As members of the content marketing community, we know how much work goes into creating a single piece of content. Furthermore, we understand how much effort goes into content optimization for SEO purposes. But what if there was a way to reoptimize content that you have already created?
There are plenty of reasons your content didn’t do as well as it could have the first go-around. Between publishing times to social reach to targeted keywords, a lot of factors go into what makes a post successful when published. The good news is that your existing content can be quickly and easily updated to bring in more traffic, conversions and even customers.
But you shouldn’t simply pick a random piece of content to reoptimize. Before you even think about improving your work, you need to determine if it’s a good candidate for content reoptimization (also known as historical blog optimization).
The first step is to run an audit on your current content. While running your audit, it’s important to have a strategy behind which pages you reoptimize. For example, you shouldn’t edit the 250-word blog post about an old trend in your industry. What you should choose is the blog on a timeless topic (also known as an “evergreen” topic) that had mild success in performance. Why? Chances are, if your “trend” content didn’t perform well the first go-around, it probably won’t excel the second time — especially if it’s already dated. You also want to avoid time-sensitive topics since the search volume will be too low to make reoptimizing your post worth it. (An exception to this, however, is a recurring topic, like a holiday.)
But if you have difficulty determining the correct content to reoptimize, here are some questions to consider:
1. Why did the page fail?
Does the page have a keyword, alt tags, mega descriptions and H1 tags? Was it promoted via social media? Did it have interesting and compelling visuals with it? Is the content within the page relevant to potential readers, or just to you? Understanding why your post failed is the first step in determining if it’s worth fixing.
2. What is the purpose of this page?
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in your own hubris when going through old posts because they’re just all so good, right? You can’t reoptimize every blog, so it’s best to choose the ones that serve a greater purpose to your web viewers. Understanding the desired path of visitors will help you determine which posts are worth upgrading. Does the post link to a content offer you’re promoting? If yes, it has more purpose than a general information blog and is a great candidate for reoptimization.
3. Will reoptimizing the post add value?
This is the most important thing to ask yourself when choosing content to improve. If spending time and energy making changes to a particular blog post won’t do much for it, then it’s not worth it. There are some blogs that simply won’t perform well, despite your best efforts, and that’s all right (just as long as you don’t keep making the same mistakes again and again).
Now that you’ve narrowed your content down to those with the most potential, here are four methods to reoptimize your existing blog posts.
Method 1: Expand
The first and most obvious way to improve old blogs is to add more substance to it. Because the Internet is so oversaturated with content, it’s important to make your blogs stand out, and having longer, more detailed posts is one way to accomplish this. (It’s important to note that adding content for the sake of making your blog longer is not a sufficient or effective strategy. You should only expand on an existing post if you can genuinely offer additional valuable information by doing so.)
Too many people are under the impression that quantity is what matters when it comes to content creation, when in fact; this mentality can actually end up hurting your ranking. If your website has a lot of “thin content,” search engines will not only rank your content poorly, but it will also lessen your online authority, making it harder for future content to rank well.
While there’s a lot of debate when it comes to how long a blog post should be, 400 words (at least for now) is the bare minimum. (Pro tip: if you can’t get a piece of content up to at least 400 words, it probably isn’t worth reoptimizing.)
Longer form blog posts around 2,000 words tend to rank better. This is because the longer the post is, search engines have more content to scrub, giving them a better understanding of what the article is about. It should be mentioned, however, that there is no “perfect length” when it comes to blogging. While short, “click bait” articles might get you more traffic, in-depth posts that contain genuinely useful information will bring you more qualified traffic and leads.
Need some help expanding your content? Here are some ideas:
- Add a case study
- Incorporate a story (fiction or fact — as long as it’s an interesting read for your audience)
- Go into more detail on a supporting point
- If your content focuses on a topic that’s always changing (e.g. SEO), update your post so that it contains the most current, relevant information
- Find some additional resources and link them to your page
- Add examples/show imagery
Expanding is one of the most basic content optimization tricks there is, and is very SEO-friendly. Just make sure that your new content is actually adding to the overall argument of why the post was originally generated. Remember, you’re writing for people, not a search engine.
Best For: Blogs that are ranking well (top 10–15 on a Search Engine Results Page, or “SERP”) and have the potential to rank within the top 3.
Method 2: Consolidate
In a study conducted by Chitika, the top three results in a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) get 62% of all clicks.
(Source: Chitika Insights)
This means it’s not only important to be on the first page of results, but also to be in the top three if you want a good click through rate (CTR).
Say you have multiple blogs targeting the same keyword (or similar keywords), all of which are ranked on the first page of the SERP, but not in the top three. While you might think you’re attracting more people because your work is listed twice, data shows it’s better to have one great ranking post than two medium ranking blogs.
If you notice that you have a few related, moderately well-ranked blog posts, you have two options:
- Combine the copy into one post to create a more comprehensive long-form blog. (See previous method.)
- Alternatively, you can simply redirect the lesser performing post to the higher-ranked content. Doing so will allow the backlinks to be combined, which should increase your blog’s ranking.
Consolidating your content is great for many reasons, including:
- Giving readers more information in one place, reducing friction
- Allowing for a greater chance of ranking in the top three results
- Letting backlinks be combined
Consolidation is an effective means of reoptimization in that it requires minimal effort, yet can offer great reward.
Best For: Blogs that are ranking for the same keyword.
Method 3: Refocus
The thing about search engines is that they’re always evolving, meaning SEO strategies need to adjust to keep up with the latest trends and best practices. A simple way to do this is to dig into the keyword(s) on your blog page.
For example, a good blog post will only focus on one keyword. Chances are, if you’ve been blogging for a while, you probably have some older posts that don’t follow this strategy. Keyword stuffing used to be a common method to rank well until Google updated their algorithm, meaning that the content that utilized this strategy is no longer eligible for a top spot on a SERP.
Instead of unpublishing those posts, make some simple SEO changes to skyrocket your content’s ranking! Of course, this starts with determining the best keyword.
Ask yourself the following questions when conducting keyword research:
- Does this keyword accurately convey what my post is about?
- Are enough people searching for this keyword?
- Does my post have a reasonable chance at ranking for this keyword?
- Is the keyword relevant to the rest of the content on your website?
- Would this keyword attract qualified leads?
Remember, the point of a blog is to answer a question, and your targeted keyword should align with whatever problem you’re trying to solve. Having a keyword that accurately expresses what you’re writing about will deliver more qualified leads to your website.
Once you’ve determined a new keyword make sure to reoptimize the following:
- Image alt-text
- Meta description
*Be careful if you decide to change your post’s URL. Learn more about the best methods to editing URLs here.
Instead of letting those older, non-ranking posts sit undiscovered in the infinite chasm of the Internet, try revamping your keyword strategy. A specific and targeted keyword can drastically improve the performance of any blog.
Best For: (Typically older) blogs that are trying to rank for multiple keywords.
Method 4: Categorize
If you went back through all of your existing blog posts, I bet you’d discover that there are at least a few main topics that you write about. And it makes sense! You blog for your personas, which means you’re most likely writing a lot on the products and services you provide, building thought leadership.
And I bet you have a landing page about each of those products and services as well.
If you find the above to be true, you can create what is called a “topic cluster,” allowing stronger backlinks and better overall SEO — for both your blogs and the website landing pages they link to!
But what is topic clustering?
Let’s say you’re in charge of marketing for a spa, and you have a page dedicated to the following services:
Since those are the services you offer, you’ve written a fair number of blogs on all four of those topics, but not all of the posts are ranking well and/or link back to the service landing page on your website that they are discussing. A simple solution would be to go through each of those blogs and add links that direct readers to the appropriate landing page. That’s it! Something as simple as adding links to existing blog posts can help you boost your SEO and increase your traffic to your website.
To really boost your ranking, try writing additional blog posts around those central topics as well.
Benefits of a topic cluster:
- Creates a logical path for web visitors to follow
- Adds more backlinks to your site
- It strengthens the SEO value of all linked pages
Creating clusters creates a pathway for your visitors to follow and will help lead them down the sales funnel in a way that’s most beneficial for them. Remember, your blog should first and foremost educate your readers.
Best For: OK-ranking blogs that relate to a larger topic (that can be connected to a landing page).
Once you have reoptimized your content, it’s time to republish it. Luckily, this is a very easy task. Simply change the publish date so that it will show up first, and you’re good to go! Then, make sure to promote it on social media (and maybe try boosting your post or creating a social ad campaign around it).
Of course, content reoptimization shouldn’t be your sole blogging strategy, but it can help you repurpose those posts that just aren’t ranking well and/or bringing traffic to your website.
There’s a lot more to blog writing than simply producing content, especially because search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to best service their users. Luckily, you don’t have to throw away existing content that isn’t optimized for the newest strategy — you just need to do a little work to get those blogs current, and read! That’s the beauty of content reoptimization.