Knowing how to boost your SEO is probably one of the essential traits of a marketer nowadays.
Why? Because content that ranks first for a search term on Google gets about 33% of the traffic.
But how do you make your content rank? Do you have to constantly write new articles? And what about those old articles from 2015 that desperately need an update?
In this blog post, we will tell you everything we know about boosting SEO, not by continually writing new content but by updating older content.
Why you should update your old content
Content marketers have been playing the “consistently writing and publishing new content” game for so long they forget that updating their old content can be one of the best ways to boost SEO.
This is actually one of the best ways to boost your Domain Authority and crawl up the SERPs (Search Engine Result Page).
Google and other search engines use bots to crawl and index your content. By updating old content, you can actually increase the rate at which these bots crawl your website. The more frequently older content is crawled, the more searchable it becomes.
This also increases your website’s content's freshness score, which boosts SEO and increases your overall ranking.
Tip: Want to see the last time Google viewed your content? Search your blog link on Google, click on the arrow next to the URL and click on ‘cached.’ This will show you the last time your blog was indexed by Google.
Now, before you go all ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that’ on us, listen to this. If you don’t update your content, you could face content decay.
In other words, if you don’t regularly update your content, you’ll notice a decrease in website traffic over time. That especially holds true for search topics such as “how to boost SEO” (wink, wink) but also for recurring events such as NFL scores, and frequently updated topics such as “the best iPhone accessories”.
In fact, an average page in the top 10 search results is usually over two years old. So refreshing an old piece of content will make it easier to rank instead of writing a brand new article.
Which articles should you update and which should you leave alone?
No, not all your website’s older content needs to be refreshed.
There’s a difference between topical content and evergreen content. Some articles are very topical (e.g. company news), which makes these types of articles very hard to re-use. Evergreen content, on the other hand, is a bit easier to update. These articles have been written to stand the test of time and are purposefully written to rank on certain search topics.
Before deciding on the content to be updated, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my content still relevant to my business or product?
Companies often pivot from their initial offering or start targeting a new audience. That can make older content irrelevant or even obsolete.
- Does my content have a higher potential for search volume than the current keyword?
You need to check if the focus keyword can potentially increase monthly traffic more than the article is currently getting via organic search.
- Did I write my content to increase organic search traffic for a particular keyword?
Sometimes an article is written for certain events (remember: topical content). There is no use in updating such articles since this won’t bring in extra visitors after the event itself.
- Has my content already been successful in the past in driving traffic?
Check historical data to determine if the content actually drove traffic via search or not. If not, you may want to decide if it is worth updating the content as it may require a substantial amount of effort to make it work.
- Does my content have enough backlinks to compete with other results on the first page?
If your article is on the 9th page of Google search results without any backlinks, it’ll take a lot more effort than an article that is on the 2nd page of Google with 83 backlinks.
How often do you need to optimize your content?
There is no hard-and-fast rule as far as optimizing your content is concerned. However, a good starting point can be quarterly content audits.
Based on the importance of traffic the content drives to your website, look for downward trends in traffic. For example, suppose a blog has successfully generated marketing qualified leads and starts to see a decline in traffic. In that case, you need to update and optimize it to increase both traffic and leads.
Now that we are clear about the reasons, the types of content to be updated, and the frequency of updating older content, here are ten ways to update old content to boost online marketing SEO.
How to boost SEO in marketing with changes in content
- Redo your keyword research
- Rewrite your headers within your articles
- Update your meta descriptions
- Update your article headlines
- Check and correct any grammatical or spelling errors you might have missed
- Optimize images for SEO
- Update any outdated content
- Remove or update broken links
- Add internal, external, and backlinks
- Improve the quality of your content
1. Redo keyword research
The first thing you must do is run your old content through SEO software. You could use any of the following:
Check for keyword gaps. Maybe you chose the wrong keyword, and you can now retarget it for a more focused keyword that has excellent search volume and, thus, the potential for an increase in traffic.
When you’ve chosen your new keywords, our very own SEO Copywriting Assistant will help you make sure your keyphrase is distributed well throughout your blog post.
2. Rewrite your article headers
Your H1, H2, and H3 header tags have become crucial as Google search has become more user-centric than keyword-centric.
Check for how people search for a particular piece of content to understand your headers and how you should structure them.
- Tip 1: The H1 tag is the most crucial as it is the title of the page. You should only use it once. This tag needs to be unique, and if you can introduce the focus keyword naturally into the H1 title, it can make quite a difference in optimizing the content for SEO.
- Tip 2: Plan your header tags in a system that makes the most sense to the audience. For example, if your H2 is “How to boost SEO marketing,” then your H3s should be separate ways focused on doing that.
- Tip 3: Answer questions with utmost clarity under each header tag. If you are still unaware, you should know you can pull up that content below header tags as featured snippets on Google search, which is the highest possible ranking for a keyword in search results.
An ideal header structure would look like this
3. Update meta descriptions
Updating your meta descriptions of older content helps to increase the click-through rate (CTR) of your content when it features in a search result on Google.
So, get your SEO copywriting brain up and running, and come up with different meta descriptions to see which one can get the best CTR.
Tip: If you are running paid search campaigns on Google AdWords for the same keyword, you could use the meta descriptions as a description for your Ads to test which one gets the highest CTR in the span of, say, one week. It's a quicker way than waiting for organic traffic to show results.
4. Update content headlines
80% of people read the headline but only 20% of those who see the headline read the content. That makes content headlines super important when it comes to updating older content.
So, what makes for an excellent content headline?
- Listicles always make for great content headlines. For example, “Top 10 ways to boost SEO in marketing”.
- Make it more relevant by including the current year in the content headline. For example, “Has the SEO marketing definition changed in 2020?”
- You can even try clickbait headlines but only (and we can’t stress this enough) when the content does not mislead the audience. For example, “5 hacks on how to boost SEO by 33%”.
- Another great option is to include the word checklist. For example, “SEO Marketing Checklist for B2B Marketers.”
5. Check for grammatical and spelling errors and fix them
Ever noticed a spelling error in a blog post that you were reading? Yeah, we’re no fan of them either.
Poor grammar and incorrect spellings can make for a bad user experience. And it’s actually bad for your SEO since Google is moving from a keyword-centric model to a user-centric model.
So when you update your older content, don’t forget to do a grammar and spell check and rectify all the errors.
Grammarly is a great tool to help you check your grammar and spelling.
6. Optimize images for SEO marketing
A small change that can boost your SEO significantly is optimizing your images.
As we said earlier, search engines work by “crawling” websites. But Google’s crawlers cannot crawl images. For Google to “crawl” your pictures, content marketers add image titles and alt texts. Here are a few tips on how to optimize images for SEO.
Make sure your image has a proper filename. That will ensure that Google bots and users get a better understanding of the image's purpose than naming the file IMG0001.
- Alt text
Using alt text, you can describe the image by giving it more context. Keep the alt text short, ideally a few words, and in one of the pictures, you could also naturally include the focus keyword to improve SEO.
- Image size and type
For complete optimization, you need to ensure that your images aren’t reducing your website's speed. Website speed is a significant ranking factor for Google search results, so make sure that you optimize your photos for fast loading. The file size is also essential, and so is browser caching, which can help decrease the time it takes for an image to load.
7. Increase the accuracy of your content
Has the world changed since you wrote the original piece of content? Most likely, yes. You may want to check for outdated references and update them with new, accurate information to make the content more relevant for the audience today.
Content with inaccurate or obsolete data does not serve any purpose. For example, the best content calendar in 2020 is way different from the one you created in 2014.
To do this, you should search for new and updated information about the content you’re updating and include it. Add the latest updates in the original article to show that you have updated the article to improve the user experience.
8. Remove or update broken links
Once you have decided to update a piece of content, you need to check each internal and external link to ensure none of the links lead to a 404 error page.
If you find any such links, you have three options.
- Remove the link
- Update the link with a working link
- Update with a relevant link addressing the same use case
9. Add internal links, external links, and backlinks
As you already know, there are three types of links for SEO - internal links, external links, and backlinks.
Internal links are the easiest to fix. While you’re updating your content, add relevant internal links pointing to other blogs or product pages. Also, find other content on your website, which can point to this updated piece of content and link back.
External links are relatively simple, too—link to the relevant information source you have used to validate your article's specific points.
The toughest of the lot is backlinks. If your article does not have any backlink, you should ideally not update it, as getting backlinks is a crucial step in making it rank higher. However, if you want extra backlinks, you should be ready with an outreach plan.
10. Improve the quality of your content
Google’s goal is to provide the best result for a certain search term.
If you want your content to be the best result, you’ll need to publish high-quality content. Not only that, it has to be way better than everything else on that topic. Ahrefs calls it 10X content.
This means that you need to check if your content is just like everything else available on the web (1X) or is it a little better (2X), or is it the best possible content on that topic (10X).
The better the content, the longer it stays at the top of the search results.
So, how do you improve the quality of your older content to make it 10X content?
- Quality: This could comprise of an excellent website design, easy-to-read content, and usefulness of the content.
- Uniqueness: Is your updated content unique compared to everything else available on the web, and does it add value to the audience?
- Authority: Are you a subject matter expert or an authority on the topic?
Final Thoughts on How to Boost SEO
Regularly updating your content will make sure that search engine bots will crawl your content more often. They will see updated content as fresh content. And since fresher content equals more searchable content, this strategy is a sure-fire way to boost your SEO.
Speaking of SEO, did you know that we have an SEO Copywriting Assistant for you Google Chrome? It’ll help you tell your story in a way that people, as well as search engines, will understand.
Make sure to check it out and have fun boosting your SEO! 🚀