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[This article was originally published in January 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.]
Some old posts tend to be short on information or word count and sometimes old posts are also visually unappealing. When checking those first articles you published, probably makes you cringe now. Mine certainly do.
However, if you are curious about how long your blog post should be, there is no right answer – some say it should be more than 500 words or between 800-1000 words, for SEO purposes. The important point to remember is that longer posts don’t necessarily equal better. Good content is content that answers the audience’s questions.
So what will be the first step you take? Maybe delete those posts? But that would create 301s unless you take the time to create redirects.Even though your old blog posts are outdated, they can be an asset you are failing to exploit. Click To Tweet
The answer is you should update old posts instead. Updating old posts can literally double your traffic – especially if the post was received well when it was originally published. I recommend going through your old posts, optimizing one a week, and using the following steps to boost your page views.
Find low-performing posts
If your post is in the top three for its target keyword, republishing it is usually not a good idea because the risk outweighs the benefit. It’s already doing well, so republishing could cause more harm than good. What you have to do is updating old posts that rank lower for their primary keyword.
You can find those terms in Google Search Console. Simply go to the Search Results report, toggle the average position selector, and then filter the report for keywords with an average ranking position of five or higher.
If your post isn’t targeting meaningful keywords with potential search traffic, it’s usually not the best choice for republishing. It’s also pointless to republish recently published posts because it takes time to gain backlinks and for Google to evaluate where they should rank. I rarely republish posts unless they are at least a year old.
When starting our blog, some of us (even me) had no idea about SEO-ing. I used Yoast before moving to Rank Math in my two months of blogging. If you don’t have it yet, I strongly recommend adding it to your WordPress blog.
If you have been using SEO plugins from the beginning, check if the keywords and meta description previously used were the best choice for the post. I recommend using Ubersuggest or Kwfinder to find the best keywords for your content.
If you change the keywords, make sure the content and meta description are changed as well. Not to mention your title, URL structure, alt tags, etc. When updating old posts, it gives you the opportunity to make sure all the red dots in the Rank Math plugin are completed and that you have the ‘green light.’
As you know, one of the main benefits of blogging is the SEO value it provides. This is one of the biggest advantages of blogging – content continues to drive results in terms of traffic and leads over time.
But, what happens if someone doesn’t bother to check the date of your post? They might have no idea they’re reading outdated and perhaps, inaccurate information. Maybe your original post was brief and now you need to expand more on the topic. Use this opportunity to do some research, add some personal experiences, and increase your word count.
As I mentioned on how long your post should be – for me, longer posts are better for SEO. I have been working so hard to implement all SEO elements on my posts. Your ultimate goal when optimizing old posts is to get them to rank higher in searches and bring your more organic traffic.
Update the title
I have over 70 posts published in 2020, and I feel like I should be getting more page views by now so I need to check my blog’s titles. A good title makes someone want to click and read. A good post delivers on the expectation given in the title.
So, if you are not getting the click-throughs you expect, you need to do some testing on your titles. You don’t need to change the URL, though. Just change the publish date to the current date and hit update.
If you have your site set up in Google Search Console, it’s also worth requesting reindexing after republishing. Go to Google Search Console, paste the full URL of the post into the URL Inspection tool, and hit “Request reindexing”. This step is optional because Google will eventually reindex the post regardless, but I’ve found that it tends to be faster when you request reindexing.
For the last few months, my blog has been constantly getting organic searches every day – that’s how important practice is to SEO-ing. I won’t talk about SEO guides here because I have the WHOLE articles about optimizing On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO, and technical SEO.
SEO is tough. But when you understand and implement SEO on your posts, all that hard work will pay off!
Create new pins or featured images
This is what I did last month – change all my featured images. I plan to create some new pins for old posts in the near future. Nothing freshens up an old post more than a nice new image. So make sure all of your old posts have a featured image and a pin.
- Check this list of sites to find gorgeous photos for your blog, but make sure to always blog legally.
- Always remember to rename your images before uploading them to your blog. Image SEO is really important – it should contain your keyword.
Add An Opt-In
Upgrade your old posts by adding opt-in, like a checklist. That will create extra value for your audience and make you look like a professional blogger.
Share and Promote It!
Now after updating old posts, you need to get new eyes on them. The best way to do that is to share it on your social media platforms. You can also share it in your next email to your subscribers.
It can be long and tedious work to update your old posts but believe me, it is so worth it. Dedicated one day a week to update your old posts. The next time you are suffering from writer’s block, use your time for updating old posts. The potential to double your traffic is attainable if all the above steps are followed.
Remember that the best blog will always have a balance between good SEO and solid content. The success of your blog also depends on the balance between creating new posts and updating old ones.