How to Optimize Old Blog Posts for Better SEO & Traffic
Why do people optimize their old stuff if there is a great list of topics they can cover and write about?
There are actually several reasons for this.
We can name the first reason the “historical wave”. Trends come and go, get lost in history and appear to be in fashion every day, if not hour. There is nothing to be surprised about if topics you wrote about several months/years ago seem to be trending right now. Different times call for different trends, but it’s always vitally important to have an edge on them in any possible way.
The second reason is “traffic needs”. Popular longtime posts can be a successful method of bringing more traffic and that traffic can be properly regulated via updates in the content. What was interesting for them earlier will attract them later, even if it’s just a curiosity.
Let’s not call posts of a past time just old, it is better to say they are not fully optimized to the current needs of searchers. Now you can see them in an absolutely different light, with a new perspective, new ideas, and new methods of presenting.
How to see which posts are worth some extra optimization?
It depends. If you are on a “Historical Wave Team” and already know which post you can re-optimize and re-post, you can go directly to the next step.
If you are on a “Traffic Needs Team”, we should first find out which posts were in high demand at the moment of their uploading and if they still maintain popularity among visitors. We can do this easily using WebCEO’s Google Web Search Analytics Tool.
Here you can find out which posts of your blog were the most successful according to different parameters, such as quantity of clicks, number of times this page appeared on the SERP (impressions), percentage of impressions which resulted in clicks (CTR), and average position of the page on the SERP. Keep track of the green color which shows your success.
Then you should choose those which have maintained their popularity through time and start the process of optimization. You can’t miss this opportunity. It is a great opportunity to make your old posts shine bright again.
How can this bring more traffic? Traffic = information-dependent people. They constantly look for high quality content they can use for their benefit. If you provide them with it and if you help them find your high quality content, they will definitely stay with you longer.
The next thing to do is to apply some content optimization tips.
So, how to optimize your old blog posts after deciding which ones you want to revive?
There are some steps you should take:
1. Thorough Analysis
Optimizing your content is not only about writing. First, you need to conduct a comprehensive preparation.
You are not the only one who track all the trends. Your competitors are on their guard twenty-four seven. So, the first step to take after choosing the post and, respectively, niche is to analyze your competitors: who they are, how popular they are and whether they have similar posts. If they have, you should:
- check their positions on the SERP;
- analyze deeply what they offer and how qualitative it is;
- understand how their content is somehow better than yours, if it is;
- write better, taking into account each detail.
You should write as well as if it’s your last chance to create a new post. The more unique and well-developed content you present, the more people will come to you in the end.
There are a lot of tools for blog post optimization and here is a tip for this step: WebCEO’s Rank Tracking Tool which will help you to find your “most dangerous” competitors for your selected keywords.
The next step is one of the most important. Don’t forget that keywords in your posts help an audience to find you on Google and other search engines. A while ago, when you were writing the post for the first time, you already used keywords. Now you should check if those are still in demand and work for traffic. Maybe, you will need to change them into keywords that are more sought after at the moment.
Remember that it is better to use long-tail keywords, because they narrow search results to a definite field and increase your chances to be found by a target audience. The better keyword combinations you make, the more chances of getting the highest positions in organic search results.
How can you do this?
Imagine you are in the shoes of a user who tries to find any information concerning your topic on the Internet. What would you type in a search box? What keywords would you choose to find exactly your website? The simplest, but most informative. For instance, let’s compare Google results for two different keywords, short-tail and long-tail:
Two different results. The first one shows you general information about the whole sphere, while the second one gives you concrete information concerning a definite topic in this sphere. What is better in your opinion?
The moment you understand your potential visitor’s logic during a search process and link it with your blog through updated content, will be the day you start winning. Always remember that users will not think about keywords you would choose for your article, they will type theirs and would like to find some results. You in turn are interested in being among those results.
Don’t be shy about using keywords your competitors chose. Your main goal is to be the first, so it means a little fight on the SERP for the highest position. They’ll do the same as soon as they understand that you are a decent rival. Just relax and use all your given opportunities.
Instead of conducting a time-wasting brain storming you can use a tip for this step: WebCEO’s Keyword Research Tool which will help you to find the best keywords for your updated post and spy on those keywords which your competitors use.
3. Rewriting, Structuring and Usage of Visual Media
After comprehensive analysis you can apply the following content optimization strategies and start the process of updating the stuff. You can either rewrite old stuff, by adding new points to the old text, or rewrite it from the ground up. However, it is always better to mainly just touch up the old content, because it already has backlinks and authority.
- Make sure to erase all out of date information, because people will go away right after they understand there isn’t any new information. Present fresh and valuable content regarding old topics and your visitors will keep in mind that your source is always up-to-date and is worth their attention and further visiting;
- Some time ago, information you presented to a wide audience was informative and interesting for a definite group of people. It is worth checking if the situation has changed or not. In case it has and your targeted audience has become wider or smaller, e.g. extending of users’ age frames, interests, kinds of activity, etc., it would be better to change a little bit of your style of writing. Make it simple and understandable for everybody in the current environment if it’s not so already. As a result, people will feel comfortable learning new information from your blog. Even if it sounds like a “Guide for Dummies” after you make some changes – the simpler, the better: not all of us are academicians or multispecialists;
- Take all new information only from sources your audience trusts to be accurate in data and knowledge. Not only will the sources you use win, but people also will see that your blog is trustworthy too and, as a result, worth visiting and linking to;
- Make the “appearance” of your content more attractive, catchy and interesting. Add some appropriate videos, pictures, PDF guides (if needed) and infographics. The latter is really useful when your post contains a lot of complex information which can’t be remembered fast and understood easily. Moreover, as infographics are kind of a popular strategy of presenting difficult information in a simple way, they are often widely spread among audience members. You will then get even more points in vertical search results which means better traffic;
- If your post is big in size and cover a lot of information, it is better to structure it, if you haven’t done that yet. Headings, sub-headings, paragraphs, bullet points and other structural components are really helpful in navigating. Add keywords in these sections, so you will be easy-to-find even for definite blocks of information. Readers will be able to find needed information without difficulties and explore it. Otherwise, seeing a non-structured post with an enormous amount of words, people will just go away and you will never get more traffic this way;
- Being used by Google as a Featured Snippet is also a thing you should take into account while rewriting old content. If information you want to present is of an “answers type”, i.e. provides information regarding a definite topic in the form of an extended answer, it is better to structure it in the form of a direct and accurate answer. That will increase your chances of being chosen by Google for Position Zero.
[Position Zero or Featured Snippet is a snippet above the organic search results containing the most relevant information for a user’s query with a link to it. This is chosen by Google, mainly from reading the Schema code on the pages of contenders]
A tip for this: WebCEO’s Rank Tracking Tool will show your positions in vertical search results and tell you if a website has a Featured Snippet in Google’s results for a specific keyword.
4.Internal Links Optimization and Technical Audit
After finishing work with the content part, it is necessary to work on everything that can influence your positions on the SERP and effect a user’s impression of you.
Internal Links are no less important than the above mentioned steps in the process of revitalizing your old content. A blog post is not only a block of information you provide regarding definite topic. It is also a small detail of a big puzzle. When a user wants to dive into other related topics it is really useful to put them on your post page as links. Bringing related content to your visitors is an extra chance for you to keep them longer at your place. You can place those links as anchors inside your text which is really helpful during reading, or in the form of a list of links. If you chose the first variant, make sure your anchor texts are relevant, understandable, and working.
Don’t forget to check whether old links work properly and lead to targeted websites. Old posts sometimes are full of links that are not working anymore.
A tip for this step: WebCEO’s Internal Links Optimization Tool which will help you to keep track of link texts, evaluate their value and check if those links are blocked or have a nofollow status. It will also provide you with information regarding page authority.
Technical audits are another important part of your renovated posts’ SEO optimization, so we can’t just forget about this. You have to be aware of all issues and errors on your blog’s pages. It is better when you don’t have them. Google likes when everything works as well as it can. So, any server issues, slow access to the page, not found page, broken links, images, and other errors must not be associated with your blog and especially with the page containing your renovated post.
A tip for this step: WebCEO’s Technical Audit Tool with which you will always be alerted about issues on your website which should be fixed.
5. SEO Optimization
At this stage you have to check if you have any on-site issues, e.g. problems with tags, descriptions, URL’s structure, Redirects, robots.txt file, etc., problems with mobile-friendliness, sitemap, and page speed.
N/B: In 2018 more than 58% of visits came from mobile devices, that’s why you should pay enough attention to mobile optimization in order to perform well everywhere. Make it comfortable to read texts, look at pictures and watch videos on mobile screens.
A tip for this step: WebCEO’s SEO Analysis Tool which will help you to find out your SEO issues and even give useful tips to eliminate them.
A lot of bloggers use CTAs on their blogs to convert visitors into customers. There are many kinds of CTAs, e.g. end-of-post banner, slide-in, pop-up, sidebar, etc., and everybody should be careful and choose the right one. Sometimes people go way too far with this mission, irritating visitors and sometimes unnecessarily taking them away from a website. Be careful with pop-ups, because they not only block your content, but also influence page speed and strongly affect your readers’ impressions. You can place a simple end-of-post banner CTA and give visitors an opportunity to know you and then buy your product/visit some pages/subscribe for you with greater comfort and desire.
Here is an example of this from WebCEO:
There are many ways you can promote your updated posts. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Traffic comes with backlinks. And you obviously should use some winning link building strategies to get traffic:
1. If you create a new post it is necessary to track the backlinks of the old version of your post. You can easily do this with WebCEO’s Backlink Quality Check Tool. After detecting all the backlinks, you can write to webmasters and politely ask them to change the old link to a new one with a better link text, for instance.
2. One of the most appropriate strategies in this case is the Skyscraper Technique. It isn’t so simple but it pays great dividends. You can track who links to competitor websites regarding this topic and politely propose your content to website owners instead of what now exists on their website. Remember, that your content should be much better from the beginning to the end. Otherwise, the answer for your request will be negative.
3. You can build a link from broken ones. This is an easy tactic to use if you know websites with broken links to content of the same niche. If you do, politely inform the site’s webmaster that the link is broken and they can now link to your article from your blog instead.
This method can be applied if you have infographics in a newer version of your post. They are very popular and in demand. Just find a source where similar content is posted and politely offer them your infographic with a link to your page where it resides. If it’s made well enough, you are unlikely to get a negative answer.
4. Take part in link round-ups. If your content is made well, your link can be posted on a popular website with a high domain authority. StumbleUpon and Reddit for instance.
5. Ask friends who have websites to post your link, so that you can receive more traffic.
6. Links exchange is pretty simple. Your link is posted if you post somebody’s. Remember that Google doesn’t like this method. Do not do this with strangers whose reputation you do not know.
If you want and have enough time you can learn more about link building strategies.
Social media will always be that very source where you can gain a lot of viewers. Even though Google doesn’t count them, such social media as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter will always be places for thousands of people who are interested in different spheres. Some of them can be your potential clients who are just waiting for new content to explore. It is pretty easy to use them and get a result. Some public pages and groups post content if it’s relevant and don’t ask for money. In this case your content has to be really catchy, interesting, well-written, and fresh.
However, if you want to use your own social media accounts and they are not so popular, this method will not be effective. If you haven’t yet built a social media following, you may have to use paid promotion.
You can also use WebCEO’s Content Submission Tool, which offers variants on where to post your content.
IN CONCLUSION, old posts can be brought to life and serve you at least one more time. With greater content optimization, their success may be even bigger than it was for the first time. Don’t hesitate to use all possible means, except for those which may damage your website’s rankings. Bring more traffic to your website by fixing old mistakes and coming up with an updated and better version of content which was already created in the past.