Why and How to Properly Update Old Blog Posts

Update old posts

Do you like to boost your organic traffic without publishing new content? Then you are in the right place. If you are spending your valuable time updating the old blog posts for freshness you’ll enjoy increased traffic, readership, and also you’ll save money creating new blog posts.

In this blog post, I’ll explain to you exactly how you can drive traffic to your old blog posts by strategically updating the content on it.

Why update old content on your blog?

Google SERP advantage

As you might have come across, Google displays the freshness of the content in its SERPs to help users determine the freshness of the post. If you update the older blog posts, Google will take the modified date and display it in the SERPs. Thus, your blog post will get higher CTR in SERPs.

Google last updated date

Like this, editing your old blog posts has many of the advantages like increased readership, the effectiveness of images, and organic traffic. It also prevents your older blog posts contributing to the overall bounce rate of your blog.

These are the some of the benefits of updating old blog posts.

Getting rid of shallow blog posts

As an amateur blogger, you might have committed many mistakes.

Sometimes, you might have written shallow posts without knowing about the topic. At the beginning of your blogging career, when you write about things you don’t know, your blog posts may have wrong information.

As your blog becomes older, so your experience.

There are even scenarios when I look at my older blog posts and laugh shamefully!

You need to consider getting rid of those shallow posts altogether or consider updating them with fresh information.

Spark conversation

No one bothers to comment on your blog if there is no call to action. Most of the older blog posts do not have enough conversation.

Updating the older content with fresh new content makes a way for conversations.

When I look back in time, some of my blog posts have zero comments. If that is the case with you, you need to consider giving those blog posts a revamp and publishing them with fresh graphics so that it lures in more blog comments.

Retain visitors

The moment your visitors notice that your blog content is outdated, they bounce off the blog. They don’t bother to dig up further.

Guess what? You will miss loyal readers!

Updating old content helps to keep those visitors intact with your blog.

Visitors will be disappointed with the old content on your blog.

Get an instant ranking boost

Boost

Google clearly loves fresh, updated content. Google Caffeine update stresses this.

As soon as you add insightful stuff to your older content, and update the “last updated date“, be ready for the organic spike. As soon as the Google crawls your blog post next time, it will notice that your content is updated and gives you a boost.

How freshness matters to Google?

Google determines how fresh the content should be, based on the type of the user query.

A webpage is given a freshness score based on its inception date. Older the blog post or a webpage becomes, it will become stale in the eyes of Google for some niches.

Google also takes account of the frequency of updating of web pages and gives freshness scores accordingly.

A document whose content is edited often may be scored differently than a document whose content remains static over time. Also, a document having a relatively large amount of its content updated over time might be scored differently than a document having a relatively small amount of its content updated over time.
– Document scoring based on document content update

By the above statement, I can say that – ” Google also analyzes the extent of upgradation of web pages over time”. In simple words, if the nearly entire webpage is edited on upgradation, then it may rank differently in Google.

By this, I can say that updating the “modified date” in byline after the webpage has been updated, matters a lot. It is essential to tell Google that the webpage is updated.

The Freshness of the links pointing to the webpage

Document S may be considered fresh if n% of the links to S are fresh or if the documents containing forward links to S are considered fresh.
– Document scoring based on document content update

Some content has a special nature that it will be evergreen even when the time lapses. In order to determine that type of content, Google looks at the freshness of the links pointing to the web page.

If a high authority site points to a webpage that is 10 years old, then Google concludes that the old piece of content is still relevant and fresh.

What blog posts to update?

Before going ahead and updating the blog posts, it’s very essential for you to determine, what posts to update first.

You need to consider updating the blog posts that satisfies the below conditions.

  • Blog posts updated more than a year ago
  • Blog posts that have not received any organic traffic in the past month
  • Blog posts that have zero comments
  • Blog posts with outdated information

Finding old blog posts

In order to find the blog posts, that have not been updated in a while.

Sort by date

You need to sort the published/modified date by ascending order so that the posts that are very old on your site will appear first in the list.

Google domain search date

As you can see in the above screenshot, I’ve made use the domain search modifier – “site:example.com” and added the date filters to let Google only show the old indexed pages of our site. So, you need to consider heading to these outdated blog posts, make the necessary updates and signal Google that the content is fresh.

Finding blog posts with less traffic

You can also check for blog posts that are not getting enough traffic, and consider pruning them or updating them with fresh content.

Content audit

Head over to Google Analytics -> Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages. Here you need to add “Advanced Filter” and only display the pages that have received say less than 15 page-views in the last month.

Now, you need to consider either deleting these posts (and redirecting them to most relevant posts) or updating them with relevant information, promoting them to get search engine boost.

How to update old content?

Just go to the old blog post. Make it insightful. Add value to it.

Examine the way in which the trends have changed. Change the older blog posts so that it does not look like generic blog posts. Be different. Everyone loves unique content, even Google also.

Search for the new blog posts that published on the same topic. Get new ideas, update your existing content.

Rewrite your title

The first thing you need to pay better attention to is your title. It is one of the things the bots crawl, and the first “hook” to get a reader’s attention. As marketing master David Ogilvy said, “On an average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.”

Your title can be the first and last stop to motivate a reader to click on the link to go to your blog. Hence, you have to make sure it is bang on the click buck. You can do this in two easy steps.

Make your headlines catchier by checking out some of these headline formulas. These include:

  • The 6-word rule (people read the first and last three words of a title)
  • Moment of surprise or curiosity
  • Ask a question
  • Be specific

When you have a working title that makes you go, “Hmm, that sounds about right,” check it with Headline Analyzer, which will analyze the power of your title and give you suggestions on how to improve it and score better:

Add fresh content

You need to add fresh perspective and information to your blog posts, and at the same time delete the outdated sections.

Look for any new trends in the blog post topic you are updating.

Ask these questions:

  1. Are there any new case studies published regarding the topic ever since you published your blog post?
  2. Are there any changes or major news in the industry related to the topic of the blog posts?
  3. Are there any new inventions or discoveries being made in the topic of the blog post?

Asking these questions, take a look at other similar recently published articles on the web.

Just analyze in what way their content is better than your outdated content.

Now make the necessary changes in your post to make it relevant today.

Correct typos, grammar and improve readability

Even though you proofread your articles before publishing, there are the chances of typos. You may even have committed grammatical mistakes earlier in your blogging career.

Correct them while updating your old blog posts.

Finally, proofread your updated blog post. If you have updated your content, then there may be again the chances of typos or grammatical mistakes.

Also read: 7 Free Online Proofreading Tools for Better Blogging

Proofread the updated blog post MANUALLY, it is effective.

You may also not have properly used the formatting tags. On the other hand, you may have included cliches and unwanted sentences in your blog posts. Do remove them and update the blog post.

Make sure that the article is formatted properly for skimmers. Make sure that the paragraphs are short, include more bullet lists, attractive images, so on.

Make your text more scannable

Online readers typically scan text in an F-shaped pattern. They don’t typically read posts, which means you can get the most important points of your post across if you put it in the first two paragraphs, followed by a list, quotes picture, or image flushed left. This follows the eye “hotspots” of your reader, and keeps them glued.

  • Break up long complex sentences into shorter ones. 
    Remember that long blocks of text are hard to scan. convert long paragraphs of six or seven sentences into two or three. This also lets you make full use of white space, which is the key for scannable text.
  • Write simple, easy to follow words.
    The words you use can also affect how your readers perceive your post at first glance. Avoid using overly complex or flowery language.
  • Include keywords for optimized content.
    Also include well-ranking keywords in the headline, body, and meta-description to make it easier for the search engine to understand what your content is about and categorize it accordingly. This will make your content easily searchable as well.

Include great graphics to your posts

Graphics should be included in a blog post. A single attractive graphic at the beginning of the article increases the chances of people reading your blog post. It gives an impression that post is fresh.

You can create attractive blog graphics using online tools like DesignBold, Visme, Canva and also Stencil.

Blog posts with more images tend to rank higher in Google. Although this may not be a causation, it’s certainly a correlation. Audience tend to stay longer on pages with lots of images in it, thus it sends a signal to Google that the page is relevant to them and ranks you higher.

Studies show that visual content overall can increase the number of views by 92%, and that the judicious use of colors can improve reader engagement by 80%. In fact, when you add the word video in your title or meta description, you increase your click-through rates by 65%.

With these statistics, it would seem obvious that by simply adding high quality images and video, you have a sure-fire way of improving your blog content without putting too much effort into it. Here are some tools you can use to get this benefit.

You need to also replace your old featured image. Because, when you are promoting the revamped blog posts, if you have a fresh featured image, it garners more clicks on social media sites and also while republishing them on the homepage.

Reconsider keyword

At the time when you are a newbie, you may have targeted a keyword ineffectively or you may not target any keyword itself.

The old keyword may be ineffective.

Redo the keyword research. The target for the effective keyword, according to the trend. Follow Semantic keyword research and include LSI keywords in your blog posts.

Include keywords in the title, Meta description and sprinkle semantic and main keywords throughout the blog posts.

However, do it carefully if your blog post is already ranking for some competitive keywords.

Get fresh backlinks to your updated content

As I said earlier, Google patent said that “Fresher backlinks signal that an old web page is fresh and still relevant”. After you finish updating and promoting your old blog post, it’s very crucial to get fresh backlinks to the newly updated post.

When an authority site links to your old, newly updated post, it gives a fat ping to Google that your content is still relevant.

Here are some of the effective tips for you to build backlinks:

  1. Guest blogging
  2. White-hat SEO outreach
  3. Content repurposing

Also, it is worthwhile to note that, building backlinks to internal pages is highly effective than that of building the backlinks to the homepage.

Republish it

When you update the content on your old blog posts greatly, you may consider republishing the blog post by changing the publication date in WordPress post editor.

Updating the date

By this, the updated blog post again comes to the top of your homepage and it’ll expedite the Google recrawlin process.

Alternatively, you can also make the blog post stick to the top of your homepage.

Stick post

Don’t do it all the time.

If your blog post is updated significantly, then you may consider republishing it.

By this, you gain lots of traffic without even publishing a single new word on your blog.

Infographic on updating old blog posts
Infographic on updating posts (use it with credits or link back)

How to Promote Recently Updated Old Blog Posts

Repurposing content

After updating the blog post, now you are confident that your blog post has the potential to return great value to the readers.

Why not make your blog post reach to a wider audience by repurposing it? You can repurpose your blog content by converting it into slides, videos, podcasts, and infographics and properly sharing and promoting it.

This is one of the most underutilized strategy by bloggers. Your aim should not always be to publish new content, but to also promote it using techniques like content repurposing.

Here’s my complete guide on repurposing existing blog posts easily within an hour.

Must read: Definitive Guide to Content Repurposing Process

Shoot a newsletter

Let your subscribers know about the content you’ve added to your post.

Note down the initial publishing date of the post. Now you could consider segmenting your list so that your newsletter would only be sent to new subscribers who subscribed to your blog after the date of post publication.

Just let them know the highlights of the blog post and link at the bottom. You may also consider adding the label (updated) next to the link.

Your list has the greatest potential to drive you laser-targeted traffic instantly. Make use of it to gain traction to your newly updated post.

Comment on other blogs

Immediately after updating your blog post, you can consider driving some fresh traffic and links to it. You can consider doing great blog commenting on other sites.

You can find blogs to comment on using the below advanced search query.

Comment search

In the above screenshot, that search query returned only the search results that have the term “nutrition” in the title and has 2 to 25 comments on them.

We are making sure that the webpages we are searching here have active comments approved so that you don’t waste time on leaving insightful comments on blogs that don’t accep comments.

The comments you make should be of high quality.

Your comment should entice other readers to click on your link. It should be friendly, high-quality and in-depth.

Instead of linking to your homepage in the comment, link to your recently updated blog post. It gives you some extra exposure for your recently updated blog posts.

Updated posts as widget

This is one of the great tips to increase the traffic to your newly updated blog post.

Create a widget that displays all your posts that are recently updated in the chronological order. For this, there are several plugins for WordPress like Last Updated.

Last updated

With this, you gain additional traffic to your recently updated blog posts. Readers who come to your blog in search of fresh information find the widget helpful. It also alerts the loyal readers of your blog about the updated content.

Create roundup or ‘best of’ posts

Create a post like ‘top 10 posts this month’ or ‘top 21 posts from 2015’, publish and promote it widely. Include the links to your old posts. It increases the traffic drastically to your old posts.

Top blog posts

Above is the example roundup post from ProBlogger. The post is visually attractive as they have included the featured images of all of their popular posts in a single post.

No reader will miss the chance of reading all your popular posts of the year in one post. These type of posts receive more interaction, shares and returns great value.

Add internal links

Links are always a good way to improve your page authority, but it can be hard to wait for your inbound marketing to bear fruit. You can still improve your link profile by referring to articles or other types of content on your own blog, provided you do it strategically.

Internal linking helps a lot to improve the crawlability of your blog posts. It also passes fresh link juice to your newly updated posts and signals Google about the newly updated content.

You can also add internal links in the form of related posts. However, if you have a silo structure in place for your site, you may need to be cautious when using a related posts plugin.

Social media promotion

After updating your blog post with new title, fresh content, you need to change the featured image of the blog post to signal the freshness when shared across social media sites.

Now you can add these new titles and images under social visibility section of your SEO plugin.

Social visibility

Now, whenever you share the blog post link on Facebook, the title, description, and the featured image you mentioned here will be displayed instead of the original one.

You can also schedule the blog posts to be posted on Twitter, Facebook pages, LinkedIn at specific intervals.

Wrap up

Updating old blog posts is an integral part of blogging. If you are in a pure evergreen niche or have a news website, it may not matter. But if you are in a semi-evergreen niche, where the majority of niches falls, updating the blog posts periodically is crucial.

As you’ve fished reading this blog post, I strongly urge you to head over to your blog post list or the Analytics and update the blog posts that are outdated and not receiving any organic traffic. Make sure to track the keyword rankings after giving the posts a revamp.

Hope you guys found this post useful, if you have any doubts leave ’em below.

DISCLOSURE
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that if you click on one of the links and purchase an item, we may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). All opinions are our own and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.

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12 thoughts on “Why and How to Properly Update Old Blog Posts”

  1. Hi Akshay, after reading your post i think i agree with with you, first there must be the desire to update old posts before you can successfully carry it out, most of us bloggers dont care about old posts, we just keep shooting new ones.

  2. Animesh Singh

    Akshay, thanks for sharing this.

    I do think that as soon as your experience grows, it is necessary to update the post which is based on our past experience, as readers prioritize the post along with its Update date.

  3. This is a great idea to rewrite your old posts ,as a result it will make your posts SEO friendly and will keep your blog/domain away from Google Panda update Penalty. I do this once in awhile, I thought about going through some of the older ones that I believe would be helpful and plan to reschedule them or post them as newer blog entries. You should change the date to latest date..but don’t dig and bring the oldest article because the user may think you are lagging behind better to update the previous date.

    Also, Interlinking old posts within the new articles will play a major role in proper indexing of those articles. It works most of the time. These old posts have good page rank, so we can share the page rank to other new posts. This will increase the SERP ranking also. I think Related posts and putting them on the sidebar is the best option to get them noticed.

    Really this post will be of great help to make the blog look and behave like a website so that the good content remained evergreen. Thanks!

  4. Hello Akshay,

    These tips are really great, I agree with you that editing in your old post is important part of blogging. I have experienced it before few weeks and it is working good for me.
    all your points and might have to start going back to previous posts to update them.

    Thanks for sharing this useful and effective info with us.

    I hope you’re having a great week. Happy Blogging 🙂

  5. Hi Akshay,

    After reading your post. I tried to Update my old posts in blogger, it got updated but it did not come on the homepage.
    How can i make them appear as latest post after updating the old post?

    Thanks,
    Jatin

  6. recycling posts is a very crucial as we blog on a basis. These old posts have good page rank, so we can share the page rank to other new posts. This will increase the SERP ranking also.

  7. Thank you for writing such an informative post. I’m in the process of reviving a 10-year-old blog that has sat dormant for almost 4 years and this post gave me all the information I needed on how to freshen it up and start ranking again. I had already been freshening up keyword research grammar and spelling errors etc. but I particularly appreciated the idea that I should actually rewrite significant portions of my posts to make them not only look fresher but be more relevant.

  8. I was amazed how even small updates on blog, caused better rank in SERPs. It’s really good post because here is answer for “Why”. I think updates are better than creating posts like “part 2” or new post with new title.

  9. Hey, Akshay

    Great post and very useful information about the update of old blog post content. Yes updating and optimizing the old post content with proper updated keywords and information will help the post to get higher ranking in Google. By the Google Algorithm, they advised more to keep updating the site or blog content will help you to get increase in Google search engine ranking.

    Awesome share ! Keep Sharing !

  10. Hello Akshay
    thanks for the useful info.
    I am trying to find information on how to change the dates on my 2010 blog posts
    do I just update post without changing the date?

    thanks in advance

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