The following is a guest post by Helen Stark
Every B2B content marketer faces this problem from time to time: where to get new ideas to fill the content plan. And this issue gets more prominent when they see that new articles don’t drive traffic to the website. It’s the case when old articles can come in handy.
If you take a look at your content in Google Analytics, you will find out that there are about 10-20% of articles that bring you a stable amount of traffic. Those articles may not even be in your Top 3, and they may have been published a long time ago. But they may become a perfect base for updating and getting more traffic from Google.
How to Determine Update-Worthy Articles
You should carefully select the content for updating to get the maximum ROI from your efforts. It should perfectly resonate with your audience. Explore your content performance in GA:
- Articles with a high amount of traffic. Find out what articles already bring you stable traffic through months;
- Articles with a high number of backlinks. Articles with many backlinks usually rank higher and get more traffic than other posts;
- Social signals. This factor is not the primary one but can work as an additional proof of an article worth updating.
Then take a look at the topics of those articles. Some topics get a stable traffic flow throughout their lifespan, and some show a regular spike in traffic on particular dates or seasons.
The first type is called ‘evergreen’ content: guides, how-to posts, checklists and other content that stays relevant to users for years. Update those article with new stats, add new tips and remove outdated info to keep user’s interest. Check out this Upwork article:
Now, let’s check out the steps for updating old content for a traffic boost.
1. Target the right keywords
When choosing the keywords for your content, you should keep the so-called ‘searcher’s intent’ in mind. It means, you should do in-depth research to understand what and how your potential readers and clients look for your content:
- Check out your Google Search Console to learn what keywords a chosen article already ranks for;
- Check out these keywords in your favorite keyword tool, as I did in Ahrefs, and check out what other keyword ideas contain similar terms or also rank for;
- Choose the most relevant keywords among those you get with keyword tools. Pay attention to their estimated traffic numbers and search volume.
Long-tail keywords work perfectly for B2B content: they help you rank for thousands of similar keywords and drive more traffic to your blog.
2. Revise the article’s headline and meta-tags
Your headline shouldn’t necessarily contain your focus keyword in exact match. But it should state clearly what the article is about. So, create a catchy headline that contains your keyword or its synonyms.
Rewrite your Meta-description if necessary with the inclusion of the same focus keyword. Google often shows the beginning of the article instead of its description in the snippet. So, make sure the first paragraph of the article unambiguously tells readers about its content.
3. Improve the post structure and readability
Poorly written articles with lots of errors and clumsy structure is not that kind of content that can make it to the Google’s Top 10.
Revise the article structure. Check out the inner logic of its parts and how they are connected. Divide the text into the bite-size chunks that users can easily digest – 5-6 sentences should be enough. Keep each sentence short, too – up to 20 words. Use Hemingway App to improve the readability of your article.
4. Change the publishing date
One of the Google patents states that if the contents of a document change over time, the given document may be ranked differently compared to ones whose content stays stable. And many case studies show that refreshing the publishing date alone can give the article boost in SERPs.
Just two warnings:
- Don’t try to ‘fake’ the publishing date. Always try to make the content better and more up-to-date, too.
- Don’t change the URL of the article. Even redirecting it to a new URL will take some time for crawlers to recognize it. Too many redirects slow the website speed as well.
5. Improve the links
Check out both inbound and outbound links for your updated article. Interlinking helps improve the article rankings. It also boosts trust to your content and the website in general. They all should look natural in your content of course. By adding the links from other articles to your refreshed content, you also boost its traffic and trust.
Also, you should find any broken links on your site. Then fix them and turn into quality and relevant links to your content! If you have some time and resources, you can also try to ask other website owners to fix broken links that lead to your website.
6. Create a page with your best resources
It’s another way to do some interlinks on your website as well as show your best content to users in one place. You can create a library of your best articles, case studies and other valuable content.
Don’t worry if this page will look like a list of links. If you offer a great value to your readers, they will forgive you the absence of shiny design. But pay attention to the UX: divide the links into sections, sort them out by topics to help users quickly find the content they need.
7. Reshape your old content
People perceive information in different ways. Some love long reads, others prefer getting the information in small batches or visual form. You cannot satisfy them all with one piece of content. But you can repurpose your old articles to reach out to a broader audience.
Turn your posts into infographics, videos or podcasts. Create a slideshow and post it to SlideShare. Break your posts into short quotes that are easy to tweet or share to social media.
The Bottom Line
Updating content that already has some traffic and value is much faster and easier than creating a new post:
- Choose the articles that are worth updating;
- Improve their Meta-data, keywords, and links;
- Add more value by providing fresh stats, tips, and data;
- Reshape the content in other formats to reach out to more users.
Include regular updating into your content strategy and you will drive more traffic and leads to your website.
About the Author
Helen is a content marketer at Ahrefs. She explores the web every day to dig out something new and impress her readers with catchy stories. Apart from all that marketing stuff, Helen loves listening to rock music, reading and traveling. A lot! Follow Helen on Twitter.