When Should You Update Old Content

When Should You Update Old Content?

There are many reasons why you should update your older blog posts. The best reason to update blog content is to bring fresh, relevant, and up-to-date information to your readers. If you update your older blog posts regularly, you will not only draw new visitors to your blog but also convert those visitors to potential customers.

Because there are no hard rules on how often you have to update the blogs on your site, you will have to determine the frequency for yourself based on your goals. Several occasions could prompt a need to update blog posts. In this article, learn some of the times SEO and copywriting experts recommend updating your blog.

When It Becomes Irrelevant

It’s always important to update blog content when it becomes irrelevant. The information that is accurate when you write a blog might not be accurate for months and years later without an update. Some examples of blog topics that would soon become irrelevant:

  • The Best Toys for Kids in 2019
  • Packing for Your Trip During COVID-19
  • Moving Your Team to Windows 7

As you can see, these examples highlight how information that is relevant today may quickly lose its value. An article titled “The Best Toys for Kids in 2019” would need to be updated each year to stay relevant to readers. No one will care what the best toys were several years ago, as the toys may not even be available anymore. You can simply update these articles with the best toys of each year and keep the majority of the text the same.

Articles about specific periods, such as living during the COVID-19 pandemic or Y2K quickly become irrelevant once the conditions that prompt the blog end. So while it was a great idea to write about these topics at the time, they aren’t evergreen. Therefore, these articles will become irrelevant. Depending on the nature of the article, you may or may not want to spend the time updating it to reflect a more current topic.

Besides, articles about antiquated technology that has been replaced, such as Windows 7, are no longer of any value to readers. You might choose to update these to reflect the most recent technology available so readers will still want to access the page.

Another reason to update blog content is when it has been too long since you have done it. In fact, many readers are not even aware that the article exists. When you update the blog post, you can then share it on your social media platforms to give the blog post new life.

When It Underperforms

Search engine optimization or SEO is very important if you want to get traffic to your website. One of the most important reasons to update the old blog content is because you want to increase your search engine rankings. Why? Because people are using search engines more than ever to find out information about products and services that you offer on your blog.

When you update the blog content, it will make it more relevant and also help to bring more traffic to your site. This is an important factor in search engine rankings, as Google has an algorithm that won’t deliver older pages and sites as top results over websites that have been updated more recently.

One thing that you need to keep in mind while looking at how to measure the success of old blog posts is the number of backlinks. These backlinks are the ones that bring in traffic to your website. If the number of backlinks is good, the existing post is working and performing well. It is helping to bring traffic to your site. Backlinks will increase your chances of being ranked higher on search engines.

The other important tool that we need to consider while asking how to measure the success of old blog posts is the number of people who read them. If a particular post gets a very large number of likes, shares, comments, or views, this means a lot of people have found your content through this particular post. Once you know the number of visits you are getting, you can easily conclude whether you are on the right track or not. If the post isn’t working, you can always update it and then check to see if the post performs better.

UPDATE YOUR EXISTING CONTENT WITH SOME OR ALL OF THE FOLLOWING TACTICS:

Add the relevant questions to your content.

Format the questions as headings (h2, h3, etc. depending on what works best for your page).

Write a complete paragraph that answers each question. Be concise: the average length of a featured snippet paragraph is 45 words. If necessary, you can elaborate further in subsequent paragraphs.

Change the language throughout the post to align with the language used in the search queries.

Mimic the formatting of the pages that are currently appearing in the PAA.

Add any additional content that will help your page be the most in-depth article on the subject.

ContentWriters

When It Falls Out of Favor

There are certain terms and topics that fall out of favor with the general public or are replaced with more updated terms. For instance, LGBT is now referred to as LGBTQIA. Cell phones are now referred to as smartphones or mobile devices. If you have a blog post that features language or topics that do not use the currently accepted language, it could be a good time to update it.

The outdated language can make the blog post come across as outdated. It could make you or your company seem out of touch. In a worst case scenario, leaving this sort of content on your site could unintentionally offend someone. When instances of this are identified, it’s always a good idea to go ahead and update the impacted content on your site.

When Your Business Changes

You might want to update your blog content when you have made a major change to your business. This is especially important if you have added new products recently. A great way to give old blog articles new life is by posting articles about the newly introduced products, or by removing sections of articles that contain content about old products and services that are no longer available.

Over time, your business will change. As it does, you want to ideally make sure that all of your content reflects your current business. If your company changes ownership or has a new stance on something, opens new locations, or closes certain stores, you may find that several of your blog posts are no longer accurate. You want the blog posts on your website to be accurate and create positive attention. Anything that fails to do this doesn’t need to be there.

When It’s Considered Old

The more often that your content changes, the more times that people will see your posts, and the more times that they will see links to your posts from other sites. Unfortunately, most blog content is considered old after only a few days or weeks. Most of the traffic to your blog posts will occur in the first few days after it is published and shared on social media networks. For the majority of blog posts, your opportunity for lots of traffic ends after this period.

You may be able to drive additional traffic to your blog by updating the content after it’s considered “old”. Sometimes this can be an effective strategy for getting the most out of each post. Some signs that a blog post is considered old:

  • No traffic goes to it
  • Some or none of the backlinks to the post are working
  • The sources used in your blog post, either as hyperlinks on anchor text or as a source list, no longer go to working website pages
  • The information is out of date and no longer relevant
  • The post doesn’t reflect the current stances of your business

When You Want To!

It is important to highlight the fact that you can update your blog content whenever you want to. If you wake up tomorrow morning and decide it’s time to update all of the blog posts on your company’s site from 2016, then you can go ahead and do it. There is nothing wrong with just updating the content on your site. There aren’t any penalties. So if you want to update anything, make a plan and create new content.

There could be a discussion about whether it makes more sense to create new blog posts over updating old blog posts. An argument can be made for either perspective. Although, having new content posted on your blog regularly is important. If you have to choose between creating new blog posts or updating old content, it’s probably a safe bet to publish the new blog post. However, if you can update old ones and publish new blog posts too, this is the most ideal situation when it comes to managing your website.

Updating your old blog posts doesn’t have to be complicated. You can simply review the content, replace outdated content, and add more where it could be beneficial. There are many reasons why you should consider updating content regularly as part of your content marketing strategy. You can even hire a writer to review old blog posts and to update them using the parameters that you decide on together.

Melanie G. is a freelance writer and editor living in Tampa, Florida. She's freelanced full-time since she left her writing job at Nielsen in 2012.

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