Content refreshing is one of the best strategies to keep your marketing efforts sustainable and to ensure that your site maintains its ranking in search engines.
Here’s everything you need to know about it, from finding content to updating and the best way to do it.
What Is Content Refreshing?
Content refreshing is the process of taking old content and updating it to make it relevant and fresh again.
This can involve adding new information, removing outdated data, changing the format, or anything else that will make the content more useful and engaging for your audience.
Most people think that the only way to be successful in online marketing is to produce high-quality, original content. While this is certainly one way to succeed, it’s not the only way.
You can get a lot of mileage out of repurposing and refreshing old content.
Consider the following example.
Look at how the interest in the topic “photoshop” has been declining, while their competitor “canva” has been raising in the last years:
Content decays over time as new information and trends arise. Specifically, if you don’t update your old articles, they will have a high chance to become irrelevant and lose their impact.
However, if you refresh your old content, you can bring it back to life and give it a second wind.
Not only will this help you save time and energy in the long run. But it will also ensure that it is always relevant and up-to-date.
Why Is Content Refreshing Important?
There are a few reasons why content refreshing is important:
- It helps you save time and energy
- It keeps your content relevant
- It helps you rank higher in search engines
- It drives more traffic to your site
It Helps You Save Time and Energy
If you’re constantly starting from scratch and creating new content, it’s going to take a lot of time and energy.
By refreshing old content, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort.
It Keeps Your Content Relevant
As I mentioned before, content decays over time as new information arises.
By refreshing your old posts, you can ensure that they are always relevant and up-to-date.
It Helps You Rank Higher in Search Engines
The main goal of SEO is to get your site to rank higher in search engines.
One way to do this is by publishing new, relevant content. When you refresh outdated articles, you are essentially giving them a second chance to rank high in search engines.
Not only that, but you’re also increasing the chances that people will click through to your site when they see your content in the search results.
It Drives More Traffic to Your Site
In a research made by HubSpot, they found out that updating old blog posts increased traffic to old posts by 106%.
This SEO statistic shows us that when you update and republish old content, it gives you a chance to promote it again.
You can share it on social media, send it out in your newsletter, and re-post it on your blog.
By doing this, you’re driving more traffic back to your site, which can lead to more leads and sales.
What is Content Decay?
With the Freshness content update introduced by Google in 2011, content decay became a real concern for website owners and marketers.
So, what does it mean for you?
It means that your content becomes outdated and may lose its ranking in search engines.
This can happen for several reasons, such as new information becoming available or changes in search algorithms (or competitors outranking you).
It consists of five phases:
- Spike. Here your content is first published and it begins to gain traction. It’s during this phase that it is most likely to rank high in search engines.
- Trough. Your content starts to lose its ranking. It usually occurs a few weeks after it has been published.
- Growth. You start to see your content regain its ranking. It usually happens when you refresh or update it.
- Plateau. Here your content stabilizes and remains at a consistent ranking.
- Decay. This is the final phase where your content continues to lose its ranking and becomes outdated.
There are different reasons why content decay. The most common reason is that new information arises.
Other reasons include changes in search algorithms, user behavior, and even the overall freshness of your site.
No matter the reason, it’s important to be aware of content decay and take steps to prevent it.
Content Refreshing Phases
John Mueller from Google pointed out that content refreshing is one of the options to deal with old content issues.
So, here are four phases you need to take into consideration when updating your old content:
Let’s take a closer look at each phase.
Identify Content to Refresh
The first step is to identify which pieces of content need to be refreshed.
There are a few factors you should take into consideration:
- Age of the Content
- Engagement Metrics
- Traffic Numbers
- Search Ranking
- Your Marketing Goals
Age of the Content
One of the main factors you should take into consideration is the age of your content.
If your content is more than two years old, it’s probably time for an update. This is because information changes quickly and what was relevant two years ago might not be relevant today.
Another factor to consider is engagement metrics. These include things like the number of social shares, comments, and email subscribers you have.
If your content has low engagement, it might be a sign that it’s outdated or no longer relevant to your audience.
The third factor is traffic numbers. If you’ve noticed a decline in traffic to a particular piece of content, it might be a sign that it needs to be updated.
Finally, you should also take into consideration your content’s search ranking.
If your content is no longer appearing in the search results (or steadily losing its positions in SERPs), it definitely needs to be refreshed.
Your Marketing Goals
In addition to the above factors, you should also take your marketing goals into consideration.
For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, you might want to refresh your content more often than if your goal is to generate leads.
If you have a post that has been converting well on your marketing funnel, then, by all means, update that content more frequently in comparison to an article that’s not bringing you any results.
Practical Steps to Identify Content to Refresh
If you have a lot of content on your site, it might seem like a daunting task to go through all of it and determine which pieces need to be updated.
According to research published on Ahrefs, you should update posts with more than 20,000 monthly visitors at peak performance.
One way to make the process easier is to use Google Analytics. You can use the date range feature to see when each piece of content was published and compare.
Another way to identify content that needs to be refreshed is to use Google Search Console.
You can use the “performance” feature to see which pieces of content are getting the most impressions and clicks.
Go to “pages”, select one of the pages on the list, and check how the post has been doing in a specific date range (I’d say, at least, two years):
You can also use this information to determine which keywords you need to target:
Finally, you can also use Google Trends to see if there is a decline in searches for a particular keyword or topic.
If you see a decrease, it might be a sign that your content is no longer relevant and needs to be updated.
Once you’ve identified which pieces of content need to be refreshed, it’s time to move on to the next step: updating the content.
Update the Content
Now, it’s time to update the old stuff with helpful content.
There are a few things you should keep in mind when updating your articles:
- Make sure the information is still relevant and accurate
- Update the examples and case studies
- Add new images, videos, or infographics
- Add new statistics and data
- Research new ideas to include
- Update the formatting and structure
- Include new keywords and phrases
- Optimize for voice search
- Fulfill search intent
Update the Information
The first thing you need to do when updating your content is to make sure the information is still relevant and accurate.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to double-check that the information in your content is up-to-date.
For example, if you have a blog post about SEO trends for 2015, you need to make sure that the information in the post is still accurate for the current year.
If it’s not, you need to update it accordingly.
You should also check for any broken links in your content and update them as well.
Update the Examples and Case Studies
Another thing you need to do when updating your content is to update the examples and case studies.
If you have any outdated data, you need to replace them with new research.
This will make your content more relatable and helpful for your readers.
Add New Images, Videos, or Infographics
In addition to the previous suggestions, you should also add optimized images, videos, or infographics.
This will help to break up the text and make your content more visually appealing.
It will also help to keep your readers engaged with your content.
Add New Statistics and Data
Another thing you should do when updating your content is to add new statistics and data.
This will help to keep your content relevant and up-to-date.
It will also show your readers that you are keeping up with the latest trends.
Update the Formatting and Structure
Doing this will help to make your content easier to read and more user-friendly.
It will also help search engines to better understand it.
Include New Keywords and Phrases
Another good strategy is to include new keywords and phrases. For example, semantically related keywords.
This will help both users and search engines better understand your content.
Optimize for Voice Search
Another thing you need to do when updating your content is to optimize it for voice search.
With the rise of digital assistants like Siri and Alexa, more and more people are using voice search to find information online.
To do this, you need to use natural language and long-tail keywords.
You should also include question-and-answer formats in your content.
Fulfill Search Intent
Finally, you want to make sure that you fulfill search intent.
This means that it needs to match the user’s query.
- “Why my post is not ranking well as the others in the SERP?”
- “What does this query want to know?”
- “Is the post format correct for this query?”
Promote the Refreshed Content
After you’ve updated your content, the next step is to promote it.
There are a few things you can do:
- Share it on social media
- Submit it to communities
- Promote it through email marketing
Share It on Social Media
The first thing you can do to promote your refreshed content is to share it on social media.
This will help to increase its reach and get more people to see it.
You should also include share buttons on your website or blog so that people can easily share your content with their followers.
Submit It to Communities
Another way you can promote your refreshed content is by submitting it to communities in your niche. This will help to increase its reach and get more people to see it.
One of the biggest online communities is Reddit.
You can join subreddits that are relevant to your niche and start a conversation there.
Promote It through Email Marketing
Finally, you can promote your refreshed content through email marketing.
This is a great way to reach your existing subscribers and get them to read your new writings.
You can also use email marketing to attract new readers to your website.
Measure the Results
After you’ve promoted your refreshed content, the next step is to measure the results.
This will help you to see if your efforts have been successful.
You should look at things like:
- The number of pageviews
- The number of social shares
- The number of inbound links
If you see a positive impact on these metrics, then you know that your content refresh was successful. If not, then you may need to adjust your strategy.
You can use Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and your favorite SEO tools.
For example, you can look on Ahrefs if the content you refreshed is gaining backlinks or organic traffic:
Before You Go
Content refreshing is an important part of online marketing.
But it’s not the only method to get traffic to your site.
Here are some helpful articles you may want to read:
Now, over to you.
Do you have any tips or strategies to add?
Share them in the comments below!