The Ultimate Guide To Updating Old Blog Posts

Written by Phil Birss: Group CEO.
· 4 minute read

As each year passes, it seems as though more and more businesses are embracing the world of content marketing in a bid to boost sales. However, with so many companies battling it out for consumers’ attention, the internet is becoming increasingly crowded with content.

You only have to spend a few minutes on Twitter to see how incredibly noisy the internet has become. Within seconds of opening a social media app, you’re probably bombarded with blog posts, guides, infographics and videos. Unfortunately, far too much of this content is low quality and has been churned out in a matter of minutes. Let’s blame the long-held misconception that quantity is what matters the most. When you place too much emphasis on blog post frequency, you run the risk of churning out poor quality posts for the sake of it.

Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz and host of Whiteboard Fridays has long been a huge advocate of quality over quantity. In an interview with Content Marketing Institute he said: “I am seeing a huge amount of investment in content marketing and that’s exciting, but I think the pendulum has swung too far to quantity over quality. Very few companies approve projects that are expensive and interactive – projects that require designers, developers, and content creators to work together. Marketers are more biased toward, “Hey, let’s get up a blog post every day.”

“We are all so overwhelmed with how much content is being produced and broadcast. Only the very special stuff stands out. I’d like to encourage and urge folks not to chase that one viral hit but to invest in quality over quantity. And to consider that publishing every day or every week may not be a very good goal.”

So where do we go from here? Personally, I’m a huge fan of updating old blog posts and making them better and stronger than ever before. By taking a blog post you originally created in the space of half an hour and transforming it into a unique and valuable resource, you can help to tackle internet noise pollution and make the online world a better place. Wondering where to start? You’re in luck because I’ve created The Ultimate Guide To Updating Old Blog Posts.

“We are all so overwhelmed with how much content is being produced and broadcast. Only the very special stuff stands out. I’d like to encourage and urge folks not to chase that one viral hit but to invest in quality over quantity. And to consider that publishing every day or every week may not be a very good goal.”

Why should you update old blog posts?

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you probably have tons of blog posts in your back catalogue that may not be performing as well as they could. By updating old blog posts you can:

  • Make the most of content you already have
  • Extend the life of content you created months or even years ago
  • Ensure old blogs posts accurately represent your brand
  • Correct any mistakes
  • Save time (it will take less time to improve old blog posts than it will to write new ones)
  • Ensure information is accurate and up-to-date
  • Build your reputation as a reliable resource
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Improve your SEO

Updating your old blog posts could help you improve your reputation, strengthen your brand, increase traffic and boost sales.

These taxis represent the surge in visitors you’ll get to your website if you follow my advice

How should you choose which posts to update?

Deciding which posts to update can be tricky, particularly if you have lots of content to rummage through. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you choose which posts to prioritise:

List all your posts in a spreadsheet

Are you unsure where to start? Do you feel overwhelmed by the whole process? It helps if you can see all your posts laid out in front of you. Use a tool like Screaming Frog to crawl your blog and collate the links to each post.

You can then whack this data into a spreadsheet, add columns to show each change you wish to make (eg. create Pinterest friendly images, add keywords, fix typos – we’ll list more options later on in the post), and tick things off as you complete them.

Start with your most popular posts

It’s a good idea to start with the posts that currently bring in the most traffic. Use Google Analytics to identify your most popular posts and make these a priority.

Do a content audit

One by one, go through each post and highlight the changes that need to be made. It may be the case that you can make small changes there and then, ticking them off your spreadsheet straight away. There’s no point writing ‘fix the typo’ in your spreadsheet when you can correct it immediately.

If you spot a post that needs considerable amendments, add details to your spreadsheet and go back to it later. If you have a team of people working on your blog, make a note of who needs to do what. You can save time and improve results by making sure the right person is doing each job.

Try to see the fun side

The whole process doesn’t need to be a chore and you don’t have to update all your posts within a week! Thanks to your content audit and spreadsheet, this is the sort of thing you can gradually chip away at over time. It can be really satisfying to tick each update off your spreadsheet, knowing you’re making significant improvements to your website. That might be the nerdiest thing I’ve ever said. But think of it this way: these improvements could get you noticed, boost traffic to your website and make you money! This is something to get excited about. If you follow all the advice in this post, you will see results.

nerd gif

Which changes should you make?

Now that you’ve got your ducks in a row, it’s time to get started!

Ensure the content is accurate and up-to-date

First thing’s first, look out for posts that have aged as badly as 70% of Donald Trump’s tweets.

Your badly-aged posts might be packed full of out-of-date information, advice that is no longer helpful, or opinions you no longer believe in. In some cases, it might be unethical or unrealistic to change the content completely, but you could always add a brief note at the start of the article to highlight the date the post was written and point people in the direction of more recent articles if necessary.

Add links to other posts on your blog

Internal linking is a fantastic way of improving your website’s SEO while also making it easier for users to find other great content on your website. Don’t go overboard or shoe horn links in unnecessarily. Two or three internal links per 500 words is usually more than enough.

Add Pinterest-friendly images

Adding Pinterest-friendly images to each blog post may sound like a lot of effort, but the hard work will pay off. You’ll open your website up to a whole new platform and get your brand noticed by more people than ever.

Here’s an example of the Pinterest-friendly images we create for Run2.

The Ultimate Guide To Updating Old Blog Posts

If you’re not already using Pinterest, you’re in for a treat. If used correctly, this fantastic tool could help your traffic soar. No idea where to start? Take a look at our guide to using Pinterest to increase traffic and boost sales.

Update the post’s meta description

Every blog post on your website should have a keyword-friendly meta description. Not only could this improve your website’s visibility in search results, it could also increase the number of people who click on your post in the first place.

Update images

The images you use on your blog are really important, as Linzi explains in ‘Elicit Strong Emotional Responses by Using the Right Imagery on your Website’. Avoid cheesy stock photos or low quality images like the plague. Instead, use tools such as Unsplash, Kaboom Pics and Stocksnap to find beautiful images that are free to use. When you save the image to your computer, rename the file so that it’s SEO-friendly. So instead of saving it as ‘393482.jpg’, you might go for ‘tips-for-bloggers’.

Add keywords

Since keywords help to get your website noticed in search results, it makes sense to include them in your post. Spend time conducting a little keyword research before adding them to old posts when relevant. Don’t just force them in. If they look unnatural, your website will give off a spammy vibe. Never sacrifice content quality for keywords.

Correct any grammatical errors or typos

There’s nothing more off-putting for the average reader than grammatical errors or typos. During your content audit, go through each post and look out for any mistakes.

Pick out and highlight the most valuable quotes

When looking through each blog post, pick out two or three quotes and make them stand out from the rest of your content.

If you use WordPress, the Blockquote option as shown below can work well.

blockquote wordpress

Alternatively, you might decide to use a pull quote Plugin to make the most of your wise words.

Struggling to find a quote to make the most of? You might want to revisit your content. Each blog post should be so packed full of wisdom that you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting the best bits.

Create graphics to be shared on social

You may decide to represent your most profound quotes in beautiful blog graphics. Not only can these help to break up huge chunks of text and make the post easier to read, they can also be shared on social media to catch users’ attention. Here’s an example of a blog post where we included quotes in social-friendly graphics.

Embed relevant tweets

Embedding relevant tweets can help to make your post more engaging and add more credibility to your argument. This can be a particularly smart move if you use tweets from influential people as you can use this as an outreach tactic.

Identify and fix broken links

Every so often, it’s worth doing a quick audit to find out whether your site has any broken links. Not only can broken links hinder the user experience and leave visitors to your website at a dead end, they can also impact your SEO. Use tool such as Ahrefs to dig out these broken links and redirect them to the right place.

Make old titles more eye-catching and SEO-friendly

The title of your blog post plays an important role in its success. Not only will it draw people in and encourage them to read the post, it’ll also help your SEO rankings. If you want to improve your search engine visibility, make sure the title is SEO-optimised and includes keywords. Try to think of the type of phrase your ideal visitor is searching and make this your title.

If you change the URL of the blog post, you’ll need to redirect the old web address to the new one.

Create an infographic

As you’re updating each post, you may come across some articles that could be well represented by an infographic. If you’re clueless when it comes to Photoshop and Illustrator, there are plenty of online infographic tools such as Canva and Infogram. These are designed with beginners in mind and no experience is necessary. Once you’ve added your infographic to the post, be sure to share it on Pinterest. Infographics tend to be extremely popular on there!

Include quotes from relevant influencers in the post

Including quotes from other people within your posts can be a great way of catching their attention and encouraging social shares. As you go through each post, look out for relevant places to slot bloggers, writers, and influential people in. Once you’re done, be sure to send them an email or tweet to let them know they’ve been mentioned.

Including quotes from other people within your posts can be a great way of catching their attention and encouraging social shares.

Promote the post

Once you’ve finished the post, promote it on all relevant social platforms. Post it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, and make the most of that Pinterest-friendly image you created.

If you have an email list, look through your blog posts and group them into categories and mention them in emails to your subscribers. For example, let’s imagine you run a property company. You could send an email to your list along the lines of “10 blog posts to help you get on the property ladder” and link to relevant posts from there.

To expand the lifespan of your posts even further, use a scheduling tool like Hootsuite or Buffer to ensure each post will be shared regularly. If you’re reluctant to share the same content more than once to the same audience, you may be interested to learn that reposting is believed to bring in 75% of the engagement that the original share garnered. And with the lifespan of a tweet currently standing at just 18 minutes, recirculating old posts makes perfect sense.

Create spin-off articles

As you’re auditing each post, try to think of spin-off articles you could create as an extension to the one you’re currently updating. For example, as I’m writing this post, I’m already planning to do another article called ‘The Benefits Of A Content Audit’. As soon as it’s complete, I’ll add a link from this post to give readers more information.

Re-purpose your post for other websites

It goes without saying that all your content should be original, but some of your posts might be more special than others. Pick out the posts that really do stand out from the crowd and repurpose them for other websites in your industry.

Let’s imagine you run a food hygiene consultancy and you’ve written a blog post sharing 10 of the most disgusting things you’ve found during restaurant inspections. You could pitch your story to journalists and create an infographic to pitch to health and safety bloggers. Not only will this trick help you make the most of your content, it could also help boost your PR and potentially your SEO in the process.