If you're not refreshing your blog posts, you need to read this
Updated: Sep 14, 2022
High quality blog content helps build a brand, establish trust, and increase conversion rates. It also drives traffic to websites, especially if SEO best practices are top-of-mind.
But what happens after that blog post is published? Sure, it may get tons of hits for a while, but eventually those numbers level off until they fall flat because, as Neil Patel warns, Google loves for content to be current.
To keep the interest levels high, SEO experts like Neil recommend going through old blog posts and doing a thorough content refresh.
Why should you refresh content?
More than half of all website traffic comes from organic search. And when that organic search is conducted, the results on the first page (search engine result pages, or SEPRs) get more than 70 percent of the clicks. What’s more – of that first page of results – the first five sites get more than 67 percent of the hits. So how do you become the proverbial king of search result mountain? Master the art of SEO strategy.
SEO best practices aren’t set-it-and-forget-it rules to follow. Even if you’ve incorporated keywords and answered top questions in the post, that doesn’t mean the phrases, words and responses will resonate a year from now.
Opinions, trends and information changes rapidly – your content has to keep up to be competitive. Keeping it fresh won’t just help it perform better from an algorithm standpoint, it’ll foster deeper connections with users because the copy is accurate and relevant.
How often should content be updated?
Breathing new life into your blog content is an affordable way to boost search engine results, but just because it’s cost effective doesn’t mean it doesn’t consume other resources, like time and energy.
Instead of trying to overhaul all of your old posts at once, aim to do a content refresh on two to eight articles a month.
Of course, this depends on the amount of content you’re working with and the resources you have at your disposal. When you build this plan into your existing blog or marketing calendar, you’ll be surprised at how quickly and easily it becomes part of your overall content strategy.
Speaking of strategy, you may be wondering how to decide which blog posts get updated. The answer can be found in the analytics.
Run a three-to-six month traffic report to see which content is performing well and which isn’t exactly on the honor roll. Think of those low ranking posts as low hanging fruit. Mark these as the first posts to get an overhaul unless the topics are so far from relevancy that it’s not worth the effort. Not every post has to be on your content refresh list. Trust your best judgment. It’s all about the ROI.
See which posts have dipped in performance. If they’ve gone down in performance or bumped to page two or three of the search results, note them for the second phase of updates. There’s a reason they garnered a lot of interest in the first place, and it’s likely that you can revive them with a few strategic tweaks.
Don’t forget that even your shining stars will fade over time. Eventually, after the low performing posts are addressed, go back to your heavy hitters to ensure their relevance stays intact. Some timely touch-ups may keep their traffic numbers from ever making much of a dip.
Ideas to help you refresh content
Now that you’ve identified which posts to refresh, it’s time to get down to the task at hand – turning stale content into freshly baked goods.
Here are some effective ways to make it happen:
Do a competitor audit: If your posts aren’t performing well, do a search to see content that is hitting the top of the search result list. Go through the content with a fine tooth comb and compare it to your own to see where the opportunities lie.
Consider altering the topic: Maybe the issue is that the post isn’t resonating with the audience or that it’s no longer a focus point for your products and services. You may not have to overhaul the entire post if you’re able to make some small changes to the topic.
Make sure your keywords are relevant: Keywords speak directly to the search engine – they tell it what the post is about and connect the post with users who are searching for those words or terms. For example, if your business is interior home hard surface cleaning, but you only refer to home cleaning in your blog post, you’ll get readers looking for information on house washing, pressure washing and more general home cleaning needs. A little refinement goes a long way.
Rework your meta title and meta description: Google uses the meta title and description to pull the page preview. Write yours well, and you can convince people to choose your blog post instead of the other options. Try to keep it persuasive, use clear keywords and limit the text to less than 300 characters.
Update facts and figures: Stats and data are incredibly helpful additions to your blog content, but they can also show its age and lower its rankings. For example, if you’re referencing work-from-home rates, the figures from 2015 are going to look very different from 2022 numbers. Go through your posts and make sure all sources are no more than two years old.
Make the posts more conversational: You’ve probably seen ads promoting robots who can write blog posts. Sounds nice in theory, but there are some advantages real people have over bots. Namely, they’re able to write in a more conversational tone and style. While SEO best practices and keyword inclusion is incredibly important, the content isn’t going to perform as well if it’s cold, overly formal or difficult to read.
Use smaller posts to make one super post: Not all blog posts have to be the same length, but ones that perform well are typically around 1,500 to 2,000 words. These longer pieces tend to perform better when it comes to SERP rankings. If you have blogs that are 1,000 words or less, see if you can tie related posts together to create one big post.
Add or update inbound links: Search engines favor posts that have internal links in them, as it shows expertise and authority. Not only does it do well with search results, it also drives traffic to other areas of your site.
Reevaluate your CTAs: Calls-to-action help turn a blog post into a lead generator. If your posts have CTA buttons or links that aren’t performing, try something new. Instead of using a CTA as a big button at the end of the article, put some links in the copy so people can learn more about a specific topic. If you publish frequently, invite users to share their email addresses and subscribe to your blog. If you want the blog to spread across social media channels, give people the ability to repost the link, or ask people to follow your social media accounts. Look for ways to go above and beyond the big button.
Add infographics and visuals: Infographics don’t just make blog posts more visually interesting, they help the reader better retain the information. With studies showing that users only read around 20 percent of a 600+ word blog post, infographics and visuals can convert scanners into engagers. Instead of a bulleted list of facts and figures or a spelled out process, see if you can instead convey the thoughts, ideas and numbers with imagery.
Look for Featured Snippets you could win: Featured Snippets are one of the biggest wins in the blogging game. They appear on the first page of SERPs in a callout box that answers specific “People also ask” questions. See if there are ways you can get your blog pulled into a Featured Snippet question by using strategic keywords that answer questions people ask in conjunction with your blog’s topic. For example, if you’re writing about kitchen renovations, people are likely going to ask, “How much does it cost to renovate a kitchen?” Structure your response in around 4o to 50 words and address the question in its own paragraph or list format.
Blogs are an essential way to increase your customer base and win business. Instead of making yours a graveyard of old, worn out posts, keep things exciting with a regular content refresh. It’ll make it easier to promote products, cross-sell and accumulate more site traffic overall.