refreshing old content on a website

Often, when posting blog content, the immediate impact is the only one that is measured. However, your old content can also work much later to drive customer-engagement and sales. A much-underused approach to improving conversions from a website is refreshing old content to give it a new lease of life. This is a tactic known as ‘Historical Optimisation’, and it is a powerful way to tap into the power of your helpful content from the past. If you can make your old content work for you, again and again, it will save you constantly having to think of new ideas and creating new content to gain the attention of existing and potential customers.

What is historical optimisation?

It’s all about using your website and social media content over and over to engage readers with up-to-date information, continuously improve SEO, generate organic traffic, improve your visibility through searches, and boost your returns on content marketing investment.

You might think this has limited use, and people will get bored of seeing the same thing repeatedly so, yes, there is a little more to it than simply republishing or resharing. With this in mind, let’s consider what you can do to maximise existing content and make it worthy of republishing.

How to approach historical optimisation

Consider returning to an old blog post that has long since stopped appearing in search results and had lower organic traffic or no engagement for some time. For example, you could find that embedded calls-to-action or links are dormant.

Step 1 – Carry out a content audit

The first thing to do is to carry out a content audit. Group articles, blogs, information, etc., on similar subjects together. You could have visited the same topic in various ways over the years, allowing you to consolidate them into one new great article. Optimising the content by combining pieces allows you to create current content with updated links and renewed focus.

Step 2 – Select a few pieces and begin slowly

You will likely find many pieces worthy of revamping, so start with a few pieces so the task doesn’t become overwhelming. The more you do, the better you will get at it, but too many at once will make monitoring the effect more difficult. You can use Google Analytics to identify pages with the highest potential to bring high-converting traffic. Look at your pages that rank on page two of search engines. They could simply need a little push to jump to page one and a huge traffic boost from refreshing old content.

Step 3 – Make changes, update and refresh links and CTAs

Redirect the URLs in the old articles to your new content, and voila, it all begins to work for you again. This is also an excellent opportunity to add new hyperlinks to other relevant content you have created. Update keywords and phrases to better represent current effective search engine terms and algorithms to strengthen the chance of being noticed and ranking higher. Direct visitors with some new clear calls to action. If things have changed, ensure that any facts and figures are still relevant and add any fresh information to ensure the newly revised content is valuable.

Step 4 – Use new research examples, pictures, videos and headlines

If your business has developed, use the opportunity to tell your story and personalise the content to the new audience you have or want. Remember, it’s not just the wording of the piece. You can refresh the content by changing the title or headlines, adding a video or changing the photos and diagrams used. If research has moved on, link to later examples, and add case studies or reviews to your content to revalidate the article.

Step 5 – Published bylines

If you have used a lot of content written by outside bylines, you will need to consider how you publish the new piece to follow your byline protocol. Of course, you can credit more than one contributor, or if your byline terms permit, remove them from the newly created content. If you need their help reorganising articles, don’t be afraid to revert to them with your ideas or take on a new content creator to help you get it right.

Step 6 – Measure performance

Historical optimisation is only worth doing if it works. Measure the post’s updated performance and compare it to its pre-update performance. Has it regenerated engagement, conversions or improved search engine rankings? Write down and track the results so you can clearly see if a pattern develops or if you still need further work as you work your way through re-optimising your older content for the new market. Remember that results can take a while, so be patient and check progress over the months.

Many online tools help you monitor results by seeing how many conversions or on-page clicks you get without setting up complicated events to track on-page clicks. Various free web analytics platforms simply use URL attributes.

Step 7 – Don’t give up on new content too

Of course, historical optimisation can be invaluable to resurface articles and update relevant news. It can certainly be more accessible than starting from scratch, but it shouldn’t be seen as the only option for new content. New content can be sharing other people’s work that is relevant to you or your business to avoid the need for everything to be unique to you. Combine using new content and regenerated content to get the maximum results.

Step 8 –  Consider using old content to an E-book or course to add value

 If you have a wealth of relevant old content, consider using it to create an E-book to draw people. Perhaps offer it as a free sign-up incentive or deliver an online course that can add value to your business for minimal work.

Step 9 – Optimise content for all platforms

With more and more users turning to the internet on mobiles or small-screen devices, your content must be optimised for mobiles and tablets. It’s essential to give users the best experience no matter how they access your content if you want to increase visibility.

Refreshing old content can certainly achieve results when you handle it correctly. If you’re looking for help with this bespoke SEO campaigns like the ones we implement here at Ditto Digital update and refresh content on a regular basis.

About Michelle Symonds

Established as an SEO specialist since 2009, following a career as a software engineer in the oil industry and investment banking. Michelle draws on her IT and web development experience to develop best-practice processes for implementing successful SEO strategies. Her pro-active approach to SEO enables organisations to raise their online profile and reach new audiences, both nationally and internationally. She has a wealth of cross-industry experience from startups to Fortune 500 companies .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.