How to Stretch Your Marketing Budget by Updating Old Blog Posts
Growing and learning is part of being human. It’s also part of being a content marketer. If you don’t look back at your early work and cringe at what you see, you’re not doing it right. Did you outsource content to the lowest bidder and end up with poorly written dreck that uses 1,000 words to say absolutely nothing? Did you churn out several 250-word blog posts a day? Even if you did all the right things, the SEO game is constantly changing and your content needs to evolve with it.
If your budget is in a holding pattern with the uncertainties of COVID-19, now is a great time to circle back and update your old blog posts. Use this opportunity to build a library of robust, well-written articles that impart useful information, and you’ll see a steady increase in organic traffic from Google. Here’s how to do it.
1. Add Heft to Lightweight Content
Your 250-word blog posts may have been fine back in the day, but now we know that Google prefers longer articles. It’s time to take those short posts and expand them into something more weighty.
Does that mean writing a whole lot of words about nothing at all? No! What it does mean is taking time to go into detail about a topic. An easy way to do this is to add H2s and H3s as guideposts, then expand upon each of them with a paragraph or two. Questions and answers are a great fit for informational blog posts as well—look at the questions in Google’s “people also ask” box and also try to anticipate other questions your readers might have.
2. Update Links
First, make sure there are no broken links in your blog posts. Next, go through and add new links. Odds are that if a blog post is three years old, you’ve written a lot of new content since then that can be linked.
3. Optimize Images
Many content marketers used alt tags on images as a means of placing more keywords onto a page without impacting the flow and readability of the text. Now, we know that Google wants us to use alt tags for their intended purpose: to provide detailed descriptions of an image for users who are visually impaired. This means you want to go with “woman laughing alone with salad” and not “best salad in new york city | best salad new york | nyc best salad | best salad 10018.”
4. Update Calls to Action
Did you even have a call to action when you started blogging? If you did, is it still relevant to what you do now? Was your CTA focused on a special promotion or a deal you no longer offer? Add an evergreen CTA to all of your blog posts when you update them.
5. Audit Keywords
Search engine optimization strategies around keywords have changed in recent years, with the focus shifting from simple repetition to filling a post with related terms that add depth and tell the story of what your content is about. Strip out repetitive keywords when needed, optimize blog posts that weren’t written to target any keywords at all, and assess whether a different keyword might yield more traffic for your website.
6. Make Content Evergreen
This might not be possible for all of your content, but where you can, rewrite outdated blog posts to make them evergreen. Google also likes posts that mention the current year—i.e., the best salads of 2020—but the caveat here is that if you go with this strategy, you’re going to have to remember to update these blog posts in January so they’re not outdated. No current reader wants to view your picks for the most reliable laptops of 2013.
When you republish your blog posts, there are three things to remember. First, don’t change the URL. Second, go into the Google Search Console and submit a reindex request—Google will do this on its own at some point, but it’s nice to expedite the process. Finally, monitor your rankings. It’s satisfying to see your efforts pay off with increased traffic.
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Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on Forbes.com, Inc.com, MSN.com, and many other major business media outlets.
Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.