There’s a lot of pressure in the digital marketing world to constantly be on that content grind.
Some SEO and marketing giants suggest posting new content as often as three times a week — that’s a lot of words to be creating each week and a lot of time that most of us don’t have.
At Excite Media, we’re pretty firm on the idea that once a month is great for new content, and we’re big believers in the idea that something is better than nothing. As in, if you find time to do one blog post a quarter, then that’s great, too.
Something that’s constantly overlooked when we talk about content, though, is updating your old blog posts.
Yeah, you don’t have to leave your old blog posts to wither and die in the back pages of your website’s blog. Give them a good zhuzh, update them for SEO, and bring them into the present day and reap the benefits.
We’re unpacking exactly why you should update your old blog posts and taking you through exactly how you should do it, too.
Let’s go 👇
Bring your old blog posts into the future.
Pop the current year in your metadata
If your blog post is time-specific or a guide where users might be looking for the latest guide on the topic, then adding the current year to the heading tag can be really beneficial.
Popping a  next to the post’s title in the heading meta tag means that when users are scanning through the Google search results, they’ll see that your post is up to date and relevant to what they’re looking for.
Source new research studies
Depending on exactly how long you’ve left your blog content for, it might be worth finding your quoted sources and updating them with new statistics.
For example, if you’ve quoted census information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, these stats are updated every five years. If there’s been a new census since you posted, it’s probably worth updating those statistics.
Update software or website screenshots
Imagine if you wrote a blog about social media marketing and included a screenshot of Facebook that was three brand refreshes ago. The blue and the shape of the ‘F’ would be all wrong.
Take a look through your blog post and get any new screenshots of things like websites, products, or apps to keep it feeling fresh.
Give its SEO performance a boost 🚀
One of the biggest reasons to update old blog content is to improve your content’s rankings or, if they aren’t already ranking, help them make it onto Google.
Update meta tags for keywords with a low click-through rate (CTR)
If your blog post is ranking on Google, but the traffic isn’t that impressive, you need to optimise your click-through rate (CTR).
The best way to do this is by updating your metadata. Is your blog’s title (and therefore its title tag) descriptive of the content? Does it communicate the benefit of the content?
What about your meta description?
This is an opportunity to introduce your content piece and its benefit and give a bit of a preview of the content — so make it count.
Target “people also ask” questions
‘People also ask’ sections are a great way to improve your content’s traffic. Find relevant ‘People also ask’ questions and search terms relevant to your blog post and optimise it to answer them.
The best place to start is by taking a look at the answers that are already ranking in these spots. You can then take a look at the structure, like if it includes the question it’s answering within the answer and how it’s answered generally. Then, structure your answer in a similar way.
FAQ schema is another great way to make sure your answers appear here. This is basically where you structure your questions and answers using data that you can embed into your website’s HTML so Google’s robots can quickly interpret it.
Edit your content to match the search intent better
There are three key search intents:
If you’re writing a blog post, the intent should generally be informational. But we can dig deeper into the informational intent.
Really think about exactly what it is your audience is looking for.
Take these two search terms as an example:
The first calls for a really succinct, straight-to-the-point answer. What does SEO stand for? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation.
The second, on the other hand, calls for a full guide. For sure, this should be summarised with a dot point or numbered list, but the user is much more likely to sift through a longer guide that takes them through the process from start to finish.
Link to recent content
By routinely reviewing your old blog posts, you can find opportunities to include links to newer content pieces you’ve posted.
This is a great way to not only refresh these blog posts but boost other content pieces, too.
Check for broken links (and remove or update them)
Broken links don’t necessarily affect your SEO directly, but they have a pretty big impact on the experience your readers have.
When they visit your blog post and head to a reference or source you’ve vouched for, and then it doesn’t work, it’s not… ideal.
So, check all the links within your blog posts and make sure they’re still working. If you do find a broken link, then update it or remove it.
Use schema markup
We touched on this before, but schema markup is a great way to give Google more context about your blog post.
It’s like a code that allows you to specify certain details in your article’s data. This could be dates, locations, questions and answers, or steps as part of a guide.
Boost rankings for keywords you’re already ranking for
If your blog post is already ranking for a few key search terms but not on the first page —or even down the bottom of the first page— then reviewing the post is a good way to give it a boost.
Take a look at the articles outranking yours for that topic and find the gaps between their posts and yours.
This might be including more keywords, fewer keywords, or restructuring the blog to make it easier for Google’s bots to scan and understand.
Find new keywords to target
There might be an opportunity to re-optimise your blog post for new or different keywords. Maybe there’s a new search term you’ve identified where you’ve already created content around the query — you just haven’t worded it quite right.
Add or update the alt text of your images
If you didn’t include alt tags or alt text on your old blog posts, there’s a real opportunity to go back and re-optimise these by including them now.
Alt text or alt tags are where you include a description of your images on your blog or page. These allow users who can’t view the images to understand what they’re about, and they help Google understand, too. It’s how Google Images is able to index these images and show you a helpful library when you google something like “sitemap example”.
If your blog post’s images do already have alt text, but you’re optimising the post for new keywords, then it might pay to update the tags.
Just make sure they’re still actually descriptive of what the image is.
Think about consolidating lower-performing content
If you have an old blog post that’s underperforming, then consider merging it with another relevant content piece.
The circumstances have to be just right for this to make sense, but if you have a small how-to piece that isn’t really searched for and doesn’t stand up on its own, then it might still serve as a value-add to beef up another guide on your blog that’s a bit broader.
Re-promote it and give old content a new life 🫀
It’s not just your SEO that benefits from a blog post renovation. A quick blog post refresh can serve as a tool for your brand and can work well on social media.
Take your updated blog post and re-promote it
If your old blog post was something you promoted at the time, and it got some traction, then post it on social media and let your audience know you’ve given it an edit.
If it’s a how-to, maybe the details of how to do the thing have changed, or maybe advancements in your industry mean the thing is easier to do. Let your audience know how beneficial your updates to the blog are.
If you didn’t really share your blog post the first time around, or it’s something you posted that didn’t really get a heap of traction, then treat it like a new post.
Every blog post deserves a second chance!
Give it a general zhuzh ✨
While you’re giving your blog post an update, you might as well improve it in any other way you can. Give it a general zhuzh in terms of the structure, how it’s laid out, and the wording.
Here are some ideas to help you with your zhuzhing.
How to choose which blog post you update ⛏️
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend putting some time aside periodically — weekly, monthly, or even quarterly.
Then, just work through them from oldest to newest.
There obviously will be blog posts that are better suited to getting the old razzle dazzle. These are the best candidates for the job:
These are blog posts that are on Page 2 — they’ve almost made it to the first page, but they haven’t quite climbed the rankings how you want them to.
Blogs with steadily declining traffic
If you’re noticing one of your blog posts has steadily declining traffic, a bit of a zhuzh could be just what it needs to give it a new life and get it more clicks and read-throughs.
Content that isn’t ranking at all
If you created a blog post and it just… never made it to the Google ranks, then it’s a prime candidate. Do some new keyword research and re-optimise it with the steps from this article in mind.
Things to be mindful of when updating your old blog posts 🧠
There are a few things we recommend keeping in mind when you update your old blog posts.
If it’s performing okay, don’t reinvent the wheel
If you have a blog post that’s ranking on, say, Page 2, then don’t gut it and restart the blog post. Make sure it keeps a similar structure and gist, just with some additional optimisations.
Be super mindful if you change the URL
This is essential. If you’re going to change the URL, then make sure you set up a 301 redirect. Your SEO agency can do this for you, or you can do it yourself.
A 301 redirect is where you set up the previous link to ‘redirect’ users to the new URL.
There are a few reasons you should do this. The first is if your article has any backlinks pointing to it, then changing the URL will mean you lose those backlinks — the 301 redirect makes sure if anyone clicks on the backlink, then they will still see your content.
Ideally, though, you’ll contact the website providing that backlink and ask them to update it to the new URL so that you can get the most SEO benefit from it.
Changing the URL can also affect how Google indexes the article. So, if you do change it, then make sure you update it in Google Search Console to ensure it’s reindexed appropriately.