No matter what industry or topic you blog about, trends and technologies often update at a fast pace. If your blog site has been around for a while, chances are there are some obsolete links and dated references lurking in your archives. To keep pace with the fast-paced web, every blogger should update their content regularly.
Reasons to Update
So why should you update your past blog content instead of leaving it as is? There are some compelling reasons:
Search engines see all. When search engines pull up pages from your website, it’s not just the updated content they see. Although search algorithms seek out fresh content, a search for “latest tech trends” or “effective SEO techniques” can yield results from a year or two back if the post has seen a lot of traffic. Since these are fast-changing topics, such outdated information can reflect poorly on a blog.
Avoid misleading readers. If a reader is in a hurry, or simply doesn’t bother to check the date of a blog post, they’re likely to just take outdated information and run with it.
Fish out the gems. A benefit of going through your old content is that you can fish out well performing evergreen posts that are still as relevant today as they were when you wrote them. These types of posts are great for reintroducing, especially to newer audience members who may not be familiar with your past work.
What To Do
STEP 1: Find your best performing posts. These are the ones that you want to revise first. You can do this in a couple of ways. You can check the number of shares and comments that each blog post has, but that might take some time. Another other way is to use your analytics. Check to see which posts have the most inbound links, unique page views, and popular keywords. That should give you a picture of which of your past posts are doing the best.
STEP 2: Update your statistics. Chances are that if a post is more than a year old, the statistics or supporting research you originally used could use some updating. Do some research to find the most up-to-date information.
STEP 3: Revise your language. This step comes after updating your statistics, just in case you want to add notes about certain changes that have happened since you first wrote the post. You’re probably a better blogger now than you were a year ago, so use this time to revise old posts to reflect your current voice. Just be careful to leave all of those helpful keywords intact.
STEP 4: Update your SEO. SEO practices change faster than most can keep up with, so take some time to get up to date. For instance, earlier this year Google revised their guidelines concerning link schemes.
STEP 5: Check your links. Links change and become outdated regularly, so it’s a good idea to check links for all of your posts to make sure they that still work. If you have WordPress, the Broken Link Checker plugin is a good tool to use.
STEP 6: Use better pictures, or add pictures to blog posts that don’t have any. This is important for rich snippets that show up on social networks. The first thing people see is the picture, so make sure it’s something eye-catching. Also, with the advent of Pinterest, eye-catching visuals are all the more important. Melissa Taylor of Pinterest Savvy makes a great case for updating your blog posts for Pinterest.
STEP 7: Add some transparency. Add a note to your blog post that it’s been revised and updated for accuracy. This also lets your readers know that you are making an effort to stay on top of your industry.
A few more tips:
Revise the same post instead of creating a new one. An older blog post may be dated, but your best performing posts already have an established stream of traffic.
Your evergreen posts are the ones that don’t need any updating. If you come across any, share them again for your newer readers, and the older ones who would want to rediscover them.
It’s not always about the numbers. Some of your most popular posts of yesteryear may no longer be relevant to the current landscape of trends, or to your blog or business goals. Decide whether it is better to prune the obsolete content rather than update it.
As you can see, it’s not all very difficult to keep your blog updated over time. By doing so, you’re continuing to make your blog a valuable resource for your readers, no matter how long it’s been around.