Many websites have a lot of content and blog posts.
However, many of them are never updated, and therefore potentially miss out on huge amounts of traffic.
In this article I will show you the potential of keeping content updated.
I will show you when you need to update, how to do it, and I will show you a case study and the steps I took to increase the traffic to an old blog post with 734% in just 1 month.
Benefits of updating older blog posts
When you have a blog, it is very common to be so focused on creating new content that we sometimes forget the great content we already have.
While creating new awesome content is definitely very important, we should not forget the potential of updating older blog posts and content.
The main benefits are:
You have probably tried yourself to find an article that you really wanted to read – when you then click it, you see that it is outdated, and the info is not really relevant anymore. Maybe the date is even several years old.
If you are anything like me, you will quickly leave again, and only rarely give the rest of the website a chance even though it might be filled with other great and fresh content.
Some people’s solution for this is to just remove the date of the blog posts. This is not something I am a big fan of – for some topics it is fine, if it is not dependent on how fresh it is. But when I find content about technology or tutorials for software and there is no date, I do not trust it – and in most cases it is also not very updated, if the date has been hidden.
So by keeping your content updated, you create trust with your visitors. They can see that they can trust the info they can find on your site is updated and can help them.
Furthermore, keeping your website also creates trust with the search engines. The search engines likes updated and relevant content, so it can also give you some plus points in relation to your rankings.
Makes your content better:
Keeping your content updated makes it a lot better. In short – better content means that the visitors will like it more, and thereby the search engines will like it more.
I regularly go over content, I wrote a while ago, and more or less every time I find that I can improve it. Especially when I look at posts, I wrote when I first started my online business. We all continuously learn and improve our skills, and it can greatly improve the old content to go over it and apply new skills and knowledge.
Generates more traffic:
A very important aspect of updating your content is that it can generate more traffic to your website.
I have already mentioned above how it can impact your search results a bit, but if you choose the right content and update it the right way, you can also gain a more immediately boost of traffic.
I will show you an example of this in the case study later in this article.
When should you update?
So let’s get one thing clear – if you write a lot of content, you can of course not update all your content all the time, and you will have some old content on your website that you never or rarely update.
If you have several hundred blog posts, it is just not possible – and that is also fine. But there are some situations, where you should prioritize updating content instead of writing new.
There are 3 situations, where I have found this to be particularly important:
When a blog is outdated:
If you have made a review of a product or maybe a tutorial or similar, there might be a time when the info you provided is no longer true.
It could for example be an article about how to rank in Google. Sometimes an article like this needs to be updated, as it will otherwise potentially give people really bad advice.
It can also be a product or service you are recommending, but that is no longer available or where it has change a lot.
In these situations you should update your content to reflect the changes – if not, visitors will not know, if they can trust any of the content on your site.
When you get new info:
This is closely related to the point above.
Sometimes you will get new info about a topic or product, you have previously written about. Not adding it might not make the post outdated and irrelevant, but adding it shows that you are following, and that you care about providing updated information.
So when you get new important information, it can be great to add it to the relevant content. It will make the content better, more relevant, and create trust with both visitors and search engines.
When a post is close to the top:
This is an approach that has helped me a lot, and also the approach I use in the case study below.
You keep an eye on your rankings, and then find an article that is maybe at the end of page one of the search engines or maybe even on page two. It will get a lot of impressions, but probably only a few clicks here and there.
An article like this has already gained trust since it is ranked close to the top. But if it is an older article, it could potentially be improved – especially if it is an article you wrote a long time ago, and you have gained more experience since.
By finding relevant posts like this and updating them, you can really give them a boost (see example in case study below).
How to update?
Once you have found the content you want to update, it matters how you update it. If you change certain things, it could potentially hurt your rankings instead of improving them.
So here are the most important aspects you need to be aware of:
Do not update URL:
It is very important that you do not update the website address/URL, when you update your content. This can potentially hurt your site and give broken links.
If you really need to change the URL, it can be done, but you need to make sure, you know how to do a redirect to the new URL – if you have a WordPress website, you can use a plugin for this, or on any website you can look into doing through what is called the htaccess file.
But if you do not feel comfortable doing this, you should get help from somebody that knows how to do it, or just do not change the URL.
Update content but do not delete too much:
If the article you are updating already is ranking decently in the search engines, you should not delete too much content. You might end up deleting some important content that has been indexed and ranks.
If some content is no longer relevant, you of course need to delete it or rewrite it to say why it is no longer relevant.
But in general, it is better to not delete too much, but just add the new information or rewrite where you find it necessary.
Furthermore, check if the images that you have been using are still relevant – if not, you can consider updating some of these as well to give the content a more relevant and fresh look.
Update meta info:
Updating the meta title and description is not always necessary when updating content. It depends on the update.
Take a look at your current title and description and see, if it needs to be updated to better reflect the updated content. Or see if it can be improved, to make it more likely people will click your article when seeing it in the search results.
Be aware that you should not update your meta title too often – it can instead potentially hurt your rankings, if you keep changing it.
Share again on social media:
Once you have updated your content, it is a good idea to make your following on social media aware of it.
So if it is a bigger update with new important info you have made, then make sure to share it again on your social media channels to create more attention about it and potentially get some traffic and engagement from there.
Reindex your post:
If you do not already have it, you should make sure to install Google Search Console on your website.
After you have updated a post, you can use this tool to reindex your content – that will let Google immediately know that it has been updated.
However, the most important reason to do this is, if you have updated your meta title or description to reflect your new content. The new title might be a lot more engaging and show people even more that your post is relevant.
By getting it indexed immediately in Google, these descriptions will also be updated very quickly. That means that the potential effects these updates can have will happen faster. Google will eventually find the new content by itself, but this can be a way to make it happen faster, so why not do this.
Case study (734% increase in traffic)
Now you know how to find content that could benefit from being updated and how to do it. So let me know show you a real example of how I used these methods on one of my websites and the results I got.
Let me first show you a graph from Google Analytics, where you can see the boost in traffic for one particular article after I did an update.
The approach I used to do this was to first find an article that was on page one of Google, but it was not at the top, and it did not get a lot of traffic for that reason. I used Google Search Console to identify this.
I knew the article had potential, because it was already on page 1 and auite a lot of people are searching for the term, so I decided to take a look at it. It was an article I had written around 8 months earlier, and after reading it again I could see that there was a lot of room for improvements.
I added more relevant content, added details I had not included before, I made the meta title and description more engaging, and added a few new and more relevant images. After that, I used Google Search Console to get it indexed quickly, and the results happened more or less immediately.
As you can see, the month before I did the update, I only got 43 visits to that post. The month after having made the update I got 359 visits – that is an increase of 734.88%. And the traffic has stayed this high since, and has even increased further.
So if you find the right articles, it can definitely be worth spending a bit of time updating them. In some cases it will also be a better use of time than creating new content – especially if you have a lot of content, you have not looked at for a while.
It can have many benefits to keep your website content updated, and if you find the right articles, it can really boost your traffic.
Be aware that this does not mean you should update your articles every week. You should still prioritize to develop your website and write new quality content. But once in a while, it can really be worth it to take a look at older content and give it a makeover, and it can be a fairly easy way to increase traffic to certain posts, if you use the steps above.
Do you have any experiences and results with keeping content updated yourself? Or do you feel that it is time for you to take a look at your older content?
Let me know in a comment below, and also feel free to leave any question or comment below.