To get more out of your SEO efforts and increase blog traffic, updating old content is as crucial as regularly publishing new content.

One effective way to increase the freshness of blog posts is to optimize your existing articles.

By making a few simple changes, you can improve your website’s ranking in search engine results pages and increase the number of visitors who click through to your content.

In November 2011, Google announced that ‘freshness,’ meaning more up-to-date and relevant content, is an essential factor in displaying results.

In fact, in one of their experiments, Hubspot found that updating their existing content improved their search traffic by 106%!

This article will discuss how to increase blog traffic using this ‘freshness’ model. We’ll also share more ways to optimize an existing blog article for better search engine visibility.

We’ll also provide a checklist of tasks that can help you optimize your existing articles to reap the most benefit.

Let’s get started.

What Is Content Optimization?

Content optimization is the process of updating existing content on your website using the latest search engine optimization (SEO) standards.

Content optimization can also include adding more details and depth to the content, updating the content to reflect changes or developments in the topic, adding timely or newsworthy mentions, adding updated multimedia content, or even making the flow of the content more suitable for readers.

As we discussed above, optimizing existing blog articles improves their search engine rankings and helps you increase blog traffic.

5 Benefits of Optimizing Your Blog Posts

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Here are 5 top benefits of optimizing your blog posts:

Better SEO Ranking

Since Google measures the freshness of content and uses it as a ranking marker, any work you do to optimize yours will have a beneficial effect.

Search Engine Journal explains how updating old posts can potentially double your traffic. They explain that the freshness of a blog is an important ranking criterion.

Save More Time

Writing a new blog post requires a considerable amount of time. You have to look for keywords to rank, outline, and plan the content accordingly, write the content, add relevant media and then proofread before publishing.

Updating an existing blog post or page is optimizing what is already there.

Here you add more depth and clarity to what you have already published and update the facts making them relevant to the time of update.

Build Authority

Being seen as an authority in your niche is incredibly important if you want to develop your blog and grow your audience.

If your older posts are not optimized for relevant keywords, adding important ones relevant to the topic might go a long way.

You might see better rankings and more traffic, shares, and eventually better blog authority.

Build Reader Loyalty

From a user experience standpoint, an updated blog post will have a much better chance of engaging your readers than an old, outdated piece of content.

Simply keeping all the content up-to-date helps build more trust as it shows that you are sharing helpful information and investing time and energy into delivering what readers want.

Nobody wants to read old news.

Get More Backlinks

Backlinks are the lifeblood of SEO. The more you have, the more Google and other search engines trust the page. This will usually result in a higher position in SERPs.

If you want to attract more backlinks to your blog, it is essential to keep your content updated.

People don’t want to link to outdated content. If you want to build backlinks, keep your content fresh and updated.

Which Content to Optimize

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The good news is, you don’t need to update all your previous posts. Though it is good practice, we think it’s better to focus your efforts.

This section will discuss the five types of pages we think you need to optimize for the best results.

Pages With High-Quality Links

Find pages that have gathered many links but don’t rank very well. This could happen if the page is not optimized for current keywords.

In such a case, you need to refresh the page and update it with relevant content and keywords to increase blog traffic.

Pages With the Most Traffic

Old pages that receive the highest traffic are most likely to benefit significantly from content optimization.

If your articles are already ranking, it makes sense to update them to keep the visitors happy and attract new visitors too.

When you update these pages, chances of them ranking higher also increase as you are making the article more relevant.

Pages With High Bounce Rates

You might have noticed some pages on your website with high bounce rates. It generally means that the visitor experience needs some improvement.

There might be several reasons why your audience is bouncing off. It may be because of the website performance, or your content needs updating. Check both.

Keep checking your bounce rates regularly in Google Analytics. Track what is causing the audience to bounce and fix it while updating the page.

Pages With Keyword Impressions but Low Rankings

Getting keyword impressions means that search engines have crawled the page. If this is so, the chances are high that users will find your pages in search results.

However, if they rank too low, the post is not optimized well for keywords or is old content. You need to either update with new information or optimize with newer keywords.

Preferably both!

How to Increase Blog Traffic Through Content Optimization

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Optimizing existing content should be a part of your content strategy as it’s a sure-fire way to increase blog traffic.

Now that you know which pages need to be updated, let’s look at how you can optimize existing blog posts to keep them current.

Add More Depth

More content may not necessarily increase traffic to your blog. Instead, consider adding more depth and more research into the existing content.

This way, the query you are solving in your blog post becomes much more relevant to the user.

Add well-researched and credible sources of information. People want to see proof and every time you make a claim without backing it up with sources, you lose a little trust.

That’s not what we want.

Adding more depth can also identify gaps in the content you can exploit to further benefit the reader.

Add New Keywords

Sometimes you may find that your older blog posts are relevant for new keywords. In that case, instead of writing completely unique content, you just need to update the existing content with the new keywords.

You can find these keywords by studying your competitors or observing key phrases in your Google search console.

You can also use keyword research tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush to find new search queries asked by your target audience.

Consolidate Content

This is perhaps one of the simplest ways to optimize posts getting some search traffic but have not hit their potential.

Search for posts with good keyword impressions but low rankings and consolidate them into a single post, increasing its page rank.

This way, you reduce the number of web pages on your website, making it cleaner, faster, and easier to navigate.

Consolidating posts increases the depth of the concept you are already covering and strengthens the article. This also eliminates potential duplicate content in your blogs and improves the quality of the current blog post you are optimizing.

Add Frequently Asked Questions

You can find some interesting questions in the “People also ask” section of Google search results. Your target audience in Google frequently asks these questions.

Google's people also ask section

To find these questions, simply head over to Google and enter your query. You will see the “people also ask” section in there.

You can also find more relevant keywords in the “related searches” section.

Google's related searches

You can also answer questions that you encounter often in your support queries.

These sections rank very well in the featured snippet section as well as improve the quality of your content. You can also use Schema pro to boost your search appearance through Q&A schema.

Include the Current Year in Your Headline

Another tip is to put the year at the end of every post you optimize. It might not seem like much but it can make a huge difference as far as rankings go.

Adding year in the heading

This is a simple, yet effective way to update your content. Since people search for things that are trending, it makes sense to include the current year in the title.

You also need to update the content of the post accordingly. Add information relevant to the current year.

Update Meta Tags

Keep an eye on pages that have low click-through rates (CTR) using Google Search Console. These are posts that are ranked well but people are not clicking on the link.

This essentially means that your title tag and the meta description are not attractive enough. In such a case, look at your competitors and check what is working for them.

Update your meta tags accordingly and you should see improvement.

Making your meta tag more clickable helps increase traffic to your website. This is also a positive signal to the search engines crawlers, indicating that people want to read your pages.

Improve Your Search Intent Match

Check if your blog fully matches the search query you are targeting. For example, if your heading and title say ‘Best WordPress themes for Car Dealerships in 2022’, make sure the post covers WordPress car dealership themes.

You need to look at Google as a huge Q&A website. Where people come seeking answers. Your blog posts need to provide those answers.

Add Internal Links

Once you have enough articles, you can link them internally on relevant posts. Internal linking is a great way to bring together your old and new posts.

As you keep publishing, you will have more opportunities to link similar posts with each other. Internal links help drive readers to stay on your website for longer.

You can link newer posts on older and relevant posts. This will update and refresh your older posts.

Link to New Research

If you are using old research content in your blog posts, it’s time to update it.

Linking to research provides proof of what you’re saying and backs up any claim you make with evidence. As research and opinion change all the time, it makes sense to keep your proof updated and relevant.

Like the beginning of this blog post, we added Hubspot’s research as it is the most pertinent to the current topic. In a few months or a year, we’ll revisit that research to make sure it’s still current and relevant.

If it is still current, we’ll leave it alone. If it is no longer relevant or has been replaced with new findings, we’ll replace it.

Remove Broken Links

Keep an eye on the internal and external links that you add. If the page or post you link to from one of the articles gets deleted, your visitors might end up on a broken page.

This is a serious red flag when it comes to user experience. You can use the Broken Link Checker plugin to find broken links.

You can also use the free broken external checker by Ahrefs to find external broken links.

Make it a habit to remove all broken posts and replace them with relevant active posts. This way, you make your posts more authentic.

Add Schema Markup

Schema markup is the language that helps search engines understand your content. Once added, it helps create an enhanced description of your product (also known as rich snippets) in your search results.

Recipe schema in google

Rich snippets help add additional eye-catching information to your search results. This can increase the click-through rate and increase blog traffic.

When you are updating your old post, make sure it has the relevant schema markup if it does not have it already. Our Astra theme incorporates schema by default.

You can also use the Schema Pro plugin to add more types of schema and enhance your search rankings.

Add Images and Videos

Search engines love content that engages the users for a long time. Posts with such content are ranked higher, driving more blog traffic.

Images and videos are more likely to retain a visitor than plain text. Make sure that you add images and videos in relevant places throughout your blog posts.

It might also happen that the images you add slow down your website. To counter this, resize the images below 1000 px and use JPEG or WebP image format.

Similarly, do not upload videos directly onto your website. Instead, embed your videos while hosting them elsewhere to save bandwidth.

Adding the right images and videos helps keep your blog post updated and relevant.

Update and Optimize Your Existing Images

One thing to pay attention to while updating old posts is the images you use. Some screenshots or product photos you use in your blog post may not remain relevant over time.

Images including product or app photos may change depending on the company. In such cases, make sure you update these photos so they are current.

Take note of the alt text of these images as well. Optimize your photos with the proper names and the right alt text, including relevant key phrases.

Set an Update Schedule

We recommend updating your blog posts on a schedule. Once you have figured out the potential in your blog posts to improve, you need to figure out when to update them.

Updating them too frequently will consume your time and energy. If you delay too much, the blog post becomes irrelevant and won’t attract website traffic.

We suggest auditing your content on a regular basis. If possible, once every quarter. See if the content that you have published needs any update.

Promote Your Updated Blog Posts

Make sure you promote the updated blog posts. You can do so by sharing them in your newsletter or email outreach.

You can also share them on your social media channels or even put some ad budget to drive traffic to the blog.

Frequently Asked Questions

We know you have questions, and we have got answers. Here are some of the most common questions we are asked about how to increase blog traffic by optimizing posts.

How Often Should You Update Old Blog Posts?

You should audit your content, every quarter. This period will help you keep track of blog performance and regularly add relevant information to your blog. If you see an opportunity to update the blog, make the necessary changes.

The key to increasing blog traffic from search engines is updating your older posts. Fresh content will rank higher and get you that much-needed boost in visitors!

How Do I Optimize an Existing Blog?

We have added 15 tips to optimize existing blog articles in this blog post. Here are the biggest takeaways:

  • Perform keyword research to find new keywords
  • Address search intent
  • Update meta tags
  • Consolidate mid-performing content
  • Include the current year in your title
  • Add more internal links in relevant places
  • Add more depth to your content
  • Add frequently asked questions
  • Embed videos
  • Add relevant schema markup
  • Link to new research
  • Remove broken links
  • Promote updated blog posts to your existing audience
  • Add and optimize images with right alt texts
  • Set a regular update schedule

These tips will help you with an improved user experience and rank better in search engines.

Should You Update Old Blog Posts?

Yes, you should update old blog posts. If you’re not regularly posting to your blog, it’s time for an update. As time passes, the information you share becomes outdated. If you don’t update, your articles will lose their relevance.

Alternatively, when you regularly update your content, you add more depth to your articles, adding more value. This ensures that the information found on your website is dependable. This builds trust and people keep coming back.

Does Post Date Affect SEO?

Yes, post dates do affect SEO. They not only help you rank well but also drive more click-through rates to your articles. Having a post date in your meta description enables users to understand when your content was published and how relevant it is to the current times.

This is yet another reason why it is essential to update existing content.

Google showing post publishing date

As per CMSWire, you can choose to update your blog publication date when you have made major changes with the appropriate schema.

What Do You Do With Outdated Blog Posts?

We recommend refreshing outdated blog posts so they can continue to work for you. It is good practice to add more depth to your old blog posts.

You can update old information with new data and add relevant links and media to justify the change. This way you maintain the freshness of your blog and maintain your authority.

Optimize Blog Posts for SEO Today

By actively editing old blog posts, you can boost the search engine ranking of your website and increase blog traffic.

The best part is that all these edits can be done without starting from scratch. Adding more depth, researching new keywords, and adding expert quotes are some of the many methods to optimize blog posts for SEO.

Updating blog posts also helps build trust among your audience, gets you more traffic over time, improves brand reputation, and boosts revenue through increased sales.

So update old articles on your blog today!

What other methods do you use to maintain the freshness of your blog? Let us know in the comments.