Your historic blog posts will often account for a large proportion of your traffic. These tend to be your posts that are evergreen in nature with highly shareable and valuable information, and a number of trustworthy backlinks.
But if these posts were written five years ago, are they still delivering what they need to? For your blog posts to make a real impact in a world of content saturation, they need to be as helpful, engaging and well-written as possible.
So identify your historic high-performing blog posts. Then to determine whether they need an update, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is any of the information no longer accurate or relevant?
- Are there points you could elaborate more on?
- Are there new internal links or CTAs you could add?
- Is the imagery used at odds with your recent posts?
- Could you improve the readability?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then it's worth refreshing your post.
Improve accuracy and relevance
If your blog post is still getting lots of views, the last thing you want is for visitors to be arriving at information that is out of date, or worse, no longer accurate. These people are your potential future customers and you want them to get the best first impression possible.
Granted, if the publish date is visible they will likely afford you the benefit of knowing how long ago it was written. But, in the interest of providing helpful and informative content, you want to make sure the information you are providing is as up to date and relevant as possible.
You may not need to make significant changes. But if you’ve quoted a piece of research from five years ago, try searching for a more recent study to replace it with that will help you illustrate the same point. Perhaps there’s new information you could include to add weight to a particular point you’re making. Even just replacing any out of date terminology will ramp up the relevance and accuracy of your post.
There may be details you’ve briefly touched on in your post that you’ve since written about in greater depth. So why not add in some of that detail? By elaborating on certain points you could improve the quality of your post.
Of course, you want to avoid simply copying and pasting in paragraphs from your recent blog posts. Nor do you want to go overboard with adding in too much extra detail so it takes you away from the point you're trying to make. Instead, think about how you could use your more recently acquired knowledge to make your post even more informative and more helpful than it already is.
Add new links/CTAs
If your blog post was written a few years ago, chances are there will be some posts you’ve produced since then on related topics. If readers could find them useful, add them as hyperlinks to relevant words. By spending some time linking to newer posts, not only will you help your readers, but you will also find that you significantly improve SEO by strengthening the structure of your site.
Perhaps the CTA you've used could do with replacing too. You could update it with one of your newer eBooks that are more relevant to the topic. Or you may want to add inline CTAs to link to some of your other eBooks or popular blog posts that might be useful to the reader.
Take a look at the image you used in your original post. Is it in keeping with the format and style of your recent blogs?
Maybe you’ve changed the image size and your old image is a lot larger than the ones you use for your posts today. This can make you look careless if they click through to other blog posts and find inconsistencies. Or, maybe the style of imagery you used looks dated compared to your newer posts. There’s no harm in changing or resizing your image (or both!) if you think it needs it.
Maybe your post just needs a bit of a tidy up. Perhaps your subheadings could do with more clarity or could be made more compelling. Maybe you didn’t include subheadings at all the first time around, in which case it’s worth adding them, especially if it’s part of your blogging practice today.
You may have some long paragraphs or sentences in there that could be cut down to make it easier to read too. Even just a check back over grammar, tone and general style can improve the quality of your post.
There’s nothing like some time away from your blog post to help you see how you could improve your writing. Give it a polish and that extra sparkle can help take your post from good to great.
So, what happens now you’ve given your blog post a refresh?
Do you just update it? Or do you republish it with today’s date?
On this, you have two choices. If you’ve made only one or two minor changes, say you’ve just added a new internal link or re-sized your image, it’s probably best just to hit the update button and let people keep landing on it as they always have.
But if you’ve made more considerable changes, even if you’ve just expanded on a few points, slotted in some more recent research and changed your image, you may consider republishing it with today’s date.
There can be many benefits of republishing your post. For one, it will sit at the top of your blog, bringing it to the attention of your newer customers and prospects. It can also be a quick win for when you’re struggling to come up with new content ideas.
When republishing your post, there are a few best practice tips to follow. First, keep your URL and keywords the same. Don’t risk 404 errors, redirects or a loss in SEO authority by tampering with them. You can change the title, but be sure to still use that high-performing keyword.
Be transparent with your readers too. Add a note at the top of the post to say when it was originally published and to let people know it has been updated. For example, check out the Editor's note at the top of this post we recently republished.
And like with any other post, you should promote it in your newsletter and through your social media channels.
Of course, you will also want to measure whether your extra effort has paid off. So make a note of your baseline metrics before republishing, then monitor traffic and engagement afterwards. If you see noticeable improvements, it may inspire you to republish more of your old posts!