updating old blog posts

If you want to increase traffic on your blog (and who doesn’t?), there are lots of strategies you can try. You can share new posts on social media, send a list of your posts to your email subscribers, and focus on optimizing your content for Google and other search engines. But there’s a strategy you can use that doesn’t involve doing anything new. In fact, it’s all about making use of what you’ve already got: old blog posts. Check out these 7 ways to increase blog traffic by updating old blog posts.

 

Want to create a consistent source of traffic to your blog and make your posts visible to the people who are looking for brands like you?
Download my free ebook “SEO Basics for Blog Posts.” It’s packed with over 20 pages of easy, actionable tips to make your posts SEO friendly.

Why updating old blog posts is worth it

Once you’ve published a blog post and finished promoting it, you might be eager to forget about it. And even if you don’t have any hard feelings about all the energy your post sucked out of you, you may still forget about it nonetheless.

The thing is, if you do this, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to increase traffic to your blog by updating old blog posts, what I like to call “oldie-but-goldie” posts. These are older posts that have performed well (in terms of page views, social shares, and SEO traffic) and bring you consistent traffic over time. You can use Google Analytics and your social share tools to identify your very own oldie-but-goldie posts.

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Here’s what’s special about these oldie-but-goldie posts: for some reason, you’re getting readers on these posts even though they’re old and you’re not actively promoting them anymore. If you can get this traffic without even trying, what would happen if you actually tried to increase blog traffic by using these posts?

It opens up a whole world of possibilities, doesn’t it?

So what exactly should you do to these posts so that you can leverage them to boost traffic to your blog? See these 7 ways to increase blog traffic by updating old blog posts:

1. Add or modify keywords

One of the best ways to increase your blog traffic and get consistent traffic over time is to make your posts SEO friendly. And what’s a big part of making posts SEO friendly? Making sure they contain good keywords.

There are two strategies for updating old blog posts to optimize them for keywords:

  • Adding a keyword to an old post that didn’t originally contain one
  • Modifying the keyword you want your post to rank for

One simple but not-so-precise way to identify new or modified keywords for a post is to think of the exact phrase someone would use to search for your post. A more strategic method is to use Google Search Console to identify the keyword phrases (what Search Console calls “queries”) your posts are ranking well for even though you’re not actually trying to rank for them.

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For example, Search Console might tell you that the post you optimized for the keyword phrase “blog headline generator” is actually ranking better for the phrase “blog title generator.” You can then update the old post to optimize it for “blog title generator” instead of the original keyword phrase. Now that you’ve intentionally optimized your post for this keyword phrase, you’re more likely to rank even better for it.

Related: 5 blog post SEO tips you need to know

2. Rewrite your title and meta description

You don’t just want your blog post to show up on one of the first pages of Google results. After all, you’ll be able to increase your blog traffic only if people actually click on the posts. That’s why updating old blog posts by rewriting their titles and meta descriptions can be helpful.

If your posts have a decent Google ranking but aren’t getting a ton of clicks, try tweaking your title and meta description so that they’re more descriptive, relevant and magnetic.

For example, swap the title “8 blogging tricks to boost traffic” with “8 blogging tricks to boost traffic most people don’t talk about.” There are so many posts on blogging tips and tricks these days. But if you’ve got tips that most blog posts don’t cover, make this clear in your title. Tell people why they should choose your post over all the other ones in the blogosphere.

The same goes for your post’s meta description, which is the snippet of text people may see on a Google search results page.

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Write a meta description that emphasizes the value people will get from reading your post. Updating old blog posts in this way can boost your chances of getting people to click on your post.

Related: 5 blog post SEO tips you need to know

3. Give your images a makeover

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you may have written some of your posts when your blog had a very different look and feel. In fact, if some of your new readers stumbled upon one of your old posts, they might not even recognize it as one of your posts. That’s why another strategy for increasing blog traffic by updating old blog posts is to give your post images a makeover.

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By changing your images, you can ensure that your posts are consistent with your brand from head to toe – think about the fonts, colour schemes, and layouts you’re currently using for images. Updating your images also makes your post look new when you share it on social media again.

 

Want to create a consistent source of traffic to your blog and make your posts visible to the people who are looking for brands like you?
Download my free ebook “SEO Basics for Blog Posts.” It’s packed with over 20 pages of easy, actionable tips to make your posts SEO friendly.

Send me the free SEO ebook

4. Add links to new posts

This is one of our favourite ways to increase blog traffic by updating old blog posts. Why? Because it has so many key benefits.

You probably create internal links in your blog posts when your write new ones. But here’s something that may slip your mind: updating old blog posts with new internal links.

If your blog has a consistent theme or focus (which it should), you probably write blog posts on the same categories of topics week after week. And although some blog posts may be on distinct topics, others probably go together like peanut butter and jelly. This is most likely to happen when one of your newer blog posts expands on a topic you covered in passing in an old post. And it’s exactly this type of situation that this tip is good for.

If you write a newer post that’s related to something you mentioned in an old post, add a link to your newer post in the old post. This has the following benefits:

  • Driving traffic from your old post to the new one
  • Directing your reader to additional information (and value) on the topic they’re reading about
  • Boosting your blog’s SEO juice by adding another internal link

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It isn’t always easy to remember all the old posts you’ve written. So here’s a handy trick for making this tip for updating old blog posts simple to implement: Make a list of high-performing old posts on your blog and separate them into categories (e.g., social media tips, email marketing tips, and blog tips). When you’re writing a new blog post, all you need to do is refer to the posts listed under the relevant category to see if there are any related ones.

Related: 9 things to do after you publish your next blog post (+ free checklist)

5. Create version 2.0

If you published a solid post when your blog was a lot smaller, you may have a ton of readers who would love to read it but don’t know it exists. You may also have some old posts that seem outdated, which can turn readers off and sink your search engine rankings. That’s why updating old blog posts is a useful strategy for increasing blog traffic.

When you create version 2.0 of your old blog posts, you don’t have to do a complete overhaul. Usually, you can refresh your posts by making these small tweaks:

  • Swapping older statistics or numbers with more recent data
  • Removing or altering information about apps, tools, or products that have changed or no longer exist
  • Changing references like “a year ago” to “in 2016”
  • Adding additional information

How do you know what the best information to add is? Do a Google search for the topic of your post. Scroll down to the bottom of the first results page and look for the “searches related to” box at the bottom. This will give you a list of searches related to your topic that people have performed. You can use this list to get ideas for additional subtopics to cover or subsections to add to your post.

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6. Make your posts easier to read

Maybe the content in an old post is fine but the formatting isn’t so great. Does it contain big chunks of text, long sentences, and no subheadings? If it does, you may be able to attract more traffic to it by making it easier to read.

Most people scan blog posts instead of reading them from beginning to end. That’s why updating old blog posts by formatting them for scanners is helpful. When you limit the length of your paragraphs, add subheadings, and use bullets and numbered lists, you make it easier for people to extract the value they want and the info you want to give them. (Are you going to pass on the opportunity for a win-win?)

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So how do you format a blog post for scanners? Check out our post on how to write scannable blog posts. It even includes a free checklist!

7. Hunt down broken links

When Google decides how to rank your post for a keyword, it doesn’t look at just the text you’ve written. It also checks to see if the links in your posts work. And what happens if you’ve got some broken links? Your post might lose some of its SEO juice. That’s why it’s possible to increase your blog traffic by updating old blog posts with links that work properly.

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Manually searching for broken links may not sound like the best way to spend an afternoon. So you can ask a WordPress link checker plugin or Chrome extension called Link Miner to do the work for you.

Updating old blog posts breathes new life into them and your blog

You may have an “out of sight, out of mind” approach when it comes to old posts. But if you give your old posts a bit of TLC every now and then, they can help you out in return. By updating old posts – refreshing them and beefing them up – you can increase traffic to your blog and grow your tribe.

 

 

Want to create a consistent source of traffic to your blog and make your posts visible to the people who are looking for brands like you?
Download my free ebook “SEO Basics for Blog Posts.” It’s packed with over 20 pages of easy, actionable tips to make your posts SEO friendly.

Send me the free SEO ebook




7 ways to increase blog traffic by updating old blog posts + free SEO ebook
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