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Digital marketing strategies place a lot of weight on content creation and generation. And, of course, this is a significant aspect of any content strategy.
But what about your already-published content that’s months, maybe even years old? Have you ever thought about revamping your existing content? By refreshing your past content, you may trigger new performance results and drive traffic without having to write an entirely new article.
Before we get into how to refresh your content, let’s review the basics to give you a better understanding of this practice and its importance.
“Content refresh” refers to the action of updating, editing and optimizing your existing content to maintain or boost its performance. You can revamp anything from blogs, thought-leadership posts and landing pages to guidebooks, knowledge bases, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Even your “evergreen” content needs to be updated periodically to keep it relevant.
How you revamp your content varies from piece to piece. It may include simple fixes like inserting visual elements, examples, actionable steps, navigation elements, etc. Or, more complex updates, such as changing the angle of the post altogether.
So, when should you conduct a refresh? Here are some factors to consider:
Related Article: 5 Ways to Repurpose Outdated Content to Your Advantage
A refresh strategy effectively increases your content’s metrics and overall performance by using the posts you already have. For example, Ben Kazinik, director of content at Mayple, used keyword optimization to take a post from 2,000 monthly views to 10,000 with just one refresh.
Here’s a snapshot of the metrics you can improve with a content revamp:
Instead of letting all your old content decay over time, routine refreshes help your catalog stay up-to-date and valuable to readers. With this approach, you strengthen the platform’s authority, relevancy, and quality.
The type of content you prioritize for a revamp depends on your company’s marketing goals. But, it’s important to note that not all your published content is worth updating. You have to let some posts go since they may not deliver as much value as they once did.
For instance, your market research may indicate that a different buyer persona can bring more value to your business. You may then want to prioritize content to meet this persona’s needs instead of spending time updating content that targets low-end customers. In other words, you’d let your previous buyer persona’s content decay and put your effort into the content that will deliver higher value conversions.
Another factor to consider when prioritizing content refreshes is the target page’s peak performance. Tijana Radivojevic, head of content marketing at DuoQ, recommended updating “posts that have performed well in the past, but are declining in traffic and rankings now.” Using this approach, Tijana’s team increased their client’s organic traffic by 80% over the course of a year (see below).
It’s tempting to target struggling posts to improve the dead weight on your website. But, targeting content that already has traction helps maintain the quality and position of your ranking posts. It might even be enough to push posts sitting at positions 5-10 to the top of SERP – increasing your organic traffic along the way.
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It’s always possible that a post may not improve after a revamp. There are no definite rules when it comes to SEO and content refreshes. That’s why it’s essential to be intentional and thoughtful about your content revamp decisions. So, make sure you can afford the outcomes of any risks you’re considering.
Here are some things to keep in mind when refreshing your content:
Now that we’ve covered all the necessary foundational knowledge of refreshing content, let’s get into how to perform a revamp.
As stated earlier, targeting content with traffic and traction yields the best refresh results. But, you may be wondering how to narrow it down from there. There are two options for identifying target posts — a content audit or “spot treatment.” Let’s take a look at these two methods.
This option is time-consuming, requiring you to assess all the content on your website. The result is an in-depth overview of each piece in your catalog and how the content performed. So, you can see the strengths and weaknesses of your strategy and what posts might benefit from a refresh.
How you analyze and record your audit depends on the resources and tools accessible to you. My colleague, Meryl D’Sa-Wilson, content marketing manager at United World Telecom, offered her advice on how to approach a content audit.
“It’s hard to keep track of what you’ve done without a comprehensive record," she said. "So, I recommend thoroughly documenting your updating process according to your team’s specified benchmarks. Include edits made, optimization suggestions, prioritization, next steps, and so on. And if you have multiple people working on a content audit, this will help your team stay on the same page.”
Here’s an example of Meryl’s content audit documentation:
“Spot treatment” refers to the process of identifying individual pages to update using analytics research. Start by looking at the top pages of your domain and what position they are currently in on SERP.
Then, look for posts stuck in positions 3-6 and clearly tie back to your business. These have the best chance of increasing conversions. It also helps to look for pages with a keyword that’s low in density and high in volume, since it’s easier to rank for this combo.
For example: Imagine you run a business that sells a video editing tool, and you see two potential top pages to revamp. The first is Top Father’s Day Quotes for Dad, and the other is 15 Creative Father’s Day Video Ideas. Both have a good amount of traffic and are in the 3rd position on SERP. Which one do you choose to refresh?
You should choose 15 Creative Father’s Day Video Ideas as it is relevant to your business and directly ties back to your services. So, you’ll direct traffic to a post that will drive more conversions.
Related Article: How to Repurpose Content for Social Media Strategies
Once you’ve identified a target post, review it. If you haven’t looked at it in a while, what’s your first impression of the page? Evaluate the piece according to your team’s current standards, style and benchmarks. And make a note of what’s working and what’s not. Here are some things to consider when reviewing:
After you get a good idea of where your page ranks according to your own criteria, it’s time to perform a SERP analysis. This process helps you determine why your content isn’t in the number 1 position on SERP.
Essentially, all you have to do is search your target keyword and explore the pages currently ranking. Then, compare them to your target post. Observe what the ranking posts include that your article lacks. Look for:
Using the these ranking posts as guides, fill in the gaps in your content. But, remember only to make changes that are relevant to your business, buyer personas and the searcher’s intent.
Related Article: How to Find Content Marketing Success Through Any Budget
It’s crucial to evaluate if your post aligns with the reader’s reason for the search — also known as keyword intent or search intent. Aligning your content with the keyword’s intent directly affects your content’s ranking and bounce rate. This is because if readers don’t find what they’re looking for on your page, they will bounce and leave it for another.
There are different types of search intents, including informational, navigational, transactional and commercial. Each of these categories represents a different stage in the customer journey. So once you’ve determined which category your keyword or post falls under, you can identify where the searcher is in their journey. With this information, you can create compelling content that targets prospects and drives conversions.
You can determine your keyword’s intent when conducting your SERP analysis. Pay attention to the format, angle, targeted pain points, and knowledge levels in the current ranking posts you find.
For example: If the results show you lists, the searcher is probably looking for skimmable content. On the other hand, if the ranking content shows you guides, the readers might be searching for in-depth answers.
When deciding how to refresh your content, it may feel like there are endless possibilities. And that’s because there are! The updates and fixes you apply to a post depend entirely on your business’ goals and your SERP analysis research. But, if you’re struggling to decide, consider one or more of the following tactics to help you get started:
As you can see, refreshing your content is essential to any good content strategy. Updating existing content should be an ongoing and routine effort as it helps sustain your website’s performance. Once you make updating existing content a habit, it might even give you new insight into your content creation strategy as well.
Kim Sayers has been a content creator for over 4 years — writing for small businesses, specifically focusing on marketing, sales, and communication. She works with telecom experts at Global Call Forwarding to gain insights into how businesses can use communication tools to effectively run their business.