Don’t Forget About Your Old Content

Regularly posted, high-quality content is invaluable to building a web presence for your business, but you don’t always have to start from scratch. Get ahead of the curve with these tips for updating old content.

Newer isn’t always better — just ask any classic rock fan, or a content marketer.

With the push for businesses to generate a steady stream of new web content, it’s easy to overlook old material. Repurposing old content can save time, increase traffic to your site, and optimize user experience. Plus, it gives any content that may have gotten lost in the shuffle a shot at redemption — especially if recent news or events have made it particularly relevant and shareable again.

Stay Up to Speed

A tree if evergreen.

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Healthy gardens are always well tended: you have to take time to water your plants and pull the weeds in order for your garden to reach its full potential. By the same logic, regular maintenance is necessary to keep your blog current and user-friendly. Evergreen content, which is created to be relevant over long periods of time, is integral to maintaining a steady flow of traffic.

What this means is that in addition to creating new content, you must also maintain and update your most popular, existing posts to ensure that the information contained in them is still relevant and accurate.

Beyond simple updates, you’ll want to check to make sure the statistics you used are still correct, search for broken links, and sub for any outdated images or descriptions. Make sure that the article is still honest — if you’re recommending the top ten websites for music streaming and one of them no longer fits the bill, or a new contender has since emerged, your edits should reflect that.

Tap Into Top Trends

Check current trending topics and keyword rankings in order to shape your content into something you know your audience is looking for. You want to revitalize your best-performing posts, so when you’re thinking about whether content is worth updating or not, you should also consider inbound links, traffic, and shares on social media.

If you struck gold once, you might do it again with a revamped version of a tried-and-true topic. For content that is more time-specific (for example, an article called “Top Content Marketing Tips of 2012”), consider combining older ideas with current data.

Choose Your Keywords Wisely

Now that you’ve done your research, Hubspot recommends looking for opportunities to fit new keywords into old content. If there are keywords you know your site ranks well for in searches, you can use them to give your old posts a boost. If you’re trying to improve your ranking for certain keywords, you can incorporate them to both bolster your ranking and freshen up older content — it’s a win-win.

Keep Your Old URL

Think quality, not quantity. According to Search Engine Land, you’re better off using the same URL for updated content than you are creating a new one. By keeping an old URL, you carry the past success of your high-ranking content over to the posts you’re currently sending out. This also helps preserve the value of the link, as search engines are less likely to detect duplicate content, and you won’t have to worry about creating competition between your own pages.

Alert the Audience!

Once you’re ready to republish your freshly revamped content, your next step is finding the right places to share it. Now’s the time to take to social media with your shiny, refurbished post and reach out to sites that linked to the original content who might be interested in an updated version.

Think outside the box. Ask yourself whether there any new audiences who could benefit from your content and, if so, which websites they are likely to frequent. Are there any stylistic tweaks that could make the post appeal to a wider audience?

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer content marketing services and strategies to transform your company blog into an authoritative trade publication. Click to learn more about how to produce great content and prove ROI on your marketing efforts.

(Main image credit: Heisenberg Media/flickr)

Author Jamie Ayers

A graduate of Skidmore College, Jamie works at L&T as a content strategist, account manager, and editorial lead across a wide range of industries and fields, specializing in the digital economy, experiential marketing, and campaign-led initiatives. His other interests include electronics, Agatha Christie novels, and being outside.

More posts by Jamie Ayers