Today, we’re going to cover why it’s so important that you keep updating website content regularly…not just continuing to add new content, but going through your old content and refreshing those articles and pages with key information and links etc. Below are 14 key reasons why updating your content is a must. This is especially true for small businesses looking to get SEO.
As you’re probably aware – your business website is one of your most important marketing tools, no matter what industry you are in. It’s out there working for your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, just getting your brand out there, increasing the awareness of your products and services, and then selling those online takes a huge amount of work and skill. This is where a solid online marketing & SEO strategy comes in first of all.
That’s why it is so important to have a website that functions the best it possibly can, and one that stays relevant and up-to-date.
One way of ensuring your site is always fresh and relevant is by updating the content on a regular basis. There are many reasons why you need to put some time into this, but below are 14 key reasons why.
Here Are A Few Best Practices For Updating Website Content Regularly
The process of updating old content can seem unnecessary and be time consuming, especially if your website has been online for a while. It’s advisable to plan to work on these updates as an ongoing project, rather than all in one hit. Breaking it down into regular, manageable amounts will ensure it doesn’t fall under the radar.
Before you start, here are a few best practices to follow:
Start with a content audit
Realistically, you will unlikely have the time to give enough careful attention to every single article that needs to be updated. Instead – and to ensure the best use of your time, it’s important to determine which of your pieces of content are most likely to have the biggest impact. Essentially, this is how a content audit helps you.
A content audit is designed to review all of your website’s existing content and evaluate its performance. The objective here is to identify older articles that have lost significant traffic since being published. This is how you hone in on exactly which articles are worth updating. Content that was initially successful is much more likely to be revivable. Other main factors to consider are their relevance and keywords used. Ideally, select content that was written to target high volume, ‘evergreen keywords.’ For example, a post about social media video marketing is likely a better option for updating than one written about Myspace.
Use a checklist to follow
No two pieces of content will be the same, and some will require more work than others. You’re probably wondering what changes are needed exactly in order to get a significant improvement in performance. Research shows that changes made to the body text are more important to search engines.
To keep your work structured and consistent, create a checklist for each article that you update. Here are some changes to consider adding to your checklist:
Double check the user intent and search intent of the keyword you’re targeting. Does the core message of the article align precisely with what your audience is looking for when they search for this term?
Assess whether the headline stands out instantly compared to competing articles. How can you improve your headline?
Update graphics and other visual elements that no longer align with your brand design.
Go through all of the internal and external links to make sure the content that you’re linking to is still relevant and accurate. If there are any broken links, fix them.
Identify opportunities to update SEO elements such as titles, meta descriptions and image alt-text.
Check for grammar and writing tonality. When it comes to writing, there’s no right or wrong, but you should consistent with your voice across all of your content.
Some changes are quick to fix, others may take some time if a complete rewrite of the post is required. Once you think the piece reads much better, republish it and update the date of posting.
Promote updated content on social media
Once your article is republished, ‘amplify your voice’ by promoting it across your social media platforms. This will help with indexing, plus get fresh eyes on the content by giving it an extra boost.
Monitor progress and adjust accordingly
Use SEO software to monitor/track the performance of the content you’re updating so, you know if your efforts are getting the desired results. As well as user traffic, most SEO tools allow you to measure the number of backlinks and keywords picked up by your content pieces. Once you establish progress through tracking, you can then replicate this process or tweak your strategy if you’re not getting the results you hoped for. Allow your freshly updated articles a month or so to see how they’re performing.
The crux of it
New does not necessarily always mean better. If your marketing strategy needs a much-needed injection, invest some time in updating old content regardless of whether you’re targeting general SEO or local SEO. This doesn’t have to be expensive necessarily – Online Marketing Group offers affordable SEO services to small businesses for just this reason. When executed properly, a content refresh can help you generate significant traffic, keep your audience engaged, and indicate to search engines that your post is worthy of higher rankings on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
This Is Why You Should Refresh Your Old Content
Remember, the majority of content fails. All content eventually decreases in value.
Your content comes with an expiry date. Generally speaking, over 90 percent of the content you create will get most of its traffic within the first few days to a week of publishing.
Your content becomes ‘old’ within just a few weeks in some industries, while other types of content may still generate strong traffic for anywhere from 3-5 years before, inevitably, you start to see diminishing returns.
With old content, try not to delete it. It’s much more beneficial to update it instead.
Here Are OMG’s 14 Reasons Why You Should Update Your Old Content – It Offers Huge Benefits Compared To The Effort Required:
- Search engines
It’s critical that your small business website can be found via search engines. One way to improve your chances of being noticed is by having your content refreshed regularly as we mentioned above.
When you refresh your site, search engines will notice and will revise your site ranking. If you don’t touch your website, search engines will assume it is dormant and can actually begin skipping your site in searches.
Fresh content won’t necessarily guarantee how high you will rank, but it will certainly help your chances of getting noticed. However, it is vital to note that quality is far more important than quantity when it comes to any content. Ensure you avoid keyword stuffing that makes your articles hard to read and not make sense; this negative tactic will be penalised by the likes of Google etc.
- More opportunities for keywords
You do still need to use keywords – it just needs to be done properly. Search engines will take note when you use certain words and phrases that link to your product or service offering. The more content you are publishing, the more opportunities you will get to use targeted keywords. Fresh content means that search engines will crawl and index your site more often, and those keywords will show them that your site is highly relevant to those queries/searches being made.
Always remain authentic when writing content for your site. Keep the reader in mind, rather than basing the post on keywords. This way, you’ll keep both your identified audience and search engines on side.
- Help your audience
Another major reason for keeping your content fresh is for your target audience. Users visit websites for a reason; it could be to seek out information or it could be to purchase a product or service. If the content on your website is outdated, the reader is not going to have confidence that the information they have clicked on is relevant.
If you sell directly from your site via an eCommerce site, and your blog or homepage content is some years old, your potential customer is not likely to feel confident about spending their hard-earned dollars with your business. They may assume that there’s ‘nobody home’ at the other end of the website.
If you maintain your site with various interesting articles that are current – you will more likely capture the interest of your audience while also securing yourself as an authority on the subject. If you write articles that are relevant, interesting and helpful, your audience will become more trusting of your brand, and you will become top of mind next time they are looking for services or products within your chosen market.
- Become the authority
Knowledge is power. Demonstrate your authoritative position in your industry by having numerous pages of high-quality information that you can share easily on social media, and that visitors to your website can really engage with. If your audience ends up spending time clicking around your site and scrolling through a great deal of information, that’s ideal, as search engines also take notice of how long people stay on your site (dwell time).
The more articles and pages you have on there, the more chance you’ll have of showing up in Google searches. If your business is consistently showing up in search feeds, it will authenticate your position of authority in that market. If you’re lucky enough to already be one of the top-ranked small businesses, then your audience will expect to see your brand appear at least occasionally on Google. If you hardly ever do, they may start to doubt whether you really are one of the best solutions out there for them.
Keeping your website content freshly updated and relevant doesn’t have to be as hard as you may think. Although it is ideal to have high-quality articles that will help your potential customers find the information they’re after, you can also refresh your site by simply updating your FAQ’s, adding advice or a call to action button every few months.
- Your CTR (Click-Through Rate) is really low
Go to your site’s Google Search Console and check your Search Analytics data. If the click-through rate is terrible for certain articles or pages, that’s a clear sign that you need to update your content.
Again, re-optimise your SEO titles and meta descriptions where needed. Make sure they contain relevant keywords but are also eye-catching and engaging for people quickly scanning search results. Utilise words that are more likely to attract clicks.
- Your content is poorly written
Proofreading & Editing
Have you ever published a piece of content hurriedly without editing it (and re-editing it) properly without returning to it? Putting out poorly written content with typos or grammatical issues in, for example, is an easy way to lose the trust of your audience and avoid being clicked on in the first place by a potential new customer.
However, in the online world, nothing lasts forever. Go back through your poorly-performing content (or hire a professional proofreader) and improve the language. Don’t waffle. Make it concise. Make it more easily readable.
- Your content is attracting little/no organic traffic
Check your analytics to see which posts are bringing in very low organic traffic. Doing nothing will not magically help your content to rise up the rankings. Create a list and prioritise which content has the most potential value, then start updating those before any others.
- Your articles contain outdated information
Any outdated content is bad content (e.g. old opening hours before COVID-19). Even if your content is generating a good amount of traffic, you should ensure all your content is up to date.
Failing to update old and irrelevant content reflects poorly on your business – surely you care enough to provide your audience with the most accurate information. It’s also a negative experience for the users who land on that page/article. When you give people wrong information or answers, they’ll almost certainly feel like they’ve had a bad experience with your website.
- Adding or removing links
Fix Your Links
If your content links to resources on other sites, make sure the links still work. It’s very annoying to click on a link only to discover the ‘Page not found’ message.
Additionally, you can update your older content simply to link to other resources on your own site. This is a great opportunity to link to other pages that didn’t exist when you published your old article.
- Adding important updates
Sometimes, at the time of publication, you just don’t have all of the information. Product prices are a good example of this, where numerous external factors can affect this such as market conditions, currency exchange rates, consumer confidence, and times when you have a sale on etc. This can be absolutely essential for a small online retailer to get right, and to remain competitive or to outperform their rivals.
When you publish this kind of content, highlight it in some way that it’s an update, so your audience will know the price point has changed.
- Adding images or videos
Is your content all text based? Why not add some visual appeal? Images and videos help readers glean new information and ideas, they increase engagement, and can help readers remember your brand.
The addition of visual content also works well for readability; it breaks up long blocks of text, which can send readers hurtling towards the back button in fear. Make sure the visuals you add are highly relevant, serve a purpose, and help tell your story. You should never add uninspired visuals just for the sake of it.
- Breathe fresh life into your content
As we indicated earlier, not every article will be a success. Sometimes even great content is ignored. This could be for any number of reasons: you didn’t promote it enough, your content was poorly optimised, nobody had heard of your business when it published…or maybe people simply didn’t need your content at that moment.
If you’ve invested a good amount of time and energy into creating what you feel is a great article, there’s a good chance you’ve missed the target somewhere along the way. Revisit it, re-evaluate why it went wrong and at what point, then revive it.
- Help more people discover your content
Updating and republishing your articles and pages gives you increased opportunities for people to find them. Promote this new content in your email newsletter and promote it on social media to help increase your reach.
There’s a fair chance that the people who find it and share it this time missed it the first time around. Tell people about your content if you want more of them to see it.
- Updating content actually brings results
There has been some research into republishing content. It shows that while some pieces were republished virtually identical to their original format, others were almost unrecognisable in their new form – and results could go up by as much as 500% or more in search traffic. That’s a staggering increase from the original content’s traffic. However, this required a considerably more amount of time, effort, and expertise than merely changing typos and grammar issues. Along with other SEO optimisations, there was even an update to the keyword phrase which was more relevant to the user intent.
Most content fails. All content will eventually decrease in its value. That’s why updating your old content provides so many benefits with quite often minimal effort.
Updating your content can result in improved search rankings, a higher number of links, more traffic, social shares, and new customers finding you for the first time. It should be something that you set aside time for on a regular basis.
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