If you’ve been publishing content for a while, you’ve likely got a huge backlog of blog posts on your website. But if you haven’t touched them since the date they were originally published, you’re missing two huge components of any content marketing strategy.
First, it defeats the entire point of creating content in the first place: to provide value to your potential customers. A blog post published back in 2012 and hasn’t been updated since won’t be of value to them.
This influences the SEO performance of the content, too. Google prefers fresh content; they don’t want their searchers to be frustrated when they show an outdated blog post in their list of results.
The bottom line? An old blog post won’t be doing your site—nor your potential customers—any favors.
(There’s a reason why 67% of marketers have a process for updating old content.)
So, how can you find old content that needs updating? Here are four simple ways to spot blog posts which need an all-important refresh:
1. Pages with the most traffic
Take a look inside your Google Analytics account and find the content driving the most traffic to your website.
You’re receiving more eyeballs on these pages, so it makes sense to double-check when you last updated them, and make sure the information you’re sharing is relevant.
Thomas Brodbeck of Found Search Marketing explains: “When looking at your most trafficked blog posts and see what data might be dated and look to see if new information has come about. I recommend looking over your blog posts a couple of times a year.”
(You can break this down by traffic source, including organic. It will show the most important pages to your website, SEO-wise.)
2. Content published early in your strategy
If you’re following the advice to publish new content at least once a week, you’ve probably got a huge backlog of content. But you don’t focus on those you posted years ago; your attention is on creating new, exciting content.
It’s important to go back to those early blog posts and determine whether you should update them. (Or delete them, if they’re not relevant anymore.)
This helps to streamline your website and make sure every blog post you’re publishing meets your current standards. Google will see how each page provides value, and there’s no risk of someone landing on it and being off-put by something that was only relevant 5 years ago.
3. Pages with the best backlinks
It’s no secret that backlinks are important for SEO.
Zety‘s Michael Tomaszews explains how you can use them to prioritize blog posts that need refreshing: “Find the blogs on your site that have racked up some solid links from other outlets, but that don’t rank particularly well. These pages have lots of authority and a ranking potential that’s worth its weight in gold.”
You can find pages with the most backlinks using Ahrefs’ Best by Links report:
4. Content with lots of impressions but low keyword rankings
Take a look at your keyword ranking report. Can you find any keywords you’re receiving tons of impressions for, but not many clicks or great rankings?
“One way to do this is through Google Search Console,” Emely Brady of Scorpion explains.
“You can filter your URLs by blog (if your site is organized that way), then start looking for queries that have a LOT of impressions and are within striking distance of ranking.”
Brady continues: “Depending on how successful your site is, “within striking distance” could mean an average position between 6 and 16. Again, this is relative to how well the majority of your blogs are already performing.”
These are keywords you’re already ranking for. Consider prioritizing these pages because with a small boost, you could significantly increase organic traffic.
Don’t let old content go to waste
Instead of hitting “publish” on new content once a week, scale down your production and take a look at what you’ve already got to work with.
You’ve likely got a bunch of old content you can update, reoptimize, and republish. It’s bound to take much less time (and money) than starting a new piece from scratch every week.