The other day, I was searching through the archives on TeacherCast for inspiration for a new blog post when it actually hit me how much content I have generated over the last 8 years.
If you take all of the blog posts and podcast episodes and sort out of the various content strands, you will find that I have almost 1500 posts that have been created and this doesn't include the hundreds of posts that I removed from the website last year when TeacherCast went through it's redesign.
Often when we take a walk down memory lane on our websites, we find content that we are still extremely passionate about but simply due to time, the posts have been pushed down into our archives never to be spoke about again.
Well, today, we are going to learn how to refresh your old blog posts and take a look at a few things you can do to republish and repurpose your old content to give them new life and reintroduce them to your current audience.
There Are Two Types Of Content On Your Website
When looking through your archives, you will certainly find that your website has two types of content, each with it's own unique pro's and con's for updating.
Dated Content is anything that you might have written that mentions an event or has some type of shelf life to it. Perhaps you wrote a post about an upcoming conference that happened in 2015. What do you think you should do about it?
Generally when doing your spring cleaning, you have a few options to consider with any dated content.
- Update the content to now be written in past tense (or even better, change the post to be a reflection of the event rather than a promotion)
- Delete the post
Where many might suggest never deleting old content due to the creation of 404 errors on your website, it is totally acceptable for some content to be deleted because of the simple fact that your “my awesome conference is coming soon” post might not be linked to anything and is simply taking up space on your website.
The second type of content is Evergreen. These are the posts that can stand the test of time. For many, these posts might need little to no editing, however in the case of much of the content on TeacherCast, Evergreen posts about technology might stand to be updated to accomodate for new features of the applications.
Before digging into your Tech Posts and spending a ton of time updating them, I would highly advice to check your Google Analytics, Search Console, and Google Trends to see if there is any global traction on these applications. If there isn't … it might be reasonable to either let the post be or remove it from your website.
Why Should We Repost and Republish Content?
Revisiting posts from long ago isn't simply an exercise in opening a post and changing the date. There are many reasons why you might consider when making these changes.
If I look back at my old posts, I can see my history of SEO knowledge as the posts get older and older. Looking back, I can now see how little I knew about Keywords, Synonyms, and other key aspects of Search. Now is as good a time as any to revisit these mistakes and update my Yoast settings to meet current trends.
Additionally, the fact remains that Google as well as those searching for content, always looking for new content. If you did a search and had one post with a date of 2019 and a post with the date of 2017… you might be more inclined to click on the newer post.
Your New Audience Hasn't Seen This Content Yet
Overtime, the TeacherCast archives have become quite cluttered. Often when working with a teacher, I will do a quick search and find posts and podcasts that I don't even remember creating. The fact is that if I don't remember writing them, then my current audience certainly hasn't had the opportunity to see those posts either.
Your Blog Posts Have Already Been Written … Total Time Saver!
Have you ever found yourself spending hours looking at a blank Google Doc wondering what to write? One of the easiest things you can do to get yourself started on your next piece is to take out an old post either for revision or inspiration. Not only does this save time, but it helps you out in your SEO as well. Even if you don't do a full revision of your old post, simply by creating an additional post on a subject gives you the opportunity to create backlinks between your posts. This helps your Google Juice out big time!
How Should You Choose Which Posts To Update?
Once you have sifted through all of the content on your website, it's time to determine which posts to update. For many, the answer to this is easy… choose the one that you WANT to update and have fun.
But the more technical answer to this is to do a little bit of research. There are several things that you should consider when selecting what content to update
- What post has been most linked to?
- What post receives a good amount of traffic?
- What posts have done well on Social Media?
- What topics are currently trending in your category?
What Information Should You Have Before You Begin?
As we said above, we have two types of content that we can be thinking about when doing a web audit. After selecting a post to be updated, there are a few items that you might want to have with you on your desktop.
Google Analytics Rankings
There is one post on TeacherCast that I (for whatever reason) rank #1 on in Google Search. This post is all about finding the best iPad app for doing work with Green Screens. I don't know why exactly I rank well for this, but each month almost 30,000 people do a search where this particular blog post comes up high in the search rankings.
This is a good example of a post that I want to keep updated.
Knowing what posts are getting traffic is a great first indicator for understanding where you should put your time and energy each week.
Every blog or website should be connected to Google Analytics to get the most up to date data on your web traffic.
Of course, your posts could be low on the rankings for other reasons, but my suggestion is to start your older content that may need minimal help first and then move to the others.
Google Search Console
Speaking of rank … you may be asking “how do you know what posts are ranking on Google and where they are ranking?” The answer to these questions is Google Search Console.
Unfortunately, this is an application that many bloggers and podcasters have never heard about.
Through Google Search Console, you can not only learn about your Google Search rankings, but you can also learn who is linking back to your website.
If you are looking to update, repost, and repurpose any content that is a few years old, you will certainly find that Social Media trends have changed over time.
When sitting down to research your old post, it's important to get a list of currently popular hashtags so you can begin to republish your blog post on them for additional traction. It's also important at this stage to get a list of how many social posts were created for this content and how much activity those posts had over time.
Additionally, searching through Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter might help you find additional content to add to your website. After all, everyone loves a good Twitter Poll in the middle of their blog post to drum up attention and audience participation … right?Please share this post with your PLN today!Click To Tweet
What Steps Do You Need To Take When Refreshing & Republishing Your Post?
Check and Recheck Links . . . All of Them
Blog posts are better ranked when they are linking to other content on the web with similar topics. Generally links on your website fall into four categories:
- Internal Links
- Outbound Links
- Affiliate Links
- Bonus Links
Internal Links are links that connect your posts to other pieces of content on your own website. This internal linking structure helps Google understand more about your website and also provides your users an easier opportunity to find additional content on your website on a similar topic.
Any post on your website that isn't linked at least somewhere else is considered “Orphan Content” and part of your post refresh master plan should include limiting how much orphan content is on your page.
Not only does Google enjoy seeing that your blog post is closely connected with other content on your site, it also wants to see that you are writing similar topics to other websites online.
Affiliate Links often need to be updated over time due to a variety of reasons. You might have an extremely popular post with several dozen Amazon links, but if they are not connecting to your account, then you may not know that you are letting hundreds of dollars walk away from you.
Not knowing exactly what you might call this category, “Bonus Links” would be linking to any blog post that you have written AFTER the post you are currently on. So often, we spend the time linking to blog posts in our past that we forget to reopen the old posts and link forward to the new content. So … BONUS!
Update and Refresh Your URL Structure … But Only If You Have This One Tool Installed
If you have a post that has been crawled by Google and shared by others, it's vitally important that you don't do anything to compromise your audience from finding you're content. Many blogs on this topic will even go as far as to say NEVER change the URL structure of your website post once its published.
However, there are some advantages to updating your old URLs … but there is a catch.
Let's say that a long time ago you were rushing through your content and you accidentally published content with a URL like this: www.YourAwesomeWebsite.com/Here-Is-My-Very-Long-URL-That-I-Accidentally-Forgot-To-Address-And-This-Was-Auto-Generated-By-My-Post-Title-In-WordPress-And-I-Never-Changed-It-Once-I-Hit-The-Publish-Button
Obviously, this is very long and confusing for both your readers and the web crawlers. What do you do?
If you are using WordPress then you have a few options.
What you want to do in this situation is to find a plugin such as Yoast SEO Premium that allows you to manually create redirects. This means that you will need to paste in the URL for your old post and the URL that you are updating the post to so that your website (and Google) know about the change.
This will help your users who still have your old link.
Check Your Site For Readability
Another great feature of the Yoast plugin is it's readability feature. One of the things that Google Ranks blog posts on is readability, or the ability for your reader to quickly scan your page and understand what the post is all about.
Do you find you often write with an abundance of large words? Consider adjusting some of your sentences to use smaller words. I often suggest writing for someone with a 3-5th grade reading level.
There are several great tools online such as this one where you can paste in content for it to check.
Update Your Clickbait!
Do you remember creating a free ebook many years ago? Does THAT also need to be updated? How about the email sequence that goes along with it?
Sometimes updating a blog post is more than simply updating a single post. If you are going to do the job right … take the time to do the full job and update everything associated with the post.
The last thing you want is to republish a blog post in June and when your reader clicks on the CTA, they get an email that says “Merry Christmas!”
Ask Yourself … “What Else Can I Add To Keep People's Attention?”
Sometimes the easiest things you can do to update your blog posts are never the easiest to see. However, once you begin to get creative with this process, you will learn just how much time you can save and how much traction you can get by adding some small items to each blog post.
Add Social Media
As we mentioned above. The addition of Social Media embeds goes a LONG WAY towards keeping peoples attention on your post. They are also more likely to come back to your posts because they know your posts are fun and entertaining.
Add Video Content
Did you write a Top 10 post a year ago? Why not dig that post out and simply add a video of you talking about those 10 items next??? Sometimes it could be just that easy.
Add a Slide Deck
For many educators, they write a blog post about a certain topic and then go out and do presentations at local conferences. By using the embed feature found in Google Slides or SlideShare your presentation slide deck (which promotes you are a professional) can be added to your blog posts.
Never forget … SlideShare is also a Social Media platform that you should be taking advantage of.
Add Updated Images
Let's face it … we now live in the world of Memes and Animated graphics. Don't be afraid to add one to a post to help certain content points stand out … BUT DON'T OVER DO IT! (wink)
Check Your Content For Accuracy.
This is a big one in the world of Technology. Let's say that 2 years ago your blog post said that a certain application didn't have a feature and now it does… this is a great opportunity to write additional content about that feature and perhaps highlight it in the text somehow.
Another thing you might wish to update is any screenshot that is now drastically outdated… or … add an additional screenshot for the mobile version of the app.
Write an Editors Notice
Often when looking through news articles, you will see a tiny paragraph either at the top or bottom mentioning the the article you are reading has been updated on a given date. This might be important to you depending on what type of content you are publishing. This is a practice that I try to do as often as possible when reposting blog posts past a certain age.
Where Should You Republish Your Content?
Once you have your blog post all updated and ready to go, there are a few last minute things to consider.
- How will you re-present your content to your audience?
- Where else can you promote your content?
- How can you create additional content from this newly redesigned blog post.
How will you re-present your content to your audience?
As soon as I publish content of any type, I generally head to my newsletter so I can share it with those who already have their trust in me. Sometimes I call this content “The New and Improved…” and other times, I just present the content as is without any fanfare.
It's also a good time to plan out your Social Media publishing calendar for this type of information. Not everything needs to be updated and republished right away. For example, I try to spend time every April redesigning my pages and posts for the upcoming ISTE season which happens in late June. This saves me time as the school year winds down and it's nice to know that I have content already in the hopper when I get busy with graduation.
Where else can you promote your content?
Additionally, now might be a good time to see if it's possible to turn your blog post into something you can post on a friends website. Let's say that you are updating a Top 10 list. Perhaps you can take the Top 5 and do a guest blog somewhere that then links back to your own blog. (you could even do this twice)
Another great place to repurpose your content is on Medium. Follow these directions to learn how to get started on this popular blogging platform.
How can you create additional content from this newly redesigned blog post.
Just as we mentioned the idea of creating videos to be added to your blog posts, now is also a good time to open up your favorite graphic application and create Instagram and Pinterest posts with a quote or two from your post to support the new content.
Finally: Publish With A New Date
Once you have gone through all of the steps listed above you should be ready to change the date on your post and republish it. This will not only move your post to the top of your website, but also will alert your readers that something is new to read on your website.
Once you hit the republish button, I recommend you opening Google Search Console and requesting that Google re-crawl that specific URL so it picks up the additional content.
Every piece of blog content one day will become a little rusty and out dated. By following these basic steps listed above, your posts don't have to remain that way.
My suggestion and the practice that I use on TeacherCast is to find time to republish at least 2-3 old posts each month. This way you have a good balance between new and old content to keep your site feeling alive for your visitors.
Lastly, don't be afraid to delete and destroy content. If you started writing about stuffed animals in 2015 and your website now focuses on using Google Docs in the classroom, perhaps it's time to get rid of the fluffy bunny photos.
What do you think about this topic?
Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts and tips on this topic. I'd love to learn from you!