Do you have one of those blog or resource sections on your website that has become a dumping ground for out-of-date information, useless articles that no one reads, and nasty, unoptimised pages packed with 404s, dead links and missing fonts and articles that Google really hates? Time for a content refresh.
Content is a living, breathing digital organism that needs constant care, love and attention. If you create it, and leave it alone, competing content will outgrow it, which will leave your content unseen.
So if your content needs a good scrub, we’ve collected a handful of handy tips to get your dusty old blog posts looking fresh and exciting again.
5. Do a full traffic analysis
Before you start attacking your tangled web of pages with a hatchet, take a deep dive into the stats first. The worst thing you can do is make wholesale changes to content that, despite looking terrible, is a great source of traffic for your site.
Ideally, this analysis will also include data on page engagement, identifying hotspots or frequently-clicked links that absolutely need to remain in whatever the updated version eventually looks like.
4. Don’t just start deleting old stuff
The worst thing you can possibly do is start deleting pages from your website.
Firstly, Google wants you to keep old news and the like on your site. It signposts the longevity and status of your site (a bit like a fine wine). Keeping your old news and storing it properly will actually improve SEO.
Secondly, deleting pages at random will create 404s and potentially lose you valuable backlinks from external sites.
Even if the landing page for the 10th anniversary party you had five years ago is clogging up your blog, just archive it and keep the thing exactly where it is.
If you absolutely need to remove a page or piece of content, follow Google’s best practice for removing it – usually by simply setting up a page redirect.
3. Look for the easy wins
Once you have your list of pages to keep as is, update, reinvent or completely redo, start with the easy wins first. This could be something as simple as updating meta tags, adding a social sharing image, or dropping in a few keywords that will help Google to understand your page better.
If you’re already getting some traffic to the page, these small tweaks will only help with that, as long as you aren’t altering the structure completely or changing, say, every word of the copy.
Although it’ll happen eventually, reindex the page in Google Search Console / Bing Webmaster Tools to let the search engines know your page has been updated.
2. Invest in new content where necessary
If you have a great topic or evergreen post that you think is still relevant, then give it the airtime it needs with some fresh and exciting content that works in the 2020s.
Take the bland 500 words you have in place and add in a relevant video, do an audio recording of the article, create an infographic, or expand and embellish.
A really easy way to polish old content and get new content in the same breath is to ‘revisit’ it, talking about what has changed since the piece was written, or if any predictions the piece of content made came true. You can then make some further predictions, which you can talk about when the content gets refreshed again in the future.
1. Make a plan so it doesn’t happen again
Guess what? Content refreshes are more often than not a knee-jerk reaction to a poorly-performing content platform or a sudden need for additional traffic.
By having a solid content plan and calendar in place and a system for reviewing both single-use and evergreen content, you’ll be able to decide what to do before it all piles up, preventing another demoralising content refresh in five years’ time.
You’ll also have a living, breathing traffic source that will pay for itself and beyond, rather than a problem child that doesn’t seem worth having.
Got a few handy takeaways for your content refresh? Tired of having to dream up new content, and find this a great plan rather than starting from scratch? You might like our podcast too, packed with useful snippets and quick fixes that you can apply straight away. You’re welcome.