Generating organic traffic for a blog is not easy. You spend hours of your time and energy coming up with content ideas that quickly become forgotten about and buried deep in the archives. But if you learn how to update blog posts that have been generating steady traffic since the first publish, you can increase your numbers even more.
A hot post bringing you visits today can quickly fall off the radar and lose its impact six months from now.
Don’t let this happen.
Remember the 80/20 rule? This applies to blogs too because chances are that 20% of your posts are driving 80% of your organic traffic. So it’s important to identify your top “money posts” and know how to update blog posts that can bring in more of that traffic.
What blog posts have been the top drivers of organic traffic for your blog over the past years? Don’t be afraid to go several years back and look at your analytics data from the start of your blog. If you have a tough time deciding from only looking at traffic numbers, then consider looking at other factors such as engagement, social shares and back links.
Once you’ve identified your top 10-15 posts (or whatever number relevant to you) that have generated your most organic traffic, then look to see which have good evergreen content about topics still relevant today.
Republishing Blog Content
What you want to do now is devise a plan to bring these “money posts” back to life to improve organic visibility and drive up traffic to your blog.
Why does this work?
Because with all else being equal, the chances of ranking an older blog post (mature URL with existing link equity) is much higher than fresh new posts you publish.
How to update blog posts:
1. Rewrite the content: Stay within the topic but give the copy a refresh and rewrite as much as possible without losing focus of your primary keyword. This means new sentences and paragraphs, not just rearranging words. Good organic traffic is driven by showing up for relevant searches and then delivering the content the searcher was expecting.
2. Secondary keywords: If there are secondary keywords relevant to your topic that might not have been included previously, consider writing a paragraph or two around this keyword. A little bit of keyword research beforehand can be helpful when thinking about what to add to the content. Make sure you don’t get carried away over optimizing.
3. Update images: This could be a good chance to update any photos, images or screenshots that are old and not be relevant any more. When you think about how to update blog posts, it’s important to consider details like this too, and if possible add better quality images that are representative of your posts.
4. Page title: Update the page title to reflect the topic, but consider keeping your primary keyword intact.
5. Meta data: Have a quick look at your meta description and decide whether it needs to be updated to be better aligned with the new content.
6. Time stamp: Once steps 1-3 are done, update the date for today and hit republish.
Once you hit the publish button, your post will jump forward to the front page of your blog and will give you an opportunity to renew interest, drive social shares, comments, and generate fresh links. You should see your organic traffic for this post sky rocket very quickly.
[IMPORTANT] It is absolutely critical you don’t modify the URL of your post in any way. It should be exactly as it was previously to retain all the link equity and further build upon on it.
Good Candidate Posts
Now that you’ve learned how to update blog posts, it’s time to find out which types of posts are ideal for the task. There are some posts that I found to be exceptionally suitable candidates for republishing. Some of these include:
Lists: Perhaps you wrote a Top 10 list a couple years ago, why not expand it to a Top 20 and republish? A year from now you could further expand to a Top 50 and keep building on this post. This is a quick one and fairly easy to replace or expand on the original content.
How-to’s: Guides and how-to’s around specific products and tools are good candidates because products and their features tend to change and this gives you room to update the content accordingly.
Opinion pieces: Any post that poses a question is great material to rewrite and republish. Even if your opinion hasn’t changed about the topic of the article, the way you approach the answer can be entirely modified.
Long Term Plan for Organic Traffic
After this exercise you should know how to identify your top blog posts that could be strong candidates for republishing to drive organic traffic and visibility to your blog, and how to update blog posts correctly, without damaging your previous work. However, don’t stop after you do it just once. This tactic can be an impactful part of your content strategy and should be planned in your editorial calendar on an ongoing basis.
The key here is to remember what are those 20% money posts and make sure they come back to the front page from time-to-time with fresh content.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.