I have several older websites under my belt, that I still do update with new posts on a regular basis. Consistently creating fresh content does seem to be part of the key to cracking the SEO code. When I update regularly, not only do I receive more traffic to my newly minted posts, but also I get more traffic on my site overall to other posts I have written. However, some of this content hasn’t been updated in 3-4 years, since it was originally published. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me, that I should embark on a revitalization and resubmission campaign for my older pages, in order to beef up and enhance the search engine rankings of my websites.
The Test Run
Before I did a complete overhaul of all of my posts, I wanted to see how updating an older post could help with search ranking, and how long it would take search engines (namely Google) to recognize that it had been updated.
I chose a post on one of my websites that I had written four years ago. I selected this post because its keywords were competitive, it was old enough to need a revamping, and it was hanging out on the fringes of page 1 and mostly on page 2 of Google (as the 10-12th result for its main search keyword phrase).
Now, I probably hadn’t even read this post since 2014, and going back to it now…I could tell it needed more work. It was lacking some key information, I had much more to say, and I could easily expand the content to make this post more comprehensive and user friendly. Even without the update, this page had made a decent amount of money over the years through Amazon Affiliates and AdSense, but a higher ranking would obviously be more lucrative.
What I Did To Update for Better Search Performance
Well, the post that I updated for this test run is a product review. Yes, after four years, the product is still a top seller, and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. My initial post was only around 500 words or so and honestly was missing quite a bit in terms of information. Also, there were keyword phrases associated with this product that I hadn’t even bothered to mention in my initial post. I wrote this post early on in the website’s history and hadn’t really put forth a full effort into making it great.
The first thing that I knew that I wanted to do, was to make it a longer post. In this particular niche, the reviews don’t need to be super in depth (like many thousands of words), but there needs to be certain aspects covered if you want the reader satisfied. I didn’t know how much length I was going to add to the review, but it ended up being an additional 500 words to bulk things up to around 1000.
Secondly, since the initial publication of this blog post, I had written a ton of new posts related to different products involving the same brand including product comparisons. I had to be able to link at least some of these newer posts within the text of this old review. One factor with SEO ranking is how long someone stays on the page. If I added more content, the time on page would increase, but also linking to other relevant posts, could help keep folks on the site as a whole.
I also lacked images in this post. So, I added one of the product, that for some reason I had never posted.
When updating the content of the post, I made sure to do a search and find out all of the related keywords of the product. There were so many associated terms that I had failed to use or mention, which made it super easy to know exactly what I needed to add, in order to expand off of the original post.
Not only will these additional terms help the post become comprehensive, I can usually expect to get some additional traffic from long tail keywords, that mention some of these phrases. It’s like a little compounding effect for traffic.
Beyond updating the content, expanding on my points, adding new points, photos, etc.; I knew that things looked rather messy on the page, since I had implemented a newer WordPress theme. The spacing was off and how it flowed with the AdSense ads was pretty terrible. So, I made the formatting flow better, and made it an overall better visual experience for my readers.
Once I re-published this blog post with the updated and expanded content, I resubmitted my sitemap on Google Search Console. You can submit the page directly to have Google re-crawl the page, but this feature wasn’t working on my Search Console for some reason.
I think the direct page submission approach would have sped things up a bit but there’s no guarantee. Hell, Google still refuses to index this page for search on the Aesthetic Odyssey site, after almost 2 years! Even though, it’s pretty comprehensive, has been updated, and they have indexed pages for those search terms that are utter spam. Go figure.
Anyhow, the product review post on my other website, was updated and indexed. I checked on it today and it has definitely been recrawled. The search result now features the 2018 date instead of the 2014 one it had previously.
Did it boost my rankings? Well, after a month, the post currently sits at #7 for the main search phrase that I was targeting. That’s a nice jump from the 10-12 it had been at previously. Again, this is a competitive keyword, and I have no illusions about trying to catch the powerhouse authority site that sits at #1 (at least not anytime soon).
What’s the difference between #7 and #12? Neither is going to get clicked on very often. True, but the 7th spot gets about 4% of the clicks on that search, versus the 1 or so percent share that this post was getting before.
Is that a good share? No, but when you’re talking 2000-3000 searches a month, a few extra percent is a nice little increase in people over time. Add to the fact, that this means more Amazon Affiliate link clicks and sales heading into the Christmas season, and it’s a solid start. I sure as hell would like 40%+ of the clicks, but it’s going to be a fight with that particular search term.
What To Do in the Future
There are so many old posts on that site that can be refreshed and updated. I’m sure some will have a better time getting a boost in the rankings with a simple update. After all, my site has gotten much more authority due to its age, my traffic levels, and how often I add new content. I have a lot of relevance in that niche, so, if I update these old posts I can probably grab a bunch of traffic that I’m currently missing out on.
I have over 120 posts in the queue for that particular website, while posting all of this new content, I am going to go through my analytics data to mine for update candidates. Where it makes sense to do so, I will beef up the content on those pages, and try to get that SEO credit for doing so. How much traffic this will all add? I don’t know but with boosted rankings it could be in the thousands of visitors per month added to my website.
Thousands of more visits, equals more clicks, and more revenue. I can fix the internal linking structure and infuse old posts with textual links to newer ones, increasing the time spent on the page. When working in conjunction, this should all enhance the websites profile, and make it a better candidate for better SEO rankings.