Bring Old Content Back to Life and Boost Your Traffic, Rankings and Conversions!
It has been quite a while since I have posted on here or really spent much time in the WA community because I have been so busy working. However, I plan on changing that to come back and give back to the WA community the way it has done for me so many times in the past.
This is one of those times:
BRING OLD CONTENT BACK TO LIFE
For those of you who have your websites up and running and have developed some content for your audience over time, you may want to spend some time going back and bringing some of that old content back to life.
I realize that Jay touched base on the this topic a little bit in one of his recent trainings but I would like to add some advice to the benefits it can bring to your site in terms of improved and new search engine rankings, boosted traffic, and potentially more conversions.
I created my first and main niche website through WA over 4 years ago. During that time I have created a decent amount of content. However, nothing over the top. Probably anywhere from 40-50 posts containing valuable content and product reviews.
Recently, I started to do some research using Google Search Console (Webmaster tools), SEMRush, Google Analytics, and some other SEO tools to monitor the performance of specific landing pages (posts) that I have created over the years.
You know what I discovered?
First and foremost, I had achieved some rankings I was unaware about for older content I had written. However, I also noticed that some of these landing pages were generating a lot of impressions in Google but not getting very high click-through-rates (CTR). The traffic that was hitting these pages was either bouncing off the page or simply not converting into any kind of sale or lead opt-in. My newer content has been driving the majority of the revenue and I was scratching my head trying to figure out why?
I revisited the content and quickly discovered the reason
A lot of content I have written and you have probably written in the past kind of sucks. It may be achieving rankings because it is well-optimized both for both on-page and off-page SEO, but it was not generating as much traffic or conversions as you or I would expect because it was not highly optimized enough for the reader.
It is not my fault nor yours. We were still learning while we developed that content and probably know a lot more now than we did when we originally created it. Therefore, I have been going back to implement certain strategies to improve the content and bring it back to life.
USING OLD CONTENT TO IMPROVE AND CREATE NEW RANKINGS
First and foremost, I have been updating my title tags (headlines) and also making sure that my H1,2,3,etc. tags are properly placed. I have also been re-creating many of my headlines to better draw in readers to create more interest in clicking through to these older articles.
Make sure your headlines do a few things:
- Keep it around 60 characters or a little less but don't go too far over or under. Going over will get cut off in the search results and going too far under will go unnoticed.
- Your title tag should contain "magnet words." These are tried and true copywriting words that draw a potential reader's attention. For example: Words like "natural, secret, new, groundbreaking, etc. Words that draw attention like a magnet.
- Titles with positive or negative emotions get more clicks. For example: "Best, Amazing, Worst, Terrible, etc. There are much stronger words you can experiment with to evoke some kind of emotion from a potential reader (and it will help create more clicks).
- Use an "active" voice in your headline, as opposed to a passive one. Example of an active voice would be "Howie loves the Nutribullet" and a passive voice would be "The Nutribullet is loved by Howie. These are not examples of potential headlines but just explaining the difference between active and passive voice. Plus, you can say more with fewer words using an active voice.
- Although not required, including numbers in your headline can help. In general written out numbers (8) work better than spelling out numbers (eight). Research shows that headlines using numbers have a 36% higher chance of getting clicked than those without. Obviously, this will not always be able to work with every post you write but when possible give the "Top 10 Best Dog Leashes for Training Your Puppy" type of headline a try.
- Another one that is not required but can help is the use of brackets. In a study of over 3.3 million headlines by Hubspot, headlines that use brackets were 38% more likely to be clicked. For example: "Is Vitafusion the Best Vitamin B Supplement? [Try it Free]"
So, the first thing I did was update most of the old headlines (title tags) of the older content I was updating. Obviously, if the post is generating a lot of impressions in Google but your CTR is low, people are not being compelled to click on the article in the first place.
RE-READ & EDIT OLD CONTENT
I got a chuckle out of how poorly written some of my old content had been. I am still in the process of updating more of it. Go back and re-read your old content as if you were a random person who clicked on your article for the first time. How does it sound to you? How is the flow? Is it easy to read and understand? Does it get your point across?
Is it reader-friendly? Does it flow naturally? Are you using way more than 20 words per sentence in 35-50% of the content? Are you using far too many sentences that consecutively start with the same word? Do you have multiple sub-headings that are followed by more than the recommended amount of 300 words? Are you using a passive voice in a high percentage of your content?
Yoast SEO WP plugin can help you determine some of these exact percentages, as well as the overall "copy score" (how easy your content is to read). I would suggest using it.
MAKE SURE YOU ARE WRITING TO PROVIDE VALUE AND NOT ONLY WRITING FOR RANKINGS
One of the most important points that I will make about updating your old content is to make sure that you are writing for your audience first and foremost. It should be easy to read and flow naturally. Worry less about ranking for your main keyword by squeezing it into 2% or more of the copy and focus on making sure it is easy to read and providing value to your readers. Also, make sure you are not repeating the same points over and over again. Get to the point a little faster. While longer written content has been proven to rank better in Google, nobody is going to get anywhere near the finish of your 4,000 word article if you are dragging it out and/or not providing valuable insight throughout the entire post. Don't make them wait until the end of the article to receive the payoff. Spread out your information and provide valuable advice and facts throughout the body of your content.
It may mean that you need to delete entire sections of an old post. However, you can still improve the rankings of old content and even create new rankings for keywords that you never ranked for before by using LSI keywords in place of the amount of times that you potentially over-stuffed your main keyword into the content.
LSI KEYWORDS CAN AND WILL HELP YOU RANK FOR MORE KEYWORDS IN A SINGLE POST
LSI means Latent Semantic Indexing. It is just a fancy way of saying synonyms of your main keyword.
When you are doing your keyword research, create a list of multiple keywords that are relevant to the main keyword you are targeting in your content. Use these relevant keywords throughout your content and even consider replacing some of the times you may have squeezed your main keyword into a sentence with an LSI keyword that fits and flows better, instead.
LSI keywords help Google get a better understanding of what your content is about. It can and usually does also help you rank one piece of content for multiple keywords instead of just your main one. Using more LSI keywords in older and new content has helped me rank the majority of my posts for multiple relevant keyword phrases. Use some of those long-tail keyword phrases or low hanging fruit as your LSI keywords. It will not only help make your article flow better to the reader but it will help Google determine the topic of your article and even rank your article for additional keywords that you may not have even used.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The bottom line is that I am continuing to update my older content and seeing positive results. Updating and correcting old content over the past couple weeks has helped my site rank for an additional 300 relevant keyword phrases. It now ranks for over 4,000 competitive and/or relevant keyword phrases and trust me, I have written nowhere near 4,000 pieces of content over the past 4 years.
Two final notes:
Use bucket brigades! You may ask, what is a bucket brigade?
It is an old school copywriting tactic that used were originally designed to help people keep reading sales letters.
Bucket brigades can dramatically improve the amount of time that someone spends reading your content.
Basically, you want to find places in your content where someone is likely to hit the back button and add a bucket brigade. I have been using bucket brigades throughout this post.
Essentially, these are spots where you would write something on its own line between sentences or paragraphs like the following:
Here's the deal:
Want to know the best part?
You might be wondering:
This is crazy:
You would then follow these bucket brigades with the point you are trying to get into with your content. Such as:
This is crazy:
But I discovered a great new way to bring old content back to life and improve your overall traffic and search engine rankings.
They create anticipation for the reader regarding what you are going to say next and they work best in spots where you might be afraid that you are going to lose them. They work incredibly well to keep your readers engaged. Don't overuse them in your content but use them where you think you might start to lose your readers attention.
If you update an older piece of content into something that is now killer but you are afraid your readers won't ever find it, you can also change the publishing date of when it was posted. If you have a blog roll or a certain amount of "recent posts" that display on your homepage, this will boost it up the list and also provide some internal link juice from your homepage.
At the end of the day, there are obviously many things that you can do to not only bring old content back to life but also potentially improve the way you are currently writing it. Feel free to use some of these tips to bring some of that old content that you wrote long before you gained more skills and knowledge about content writing and SEO back to life. Use some of them to improve your new content. I just hope some of this advice helps you the way that it has helped me.
I am not suggesting that you spend "years" inspecting and perfecting every little piece of content you write. It doesn't have to be perfect. However, it can be better and it is worth spending a little time to go back to the content you have already written, whether more recently or long ago to refresh and update it in ways that can improve your CTR, traffic, rankings, and most importantly, the overall experience and value that it provides to your audience. It will help you get closer to becoming an authority in your niche and ultimately pay off in multiple ways at the end of the day.
Sorry if I went against my own advice and rambled or repeated a little bit in this post.
Maybe one day I will come back to edit and update it to read better for you guys!
All the best and much success! I am more than happy to answer any questions and would be curious to hear your comments and experiences updating old content.