Updating Old Content Helps Increase Rank

Last Update: May 13, 2019

Recently I've been working on updating old posts across all of my websites. Though I've been learning affiliate marketing for almost 10 years now, surprisingly, I find mistakes and problems from things I wrote just a year or two ago.

(I guess the good news is that it's a clear sign that I'm always improving!)

Throughout all this updating, I've seen a LOT of my rankings improve, even in some unlikely areas.

Two-Word Keywords RANKED

One of my best examples of how updating content helped me increase rank was a two-word keyword phrase for a "review" post.

Usually, when you try to rank, it's important to pick out 3-5 words for your phrase AKA "long tail keywords". They are more specific topics, therefore less competitive, and easier to rank for.

There's nothing wrong with going a Hail Mary every once in a while though!

You can see from this image that I wrote this review back in Summer 2017. The rankings dipped as low as 69th position, but now I'm ranked #1. What's even more interesting is that I have a general domain name (not keyword optimized), and the other #2 position is a very optimized domain (EMD).

Wow. What an improvement!

Here's another example, and I'll even show you the keyword!

This is a post I wrote several years ago as well. It sat is position 5 or 6 for many years, until I decided to go back and update it. Aside from the two paid ads above me, I'm now ranked #1 for the review keyword.

What Did I Update?

I didn't do anythign crazy to these posts. I went though Jay's SEO Checklist. I made sure to use my keyword in the title, URL, and some h-tags.

I added some new images, and created a section for the 2019 update. I spell-checked, added content, and added new images.

I also updated the "published on" date, but my suggestion is to NOT try to game the system and just change this date to try to game the system. I suspect that search engines are, or will become savvy to this trick.

I also went back to some older posts, and added some relevant internal links. In some cases, I removed internal/external links from those posts. The idea behind this was to "plug up" holes in a leaky bucket, and focus any traffic into the post I was trying to rank.

Other than those things, I also just did a general quality check. I looked for images where I didn't SEO them very well, for example I left the file name stockphoto12345.jpg instead of what-the-image-is.jpg, or I made the alt-tag and the image title the same instead of having the alt tag actually be descriptive for the seeing-impaired.

NOTE: They do have plugins that can automatically update your post dates to try to game the system. My advice is to follow Kyle's advice, and don't automate stuff which is not supposed to be automated.

Ranking #1 Isn't Easy Money

The biggest surprise to me is that ranking #1 for these keywords has not been lifechanging. I wracked my brain for years, desperately wanting those top positions for product reviews. I thought for sure if I could just get to #1, my income would double overnight.

Well, that didn't happen.

I have seen an uptick in Amazon revenue since doing these updates, but it wasn't very related to the exact product names I was ranking for. I'm selling more products - just not the exact ones I'm linking to.

I suspect this means I'm getting more clicks due to the high rankings, but my review still has issues that can be fixed to try to convert visitors to buyers better. For the non-Amazon stuff, I really haven't seen the needle move.

All of that is to say that if you are not ranking #1 for your desired review keywords, it's not a big deal. You can still make great money by ranking for other phrases, then linking back to your product review. (This is exactly what the WA training teaches!).

Final Thoughts

I wrote last time about how running a single website is a full time job. Keeping your content up to date is one reason for that. If you are updating 200 blog posts yearly, that's a lot of work!

Keeping your content up to date is worth it. I recommend taking the "long view", and making an effort to update even just one old blog post per week. That'll be 50 updated blog posts per year, and your rankings should really improve in that time.

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Recent messages
PMindra Premium
Absolutely the way to go.
Thanks for sharing, Nathaniell.

Cinderella5 Premium
I have to do this for my skincare website Thanks for the remainder
nathaniell Premium
No problem Cinderella. Good luck!
CandP Premium
Thanks, Nathaniel. Your suggestion to update one post per week is a good one. Very doable and, as you said, that's 50 over the course of a year.
Colette and Philip
nathaniell Premium
It's a pain to do in a month, but easy to do over the course of a year.
wmac Premium
Thanks for this great article and your recommended advice.
nathaniell Premium
Thanks for reading W!
FKelso Premium
Good advice. I need to start doing the same.
nathaniell Premium
No better time than this week to get started!