4 Ways to Generate New Results from Your Old Blog Posts

4 Ways to Generate New Results from Your Old Blog Posts

By Karen TaylorJan 24 /2019

Once you hit the “publish” button on a new blog post, you likely breathe a sigh of relief. It’s done. Now you can put it in the rearview mirror and move on to your next piece. Right?

Not so fast. There’s a new tactic in the world of blogging that may take you by surprise. It involves going back and updating your old blog posts.

Before you dismiss the idea as crazy, consider that taking this step could help increase your organic traffic and even conversions. For example, Backlinko found that updating and republishing old posts can boost organic traffic by over 111 percent.

HubSpot has already engaged this tactic, which it calls “historic optimization.” The company reports that it has increased monthly organic search views of old posts that are newly optimized by an average of 106 percent.

“Optimizing old posts is turning out to be a new way to generate more value from content we’ve published in the past,” stated the company. “We’ve more than doubled the number of monthly leads generated by the old posts we’ve optimized.”

This strategy has also helped several of Kuno Creative’s clients improve their monthly website traffic.

One of our clients, who is one of the largest greenhouses in the country, has been blogging for years about topics related to the care of orchids and other plants.

One of the most popular topics relates to its recommended ice cube watering method. It had a number of blog posts related to watering, but most were at least five years old.

By updating several of these older posts and better optimizing them for SEO, the company saw a significant increase in traffic.

Here’s an example of one of those posts, which was updated in August 2018 and experienced a 324 percent increase in organic traffic afterward. 

Repurpose ContentThis post had been stagnant for several years, receiving only a handful of monthly views prior to these updates. It’s now receiving more than 100 views each month.
Repurpose Blog for SEOIf you’re warming up to the idea of boosting your traffic and conversions by optimizing old blog posts, here are some tips to get the best results.

Are They Worthy?

The first step in optimizing old posts is to choose which blog posts are worthy of your time to update. Not all of your old blog posts are the same. Some are worth more than others.

Here are some reasons posts could qualify for a refresh:

  • They have already proven to be good lead generators
  • They already delivered a high conversion rate
  • The post resonated with readers and resulted in more time on page and a lower bounce rate
  • It proved to be shareable
  • It holds the potential to rank higher for promising keywords
  • The post can be improved in some way

What Tactics Work?

There are several ways to update old blog posts. For the best results, consider these four tactics: finding better-performing keywords, adding new quality content, adding compelling new images, and improving meta titles and descriptions.

1. Add Better-Performing Keywords

Keywords is a natural place to start your old-post rehabilitation because Google is always tweaking its keyword algorithms. Also, it’s likely you’ve become more familiar with your highest-ranking keywords since you originally wrote your old posts.

One thing that will help is doing some deeper, post-specific keyword research. Keyword tracking tools, such as HubSpot’s Content Strategy Tool, can help you figure out which keywords your posts are ranking for. The idea is that if you can identify the keywords, you can make an educated guess about which keywords are helping your post get found.

The result of HubSpot’s optimization of its best-performing blog post was an increase in conversation rates of 240 percent, which is three times more leads. After conducting keyword optimization on its next 12 top-trafficked posts, it doubled the number of leads generated. In fact, conversion rates increased on all 75 posts that were keyword optimized.

2. Add New Quality Content

In 2017, Backlinko published a blog post on a backlinking technique. A reader tried the method and ended up on Page 1 of Google. The reader sent an email to Backlinko in 2018 sharing his success. The company decided to update the original post with this case study versus creating a whole new post.

They not only added the success story but also added a few additional backlinking tips and updated the images. Backlinko gave the post a new publication date and republished the post. The result was a 111.37 percent increase in traffic to that page.

The result wasn’t a one-time fluke either. Since then, Backlinko has updated many other old blog posts — a process it called “content relaunch.” The result was boosting overall organic traffic by 260.7 percent.

While Backlinko relied on a case study to add new quality content to an old blog post, there are many other ways to add new content to old blog posts, including:

  • Making it longer: Many studies have proven that longer blog posts get better results. For example, a study by Moz and BuzzSumo analyzed the shares and links of more than one million articles and found that long-form content of over 1,000 words consistently receives more shares and links than shorter form content. Naturally, you can’t just add any random content. You have to add content that adds value to the topic of the blog post.
  • Adding expert quotes: An often overlooked aspect of a successful blog post is using quality references within the content. Quoting and citing quality resources can boost the impact of your posts by establishing your authority and speaking more informatively to readers’ interests. One place to find meaningful expert commentary to add to old content is news articles. Another place is from articles authored by experts. Further, research studies are always great sources of interesting content. Be sure to link to the resources to you gain extra value from your high-value content.
  • Adding data: Along with quotes, data from research is another great way to enhance blog posts. When reviewing your old posts, consider any opportunities to add data from relevant research studies and reports. As with quotes, this will give you a great opportunity to add high-value links to your content.
  • Updating your CTA: On old posts, it’s likely your call-to-action (CTA) is out-of-date. Use this opportunity to add a new, more relevant CTA to your old posts.

3. Add Compelling New Images

Backlinko’s addition of not just new content, but also new images should not be overlooked. Because research has proven that the images you use in your content can have a big impact on your results.

For example, conversion expert, Jeremy Smith, found that by using larger images in promotions reduced bounce rates by 27 percent and improved conversion rates by 36 percent.

This is just one of many ideas for improving your images in old blog posts. Other ideas include:

  • Avoiding generic images
  • Humanizing your content with faces of real people
  • Zooming in to show details within images
  • Optimizing your images for search
  • Making your images shareable

4. Improve Meta Titles and Descriptions

With the philosophy that “there’s always a chance to make your site better,” the owner of MonitorBacklinks.com, did a deep dive into his blog’s organic search results. While studying page performance, he found that one page with a high average keyword position of 9.0 had a click-through rate (CTR) of only 5.15 percent. Meanwhile, a page with a much lower keyword position had a CTR of 14.43 percent.

To Felix Tarcomnicu, this was a clear sign that he could improve his meta titles and descriptions to make his blog posts more appealing in the search results and potentially convince more users to visit his site. The tactic worked.

After spending time analyzing pages that had high potential, but did not have a good enough CTR, he rewrote their meta titles and descriptions. In less than one month, the CTR improved on all pages from 2.21 percent to 5.71 percent.

Give Your Old Posts a Second Chance

One of the values that blogs add to marketing programs is that they are technically timeless. Both new and old posts can show up on search results. When people click on links to your old posts, don’t you want them to be fresh, up-to-date and meaningful?

Clearly, taking a little time to update your old blog posts with proven tactics will go a long way to helping you gain the results you were looking for when you first published the posts. Now they can get a second chance.

Boost Your Traffic in 2018

Karen Taylor
The Author

Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor is a professional content marketing writer with experience writing for over 100 companies and publications. Her experience includes the full range of content marketing projects — from blogs, to white papers, to ebooks. She has a particular knack for creating content that clarifies and strengthens a company’s marketing message, and delivers optimum impact and maximum results. Learn more at karentaylorwrites.com.