-party resources increases its authority. This is about backlinks from reputable websites. Read the current article on the topic – Build High-Quality Backlinks in a Scalable Way in 2020. Referrals from the SERP, comments, and social media reposts are also beneficial. Google sees user activity and when republishing, the page gets an additional priority.
See which posts brought the most traffic, conversions, and engagement. You should focus on your target audience. You can select a post to republish using the Google Search Console. Select “Search Analytics” in the “Search Traffic” block. Check the boxes for all options to get comprehensive data. Compare the results. Pages with CTR>1, rankings from 1 to 30, and high Impressions rank have the greatest potential for republishing. Read the related article – What is Google Search Console, and How is This Tool Used?
If you are interested in pages with high conversions, select “Search Console” in the “Acquisition” block in Google Analytics, and open the “Landing Pages” panel. Sort pages by “Goal Conversion”. Identify the pages with the highest scores. Learn more in the Guide to Google Analytics.
When an old post is in the TOP 3 for targeted keywords, updating the content can only hurt. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. If for some reason you decide to upload an updated article, leave the text as it was, and focus on the technical aspects. Update visuals, add videos, and don’t forget to speed up your downloads.
For the rest of the posts, rewriting text for new keywords serves as a springboard. They have every chance to break out of the 5-25 position in the SERP leaders. With an average ranking, updating posts gives quick results. You can find underperforming pages using SEMrush’s “Organic Research” service. In the “Gap Analysis” tab, you can compare the performance of your keys with the competitors’ pages to understand what you missed and which keys to add to the updated text. For more information on the topic, see the SEO Competitive Analysis article.
Another option is Google Search Console. Select the “Average position” tab in the “Search Results” panel and filter keywords from position 4 and below. Read How to Do Keyword Research for up-to-date information on the topic.
The more resources have linked to your post, the more credibility it will have on Google. Backlinks have a cumulative effect, so ranking an old post is more beneficial than promoting a post from scratch. You can see the page mentions on other resources in the Domain Analytics panel on SEMrush as well as assess the reliability of the referring domains. To get a detailed report, just select the “Backlinks” item and insert the address of the page of interest into the working field.
How to Give an Old Post a New Life
Feel free to add new material to your article. From the moment you first published, you might have new ideas, practical tips, or bright examples on the topic. The posts will become even more interesting and useful for readers. Increasing the text size is in line with LSI principles can additionally help. The wider you expand on the topic, the easier it is for crawlers to understand the overall context. It also works the other way around. If some fragments of the text are outdated, you should get rid of them. Try to play with the formats. A long list of examples might look better as infographics. More information in the article – Latent Semantic Indexing and Keywords.
Publish only relevant information
There are topics over which time has no power. If you have made a selection of the main films of the 20th century or the best cocktails of all times, you will hardly be able to add something new. If you are writing about technology, citing scientific research or opinion polls, the text is most likely worth updating. Since the first publication, new data may have appeared that support your statements or, conversely, run counter to them. The statistics can be left unchanged but it is necessary to indicate the year (it is advisable to add numbers from new reports).
It is important to check not only the relevance of the facts but also the technical elements. If you plan to keep your old images, videos, or documents, make sure that they all load without errors and at a good speed. This is especially true for files that are stored on third-party servers.
Check outbound links. Over the years, the pages you linked to may have been removed or moved to a new URL. Remember, broken links negatively impact the user experience and spoil the page rank for robots. Related article – What Are Bad Links?
Refreshing pages is a good moment to set up internal linking. You can add links to materials that appeared on the site after the first publication of the post. This will simplify navigation and provide more information on the topics. Users will stay on the site for longer and you will be able to direct their attention to landing pages.
Present information in a modern format
Google strives to answer searches in a way that is not only relevant but also readable. Top positions in the SERP are assigned to extended snippets, knowledge graphs, PAA blocks (People Also Ask). For more information, see Google’s ‘People Also Ask’ (PAA) Boxes, What are Rich Snippets?, and How to Optimize Featured Snippet. Today, users prefer information in these formats. Ratings, lists, and step-by-step guides will help draw attention to the publication. Reread the old post. Depending on the logic and style of the presentation, you can present it in a more modern way. You can change the structure of the subheadings and use schema markup. This will be appreciated not only by readers but also by crawlers.
Make the old article more interactive by adding videos, infographics, new author’s photos, or hand-drawn illustrations. Don’t forget to add a refreshing meme. This will show that you are speaking the same language as the users. The updated materials will look more modern and users will have an additional incentive to share them on social networks.
Build on the interests of your readers
When you start a blog, you only have a general idea of your potential audience. Over time, the portrait of the reader looms in all details. You more clearly understand the goals and objectives of your resources. You know who you are writing for, what the information is, and what style of presentation get the most feedback. Use this knowledge to update your article. You can address your readers already in the title. For example, turn the standard text into “Beginners’ guide,” “Complete Guide,” or “TOP Items for Pros”. Place new semantic accents in the text, add more highly specialized information, or even dilute the article with interesting facts and jokes. Over the years of the blog’s existence, you have definitely formed your own tone of voice, which the audience likes. Republishing content must fully comply with it.
Reread the comments underneath the original post carefully. This will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the text. You can also check the questions that arose after reading the material. Make sure you answer them right in the text. To fully reveal the topic, you can use another life hack. Enter the primary key in the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool and in the “Questions” tab, and see what most people ask Google about the topic.
You can also use AlsoAsked or AnswerThePublic for this purpose. Enter your keyword in the field on the home page. Results are displayed in mind mapping format or classic text boxes such as “how/who/why”, “can/are/will”, ‘what/when/which’, “near”, “with/without”, “for”, “like”, and “vs/or”. This will help customize the display of the PAA block in the SERP and make the text more informative.
Optimize old texts for up-to-date keywords
Users’ interests and needs change over time. The searches they ask change. Key phrases that worked a few years ago hardly carry the same weight today. Regardless of which semantic selection service you use, Keyword Explorer updates its database constantly.
You can place the new keywords anywhere you see fit, such as in the title, description, subtitles, or subheadings. Rewriting these elements not only has a positive effect on SEO but also allows you to give your post a more modern look. Replacing keywords in the body of an article takes a little more effort but the results are worth it. In addition to high-frequency queries, you can register Long Tail Keywords. They work well for the future and will bring to the site an audience deeply interested in your topic. Detailed information on the topic in the articles – Long Tail Keywords, How to Build a Nice Meta Description, H1 Tag: How To Create a Great Header, How to Create Search Engine Friendly Title Tags.
Leverage the experience of more successful posts
Analyze the features of more recent posts that are popular with readers. Use the same techniques when rewriting. Perhaps it is worth changing the structure, making the headline brighter: lists and ratings, Tips & Tricks, and Ultimate Guides will appeal to readers more than ordinary solid text.
You can learn from someone else’s experience. Analyze your competitors’ strategy. Compare the most popular posts on other sites with those in your luggage. Adapt the techniques to your content, but at the same time try to present the information in a full and interesting way while still being clear.
Make sure old content is up to date with SEO trends. For example, you can add a profile and a short biography of the author at the end of the text. This will increase the authority of the material according to the EAT and YMYL standards.
Make content more accessible
Loading speed has long been one of the priority ranking factors. The faster a page becomes available for interaction with different types of devices, the higher its position is in the SERP. The easiest way to achieve this when updating a post is to compress and reload the images on the page.
Google plans to implement a new system for assessing the quality of sites Core Web Vitals in 2021. Two mandatory UX metrics, interactivity (FID) and visual stability (CLS), will be added to the standard rate score (LCP). These parameters are important to consider when updating content and how to do it. You can learn more in the article Core Web Vitals : Google’s New Ranking Factor.
How to Republish a Post on the Site
Congratulations, the hardest part is over. Most of the effort is spent on creating a library of old posts by analyzing their popularity, ranking potential, keywords, and backlinks. It will take some more time to think over the updated structure and the content itself. After, there is little more to do. You just need to re-upload the post and watch the traffic growth.
Login to the CMS of the site, find the post you want, and start the edit mode. Replace obsolete content with the new one. Come up with a title, description, and tags that best describe the material. Be sure to update the publication date.
It is important to keep the old URL when updating content. If you change the address, all links to your page will stop working. This applies to both internal linking and support from other websites or social networks. The page will lose its authority and its promotion will have to start over.
If the URL of the original post contains the old publication date, a controversy arises. Outdated information is of little interest to users. The 2020 page will get more clicks than the page with 2016 in the address. On the contrary, hanging the address deprives you of ranking advantages. Evaluate the effectiveness of the old post and choose one of the alternative scenarios:
- If the post gives you almost no traffic, you can change the old URL. Do not repeat the old mistake. The new page address should not contain dates.
- If the post continues to attract visitors or is frequently mentioned on other sites, losing the pumped URL is a pity. You can republish the post to a new address and set up a 301 redirect to it.
- You keep the old address but rewrite the title to emphasize the relevance of the material. This simple move makes the article more authoritative in the eyes of the users. Users expect basic information that remains useful without reference to time. However, they may see that you have your finger on the pulse of the latest updates.
Don’t forget to tell Google about the changes you made. Open the URL inspection tool in Google Search Console, copy the URL of the updated post, and click Request reindexing. Crawlers will somehow get to the updated content. If you want to go through the reindexing as quickly as possible, it is better to send the request manually. For more information, see How to Submit a Website to Google.
5 Ways to Draw Attention to Old Posts Without Updating Your Content
1. Mailing lists and accompanying materials for sales
When a person signs up for a newsletter, they are fundamentally interested in your content. At the same time, they pay the most attention to the first letters. Over time, messages inevitably begin to be perceived as a routine. The material seems interesting, but there is no time to delve into the topic. In the best case, the subscriber will reopen the letter before going to bed or on a weekend. However, it could get lost in the read-behind folder.
This means putting as much relevant information as possible in the first few emails. First, you need to introduce yourself. It is quite appropriate to add links that will help a new subscriber get acquainted with your resource. Subsequent letters can be accompanied by thematic selections such as links to articles that will help to understand the topic deeper or illustrate the main message of the letter. Old blog posts are great for this.
It doesn’t matter if you are selling a training course or simply providing access to a paid service. Your job is to provide the customer with as much information as possible so that they can benefit from the product and want to renew their subscription in the future. Even posts that do not collect a lot of traffic from search engines can be used as accompanying materials. The main thing is that they are useful, reveal the features of the service, and be interesting to read. It is important to keep in touch with the customer after the purchase but at the same time do not bore them with frequent messages.
When working with CMI, you should analyze which of the emails in the past had the highest conversion. You need to focus on them when updating the content.
2. Social networks
If you have an old post that can be linked to the current news feed, be sure to share it on social networks. Write a short preview to indicate the link to the news event or trend under discussion. If the old article hits the spot, people will start actively sharing it in their accounts.
Newsfeeds usually arise spontaneously and require lightning-fast responses. However, when you’re working on a content plan, you want more certainty. Seasonal selections are a great way to leverage old posts in the long run. Depending on the niche of the resource, you can link it to annual holidays, school graduations, festivals, championships, etc. You can also link to just the season.
Events in the brand life can be used to remember old publications. This can be the opening of a store in another state, the launch of a new service, or the sale of a specific product.
However, if the article is really good, you can re-share the link on social networks for no reason. The main thing is not to abuse old content. Do not repeat the same publication more than once a year.
3. Relinking on the site
Keep your internal link grid up to date. This improves rankings and positively affects the user experience. When a user goes to a blog from a search engine, he sees only the tip of the iceberg. The bulk of posts will remain unnoticed unless the reader’s attention is directed through links. Another reason to always have a table with a list of old posts at hand.
Give the reader the opportunity to dive deeper into the topic. A post backed up by links to other articles instills more credibility, makes navigation easier, and keeps visitors on the site longer. It is important to post links in two directions. They should come from a fresh post to archived materials and to update old publications with new anchors.
4. Related Articles
People love sequel stories. If you see that a new post continues the narrative of one of the old posts, why not link them? Submit your story in 2, 3, or 4 chapters. All you need to do is make a note in the title. Even if the reader began an acquaintance with the middle of the story, he is likely to want to know where it all began. Do not forget to duplicate links to the previous and future pages at the end of the text.
Blocks with suggested articles work approximately with the same logic. They are usually placed at the end of the material. Give the reader the opportunity to read other materials on the topic.
5. Guest posts
Guest posting on other sites is a great way to grow your audience and get a quality backlink. Research popular resources in your niche and arrange with their owners to publish the article. This can be either specially written material or old content that meets the requirements of the receiving resource. If you blog on several sites, you can freely use them as platforms for mutual promotion.
How long should you wait before republishing a piece of content to a new website? It is preferred that at least 2 weeks have passed after the appearance/update of the content on the site. During this time, Google will have time to index the page. When republishing an article to another resource, you should change the title, implement HTML canonicalization for the duplicate content, and specify the site from which the information was taken.
As you can see, there is a lot to be gained from old posts. It is not always necessary to repeat yourself. You can take proven material and create something new on its basis such as recording a YouTube training video or, translating your most popular podcast into text format. If you have a series of posts on a general topic, submit them as an ebook. The more varied the content, the more response you will get.