Blog tips: How to Increase Traffic by Updating Old Blog Posts
What if you could increase your organic traffic, by using what you already have: old blog posts.
Well, you can.
If you’re a relatively new blogger with only a handful of blog posts, and you don’t get a whole lot of organic traffic, then these points won’t apply to you. If, on the other hand, you’ve been blogging for a few years and have published several hundred of posts, then you can easily increase traffic by updating old blog posts.
Before you begin updating your posts, you need to decide what you want to focus on first. I think that the answer to this is pretty straightforward: focus on your most popular content. I try to update my posts on regular basis, and it only makes sense to focus on the content that’s already getting some attention.
Think about it: updating old blog posts takes time. Sometimes updating a single post takes as much time as writing a new one. It’s a lot of work.
Identify some of your top-performing posts. What are some older blog posts that are getting a lot of shares on social media? Which blog posts are still getting inbound links?
HOW TO INCREASE TRAFFIC BY UPDATING OLD BLOG POSTS
ADD RELEVANT LINKS + POSTS
Link to newer content, whenever relevant. Some of the most popular content that I’ve published is really old. Like, several years old. There is a handful of posts that bring in tens of thousands of visits a month, each. One of the ways to increase traffic by updating old blog posts is by linking to newer content, within the older one.
By going through your post and adding some relevant links, you not only create a better user experience, but you also help your new visitor stick around for a bit longer. Go through your old blog posts, see what you talked about; is there anything that you mentioned briefly, but later on ended up writing an entire post on the subject? Link to that post!
UPDATE YOUR FORMAT
Blocks of text are difficult to focus on. It also used to be my favorite way to write. Just huge, long, boring blocks of text.
Big mistake. But guess what?
One of the best things about blogging is that you constantly learn new things. Now that I know posts that are easily scannable are easier to read, it’s something I always keep in mind when editing my posts. The good news is, readability is one of the easiest things to improve. Doing things like sectioning your text, adding subheadings, emphasizing some of the most important points will improve user-experience, big time.
Chances are, you now know a lot more about blogging than you did back when you started. This includes SEO. One of the first that I did, once I installed YOAST, was to go through some of my most-loved posts, and check my SEO score. If your post is outdated, but getting a lot of inbound links, you can change the title to something more creative (keeping your keywords) but I’d suggest keeping your URL the same.
Your keyword should be mentioned in your blog posts several times. You should also try working it into your title and at least one subheading. Add alt tags to your images, containing your keywords. Here’s a little Pinterest tip: in WordPress, if you add your list of keywords in the image description, before adding it to your post, Pinterest will automatically pull that description up when displaying your image. With the new smart algorithm, this can help you increase your traffic, too.
MISTAKES + ACCURACY
Check your old blog posts for broken links. When updating your blog posts, run a spellcheck. See if there is any information that is outdated, is there anything that is no longer accurate? Remove any content or information that is no longer relevant or useful. For the last few months, I’ve been using Grammarly and not only has it made me a better writer, but it also makes it easy to spot any mistakes. It’s one of my favorite blogging tools that helps out a lot when it comes to updating old blog posts. You can also just run a regular spellcheck. It’s something that should be done before publishing any posts, but I always get surprised at how many small mistakes appear in some of my older posts.
Over the years, I’ve learned that longer, more involved posts generally do better. Of course, this isn’t necessarily true for every niche out there. I do think, however, that when you expect people to find your blog posts helpful, in some way, you should provide some sort of value. Sometimes, we publish blog posts in a rush. We’re too excited to get our content out for the world to see, we don’t always say everything we want to say. Or, we simply don’t put as much effort into creating content, as we’d like.
Well, one of the ways to increase traffic by updating old blog posts is to thicken them up a bit. Add more value. Have you learned anything new since publishing your post? Add that value to your existing posts. Your writing style has probably changed over the years too. Think about it: if someone comes across one of your popular, older posts, you want them to see what to expect from you as a blogger now, not the blogger you were two years ago.
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UPDATE YOUR IMAGES
If you’re a regular around here, then you probably know what I’m going to say next: make your images Pinterest-friendly! Add vertical images to your posts when updating them. Make sure to include one image that contains text and your blog title or a call-to-action.
To all my lifestyle and beauty bloggers: you can increase traffic by updating old blog posts, but especially your blog photos. Here’s the thing: beginnings aren’t always pretty, and this includes blogging. Let’s take a look at my beginnings, shall we?
TT circa 2013
Okay, so a “favorites” post isn’t one I’d waste time updating, but you get the point: I actually learned how to use my DSLR. That alone has made a huge difference in my blog traffic. Truth is, we love looking at pretty things- and that includes visually pleasing images. Pretty images will often get picked up by other websites, you get some inbound links, pretty images will get more shares, and so on. These days, good pictures are a must. I often see widely mediocre, poorly written content getting a lot of recognition and traffic, simply because it features a stunning image.
And here you are, working tirelessly, night and day, writing your post and featuring an off color-balance image, that doesn’t have a perfectly white background or at least one gray marble colored trinket hidden in the corner. How dare you!
I mean, is that fair? Not up to me to judge (is anything, in life?). I still believe that content is king, but updating your images is a good practice. Sometimes, you will have to resize your images to ensure that they fit the width of your blog post. That alone makes a big difference.
Your blog images say a lot about you and your blog. Not every person, who comes across one of those old posts, will take their time to see how your photography has improved over the years. By updating your old images, you might make those visitors stick around for a bit longer. Again, if you want to increase traffic by updating old blog posts, focus on those popular posts.
REPUBLISH + UPDATE + SHARE
When you want to increase traffic by updating old blog posts, you have two choices: republish the content or update it. When you update it, the post remains in the same place, with new information added. Google doesn’t love duplicate content, so copying and pasting an old blog post, and then hitting publish, is a mistake. One, I myself, have made in the past. What you can do instead, is this:
a) republish your post with a new date- simply change the publish date on the post you’ve updated, and it will appear as a “fresh” post on your homepage, keeping your comments and giving it new life, earning new shares.
b) simply hit update after making your changes, and this will update the existing post, which you can then share on your social media channels.
Republishing also makes a lot of sense when you have some content you’re particularly proud of, or if you know your post has a lot of value, but never got the attention you think it deserves.
Something to remember when republishing your posts (by changing the publish date): make sure that your permalink structure doesn’t include dates. You can see how to change your permalink structure right here.
If you have published a lot of blog posts, updating them all can seem overwhelming. I mean, things change so quickly, that I sometimes find myself updating posts from as early as 6 months ago. Focus on those articles that already get some decent organic traffic. You can try updating one, two posts a week, for a start. Don’t feel like writing? Feeling uninspired? You can still do something productive, by updating those older posts.
If this seems like a lot of work, it’s… well.. because it is a lot of work. But you also put a lot of work into the content you publish, don’t you? I think that it only makes sense that you want it to be seen by as many people as you can.
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