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How to Identify and then Repurpose Old Blog Posts

The importance of quality content on a website cannot be exaggerated: it draws visitors to a website, it makes them stay there if it's engaging, and it helps in achieving a website's goals (whether that be to get people to subscribe to a newsletter, fill out a form, purchase a product, sign up for an event, etc.). However, in the fast-paced and dynamic environment of our digital times, content that was relevant just a few months ago (let alone a few years ago) can become yesterday’s news and completely useless. In this post, you'll learn how to identify old blog posts that can be repurposed, as well as how you can update them.

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6 Tips to Turn Your Old Work into Fresh Relevant Content

Working hard to create content that in just a few months will be totally worthless is downright frustrating. Having your content become a relic in a hot minute might leave you feeling stuck, and for good reason. Worse than that, instead of gathering traffic, leads, and conversions, old and irrelevant content may actually be hurting your website rankings. If old posts on your website contain incorrect information or outdated tips, visitors will be quick to bounce over to another source of information. More so, search engines take notice when your website has a significant number of old posts that haven't been updated; and those posts can dilute the relevance of the rest of the website, as search engines tend to look for fresh, up-to-date content. But does this mean you have to delete all your old posts? Not at all. While some pieces of content may, in fact, be completely useless, others may well be eligible for a "facelift." As an SEO company, with a focus on content marketing, our experience has taught us that quality content never gets old. That is, if you nourish it periodically and keep it updated and fresh.

Here’s how to keep your content crisp and pertinent:

1 - Find a Post That Can & Should Be Updated

Before actually going through the process of updating old posts, you first need to peruse through your blog to find posts worthy of this work. Posts about events that took place in the past, social networks that don't exist or aren't relevant anymore (MySpace, Vine, etc.), or outdated posts (The Best SEO Tips for 2010) – would probably not be suitable candidates. So which posts would?

Evergreen posts: Think posts like 24 Useful Tips for Content Writers, The Dos and Don'ts of Networking at Events, How to Create a Viral Video, etc. These types of posts have been dubbed "evergreen content" because they can stay relevant for a very long time, as long as you give them the necessary tweaks. For example, the basics of networking at events are not something that is going to change anytime soon. However, with the further evolution of social media and smartphones, such a post could be updated with new advice, like finding and following the social media profiles of the event’s speakers and notable participants beforehand.

Great posts with low traffic:
Let's say you've published a great post in the past but due to unfortunate circumstances it never got the traffic it deserved. Maybe there had been a major news story at the time that captured everyone's attention, maybe you were clueless about how to promote the piece, or maybe it had some SEO limitations that prevented it from being ranked properly on search engines. Since this post is already out there – why not leverage it by fixing those problems so everyone can enjoy it?

Great posts with high traffic: If your Guide to Facebook Marketing from 2014 had generated a ton of traffic back then, it's high time you update it to reflect current Facebook marketing methods. Facebook is still going strong (for some), and this post has proven its popularity in the past. If you make the necessary updates to it (and take out whatever is irrelevant), it's a pretty safe bet.

Short posts with potential: If one of the posts you published in the past had gotten plenty of attention back then, but it's a bit on the short side – make it even more popular now by expanding it. Embellish by providing more examples and enrich it by adding images and videos, etc.

2 - Inject Some Fresh Text into It (And Cut out Anything Stale)

DJ Grandma

Once you've found a post you wish to update, read it through and see what you can add. The purpose here isn't to just make it longer, but to make it more comprehensive, more relevant, and most importantly – more engaging. If it's a list post, add items to the list. If it's a how-to post, think whether there any more steps you can add to it.

A great piece of advice about how to go about updating evergreen content is to check out the comments to the original post. In them, you can find questions from readers that were not answered in the original version of the post – and add the answers as you update your content. You could also check out similar posts from competitor websites to see whether they include anything which you hadn't initially included the first time around. If you've had any new insights about the topic since writing that post, add them too! Remember, on top of updating the post, it's always a good idea to improve its quality. So take this chance to proofread it once again, correct any typos or spelling mistakes, and delete any information that isn't relevant or necessary anymore.

3. Add Some Razzle Dazzle with Images and Videos

Any piece of content can be made more alluring by throwing images, graphics, and videos into the mix. Plus, adding visual elements to your posts will make them more memorable. 

But that's not all; there are many other benefits to using visuals on your blog. They support your content, they encourage sharing on social media, they help you connect emotionally with your readers, they add life and color to your blog, and they improve SEO. Here are some ideas for incorporating video and visuals into your posts:

  • Search YouTube for a video that is relevant to the content’s topic and add it to the post. You can even make such a video yourself, or use a video that you've made in the past. 
  • Make the content (or a specific section in it) into an infographic, and add the infographic to the post. If the post is a technical guide/review, add some useful screenshots of the steps or processes discussed. 
  • Do you have an Instagram account for your blog? Embed relevant photos into the post.
  • Is the header image of your post a boring stock photo? If you have a graphic designer on hand or possess some graphic design skills yourself, replace it with an original graphic. 
  • If your post already includes images, see if you can replace them with more attractive, or even original images. 
  • Found a nice presentation online that is relevant to your post? Embed it into the content.

4 - Optimize the Post for Search Engines

It's a shame to have written a great post that doesn't get found online easily. Besides updating the text, images, etc. of your post, make sure you optimize it for search engines. The Awaken Your Superhero blog suggests you make the following SEO changes to your post:

  • Check keywords: Are the keywords you used still relevant or should you replace them with new ones? 
  • Improve your title
  • Add a header image or improve the one you have 
  • Pay attention to the post's meta-description: make it as click-inducing as possible (without it being clickbait)
  • Check for technical issues: Slow loading time, broken links etc., and fix them accordingly
  • Proofread the post (your writing skills may have improved since you originally wrote it) 
  • Update the post's URL 
  • Update the post's publication date

5 - Use Internal Linking to Boost Relevance

To draw the attention of visitors on your site to your updated post, link to it in places where they would most likely notice. If you have a newer post on the same or a similar topic, make sure to include a link to the older post inside. You can also use a "related posts" widget to add relevant links (with image thumbnails) to the bottom of posts on a similar topic. The idea is to have your newly updated post be among the suggested articles.

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6 - Take to Social Media to Promote Your Post

A significantly changed post that was great to begin with deserves a worthy announcement, don't you think? Spread the news on your social media channels, to maximize traffic to your post. Post it on your Facebook business page, link to it in relevant Facebook groups, post it on your Twitter account, if you have an Instagram account – you could upload an image with a teaser quote from the new post and direct followers to a link to that post in your Instagram bio, post it on LinkedIn, on Google+ - well, you get the idea.

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These days, most Internet users don't make regular visits to their favorite blogs – they'd much rather follow those blogs' social profiles and get their updates from there. So get them where they're at!

Give Your Old Content a Facelift & Make the Most Out of What You Already Have

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Updating old posts can be a good solution for those super-busy periods when you don't have time to write something new. It's also a great and relatively easy way to help boost your website by publishing great and highly relevant content. So why not put out some great content while taking a load off an already busy content production schedule? What's your experience with updating old posts? Let us know!

Dafna Ben-Yehoshua is a Content Strategist at 3 Door Digital. Dafna writes about Digital Marketing, Social Networks, and basically everything about the Internet.

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