Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
When you update content, you’re essentially breathing new life into something long forgotten. The end result could be a massive increase in search visibility and traffic. And today, I’ll go over 11 tips you can use right now to help you along.
All it really takes is a bit of time and effort. Then again, so do most things in life.
12 Easy Methods to Update Content on the Website
The more content you create, the more often you need to go back and take a look at what needs updating. But, it’s a necessary strategy if you want to get the most out of your website.
Because that one blog post from seven years ago may just be what people are looking for today. That is as long as it’s still relevant and informative according to today’s standards.
Here are 12 things you can do when updating your content.
1. Use the WP Last Modified Info Plugin
One way I keep an eye on what needs updating is using WP Last Modified Info. It’s a simple plugin that helps you find older pieces of content while keeping posts relevant to the visitor.
WP Last Modified Info will show you the last time a piece was updated on the backend while showing visitors on the front. Not only that, but it’s SEO friendly as well.
Just arrange your post to the last time they were modified, and you can see which ones that may need updating.
2. Keep an Eye on the Most Visited Pages
Sometimes, just watching what your visitors come across can help you identify pieces that may need a few revamps. This is especially true if you see a bit of an influx to the content.
This is one I try to keep an eye on as often as possible. Using the Top 10 plugin, I can see when a large number of people are reading older content. Then, I open the post and make sure it’s still relevant.
On the flip side of this, though, seeing what people are not reading may indicate that you should update the content. There’s a reason no one is reading the post.
3. Use Search Console and Find Posts with a Low CTR
A low click-through rate shows how often your posts come up in search results and if they are clicked. If something has a low CTR, you need to discover why.
Sometimes, it’s caused by content not matching the title. Or perhaps your text is matching search criteria that isn’t relevant.
In either case, you may need to do a bit of rewriting to improve the CTR. Start with articles with the lowest percentage.
4. Use Search Console to Find Low Average Position Pieces
Another reason why I use Search Console is because it shows the average position of content on results pages. You want content to be in the top 10 positions, as Google shows 10 results at a time during a search.
Well, outside of adds and featured snippets.
Find a page that has a poor position rank. Then, see what you can do to improve and update the content. I’ve seen things as little as rewriting a paragraph to improve positions by more than 20 points.
5. Check Google Analytics for Bounce Rates and On-Page Time
When it comes to collecting data about your website, using Google Analytics is exceptionally helpful. By keeping an eye on bounce rates and on-page time, you can see what content needs a bit of cleaning up.
If something has a high bounce rate and low on-page time, you may want to do something about the text. This usually indicates visitors didn’t find what they thought they would right off the bat.
Make sure the title and the content are relevant to each other. If someone is looking for ways to cook pork, provide as many ways as possible to do so.
6. Track Updates in 3 to 6 Month Increments
Unless your website is among the most accessed in the world, it’s going to take time to see results after you update content. Even with websites that generate nearly 200k visitors per month can take time to move the needle in search results.
Personally, I strive to check on pages in three to six-month increments, depending on the client and website.
For the most part, you are not likely to see much of a change immediately after you update content. Besides, it’ll also give you the ability to track if there is interest in the topic over time.
7. Check Keyphrase Relevance as You Update Content
Keyphrases you use today will not necessarily be relevant three or more years from now. When you update the content, make sure your terms are still effective for your target audience.
Using tools like Google Trends or keeping an eye on average volume per month in Google’s Keyword Planner can help with this.
Sometimes the phrase can change or perhaps people are using a different intent when searching for the same product or service. You need to stay on top of how your audience is looking for your content.
8. Verify the Information is Still Relevant
When looking over the older posts, make sure the information is still current and relevant. This includes checking each and every link in the post to make sure they still work and are pointing to the correct information.
I have to do this all the time as I update WordPress tutorials. This is because plugins will sometimes become obsolete, defunct, or removed.
The point is to make sure the content your providing is still what people need to read to feel informed.
9. Take New Screenshots or Add New Photos if Needed
Another aspect that can take a bit of time is uploading new screenshots or photos. Because like the information, imagery can be just as obsolete.
This is especially true if you do a lot of online tutorials. I’ve had to re-take a lot of screenshots for WordPress as the system has changed quite a bit over the last five years.
New images help people keep engaged with the context of the piece. If the images create confusion because of age, you’re going to lose the audience.
10. Share on Social Media When You Update Content
After fixing up your piece, don’t be afraid to share it on social media. The followers you gained over the last few months probably have no idea those older pieces are published from over a year ago.
There are times when I use tools like Buffer to schedule and publish older pieces on my social timelines. It takes but a minute and will share the posts automatically.
Although most of your traffic is going to come from search results, social media shares does help by keeping your profiles active. And, it doesn’t hurt that a few people may actually visit the page in question.
11. Use Push Notifications When You Update Content Older than 6 Months
Push Notifications are those messages that pop up in browser windows or computer desktops when creators upload a new piece of content. They are effective at keeping an audience interested in the website.
When you update content, especially something that is older than six months, use push notifications to share the materials. As with social media, people who subscribe to notifications today probably haven’t seen those older articles.
I like using OneSignal Push Notifications with WordPress. It’s incredibly easy to set up and free to use until you hit a certain number of subscribers.
12. Use PublishPress Revisions for Free
Lately, I’ve been updating old content with PublishPress Revisions. This plugin creates an exact duplicate of the original so that you can work on the post without affecting the live content.
Then, when you’re ready for the changes to go live, you simply click the “Approve” button and everything is copied over from the draft to the live page automatically. Afterward, PublishPress will then delete its draft from the queue and you can move on to the next.
It’s an incredible time-saver, especially when working on much larger blog posts. You can update the content at your leisure, even if it takes you a month to finish. And you do all of this without creating a new post as a draft and then copy-and-pasting everything over.
Not to mention that it’s a brilliant plugin in a team environment.
Why Update the Content?
I know too many website owners who simply create a piece of content, publish it, and then forget it even exists. And in some cases, it results in a website that really isn’t as effective as it could be.
In fact, I know one particular client who said, “I don’t want content on my blog.” Yet, he couldn’t understand why people were not visiting.
I kid you not, that was a verbatim quote.
Still, idiocy aside, there are quite a few reasons why you would want to update content on your site.
Keeps Posts Current and Relevant
If you want any kind of a positive reputation on the Internet, you need to provide up-to-date and relevant information. If you rely on past articles that are obsolete, that’s how a lot people will view you.
Not only will you make human visitors happy, but the Google algorithm appreciates the effort as well. As a result, those older posts will improve in search over time.
Potential to Bring in More Traffic
In the image above, you can see one particular article we updated for a client saw a gain of more than 913% in traffic pageviews just in 6 months. This is the difference between 408 visitors before and 4,137 after the revamp.
And this is just one post out of many I’ve improved.
Unfortunately, the average time on page went down slightly by a couple of minutes. Still, it’s at more than eight minutes, which isn’t bad for a post that’s only 600+ words long.
The purpose of every website is to drive some kind of traffic. Otherwise, why create public posts? And as I said just a second ago, there is greater potential to drive traffic after you update content.
Success for any website revolves around giving searchers what they want to read. Spending some time sprucing up an old article can help you achieve this.
Adding Internal Linking
A common practice for search engine optimization is by adding internal links. These tell Google what pages on your site you feel are the most important. Going back over older articles gives you a chance to add a few that you might not have had before.
Just make sure the internal links are relevant. There has to be some kind of underlying connection between what you’re writing and what you’re linking to.
*Benefits the Site as a Whole
Now, I am unable to confirm this in my research, which is why I added the asterisk. But it seems that when I write more content and update older pieces, the entire site does better in search.
Even posts that have nothing to do with what I’m updating will have a boost in visibility. This is why I try to maintain a specific publishing schedule as well as update content as much as I can.
Potential for Greater Income
And lastly, more visitors often means more income. Well, that is as long as you have ways of monetizing your website.
Coincidentally, the link I just used is from 2013…and as of this post, I really need to update the content. This was back when I first created the site.
Anyway, no matter what method you use to make money from the site, it all relies on huge amounts of visitor traffic. And updating those older articles may increase traffic which then may increase revenue.
Take the Time to Update Content Regularly
It does take time away from writing new blog posts. But, it pays off when you can turn a mediocre article into something that drives hundreds of visits per month. And some pages you might not have to update more than a few links, an image or two, or a bit of rewording.
Then again, you could have some articles from back in 2013 that are just horrible and need a complete rewrite.
At any rate, it’s always best to update content on a regular basis. Because giving people a reason to keep coming back is what maintaining a site is all about.
For more information about blogging, check out WriterSanctuary’s YouTube channel.
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