To Update Or Not to Update – What to Do with Old Content on Your Website?

10min.

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To Update Or Not to Update – What to Do with Old Content on Your Website?
01 July 2022
Updating old content on your website is one of the SEO elements that has a positive impact on how the search engine robots see the site. In our today’s entry we’ll share with you some useful tips on how to use the potential of your already published texts and what to focus on while updating them.

10min.

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Table of contents

Is updating old content good for SEO and does it affect the long-term growth of the site?

Of course it is! Just take a look at the screenshot below to see how impressions, clicks, and positions of our blog posts increased once we’ve refined them. effects of updating old content   There is no doubt that updating old content works. On our blog, we have multiple examples of articles that didn’t do very well until they were modified. With quality, up-to-date entries you can build a good relationship with users and position yourself as an expert in a particular industry. A screenshot showing how the visibility and traffic of one of our blog posts increased after the update.

Importance of updating old content - why is it worth it to update old content?

In the present world, technology is developing at such an incredible pace that many facts, methods, products or techniques turn out to be out-of-date very quickly, which shows the importance of updating old content. Therefore, if you want to rank high in Google, take a closer look at entries that have been on your blog for a long time and analyze whether the information provided there is still relevant. If not, it’s a sign that you should take your time to update old content. Why is it worth doing it?

Fresh and up-to-date content

There is probably no one that needs to be convinced that Google likes websites that are up-to-date and displays them higher in the search results.
Updating your website content on a regular basis, checking if described concepts or ideas are still relevant and ensuring that your texts give users answers to their queries will show the search engine that you’re active and strive to provide the best possible content.

Chance to make something even better

Apart from updating your content for SEO purposes, you can also focus on refining the text and making it more valuable for users. When writing, do thorough research to find new information, and trends. Complement your entry with elements that will make it more quality and engaging for recipients. If you cite any studies, or official data, be sure to link the sources. Remember that content isn’t only text. It’s worth using available formats like CTA buttons, videos, images, and infographics to make your website even more attractive and ensure that long blocks of text don’t overwhelm users. Try to create content users will love. How to do it? Put yourself in their shoes and think what criteria you take into account when looking for quality articles. In other words - write entries you would like to read yourself. What to do if you have a hard time doing it? Check out similar articles ranked in top positions. How long are they? What aspects do they discuss? What types of content do they include? All this will help you make your texts even better.

Increase CTR

When browsing the net, we all look for up-to-date content with relevant information. After all, there is nothing worse than entering a website and going through the entire article only to realize it was written 10 years ago and all the information found there isn’t relatable. Why are we talking about it? Because updating your existing content is a great way to increase CTR and encourage users to visit your website. How is it possible? Well, if you recycle your articles, the new publication date will be displayed in the SERPs. This can give you a competitive edge over your market rivals, as most people look for the freshest news. date in serp for updated content   The possibility to acquire more backlinks is another advantage of updating old content. When searching for information and data sources to link, people frequently choose new, up-to-date and relatable content pieces. Therefore, if your website is filled with quality content that contains lots of valuable information, the chances that someone will share or link your page on their site, or social media increase.

Follow the best SEO practices

Google is constantly changing. There are hundreds (if not thousands) tweaks to its algorithms each year. While some of them are almost invisible to the naked eye, others cause havoc in the search results. If you want to stay on the cutting edge and ensure that your website is compliant with Google requirements, updating old blog content is a must. This way, you can easily adjust your website to new standards, avoid unnecessary position drops, follow the best SEO practices, and be on the safe side.

Adjust the search intent

It may sound surprising to you, but search intent can also change and evolve over time. Queries that were purely informational a few months ago may be transactional now. How is it possible? The SERPs are influenced by world events, trends, and behaviors of individual users. Therefore, the search engine may provide users with differing search results depending on their browsing history, demographical data, or current trends. Need more examples? Just to put you in the picture, think about potential iPhone 14 release. For the time being, we don’t know anything about the model, release date, or price. So, if you type “iPhone 14” into Google, you’ll see blog posts titled like “what to expect”, “rumors”, or “release date”. Over time, when the smartphone is launched, the search intent will change. At the beginning, it’ll probably still be informational, focusing on the functionalities of the phone. At this point, you’ll see lots of comparison videos, reviews, and blog posts. However, as the phone will be getting more accessible and users will obtain all the necessary information, the same “iPhone 14” query will turn into a transactional phrase and people entering it into Google will probably see specific offers of stores selling this model. How do we know it will happen? Because it happens really frequently. And if you think about it for a while, you’ll certainly notice that search intent can change for a number of reasons. This is why it’s important to check regularly if your content corresponds to the search intent. Only this way you can reach your target group and increase your chances of ranking high in the search results. To verify current search intent just check SERP's results and related searches. how to find search intent Why? Because if you optimize your blog article for a purely transactional keyword, Google won’t display it high in the SERPs and no one will even see it.

Increase authority

Offering attractive prices isn’t enough to succeed and win the hearts of potential customers anymore. Today, in order to stay on the cutting edge, you have to position yourself as an expert in the field. Only then you’ll be able to attract potential buyers and convince them it’s worth choosing your offer. If people entering your website see that it’s filled with outdated texts that have nothing to do with current trends, or situations, they’ll quickly leave your page and come to the conclusion that it’s not worth visiting it again. Keeping your content up-to-date can increase your authority, and trustworthiness. It’s a great way to improve your brand image, and win loyal users who will come back to your website, knowing it’s a reliable source of information.

Outdo your competition and rank higher

This point is somehow related to the advantages we’ve mentioned above. If your market rivals are ranked high for keywords that are important for your business, yet their content is outdated, working on your texts to make them more up-to-date will allow you to gain a competitive edge over them. Not only Google but also users love fresh and relevant entries. Recent publication dates can be a deciding factor helping you to attract new website visitors. It’s also worth mentioning that it works both ways. What do we mean? If you rest on your laurels and don’t do anything to improve your content, your market rivals can quickly outdo you by refining and updating their entries.  So, make sure you constantly take relevant steps to keep your rankings high and update old blog content.

How do I optimize and update old content?

hoose which content should be updated

Are you wondering how to update and optimize old content? Well, unsurprisingly, the process starts with selecting entries or pieces that should be updated. For this purpose, you should think about elements that are particularly important for your page and check tools such as Google Analytics, and Google Search Console to see what texts have the greatest potential for your website. This way, you won’t buy a pig in a poke and devote your time to refining texts that don’t bring you any benefits like traffic or conversions. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to update:
  • Old texts,
  • Texts with outdated data,
  • Pages with striking distance keywords ranked in positions 11-20 (they have great potential),
  • Texts that used to rank high,
  • Texts with important keywords that have never ranked high,
  • Texts that are doing very well, but the information there isn’t 100% relevant and you suspect their positions may decrease in the near future,
  • Texts that generate lots of traffic and bring value to users,
  • Texts with the potential to convert and benefit your business.

Update information and sources

In the next step, you should determine what pieces of information need to be updated. Think what data, references, or numbers may have changed since you published the article. Replace all the irrelevant data, and provide sources if needed. Remember that if you quote or cite specific studies, or statements, you should inform users about the source of the information. Even if you have evergreen content, it might be better to replace old sources with new ones. This way, users who decide to check out the linked page will see it’s up-to-date. This will increase your credibility, and trustworthiness.

Add new information

The world is constantly changing. You should be aware of that and look for opportunities to use new trends, methods, and information to refine your website content, and complement it with new concepts, and paragraphs. Try to create topic clusters that will engage users, and will show Google that you’re a real expert in the field who should be ranked high. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out “people also ask” and “related searches” in Google. These are a valuable source of information about queries, and aspects that are of interest to users. Discussing these elements in your entries can give you a competitive edge over your market rivals.

Rewrite if you have to

Don’t be afraid to rewrite your content if needed. If your texts are of poor quality or don’t correspond to any business-relevant keywords, you can write certain paragraphs or even the entire text from scratch. This way, you can create content that can truly benefit your business, users, and positions in the SERPs. It’s much more profitable and cost-efficient than devoting your time and energy to updating pieces that don’t correspond to your business profile or can’t be optimized for important keywords.

Do additional keyword research

Before you update or refine your existing texts, check out the keywords they’re optimized for. Do they make sense? Are they related to your business and page content? Isn’t there any keyword cannibalization or internal duplication? Selecting the right keywords is one of the most important steps in the process of updating your old blog content.  Take your time to do it and saturate your website with keywords that correspond to users’ search intent. If you find out your old keywords don’t make sense, replace them with new long-tails.

Check and match search intent

As we’ve mentioned above, search intent may change over time. It doesn’t mean that you have to update your texts every 2 weeks or so to ensure that they meet users’ expectations. However, it’s a good idea to monitor your keywords on a regular basis and make sure that your important pieces of content satisfy the needs of your potential customers.

Research your competition

As you may know, it’s a good idea to keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer. We don’t say that your competitors are your enemies, but you certainly won’t be the best friends. After all, you fight for the same customers. If you want to benefit from updating your old blog content as much as possible, monitor your market rivals, and think what activities could give you a competitive edge over them. Analyze what topics they discuss on the blog, think how long their texts are, how many paragraphs they have, what questions they answer. Keeping up with your competition and finding a way to stay one step ahead is the best recipe for creating unique, quality, and up-to-date content. Updating your existing content is a great opportunity to improve your internal linking structure and complement your entries with relevant links to articles or content pieces that have appeared on your website in the meantime. Moreover, it’s also an ideal time to check if all the links work correctly and replace the broken ones to avoid 404 errors. All this will help you improve your page navigation, keep users on the site for longer, show them relevant pieces, and boost website indexing.

Add visuals

As it’s been already mentioned, content isn’t only text. It combines all elements like videos, graphics, images, infographics, CTA buttons, and more. Thanks to diversifying your page, you can attract both Google and users’ attention. If your old entries don’t include any graphics or the existing images don’t match the text, it’s a good idea to insert new images.  Apart from making your content more attractive and eye-catching, focusing on these elements will help you provide users with pieces that are easier to digest. After all, it’s more convenient to take a quick look at an infographic and scan the most important information than to go through long blocks of text.

Adapt formating and layout to current standards

How to update old blog content? Well, this point is somehow related to the previous one. If your website content is nothing apart from long blocks of text without a single image, you can’t expect that users will spend hours on it. Long, and complex paragraphs without proper formatting (bold, italic) won’t help you rank high.  Since almost every market is highly competitive, users won’t waste their time to go through texts that aren’t friendly and easy to digest. Give them content that is attractive and brings value. Otherwise they’ll choose your market rivals.

Change the publication date and promote your updated content

Once your articles are updated, it’s time to inform both Google and users about it. How to do it? It’s simpler than you think. Just change the publication dates and promote your updated content via social media. It’s an easy and efficient way to let the search engine and website visitors know that they can find brand new information on your site.

Remember about on-page optimization

This is the real icing on the cake. Once your text is ready, it’s time to optimize it to improve navigation, help users scan the most important information, and let Google know what keywords should be assigned to a specific page on your website. When talking about on-page optimization, you should remember about elements such as:
  • Keywords that should be included in meta taga, headers, title, and URL,
  • Proper header structure (headers should be used in descending order, from H1 to H2, H3, and H4 if needed),
  • New, updated meta description with CTA,
  • Image SEO (the right size, quality, alt texts).
If you want to learn more, check out our Ultimate 2022 on-page SEO checklist and make Google love your website. Trust us, it’s a real game-changer!

The takeaway

Updating old blog content is a great way to improve your positions in the ranking, gain a competitive edge over your market rivals, attract more users, tailor your content to current Google’s requirements, and show the search engine that your page is active and provides users with up-to-date information. If you’re wondering whether to delete old blog posts, don’t do it. Follow the tips from our article and refine your entries to make them more useful, factual, and SEO-friendly. This will quickly pay off, and translate into increased page traffic, and authority of your website.
Author
Author
Rafał

Author
Author
Rafał

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european search awards finalist

SEO SEM Agency based in Europe