Creating good quality blog and article content takes time and for small businesses in particular, keeping up with a demanding content schedule can be tricky. Alongside creating evergreen content (content which stays relevant and valuable for longer periods of time), another tactic that can not only help your small business produce fresh content quicker, but can also boost SEO and website traffic is updating and republishing existing blogs.
As well as looking at why this technique can be so effective for small businesses, we’re also going to share six top tips to help you get the most from the tactic. It’s worth noting for the purposes of this article when we’re talking about content we are referring to web blogs and articles.
Why is updating existing content valuable?
Coming up with blog ideas, researching keywords, writing, uploading and promotion all takes time. Updating content that you’ve already written allows you to work from solid foundations and improve and optimise what you’ve already spent time researching and writing.
Boosts top performing content
If you’ve seen success with particular blogs in the past, perhaps through high shares and engagement on social media, why not extend the lifespan of this content and give it another boost?
Updating and republishing your content can actually help its rankings in search engines. As some of Google’s ranking factors are based around the ‘freshness’ of content, the search engine uses this information to help determine the quality of a site. Google favours fresh content, looking at things such as the frequency of page updates and giving newer pages and blogs a boost for certain searches.
Increases click-through rate
You could also find a blog seeing a boost in click-through rates after a refresh or update. Most of the top results within Google’s search are often blogs or content that have been published within the past year.
Searchers are generally more likely to click on articles that are published more recently and the more people clicking on your content, the higher up the search results it could climb. So make sure that you republish or update your publication date on any refreshed content.
Six tips to getting content updates right
1. Understand what blogs you should be updating
While updating all your site content could be a viable plan in the long run, focusing your efforts on one blog at a time is the best approach. It’s not just a case of choosing your oldest blog post however, doing some research beforehand is key.
Ideally, you want to choose to update content that is, or has, shown some strong performance in the past. Perhaps it’s getting steady traffic or has been one of your top performing blogs for a while.
The best place to start is to head over to Google Analytics (if you’re yet to set up an account, the platform can tell you heaps of helpful information about your website performance). Within the ‘Behaviour’, ‘Site Content’ and ‘All Pages’ section of Google Analytics you can see which of your blogs are bringing in the most traffic (page views or sessions), plus which articles have the lowest bounce rate and how long people are spending on each.
The content you want to choose should be one of the following:
- Bringing in high traffic (but could be seeing low conversions)
- Bringing in high conversions (but your traffic could be quite low)
- Performing (or has performed) well in terms of earning links and getting engagements on social media
- Bringing in high impressions (but clicks could be low) – Google Search Console is a good place to find this data. (Three of the most useful Google Search Console reports for small businesses)
2. Take another look at your keywords
Sometimes blogs can perform well for keywords that weren’t originally chosen or thought of in the creation stage. It could be that your content isn’t focused to target a keyword at all. Either way, as part of the updating process, it’s a good idea to revisit your keyword strategy and see if there are any potential opportunities to improve your ranking for a particular word or phrase.
Keyword research revolves around finding and including keywords, terms and phrases that people commonly use in search engines within your online content, with the aim to improve your ranking, or position in SERPS (search engine result pages).
You may need to update your keyword focus for your refreshed blog, or perhaps there are more keywords you can target. If you use Google Search Console you can see which keywords you’re currently ranking for. It’s also a good idea to look at what keywords your competitors are ranking for to help you decide what to target.
3. Make your blog more valuable
The key to updating your content is to add more value, it shouldn’t just be about adding a couple of extra keywords and some new images here and there.
- See what else is ranking for inspiration: Taking a look at what else is ranking well around the keywords or topic of your content can give you some new ideas on what you could add to improve your existing blog
- Update statistics: Update any statistics and figures where possible. Has new research been released since you originally published the content?
- Check links: Check all links are working correctly and any external links still go where you (and your visitor/reader) will expect them to
- Add new internal links: Are there any opportunities to add new internal links to any posts or pages you’ve published since the original blog went live?
- Add different media: Could you add any different media types to improve the quality of your blog and improve time spent on the piece? For example, could you embed any videos or images to help demonstrate key points?
4. Check your call to action (CTA)
Alongside checking any links within your blog, it’s a good idea to check any call to actions (what you want the readers to do next, such as click a link or fill in a form). Perhaps the blog you’re updating is from a previous campaign or from a time where you were running a special offer or services which are outdated now.
5. Think about key on-page SEO principles
On-page SEO revolves around what you can do within your website’s pages to improve your SEO efforts. Revisiting some of the key principles and making improvements will give your content a better chance of ranking higher.
- Optimise your title tags: Does your blog title include your keyword? Does it fit within the 60 character limit to avoid it getting truncated in search results? Is it compelling enough to encourage clicks?
- Update your meta description: Meta descriptions are the snippets of text which are displayed underneath page titles on search engines. It’s a chance for you to sell the value of your content to improve click-through rates and is another opportunity to include any keywords
- Optimise your images: Ensure your images aren’t too large, they have a sensible file name and the alt tag is complete (the snippet of text that appears when someone scrolls over an image)
- Use heading tags correctly: Ideally your blog or page title should use the H2 (heading 2) tag with any subheadings using the H3 (heading 3) tag, and any further subheadings within those using the H4 (heading 4) tag
- Optimise your headings: Does your H1 (title of your blog) clearly explain what the content is about? Does it include your target keyword? Is your blog divided up into readable chunks with suitable headings?
6. Promote, promote, promote!
Don’t be afraid to treat your updated blog as fresh and new when it comes to promotion. By refreshing your online content, you’re adding something of value for your audience so it’s time to get it back in front of them!
As we mentioned throughout the article, it’s worth noting that to get the most benefit from this technique, you’ll need to republish or update the publication date of the content piece.
Next up is to get sharing on social media, through email newsletters and any other channels you have available. Don’t forget to make a note of the date you updated and republished your blog so you can track its performance over time to see whether you’re experiencing any uptakes in search traffic, rankings and performance.
Take a look back at any previous promotional campaigns you originally ran for the content too. Is there anything that worked well last time you shared this blog so you can optimise its performance even further?
Taking advantage of content you’ve already spent time and effort creating and promoting by refreshing it can be a good tactic for small businesses. Not only can it help to save time and optimise content and campaigns that have already shown success, it can have a positive impact on your SEO too.
Most importantly, remember that any updated content should offer even more for your audience, the aim of the process is to refresh content to make it even more valuable and informative.