Knowing When to Optimize Your Historical Blog Posts

April Nelson - February 5, 2021

Blog posts can be a great way to drive organic traffic to your website and you may even find some posts among your website’s most highly visited pages. Over time however, blog posts tend to receive fewer impressions, generating fewer website visits. Consider updating older blog posts as part of your content optimization strategy. Updating blog posts for optimization can be more nuanced than “regular” web pages. “Optimization” or “updates” can refer to all elements of a post, including meta data, on-page copy, and related assets (images, video, etc.). Ultimately, it depends on the keyword, user intent tied to the keyword, and the content.

When categorizing blog posts, here are a few approaches that can be taken:

1. Do Not Update

  • Blog posts on specific timely events that occurred in the past.
  • Company announcements
  • Press Releases

2. Consider Updating

  • Evergreen topics
  • Topics that are still highly relevant where the POV has changed.
  • Topics where there is more content that could be provided.

If you are considering updating an existing blog post, it should have a strong foundation that can be updated without re-writing it completely (for example tweaking the copy, adding updated graphics, adding a new section). This can be valuable if the existing post is already ranking somewhat highly for the target keyword.

3. Leave as-is and Write a New Post

  • A topic that has been covered on a past blog post, but the landscape / POV has changed so significantly that you would be completely re-writing the old post from scratch.

In this case, write a new post and link to it from the old post. For example, add a note to the top of the old post stating something like “We have created a new post on this subject that has more up-to-date findings and research. Read this post here.” When writing a new post – be sure to address these fundamentals for writing SEO-friendly blogs.

For any blog post that has changed in a meaningful way (which is subjective), update the timestamp for the post. “Meaningful” is driven primarily by the importance of the updates, not the amount of them.

For example:

  • Meaningful with small updates: You change the priority of a checklist and add a new top recommendation.
    • This would be significant to a user, even though the number of updates is not that great.
  • Not Meaningful with many updates: Changing many small and less important elements of the post like if you executed all of the following changes at once; underlining sub-headlines, changing the word-use of non-critical words, swapping a stock image with another similar stock image, changing the CTA, and fixing typos.
    • This would not be significant to a user, even though the number of updates is quite large.

Should I or should I not update that old blog post? The next time you are faced with this question, be sure to consider these important factors.

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