Revamp Post Case Study: Reworking a Post from 2014

Last Updated on January 15, 2021 by Michael Brockbank

One of the things I do for my clients is to update older pieces of content. That’s because it’s common to see a revamp of a post to get a boost in traffic over the span of 6 months. So, with 2021 being my year of ambition, I decided to rework one of my posts from 2014.

Now, I don’t know if I’ll see the 8,000% growth I often come across for my client. But, it’ll be a nice exercise to see how much of an impact rewriting blog posts can actually make on my site.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the same tools at my disposal as my client. So, I have to make do with what I have.

How to Revamp a Post to Boost Traffic

One of the most cringy things I have to do on my blog is to go back and find older pieces of content. That’s because my skills have grown exponentially since I started this blog in 2013.

But if I want the site to improve, it’s a dirty job that I have to do.

1. Find an Article to Revamp

In this case study, I am looking for a piece of content that has very few visitors compared to when it was written. In this case, it was a post I wrote in 2014 about the importance of sleep to a writer.

To do this, I clicked into the “Published” section of WordPress and arranged the articles according to visits. Then, I scrolled down until I came to the oldest piece.

It was on page 4 as the first few were full of articles that I wrote this year and the end of last.

Sleep Article

In this particular instance, the post has 35 views, one of which was from me today when I took a glance at it.

2. Check the CTR and Position

Next, I’m going to examine the blog post’s click-through rate and position over the last six months. Judging by the total traffic to the post, I bet it’s going to be 0%, if it’s even listed.

But, if I am reworking an article that is more recent, the CTR and position will tell help me determine how much of an article I need to revamp. If it’s a low CTR, then I know I need to work on the title and description.

I usually stick to a six-month cycle when doing a revamp on a post. This is because it often takes six to eight months for a post to really gain traction in Google.

First, I’ll go to the performance report for the blog in Search Console. Then, I’ll set the parameters to six months and put in the blog post’s particular URL.

Page URL

As I suspected, it’s not being registered in Search Console. So, the next step is to make sure the post is even indexed by Google’s search engine.

Luckily, the post is there in search.

Indexed

3. Check for Search Queries

After jotting down the CTR and position of a post, I then take a glance at search queries. This will tell me what people are searching for and how they are finding the blog post.

Unfortunately, this particular piece of content is dead in the water. Since it’s so defunct, there are no queries for it at all. This makes my job a bit more difficult, but not too much.

It just means I need to use other tools to find search intent and latent semantic indexing.

4. Check Analtyics for Visits, On-page Time, and Bounce Rate

Next up, I’ll analyze the article in Google Analytics. When I revamp a post, I tend to focus on three basic elements over the last six months:

  • Total visits
    This shows me how many people find the content worth checking out. In this particular case, I am betting it’s 0.
  • On-Page Time
    The “Average Time on Page” metric in Google tells me if people are actually reading the content or not. To put this into perspective, it takes the average person around 5-to-7 minutes to read a 1000 word article.
  • Bounce Rate
    The Bounce Rate of an article tells me whether the piece is meeting the immediate expectations of the visitor.

Usually, I am updating client articles that have about 100 or so visits over the last six months. In this case, I am fairly positive there won’t be any numbers associated with the post.

No Activity

And I am right. This means that I have my work cut out for me.

5. Plan Out the Post’s Needs

By now, I have a bit of information to go by regarding how to improve the article. If I had access to Ahrefs, I would be able to see what keyphrases the article is ranking for.

But even in Search Console, I can see that there is nothing available.

So, I will search similar terms in Google to see who is ranking for a similar article and how they have the post structured.

In this particular case, I can see all kinds of terms that I am missing out on and how the featured snippet is ranking in Google. I am also going to take note of the “People also ask” section as I am going to try to rank in those as well.

Finding Search Intent

The key element here is to decide on search intent and how I’m going to provide specific answers. 

At this point, I put in all of the things I want to fix in the article, such as headers, images, information, etc., into Asana and assign it to myself.

6. Revamp the Post with New Information

The way I rewrite a blog post completely depends on the context of the piece. For example, sometimes I have to use a new plugin if it’s a WordPress tutorial. Other times, I just add a few paragraphs that are relevant to the topic.

In one particular case, all I did was increase the length from 800 words to over 1,200 and the post saw a 667% increase in traffic. That’s because I added a few tidbits that were missing from the original article.

Namely, I was trying to get the article into the People also ask section. This means I added a few paragraphs to answer questions about the topic people might ask.

This is why it’s important to understand search intent and knowing your target audience.

In this particular post, I don’t even have headers to break up the content. In fact, it’s not all that well-written to begin with. But then again, this was in 2014, when I had just a very basic clue about what I was doing.

Looking at the Old Article

Entire Post
Yes, this is the entire post.

So, looking at this article, I can see that:

  • The header image is broken. Probably happened when I moved the blogs from Hostgator to GreenGeeks. Long story.
  • There are no headers. This was back in my “highlight text with bold” phase.
  • The article is only 268 words long, which is far below any SEO standard for creating content.
  • I have no internal or external links. But, also keep in mind that this was one of my first posts. There really wasn’t much to link back then. On the other hand, I could have went back in and added a few as time went on.
  • The information really isn’t as fleshed out as it could be.

Needless to say, I’m just going to scrap this entire piece and start anew. But, since the post is already indexed, I’m just going to revamp the post so Google can crawl the new content without worrying about duplication.

If the page is already in search, I feel it’s a waste to just delete the post altogether.

7. Reshare on Social Media

Now, I don’t get a lot of traffic from sharing posts on social media. However, it will give the post a bit of coverage while also triggering Google’s algorithm. This is because Google often crawls Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, especially if the URLs get shared and clicked on.

And since I use the WP Last Modified plugin, all visitors will see is the date that I actually updated the post. This prevents people from deciding not to read it because of the sheer age.

A lot of people won’t read an article if it’s too old. This is why many experts tell you to remove the date from the URL or WordPress slug.

8. Take a Look at Progress After Six Months

The last step is to take another look at Search Console and Google Analytics regarding the article six months after rewriting. If the post doesn’t have more than a 20% growth in traffic, I’ll schedule it for another revamp.

I’ll also rework the post if the bounce rate or on-page time got worse. But, since this particular article doesn’t have any traffic at all, anything is going to be a benefit.

Themeisle Banner

What Do I Expect from This Article?

In reality, I don’t think this article is going to gain a lot of traction. It’s not all that popular of a topic in general. What I’m more concerned with is hitting featured snippets and the People also ask section.

Then again, I’ve thought that before with client articles that exploded with visitor traffic. Sometimes, a simple revamp of a post is all it takes to really get attention in Google.

Now, this is just one of many articles I need to fix on this blog. I also need to put some time to revamp articles for the other sites as well. It’ll be an ongoing process for quite some time.

But the amount of traffic I see my clients receive after rewriting a blog post is too great to ignore. And I’m talking tens of thousands of visits within a few months per article.

What Did I Update?

I greatly expanded on what the article was about. I provided reasons behind why sleep was important as well as a list of ways to get more sleep at night.

Something else I added were links to various sleep articles to reinforce the points I was making within the piece.

Needless to say, the article went from 268 words to 1,317. This is a massive difference from what it was before. And, I think it came out way better than I had originally thought.

But, I suppose we’ll see in the next few months.

Something else I added at the last minute was aiming a few internal links towards the defunct blog post. This way, Google understands that the article has a bit of importance.

I even went so far as to create a YouTube video and embed it on the page. I doubt it will make a massive difference with engagement. However, I think it was a good video to publish in any case.

Let’s Take a Look Six Months Later

Now that I have a plan of action for the blog post, it’s time to write it. I’ll revisit this case study in six months to see how well the article performed.

To be honest, I’ll just be happy seeing that it ranks within 100 positions for search.

For the next case study, though, I think I’ll find a piece of content that does rank so we can better see the difference.

At any rate, it pays to revamp a post if you want to get more visitors.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 8,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel. Currently, he is the Content Marketing Team Lead of GreenGeeks Web Hosting.

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