Having a website means always having to hustle to create brand new content…right? Not necessarily. It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that when you need to boost numbers from organic search, you need to write a fresh piece of content. But your website is already brimming with content that you’re not using to its full potential.
Content doesn’t stay fresh for very long. Even evergreen content can slip down the search rankings when it gets old. Google prioritizes fresh content, and has since at least 2011. Content that wasn’t written to be evergreen in the first place can age particularly poorly. If you’ve got a lot of content that isn’t performing as well as it used to, it could be time to give your website a refresh.
Benefits of a Content Refresh
Refreshing your content has huge benefits for your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). Search engine users want to find the most relevant, up-to-date information for their search queries, and search engines know this. Updating old content is enough to entice search engines to rank it highly again. You have the chance to gain back lost traffic and boost rankings without going to the trouble of creating brand new content each time you need to boost those numbers.
How to Tell When It’s Time for a Refresh
When is it time for a refresh? Well, if you’ve been posting content regularly for at least a year, it’s probably time for a refresh. That’s about how often you need to refresh old content. As long as you’ve put the appropriate amount of effort into researching and writing your pieces, they should rank just fine for the first year. In fact, it can take up to 18 months for a piece of content to see its highest numbers from search.
When you start seeing search rankings and traffic drop for older pieces, that’s when it’s time to start refreshing that content. Content that’s almost ranking high enough, and could rank higher with just a little updating, should be prioritized first. Content that used to bring in a lot of traffic but that has seen a drop in search traffic at least six months ago should also be refreshed.
Don’t just look at organic search traffic and rankings. Look at conversions and sales, too. You’re not just trying to get more search traffic – you’re trying to get more business. Old pieces that aren’t resulting in as many conversions or sales as they could or used to are ripe for refreshment.
You should regularly refresh evergreen and seasonal content, too. Refresh seasonal content in time for the season to start – for example, refresh content for Halloween over the summer so it’s ready for early fall. Evergreen content should be reviewed regularly, too – the information in it could become outdated, or you may want to embellish it with some discussion of new subtopics or the addition of new quotes and perspectives. Of course, if you’re struggling with figuring out which pieces of content to refresh or with finding the time to refresh it, you can reach out to a marketing firm that offers in-house or white label SEO services to help.
How to Refresh Your Website Content
Start your content refresh by updated outdated information. Perhaps accepted wisdom about a topic has changed since you first wrote the piece, or there’s an updated process for your how-to, or the piece makes reference to an outdated current event or year.
Replace old statistics with more recent ones. Check all the links to make sure they still work, and add some new links to other pieces of content on your website – ones that have been written since this piece was published. Clean up grammar mistakes, typos, misspellings, and awkward turns of phrase. Rewrite stuff that sounded good five years ago but makes you cringe now. Look at that – you’re growing as a writer.
Promote Your Refreshed Content All Over Again
Once you have remastered your old content, you will need to promote it all over again. Share the refreshed content to your social media pages. Link to it from other relevant content on your website. Buy ads for it. Share it with those you have quoted, interviewed, or referenced.
Is it time to give your website content a refresh? If your site has been up and running for longer than about a year or a year and a half, the answer is yes. The good news is that it’s well worth refreshing your content to improve your SEO. You can make your old content work for you, and keep drawing in more and more traffic.