One of the biggest advantages of online publishing is that it isn’t bound to the same limitations as its printed counterpart. In the past, once a story was written and printed, that was the end of it. Today, online content outnumbers newspapers, but if you’re not updating your old content, you’re not reaping one of online publishing’s biggest benefits
Here are some tactics that you can incorporate into your content strategy to ensure the utility of your posts.
While it’s good to have a strategy to update all pieces of content on your site at some point, sprucing up pages that see a lot of traffic will pay the most dividends.
First, make sure that Google Analytics tracking is installed on your website. There are many guides online that can walk you through setting up an account if you haven’t yet. Some web platforms offer their own tracking, but Google Analytics is the gold standard for getting the most insight on what’s working and for whom.
If your Analytics account is set up, then see which pages are getting the most traffic on a weekly and monthly basis. You may be surprised to find that older posts still bring in a heavy amount of traffic. These are the posts that you want to add to your list for a refresh.
Oftentimes, the meat of your message will remain relevant despite the passage of time. Small things, however, like months, years, and even cultural references can make a post seem dated and lessen your perceived authority on the subject matter.
To avoid losing credibility in a post, ensure that all of the temporal references are up-to-date. This is also a good time to check for link rot and broken images. This happens when the original links for text or photos you have embedded have changed. It creates a choppy experience for the user and once again detracts from the expertise of the author.
If your content is several years old, you may want to consider republishing it under the current date. Some are hesitant to do this with pages that already rank well in Google; however, in our experience, we have not encountered any negative effects from republishing ranked content. To the contrary, republishing has helped several pages attract even more visitors than before.
One of the best ways to take advantage of older, well-ranking content is to use it as a promotion platform for newer, less-popular content. Now, you can’t just spam your article with new post links. It has to be content that is relevant to the original post.
For example, if you have a high-ranking, old article on vehicle sound systems, consider inserting a banner link or a hyperlink to the new article you wrote comparing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Since you already know a lot of eyes will be on the high-ranking article, it’s the perfect time to offer readers something fresh, yet related, to what they’re currently reading.
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While you are busy updating your old content and filling it with new links, take a moment to observe what made this a traffic-driving article in the first place. Does it answer a specific question? Is it an in-depth guide? Does it offer some esoteric knowledge that isn’t available elsewhere on the web? Whatever it is, identify the pièce de résistance and try to incorporate it into your future content strategy.
It is important not to create duplicate content, however. While a post on cleaning your headlights may have gotten a ton of traffic, it doesn’t mean you should write more posts on cleaning your headlights. Instead, try writing on a related topic or from a different angle, and see how your audience responds. An example could be creating a related post on changing your own oil. The content is very different, but it still appeals to the DIY audience of the first article.
Not everything you create will be a high performer, but identifying what works for your audience will help you focus your efforts to create more effective pieces in the future.