Do you remember the first post on your blog to make it big? Probably wasn’t the first one you wrote. That’s pretty standard.
In time, you catch on with your audience and learn the ropes of bringing quality content to them on a regular basis. As more and more content gets added to the stack though, the old ones get buried, lost to the eyes of new visitors to your site.
But, has the old content lost its spark over time? What about the piece which got the first hundred shares on social media?
Here’s the thing.
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
You sure can get an old blog new clicks!”
How do you do that?
Start with Google Analytics. Dust off the pile and find the articles that are due for an update. If you are familiar with Google Analytics, the answer lies right in your dashboard. If you are not, as the saying goes … the second best time is now! This guide from the Moz blog will help you get your tracking off the ground.
Check your conversions in the analytics report. Locate the posts with the highest volume of inbound links. Those are the ones that clicked with your audience and, with a little tinkering, will be ready to take off again.
One of the core values of having a blog is the boost it gets your site through search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines have gotten much more aware with time, so your old content needs a brush up if you expect them to stay atop on google search rankings. The goal is to maintain the quality of your post throughout time.
The next step to perk up your blog post is the proper use of keywords and semantic text which improves your post’s visibility by making it SEO-friendly. The higher it shows up on search, the better are chances of getting new visitors to your site.
On to the edit
Of course, try and stick to the composition of the original piece as much as possible. Something about it hit home with the audience, so deviating too much would lose you that factor.
Give it a dash of freshness with updated images. How about an infographic to build on the content? People love infographics! There are some free tools to help you out if Photoshop isn’t your thing. Try Canva, Venngage or Piktochart for available templates (and a modest learning curve).
Check your old blog articles for dead links. Linking out to relevant content is important to make your content appear fresh for search engines. A good way to do that is through interlinking other content on your blog.
If your content is an introduction to extreme ironing (yup, that’s a thing) and you’ve recently covered “7 most insane hobbies for adrenaline junkies” where you list extreme ironing, put internal links between the posts. This will direct readers to the related content and keep them engaged on your site.
Another key thing is to update the metadata of your stale content. Add keywords and streamline the categories of the post. If you added something new, maybe an infographic, you could include that in the description. Revise the filters with every update to improve click-through rates.
There are some things you don’t change
The URL should be kept exactly the same. Also the keywords in the title are what search engines recognize the piece through. So, it’s better to leave the title the same or with minimal adjustment.
Some add-on tweaks to enhance response
Give the content an effective call to action (CTA). It can be anything like a quote to tweet or an e-book of other popular write-ups from the site. Maybe your old writing already had something to that effect. Bear in mind that internet trends are very dynamic, so the CTA too requires an update with time. Get current social media buttons (like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit) to allow easy sharing. Rule of thumb here is “free is favourable”. So offer something, be it tips in their inbox or a product trial.
Add an edit note to the overhauled content. A line or two with the new publication date reassures visitors that they are not reading outdated information.
The more you share, the more you have
With all that done, your old content is once more ready to surf the waves. You could jump-start that by sharing it over different networks. Post on Pinterest, Bizsugar and/or Medium. Schedule tweets and shares on Facebook, Instagram through Buffer.
Buffer is very convenient if you don’t want the shares to die down after the first few days. Keep your evergreen material on a schedule to be shared regularly using Buffer.
Promote the content during sales outreach. At the outset, your blog must have covered basic topics in your niche. They might get buried but are still very useful for new visitors.
Your blog shouldn’t look like a dump where the top posts are relevant to the times and going down reveals the remains of old ones. Update seasonal posts to cover new details. Maintain a content planning calendar and revive the top posts from past years. Write a follow-up to a previous post with proper references and links. Guide your visitors down the rabbit hole into the wonderland that your blog is.
Augustus Franklin is the CEO of CallHub. He drives the product and business development at CallHub. He has worked in internet software, high-availability clusters, monitoring systems and security software at startups and at Sun Microsystems and Yahoo. When he is not working, he is either making toys with his son or training for a marathon.