Low-effort methods to bring life to old content, catching the attention of Google and increasing organic traffic to your site.
Your old content lingers and waits, sitting around, cluttering your website and potentially bringing up thoughts of whether or not you should just delete it. Or maybe it rarely occurs to you that the older content has any value, so you stick with your current content calendar and constantly think up new ideas to ensure that calendar is filled.
From videos to infographics, and blog posts to e-books, your earlier work may seem outdated or from a time where you were less organized or not as polished a creator, but that old content has an incredible amount of potential (Just ask HubSpot: they saw a 106% increase in traffic after optimizing old content. Or Precision Marketing, which claims a 90% increase after improving upon past content).
There are several benefits to optimizing old content for the sake of boosting your organic traffic:
- The process focuses on increasing organic traffic, so you’re making a one-time or occasional change to receive continual traffic into the future.
- It helps you develop a new skill set that’s useful for all site owners, one that prompts you to generate amazing content with less work.
- You’re able to clarify your messaging by removing redundant information, while also cleaning up messy parts of your site.
- It opens up possibilities to create more engaging content that leads to backlinks through shareable items like infographics, mega-posts and charts.
- You can make quick SEO improvements without having to write a completely new article. All that’s required are a few keyword additions and content changes.
- The process typically expands upon your current collection of content by growing the length of articles or adding more valuable information.
- You may notice that you’re missing opportunities for sales or calls to action within your content.
- It broadens your base by opening up the content to different formats. For instance, a blog post turned into a video now reveals that information to an entirely new set of users.
Remember, increasing organic traffic to old content has the primary advantage of attracting users from an organic standpoint. Therefore, it serves as a more passive approach, where you make the improvements in an effort to naturally bring more people to your site.
Keep reading to learn about the best ways to increase organic traffic to old content.
1. Before Changing Anything, Run a Content Audit
Increasing organic traffic to old content all starts with understanding what you want from that content.
Therefore, it’s important to write down a list of goals for that older content so you’re able to identify the right content to change. Some common goals include:
- Growing direct traffic to the older content
- Leveraging the old content to bring more organic traffic to more popular pages
- Transforming content to expand your reach, like with videos and infographics
After you’ve established your goals, it’s necessary to run a content audit, where you use analytics to review all content on your site and identify:
- Traffic levels
- Optimization levels
- Visitor engagement and movements
One method for obtaining this information is by using the basic analytics tools within your content management system.
For instance, WordPress offers view counts from all posts for you to find the least engaging.
Or tap into advanced tools, like heatmaps and analytics, to discover which posts and pages your users tend to enjoy or avoid. For help, read the Lucky Orange guide on analyzing content performance with dynamic heatmaps.
As you work through the audit, make a list of underperforming posts. Next to those items, log the reasons you think they may be underperforming, with reasons like a lack of keyword optimization to out-dated information. In some instances, posts are not worth updating. This may be because they’re about something trivial or something that holds no importance in current times like an award of end-of-year wrap-up.
This can all be found by tracking the individual pages and posts within your website, then by checking analytics for keywords and traffic sources.
Once you’ve conducted your audit and made a list of old content to optimize, move onto the next steps for increasing organic traffic to the old content.
2. Combine Old Posts to Build In-depth Guides
It’s possible that an old blog post has plenty of quality information but the post is hidden deep in your archives, not titled properly or lacks an appealing featured image.
Regardless of the reasoning, you’re able to boost traffic to an old blog post by combining it with other posts to deliver an overall stronger piece of content.
The goal is to look through all posts to find topics that relate to one another. Using an example from a real-estate blog, you may find that one article talks about mortgage preapprovals. Another covers getting your financing together before applying for a loan. A third article explains the basics of negotiation.
These topics all have one thing in common: they’re part of the home buying process.
You can repurpose these articles by combining them together into one mega-post, complemented by a table of contents. This way, you utilize the power of the high-performing articles to push traffic to lesser-noticed but still valuable content.
Image source: Centsai.com
3. Intertwine Old Content with Links
Another way to leverage high-traffic content is by adding internal links to the content that’s not performing as well. This tactic is similar to combining them all into one post, but you keep each post or page independent, potentially strengthening the SEO and traffic for each.
Image source: Constant Contact
Again, this strategy requires you to locate content that’s related, and you’re best off interlinking between high-traffic and low-traffic pages, considering a link from a low-traffic post to another low-traffic post won’t render the greatest results.
4. Add Stats, Quotes, and Ideas from Other Sites and Link to Those
Company websites and blogs within your industry contain endless treasures for you to enliven your content, with the bonus of linking to sites that may end up sharing your content.
For instance, let’s say you have an image-rich blog post explaining the benefits of A/B testing for email marketing campaigns.
One way to spice up that article, and add credibility, is to pull from another industry blog with quotes, statistics or case studies supporting your argument. For instance, a stat about how A/B testing improves email open rates by a certain percentage is sure to interest your readers.
Again, you benefit by strengthening your content with a fact, stat or quote, and the owner of the website you linked to may end up sharing your content with their audience.
5. Update the Content with Fresh Images, Infographics, and other Supporting Graphics
A piece of content without images lacks visual appeal and sharing potential.
If you find some old content that’s text-heavy, think of ways to generate supporting images, while refraining from leaning on stock images.
Ideas include infographics, charts, insider images and screenshots.
Image source: WPBeginner
Advantages to this strategy include the fact that your post is more approachable, the images are great for sharing, and you can type in alt tags for all images to boost the post’s SEO.
6. Increase the Word Count with Valuable New or Complementary Information
This is usually one of the easiest ways to get more organic traffic to old content. Upping the word count opens up the potential for including more keywords. Not to mention, search engines recognize content updates as highly valuable.
Furthermore, an expanded word count allows you to remove outdated information and expand upon arguments. We highly recommend making a content update schedule to increase word counts and update old information.
7. Optimize Everything from Keywords to Image Alt Tags
Older content tends to go un-optimized, or you simply didn’t know as much about search engine optimization in the past.
Not to worry, because this is a wonderful chance to dive into each old post and optimize for target keywords, incorporate long-tail keywords and fill in image alt tags.
8. Transform the Content into a Different Medium to Pull from Alternative Traffic Sources
If your old content is a blog post, think about how to turn it into a YouTube video. If it’s an eBook, consider making an infographic with the important parts.
Every bit of old content offers options for reformatting, and those changes often lead to traffic from new sources.
For example, your website’s blog may only receive traffic from places like search engines and social media. If you turned a few blog posts into videos, there’s an entirely new audience (billions of users on YouTube) to engage.
Image source: Social Media Examiner
Start your content updating journey with the ever-so-helpful content audit. After that, dive into tried-and-true methods for increasing organic traffic to old content, such as combining content, changing formats and adding valuable quotes and stats.
As time passes, be sure to schedule additional content audits to keep your old content fresh.
Wesley Stryker, Commerce Caffeine
Wes is the founder of Commerce Caffeine, an e-commerce software discovery platform that helps brands find the best Shopify apps and Amazon seller tools for their e-commerce businesses. Wesley has over 10 years of experience operating and consulting e-commerce businesses.