When was the last time you conducted a thorough blog content audit to identify outdated blog posts with the goal of updating them?
Based on what we see in the wild, it’s probably been a while. We get it – running a content-heavy website is not easy, especially when you publish new blog posts on a monthly or even weekly basis.
With tight marketing budgets, producing new content is often prioritized over keeping older content up to date.
In this article, we cover the reasons why your long term content strategy should include content updates, how to identify blog posts to update, which aspects you should update, and how to track the performance of your updated content.
Let’s dive in.
Why you should update blog content
You should update blog content because it keeps your website fresh, relevant, and trustworthy. If a blog post contains outdated or irrelevant information, your readers will leave and search for a more accurate source instead – and form a negative view of your brand.
Improving your SEO visibility is another reason to update your blog posts.
Google rewards fresh content that meets the search intent of relevant search queries. Updating your content to include everything Google is looking for might just give it the nudge it needs to regain lost rankings or outrank your competitors.
How to identify blog posts to update
We recommend taking the following factors into account when determining which blog posts to update:
- Published date. The older the blog post, the more likely it is to contain outdated information.
- Traffic and engagement. The higher the traffic and engagement, the more crucial it is to ensure that all of those readers are consuming correct and up to date information.
- SEO trends. Look for blog posts that used to drive more organic traffic than they do now, and have been on a downward traffic trend for a while.
A downward SEO traffic trend likely means that your rankings for the most important keywords have declined.
For these posts, your existing keyword rankings provide proof that Google likes them – or used to like them – but a competing website has done a better job in the meantime and now outranks your article.
To learn how to identify blog posts with downard SEO traffic trends at scale, read our article on analyzing the SEO performance of your content. We outline how you can include SEO performance analysis and identifying update-worthy blog posts into your regular, recurring SEO processes.
Which aspects of a blog post to update
When updating a blog post, look for opportunities to improve accuracy of information, content depth, page functionality, SEO search intent, and on-page SEO elements.
Accuracy of information
Look for statistics, facts, and time sensitive information included in your blog post. Is the information presented still accurate? Should it be updated?
Here’s an example where Square – which generally has quality content – has some outdated information on its site:
The average processing time listed here is outdated, and the content also describes March 2018 as being in the future.
It’s unavoidable to have some inaccuracies – especially in fields and industries that are in development, time sensitive, or change often – but you should implement processes to ensure you catch them early and update them.
Has any new information about the topic come out after you initially published the blog post?
With the knowledge you have today, does it feel like your old blog post is lacking or it could use additional sub topics to cover the topic fully?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, it’s worth updating your blog post to be more comprehensive.
Don’t be afraid to add a lot to your existing blog post – as long as you’re adding value for readers and it makes sense to do so.
Double check technical page elements such as images, embedded tweets, embedded Instagram posts, embedded videos, internal links, and external links.
These page elements stop working when the source they link to is deleted or altered.
When there are broken elements on the page that readers try to interact with, it can lead to confusion and frustration.
Ensure that all page elements are still working as intended, and either update or remove page elements that are not working anymore.
SEO search intent
Do a manual google search for the keyword you are trying to rank for with your blog post.
Let’s look at the keyword “small business ideas.”
The first page for this keyword is full of listicle articles.
You can have an outstanding blog post on the topic of small business ideas, but if it’s not formatted as a listicle, your chances of ranking on the first page are low.
This doesn’t mean you should always blindly follow what is already out there and not experiment with original content formats – but it depends on the search query. In this example, it’s clear that Google is looking for listicles and using this format makes sense.
Look for opportunities to improve on-page SEO elements such as:
- Title tag
- Meta description
- Header tags
- Internal links
- Image alt texts
Maybe your blog post is great, but important on-page SEO elements are not optimized. Including keywords in the right places and optimizing the title and header tags are quick wins that can have an immediate impact on SEO performance.
Let’s look at an example:
The only changes we made (marked by the red arrows) were slight adjustments to the page title and the H1 header tag of this page – nothing else.
The number of impressions is still climbing, and clicks are improving over time.
How you can get started with updating your old blog content
Updating old blog posts should be an integral part of your content strategy.
Doing so ensures that you provide accurate information to your audience, and helps build and maintain a trustworthy brand.
At SERP Builders, we include blog post updates in our content marketing strategies and we regularly audit blog posts to look for potential updates.