If your blog was a candy, it would be a Now and Later. Remember those? If you’re unfamiliar, they’re little squares of taffy, and according to Wikipedia, they’re called “Now and Later” because that’s when you’re going to want them: now, and later! Incidentally, that’s also the perfect way to describe a well-executed blog. If your strategy is on point, then your blog will add value to your customer experience and your SEO efforts both immediately and over time. The “Now” is obviously important, but the “Later” is where it gets interesting. Blog posts are gifts that keep on giving, and there are so many ways to add life to your old posts to make sure your blog maintains its SEO sweetness as time goes on.
The initial value of blog posts is no secret. When you finally hit “publish” after crafting a quality post, you have a shiny new indexed page to share with your web visitors, your social followers, and with Google. If your blog offers the option for email subscription, a new post will earn you a spot in your subscriber’s inboxes. Publishing a new blog post can cause a sudden spike in interaction and page views–a sugar rush, if you will! But, is that the complete life cycle of a blog?
Of course not! Blogs have so much long-term value. They continue to increase your chances of appearing in search results for targeted keywords, and they continue to act as resources for your potential and existing customers. Technically, you could just leave you old posts to sit around in your archive and they would still be working for you. However, there are so many exciting reasons for optimizing old posts, and it’s actually a good idea to do so from an SEO standpoint.
Right now, content marketing is more widely utilized than it ever has been. That means that the internet is experiencing a bit of a saturation problem, and ranking is getting more and more competitive. To add to the challenge, the demand for content is isn’t growing nearly as rapidly as the supply. In a 2014 case study, it was concluded that people could only consume so much content, despite thousands of new blog posts being published every day.
With that understanding, we can wisely shift our content creation strategy to consider the potential of our blog archive. The topics of your old blog posts are likely still relevant (and if they’re not, they should be updated!). Are there any posts that have historically high traffic rates? What makes those posts different than the others? What about posts that don’t get much traffic, but the visitors they do get consistently fill out forms or subscribe to your email list? How can we use what we’ve learned about high-traffic posts and apply that to high-converting posts?
Hubspot, one of the largest CRM’s and an authority in content marketing, coined the idea of historic optimization after they discovered that 46% of their leads were coming from 0.5% of their posts. Yeah, you read that right. With those drastic numbers as their inspiration, they devised a keyword-based plan to revamp some of their posts. They matched their highest performing keywords with old content, worked them into the old posts along with relevant current offers. And it worked: in one case, they saw a 240% increase in conversation rate, mean a single post started generating 3x more leads just from adding keywords that potential customers were searching for. Now, Hubspot’s blog is a behemoth, but this methodology can be scaled down to benefit a blog or company of any size, as long as there is a way to get your hands on keyword and performance data. Don’t know how to do that? Having a digital agency handle your blog could be a good fit for you!
Updating & Republishing
If historic optimization seems overwhelming, it’s still worth it to revisit your old blogs and make sure the information they state is accurate and a current representation of your business. This is not only beneficial from an informational standpoint–after all, you want to make sure what potential customers are reading is true–but Google will like you better for it. Google give preference to information that is up-to-date, because so do searchers. Maybe you have a great blog that was written three years ago. Nothing is untrue about the information, but it isn’t generating as much traffic as you think it has the potential to. Something as simple as republishing it to update the date on it can significantly boost it’s SEO value. Plus, the page already has search authority, so you’re building on preexisting value.
If you’ve freshened up some old information, feel free to share that effort with the world! There’s nothing wrong with an old post making another appearance on your social channels, especially if it’s be optimized for more lead generation. Because of the pressure to constantly be creating new content and new posts, it can be challenging to figure out a way to continue the conversation about important topics in your industry when you feel like you’ve said all there is to be said. By updating old posts and re-sharing them with your followers, you’re continuing to establish yourself as an authority on the subject without feeling like you’re constantly repeating yourself.
A Piece of the Strategy Puzzle
If you write blogs with the option of revisiting them in mind, your entire content creation strategy starts to take a new, exciting, more long-term shape. You could even publish a piece with republishing it in mind. Say your industry has a big expo a year from now, where you know that innovative products or techniques will be revealed. You can write a blog about the current status of those things, and plan to update your existing blog post as soon as you know new information. That’s not only smart for content creation, but also for customer service. Mindfully and expediently republishing and old post with new information demonstrates to your customers that you are dedicated to staying on top of the latest in your industry. And after all, data and conversion rates aside, that’s the heart of content creation: using every tool you can to make sure you can establish trust with your readership.
Now, with all this said, creating new content is still important. Remember, now and later! But, knowing the power of your old posts can add a depth to your content strategy that could deliver serious results. Ask yourself if your older posts are working as hard as they could be, both for you, and for your customer.
Feeling inspired but not sure where to start? Click here to reach out to a WFC expert about the potential of your blog–what it is, and what it could be.