You’ve probably invested a lot of time and money into your blog. Perhaps you’ve hired freelancers to contribute content, or you’ve spent hours pouring over analytics to find that sweet spot in your content marketing that generates results. Given the investment in your blog, it makes sense to revisit old posts and make them new again. Optimizing old blog content to can have great results.
When the team at HubSpot decided to optimize their archive of older content, the results were nothing short of extraordinary. HubSpot saw a in organic search views, thanks to their efforts at what’s been dubbed "historical optimization." This method is simple, yet can achieve great results. Let’s take a look at what historical optimization means and how you can tackle it with your own blog.
Historical optimization — refresh, renew and relaunch.
How old is your blog? If it's more than one or two years old, it is likely it can benefit from historical optimization. That’s because Google and other search engines change and tweak their algorithms — the magical and hidden formula to determine what shows prominently in search results — every six months to a year.
The exact algorithm isn’t known, and the release schedule for search engine tweaks seems to vary considerably. Most people now about the big tweaks, like Panda and Penguin, but smaller tweaks occur all the time.
SEO experts provide tips for optimizing your blog posts based on what’s currently the standard thinking around what works to help posts appear near the top of search engine results. The problem is that the more time passes, the more some tips become obsolete.
Many years ago, for example, SEO experts suggested specific formulas for using keywords in headlines and body copy. While it’s still considered a best practice to use your keywords in headlines and in body copy, the rigid mathematical formulas we once used are gone.
Another reason to update your old blog posts is the prevalence of social media in today’s online marketing programs. Optimizing images in your posts, or adding images if your posts lack them, can help you gain more traction from a single post on sites such as Twitter or Facebook. Tweaking headlines, adding click to tweet boxes and resizing images, are all simple things you can do to potentially bring in a lot more traffic and leads to your website.
5 steps to optimize older posts.
If you’re ready to tackle historical optimization, these five steps make it simple to get the most out of your older blog content. You’ll need access to your analytics and some time to research and plan, but once you’ve got it underway, you’ll be amazed at the results.
Before you begin, be sure to backup your old posts so you can restore them if your changes do not work out as planned. Although these methods have worked for many people to increase traffic and leads, you always want to have a backup ready to put into place if things don’t work out as expected.
Step 1: Analyze your traffic patterns and pinpoint your top three traffic-producing posts
Look for the top three posts (or more) that bring the most traffic. These are the posts you’ll use to springboard your historical optimization efforts. It’s not uncommon to realize that a handful of posts actually bring in the majority of traffic to your site. Those are the posts you want to concentrate on for your optimization project.
Step 2: Update your older content
Read through your blog posts and look for opportunities to update the information. If you reference dates or other things that are now old, it’s time to fix them. This includes images. Remember those screen shots of a computer program circa 2008? Yeah, that how-to blog post is just a wee bit out of date. It’s time to give the post a facelift.
Step 3: Add internal links to relevant content, or content where you’d like more traffic to land
Because your high-performing blog posts get plenty of traffic now, they are ideal places to add internal links to newer posts that came after your original post was published. They may be able to pass along some of the link-love to your newer blog posts.
Step 4: Fix keyword issues
Remember the days when you had to repeat a keyword phrase X number of times for a page to rank? Page text ended up sounding repetitive, like a trained parrot was repeating a phrase. Review your older blog posts for that talking parrot. Keyword usage today is a lot more relaxed and less scripted.
Step 5: Optimize your images for Pinterest and other social media
Pinterest users tend to click more on vertically-oriented images than horizontal ones. The ideal pin height is approximately the width of the pin, so scale your images accordingly.
With a few simple tweaks — these five steps are a good start — you can optimize your old blog content to generate increased leads. Prioritize your efforts around your top performing content first, working your way down to other blog posts that haven't produced much of a result. Over time, even these laggards may surprise you when you spruce up, dust off and revise your old blog content.