Seven Ways to Clean Up your Old Blog Posts
By Joel Baxter
With SEO, there is a lot of focus on generating fresh content. One popular way to generate new content is to write blogs. Blogs give you a way to write fantastic articles related to your business without cluttering up your main website’s structure. Since a blog is a list of articles, your site will still be easy to navigate, and the long tail keywords in your blog will bring new people to your site.
An issue we see at Rocket SEO, is that when it comes to blogs, many websites seem to have their horse blinders on. They’re only looking ahead, and not paying attention to the past.
Bust Open Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a treasure chest of information about your site, and one of the key areas you should be looking at is located at Behaviour –> Site Content –> Landing Pages
This area in Google Analytics offers you outstanding information on which pages people are finding you. Typically your homepage will have the greatest amount of sessions, but in many cases, blogs are a major driving factor to your site.
If we look at the fictional data below, we can see how a lot of blog articles are driving visitors to our site. Some of these blog articles could be only a few weeks old, however some might be several years old. If you are finding that old articles are bringing a lot of traffic to your site, it’s worth your time giving your old blogs an SEO update. Sometimes blogs go viral, other times, a blog may have a snowball effect. Something you wrote a few years ago may have gotten very little attention, but because it was well written, and a little ahead of its time, it may now be one of your most highly visited pages. It’s blog articles like these that you should start with, to drive even more traffic to your site.
Fix Broken Links
A problem you’ll find with old blog posts are that links are sometimes broken. For example, the article about the best kitty litter for kittens may have external links to companies that may no longer exist, or who have merged with other companies. In addition, websites are always changing their site’s structure, and a previous page may not exist. We find this a lot with our appliance or construction related clients. Furnace models change, or sink fixtures go out of style and are no longer produced or sold. Be sure to click on each link, and ensure it brings it to a relevant page. If a link does not work, fix it, or erase it and add a new resource.
Add Internal Links
Internal links are often overlooked, but provide you a way of creating conversions. If you are a pet store, when you wrote the article cat-dandruff solutions, you may not have sold special cat shampoos. Seeing as this article gets a lot of hits, and you now sell ‘whiskers-and-tails dandruff shampoo’ why not link to this product, or better yet, add a coupon on that page for an online discount. After several years of blog writing, there is the opportunity to link to relevant or related blog entries.
Freshen up Content
Updating content on a past blog will not hurt your SEO (just be sure to not update the url – as you will lose the link juice of people linking to you). If the information is out of date, or no longer relevant, give that article a fresh coat of paint. In our example, we have an article of Top 10 Kitten names. If this list was from 2007, why not update it by adding a new list of 2015 names. Go through your site and update anything out of date. Anything to do with technology, or nutrition should definitely be checked out as this type of information is always changing. If you are short on time, you can always keep the old content there, and add updated content above or below the old content.
Promote your Updated Post
Don’t be afraid to promote your post as you would a new blog. An update of the 2015 top Kitten names will certainly attract some attention on your Facebook feed. Seasonal posts, like the fictional article about x-mas cat pajamas can be updated, and then pushed out a few weeks before Christmas. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the like can all help drive traffic to your site, and you need to take full advantage of this.
Run through your SEO Audit Checklist
At Rocket SEO we have a checklist that we use to Audit all of our websites. We are frequently updating it, and always adding new items. Be sure to run through your old blogs and make certain that it’s up to par. Often times, when you initially push out a blog, you’re in a rush to make a deadline and you might skip a few steps. Or, if you are just starting out as a webmaster, you might not know the basic SEO standards, and those blogs you wrote in 2010 might need to be freshened up. Here are a few basic ways to tidy up your old site, and add more mileage to your old blog posts.
Does my blog post effectively use Headings? Does my blog have an H1 tag?
Does my page title reflect my page content? Is my page title between 10 and 60 characters?
Are my Meta Descriptions enticing? Does the information in my Meta Description reflect my page content?
Does my image have alternative text? Is my image outdated. Is my image too small, or way too big and can be shrunken to improve page speed?
There are of course many other SEO items on our checklist, but the above are some of the most overlooked details that have an effect on your SEO efforts.
Clean up the Comments
Finally, pay attention to your comments section if you have one as it may need maintenance. If your blog article has been spammed to death, delete these comments. If people have asked legitimate questions, don’t be afraid to comment back, even if it has been several years. When you do comment back, try to make it informative, so that it helps you come up in searches for additional long tail keywords. Questions people had years ago may still be relevant to someone today, and by writing a well written response you could bring new visitors to your site, leading to improved sales, or attention.
Updating old blog posts are an often overlooked strategy when it comes to SEO. While Google is constantly changing their algorithms, the simple fact is that it wants pages with well written content to appear in searches. If you have hundreds of blogs, updating them to modern SEO standards may seem overwhelming. Rocket SEO can help you with your blogging needs no matter if you are a small business in Ancaster, or a nation-wide franchise.