Reworking, optimising, publishing and sharing older content can increase its lifetime value, introduce your brand to new audiences, and strengthen your reputation as an industry thought leader.
HubSpot calls this process ‘historical blog optimisation’. Essentially, this means revising your old blog or web page content so that it’s fresh, up to date, and “has the ability to generate even more traffic and conversions than it already does”.
Here’s how we do it at Huble Digital:
Historical blog optimisation is baked into our processes
As part of our marketing activity, we update, improve and sometimes repost existing blog and web page content. This process involves carefully analysing our older material to identify new angles or where information could be updated and optimised for search engines. Additionally, we also create new internal and external links, CTAs and lead flows to boost visibility.
Quicker than creating content from scratch, this process increases the value of our on-site content by keeping it relevant. It also helps us move up the search engine rankings on results pages (Google loves fresh content), attract more organic traffic, and provide website visitors with valuable content that resonates with their need states.
How do you prioritise which content to optimise?
You’ve probably got a wealth of published content on your website, so how do you choose what to optimise? Well, that depends on your goals.
Do you want to boost a high-performing piece of content to increase its conversion rate? Or do you feel a blog post with valuable information for your readers didn’t get the readership it deserved?
Regardless of how well a post performed, extra research can go a long way towards making it topical and engaging again. Additions such as up-to-date statistics, influential trends, or new quotes from industry experts can reinvigorate your existing content and attract more readers.
Historical blog optimisation best practices
When setting out to optimise your existing work, there are a few simple best practices that can help you get the most out of the process:
Analyse your existing data: Identify which content is getting the most traffic and conversions, then research the latest developments around the topic to give it a relevant refresh.
Keyword relevance: See how your target keyword’s volume and competition has changed since your post went live. If you feel that a target keyword with less competition could help the content rank higher, consider updating the copy with a more niche keyword to reach new, more defined audiences.
Use competitor content as a benchmark: Don’t be afraid to learn from competitors — they’ve probably taken a few pointers from your content already! Look at the competitor content that’s ranking high for the keywords you want to use. What are they doing that you haven’t been doing? How are they providing value to their readers and what takeaways can you weave into your content?
A healthy balance of old and new
These days, search engines love topic clusters — the more in-depth, the better. A topic cluster acts as a content hub for a particular subject, with related pages extending from it and then linking back to form a pillar page. A pillar page is an in-depth summary of a specific topic that links to a network of articles related to the main topic it covers.
This digital map of related articles is known as ‘cluster content’. What makes it such a boon for content creators is that it’s an ever-evolving repository of valuable information for your readers, and one that you easily add older, optimised content. When refreshing past content, consider how you can plug it into your topic clusters. It’s a simple way of adding to your growing library of information (and moving up the search rankings while doing it!).
Refreshing the SEO of older content
If your content isn’t optimised for search engines, then it will only attract visitors when you’re actively marketing it. It’s also important to note here that Google places more value on fresh, high-quality articles and web pages.
Historical blog optimisation is a great opportunity to revisit your keyword choices and see if they can be refined and aligned with what your readers are searching for. In addition to optimising body copy, you should also make changes to titles, meta descriptions, headers, and image alt text.
Historical blog optimisation put into practice
It’s all been theory up until this point, so let’s put it into practice.
We first published a blog post entitled ‘What is a Buyer Persona – and why is it important?’ on 23 January 2018. Back then, organic traffic was quite low but steadily growing. Over time, more and more people began to find it on search engines and it started to rank on the first page of Google.
However, we noticed that while the blog was getting a lot of organic traffic, the content had become stale and needed a refresh if we were to further capitalise on the interest it was generating. Our writers added new information, links, a video and persuasive CTAs to hook readers. We first updated the blog in September 2018, and then again on 09 October 2018.
These are the results:
The green shows our organic traffic. As a result of our optimisation activity, the amount of organic traffic to the blog has risen exponentially and continues to increase daily. The results have been nothing short of incredible, and really highlight the value of producing and updating content regularly. That rising skyscraper in the graph attests to that!
At Huble Digital, we encourage our clients to follow this practice to capitalise on their existing content’s momentum, or give a worthy — but forgotten — article its chance to shine. Honestly, the results speak for themselves. There has never been a more cost-effective way for businesses to generate more interest online. If you have any questions or would like our input into your content strategy, chat to a Huble Digital consultant