How To Update & Refresh Outdated Website Content (And Why)

How To Update & Refresh Old Website Content (And Why)

It’ s perfectly normal to lose organic search traffic for several posts over time.

If you’ re publishing content regularly, the particular traffic to new posts may compensate for or even supersede older ones, making it difficult to understand the problem.

Fortunately, it’ s probable to regain both the previous traffic and keyword search positions – not to mention create an entirely new content promotion opportunity – with a content refresh.

What exactly is content refresh?

A content refresh is definitely an update to your existing content so that it addresses search purpose with improved data, information, quotes, and examples, plus proves to search engines that it is still an authoritative supply for that search query.

For example , let’ s i9000 say that you published a guide about digital marketing best practices in 2018. The post did well initially and ranked for several keywords. By 2022, however , it might possess started to slip down the SERPs. The marketing landscape has changed, the statistics cited to bolster your arguments may no longer be up to date, and your reported best practices are no longer relevant.

Google recognizes this particular and will reward those who up-date their content with the latest plus greatest.

Really does refreshing old content actually help for SEO?

Fresh content has become a ranking factor for Google since at least 2011 , and patents filed by the Mountain Look at company in 2003 indicate that “ data relating to document inception date” is among the multiple factors that the algorithm takes into consideration when ranking search results.

Google compares fresh content to “ 🍪 warm cookies right out of the oven” — saying they’ re greatest enjoyed when piping scorching.

How To Update & Refresh Old Website Content (And Why)
No, seriously, they actually said that .

It adds that people want to see one of the most relevant information for their lookup query, whether it’ s i9000 related to breaking news, repeating events like the Olympics or maybe product searches like “ best DSLR cameras”.

For example , whenever we ran the keyword “ how to refresh content” inside Content Harmony, the results pointed out that the average age of the top-ranking posts was just one year old.

How To Update & Refresh Old Website Content (And Why)
Use the SERP Freshness section of our Research Intent reports to help determine whether the topic you’ lso are working on will require frequent refreshes in the future. ‌ ‌

Beyond this, we’ ve seen a number of personal and public case studies that show clear research improvements after updating content.

Hence, the answer is an emphatic yes. Refreshing old articles definitely helps SEO .

As long as you can prove to search engines that you’ re adding value for your content, there is an opportunity to restore lost traffic and improve rankings on your old articles assets.

Disregard & neglect old content material at your own peril.

How to figure out which content needs to be updated

As a general rule of thumb, we don’ t recommend that you look at major overhauls of your content within the first six months of publishing. Which is, of course , assuming that you spent period with keyword research, creating, editing, and distributing it.

Minor modifications, such as fixing grammatical errors or changing some CTAs around are fine, however your time is better spent promoting this content since it’ ersus likely still being tested by Google on several competitive topics. We often view it take 12-18 months for a piece of content to reach its peak traffic levels, meaning updating content before after that may be premature.

This graphic gives an overview of the three main sorts of content refreshes– keep reading plus we' ll dive straight into each one.

How To Update & Refresh Old Website Content (And Why)

1 – Quick Wins Audit

Goal: Focus on improving content that is almost ranking

Perhaps you published a piece of content in regards to a year ago that’ t doing very well in the Search engines. It’ s ranking for a number of keywords and provides healthy natural traffic. But , it hasn’ t reached those #1 rankings you wanted this to.

Doing a quick wins audit will help identify content that is ranking moderately well, but might be doing better.

In this articles marketing quick wins guide , we focus on identifying content based upon rankings collected from Google Search Console or even tools like Ahrefs, and prioritizing the project listing based upon traffic improvement possible.

2 : Content Decay Audit

Goal: Focus on improving content that used to rank nicely

Content decay refers to a period when the article begins to shed rankings for a certain key word and traffic starts to drop off. This is usually content that do well initially, but development started to plateau and eventually stagnate since search engines realize it’ s not serving the topic as well as it used to, or competitors have released much better or fresher content on the same topic.

You will discover these opportunities quickly getting into year-over-year analysis of the Google Analytics report for Behavior > Site Content > All Pages . If you haven’ t accomplished this process recently, make sure to compare against multiple past years, eg 2021 vs 2018, to find URLs that got traffic peaks years ago.

3 – Evergreen Content Refreshes

Goal: Update plus re-promote seasonal and classic content

Most good content advertising programs will have multiple content material formats that are relevant seasonally (eg “ best holiday gifts for gardeners” ), annually (“ best ad campaigns of 2021” ), or on other recurring calendars (eg “ what to expect at your first Consumer Electronics Show” )

Such content should be revisited regularly and updated a few months prior to its relevance. For instance, your own “ thanksgiving turkey recipes” hub should probably be updated during the summer or earlier fall to improve rankings by October and November.

Refreshing, updating, and promoting such content is often the only way to maintain rankings from year to year. If somebody is searching for “ TikTok marketing trends 2022” then an article published in 2020 isn’ t going to provide that search intent perfectly.

These evergreen assets are also ideal to continually promote, so when done correctly on a single URL if appropriate, any hyperlinks built will continue to generate value in the future as the page becomes more authoritative as time passes.

Example Evaluation

Let’ s take a look at Content Harmony’ s post 11 proven ways to increase e-commerce conversion rates , first released in July 2016.

The blog post started to rank well in the very first few months after publishing, yet never realized its complete potential, which would have caused it to show up within a quick wins audit done a year after publication.

Then it saw a stable increase in the amount of organic traffic, too, which puts it in our content decay category.

How To Update & Refresh Old Website Content (And Why)
Screenshot from Ahrefs

At its peak, it ranked for 4 keywords in the top 10 search results along with total monthly traffic of about 30. It’ s not really our top-performing content by any means, but it seems like it was displaying potential. If we decide we would like to reach an audience associated with eCommerce marketers or shop owners, it would be valuable to purchase updating it.

How To Update & Refresh Old Website Content (And Why)
Key word opportunity analysis from Ahrefs.

However , towards the end of 2017, the article started to lose monthly traffic— possibly because of lower clickthrough rates. This still maintained organic search positions for many keywords but individuals started to crater off as well in mid-2019. The lower clickthrough rate must have played a role in lower rankings, as well, alongside content freshness.

Since then, the content has performed poorly and received only 3 ticks in the past 3 months according to Google Search Console.  

How To Update & Refresh Old Website Content (And Why)
Screenshot from GSC

It’ h clear that the blog post must be refreshed for it to start rank again.

While this is one example from your own blog, it’ s possible that you have such articles on your site too. There are numerous ways to track underperforming content, but the method we used was to navigate to Google Search Gaming console > Search Results > Webpages .

This will give you the top-performing pages first, but as you scroll down you will see the ones that don’ t get much traffic. Within this dashboard, you can also input person URLs to see how nicely they’ re performing plus filter according to the time period. Use the Compare feature to the date selection to see which posts have dropped off the most from past yrs.

Use our own Content Marketing Quick Wins guide to go way much deeper across your entire site is to do a more advanced analysis for many of the keywords that you rank for.

How you can update old content intended for SEO

Let’ s take you via a 5-step process to refresh any piece of underperforming content material on your site.

This graphic gives an overview of the overall process all of us use on all content material refresh projects– keep reading plus we' ll dive straight into each one.

How To Update & Refresh Old Website Content (And Why)

Everything we’ re going to show you within this guide can be done manually : but we’ ll run a Keyword Review and utilize the Content Grader in Content Harmony to show you how to obtain faster.

We’ ll be using the same article from our blog referenced previously — 11 proven ways to increase e-commerce conversion rates .

That article was released almost five years ago, so let’ s start by getting a fresh look at the data.

Step 1 – Make sure the content still matches research intent

Our first step needs to be revisiting search intent to verify whether our original approach is still correct and recognize if any high-level articles focus or structural modifications need to be made.

While it’ h definitely possible to open up dozens of tabs for manual queries and research, we’ ll skip that phase. Instead, we recommend that you run a key phrase report regarding “ increase eCommerce conversion rates” in Content Tranquility, to give you all the information you need neatly sorted inside a single dashboard.

Right after running the report, the immediate things that stand out with this post are:

  1. Our current write-up matches the research search intention, but with statistics that are outdated and best practices that aren’ t applicable anymore.
  2. The average SERP age is 1 year, meaning that our article definitely should be up-to-date and that’ s probably a big reason why it’ h experiencing content decay.
How To Update & Refresh Old Website Content (And Why)
Shouldn’ t have waited 6 years in order to update this blog post

Next, let’ s head over to the content grading tool to see just how it grades the current edition of the content, and whether we need to beef up the word rely and keyword suggestions.

How To Update & Refresh Old Website Content (And Why)
Content Grading Tool suggests there’ s function to be done.

To the most of our knowledge, there is no manual process that you can use at this stage. We all couldn’ t find a free content grading tool — you could always “ CTRL+F” for keywords but that’ s super tedious, time-consuming, and error-prone.

Plugging the existing content material into the tool reveals that will we’ ve used just 31 out of a recommended 129 phrases — therefore it’ s clear that people need to add a little more framework and semantically related key phrases to the post. The device also allows you to toggle among unused recommendations, giving all of us a solid list of sub-topics we can cover.

How To Update & Refresh Old Website Content (And Why)
Suggestions through the Content Harmony Content Grader on sub-topics that haven' t been covered yet.

Whilst it’ s possible the fact that article covered the e-commerce landscape well in 2016, we’ re now five years on so it’ s likely that new eCommerce topics have emerged.

Shopify share, for example , was $40 CAD in July 2016. It’ s currently trading in $1, 065 CAD, lower from its all-time high of $2, 139 in November 2021. It’ s onboarded millions of new users, and the Oughout. S. eCommerce industry has exploded nearly 81% since 2017. Clearly, there’ s a great deal to catch up on.

Step 2 : Cover the topic more thoroughly

Our aim now is to uncover new keyphrases that may have emerged considering that we last published this article and make sure we don’ t have any main gaps on core sub-topics.

Content Harmony’ s Keyword Report section reveals new search queries, questions to answer, plus authoritative sources to link to.

The first thing that stands out is the “ associated searches” section inside the subject model.

How To Update & Refresh Old Website Content (And Why)
Screenshot from Content Harmony

Some of these searches are definitely time-specific and can just be addressed with content material that’ s updated periodically. For example:

  • Ecommerce conversion rate 2021: Self-explanatory, since conversion rates are different each year.
  • Best converting eCommerce websites: Design and consumer acquisition best practices are constantly changing — eCommerce shops now eye UGC articles delivered natively through TikTok as a big growth funnel, which wasn’ t the case in 2015. Hence, this list will need to be updated, as well.
  • Shopify conversion price by industry: We definitely didn’ t have as numerous Shopify stores in 2015 as we do now, therefore it’ s worth handling this question in the updated content.

It’ s recommended that you scroll through the “ Describe Analysis” tab, too. This can help you browse the top-ranking posts and what H2s / H3s they’ ve used to deal with the topic. Select whatever stands out to you and add it to the brief.

Refresh title tags and meta description

We recommend that you update both your title tag and meta description when refreshing articles. This serves as an additional transmission to search engines that your content material is new and worth a second look. What’ h more, a mention of a good update in the title tag also helps increase clickthrough prices since readers understand that they’ ll be presented with the newest facts and data.

You can possibly write the new title and meta description at the research stage or put it as part of your notes for the writer.

How To Update & Refresh Old Website Content (And Why)
Readers want the most comprehensive content for their problem. This helps draw them in.

Step 3 – Look for in order to make the content stand out

Are you able to add new images, visuals, charts, blockquotes, or even videos to your content? Will there be sections that need more illustrations to display the reader exactly what you' re talking about?

Does it make sense to spend time optimizing for showcased snippets and FAQ Schema? Do you need to answer more reader Q& As in an FAQ section?

If you’ re refreshing something that’ s a few years previous, there will be an opportunity to update more rewriting a few paragraphs.

For example , in case we’ re answering queries about eCommerce conversion rates and best-converting websites, we’ ll be sure to include screenshots of which stores are knocking from the park. It’ s furthermore possible to have charts displaying the fluctuation of conversion rates by year or in comparison by industry so that it’ s clear that you’ re doing the best work in trying to address the particular freshness in that topic’ s search intent.

Content Harmony’ s visual analysis feature gives you the top-ranking images for that keyword, so you’ re capable of automate this step too. Search for ways to differentiate your visible assets or to improve on the ones that are currently ranking.

Step 4 – Update anything that is out of date

Refreshing old content indicates there’ s an opportunity that you should add fresher data, data, and examples. Scan your own article for sections exactly where updated stats are necessary — in our eCommerce conversion price post, for example , we can discuss 2021 conversion rate data.

It’ h also possible that you’ ve published a lot more content since this last write-up. Some of that content is going to be related to this new blog, so it’ s continually a good idea to double-check what new internal links you can add. This might be a combination of blogs, product pages, or features — what ever is relevant.

It’ s possible to do this manually, but you might miss out on a number of pages especially if you’ lso are publishing a lot of content.

Content Tranquility scans your site for topical cream relevance and top internal link targets so that’ s another step that can be easily automated.

For this article, all of us found two articles on this blog that were not interlinked with the eCommerce conversion blog post, so we’ ll end up being adding those too.

How To Update & Refresh Old Website Content (And Why)
Interlinking is never ever a bad idea. Content Harmony' t internal link suggestions mention a few potential Content A harmonious relationship articles worth linking in order to.

Step 5 – Release and promote like new

The primary aim of updating old content might be in order to regain lost rankings in the SERPs, but that doesn’ t mean you should ignore all of your normal promotional channels that you would use on a new piece of content.

If your content performed well earlier, it’ ersus likely that users discovered it engaging and informative. Now that it’ s up-to-date, there’ s no reason why they won’ t take pleasure in reading it again.

Treat this similar to other big content launch– tweet it, email it to your list, etc .

Some ways to market your updated content are:

  • Email it to your newsletter subscribers, using a mention that it’ t updated with the latest statistics and data.
  • Re-post on all possessed social media channels.
  • Send a personal email in order to subject matter experts who might have contributed to the updated content with a quote or remark.
  • Share within relevant communities across Reddit, Quora, Slack, Facebook groupings, & Twitter lists.

Closing thoughts

A articles refresh project should be seen as an opportunity to address search purpose better and provide the most comprehensive answer for that query. The idea here is to devote enough time to the content update procedure so that you’ re creating the best possible chance at executing.

Minor updates such as a couple of 100 extra words in an existing sub-heading won’ t amass the same benefits. As defined in the sections above, the full process gives you the opportunity to rank for more keywords, boost existing SERP rankings, and obtain both more traffic and backlinks to your content.


Want to see how Articles Harmony helps you build content material that outranks the competition?

The blog post you simply read scores Good in our Content Grader for the subject " how to refresh content".

How To Update & Refresh Old Website Content (And Why)
This article scored " Good" using our content grader, which helps you check how comprehensive your content is before hitting publish.

Grade your content towards an AI-driven topic design using Content Harmony — get your 1st 10 credits for free if you schedule a demo , or register here to consider it for a spin by yourself.

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