Maybe you are going back through old blog posts and content trying to find inspiration for new posts. You see some content that is short, the titles suck, or there are a ton of broken links. What do you do? Delete all of those posts? Leave them up and hope no one ever sees them? Or leave them up because it might affect your website’s Google ranking? Well, first of all, breathe. There are a few ways you can improve your old blog posts, but first, you have to see what is worth saving by analyzing the old content.
Analyze Your Old Blog Posts
This is a very important step to take. No matter how much you cringe while looking through those old posts, some of them were popular and did drive traffic to your site at some point. You need to identify which posts have performed well in the past. To do this, you need to measure five metrics.
- Number of visits
- Length of those visits
- Pages viewed per session
- Average time spent reading the blog post
- The number of returning visits.
But how do you do that? You can accomplish this with Google Analytics. If you haven’t already added Google Analytics to the pages of your website, we highly suggest you do…like right now. After, you can create dashboards and filter reports to see which posts perform well in these specific areas.
Improving Your Past Blog Posts
Once you figure out which posts have performed well in the past, take a close look at these and see where improvements can be made.
1. Is the Content Still Relevant?
Let’s say you wrote a post about Vine a few years ago and the post performed well. That is great, but Vine doesn’t exist anymore. Unless you wrote something like, “Why Vine Disappeared” you probably are no longer getting traffic from that post. Sorry! We know you worked hard on the post, but it creates a poor user experience if someone came across that post on a blog feed. It makes you look less credible, which is something you do not want. If you have irrelevant content that didn’t perform well, do a rewrite or simply remove it.
2. Reformat Ugly Content
Maybe you wrote an awesome post a couple of years ago, but it looks bad because you didn’t know anything about headlines, photo placement, or how to make your post visually digestible to users. Imagine you are going from post to post on a blog, everything is great and then BAM! A suggested post from 2013 pops up, and it looks unprofessional, it is a giant wall of text with no headlines or images. It really doesn’t take much time to throw in a few well thought out headlines and find a featured image. This will improve the SEO of your post and look good when visitors come across these old posts.
3. Expand Thin Blog Posts
Some of your past blog posts might have received some traffic, were well formatted, are still relevant today, but they are short. There is something to be said for short, concise content if you are an online journalist, but Google loves long content. We are talking 1000+ words of well-written, original content. Google will look at posts that are over 300 words, but I can tell you right now, that if you are just doing a 300-word post once a week, you won’t see these blog posts popping up very high any time soon.
How do you expand these thin blog posts?
Research is the answer. No matter what you wrote about two or three years ago, you can guarantee that new research on that topic has developed since then. Or maybe you have developed a new opinion or new knowledge on the topic through your own experiences, write about that. It isn’t hard to expand short posts, it takes a little bit of time and effort, but the pay off is worth it.
4. Show What You Have Learned From the Past
This is probably the most difficult way to revamp those old posts, but it can be a good move. This will allow you to show some transparency which is really important when creating content for your brand. Keep that old post and use it in a new post, we know this goes against what we said earlier about burying content that makes you look bad but hear us out.
Take those old posts and pull quotes. Put these quotes in a new post and, this is where it gets hard, critique yourself, poke fun at how naive you were, find your way of saying, “Look at how far I have come!”. It will make your brand relateable, and you are putting that old content to good use.
5. Rewrite the Post
This option is probably the most time consuming and, for some reason, everyone thinks is the only way to get anything out of old blog posts. If you wrote a 2000 word post a few years ago and think it is worth salvaging, go ahead and make necessary edits, update and change the content, change the title to something searchable and repost it. That is sometimes easier said than done but as time-consuming as this method is, it is an effective way of repurposing those old blog posts.