Have you noticed that the majority of your traffic comes from only a handful of pages? Your Home Page drives the majority of visits. You probably have a couple of posts with popular keywords that are attracting good traffic and your Landing Pages are getting visitors, as well. So what about the rest of your website pages and the other content types that you have created? You would think that they should, at least in theory, be able to attract some traffic, right? And yet no one seems to sees them.
Perhaps they never had a chance to rank highly in the first place, because of too competitive keywords or poor optimization. But from personal experience, I’m telling you that most likely it is that they simply have become outdated. And a quick refresh of your content could breathe new SEO life into them. In this post, I plan to show you a few ways in which you can achieve it. And how do we know what content needs refreshing? You see, the fact that a page is old, doesn’t mean that it’s irrelevant. Google actually admits that: “Different searches have different freshness needs.” It actually means that for some searches, the older content might be more relevant than new.
Therefore, before you do something rash and make the leap and refresh every page on your website, you should check them against these 4 characteristics of Content that is outdated:
1. It Is Older Than Other Pages That Are Getting Similar Results.
According to Google’s patent, a page receives a freshness score based on its inception date. This score will decay over a period of time as the content matures. That inception date is often synchronized with the moment that the search engine becomes aware of the content. But whether that freshness score will have a negative effect on your rankings will largely depend on its difference from the age of other like search results. As Google’s patent, which is called “Document Scoring Based on Document Content Update”, states:
“For some searches, older posts may actually be more favorable than newer ones.”
As a result, it may be beneficial for Google to adjust the score of a document based on the difference in age from the average age of the result set of searches. Therefore, if the specific piece of content is related to a topic that has recently been updated, it may be considered outdated and needs a refresh.
2. The Content Is No Longer Relevant
Similarly, if a piece of content is offering advice that is irrelevant or outdated, it naturally will be considered dated and ultimately dropped from rankings. It does not conform to today’s best practices of web copy. Consider that only a couple of years ago, articles that were 500 words long were considered a good enough content to rank. However today, the search engine expects quality and so it seeks out long, informative content that covers just about every aspect of a problem or situation. One of the key lessons that webmasters learned after the Google’s Panda update, was that it would pay off to create high-quality and useful content. But what exactly is considered quality content?
3. Your Content Is Getting No Results
Lastly, if a piece of content does not bring results such as traffic, conversions etc., it could be a sign that it needs a thorough update, as well. Sometimes it may mean completely rewriting it from scratch. Other times, it can be updated and expanded with up-to-date information.
By analyzing the information known about the Google’s algorithm, it is concluded that quality content is one that:
- Will provide real answers to real people’s problems.
- Will help or entertain the readers.
- It tells them how to do something or where they can find something.
- It is chocked full of references, quotes and it will back up every claim.
- It provides information that people will talk about on their own websites.
It will get quoted, linked to and shared.If your content is failing to deliver on any of these characteristics, it is time to refresh it to post-Panda standards.
So, how does one refresh old content? Once you have a list of pages ready to update, it is time to begin refreshing the content to breathe new SEO life into it. Here are some ways to achieve that new lease on life:
1. Include New Keywords
Here is a fact for you: A lot of content will under perform in searches mainly because it is optimized for the wrong keywords. It will focus on phrases that have very little, if any, search volume. Or, they are not what most of your customers would use to find information they are searching for. In updating content, your starting point should be a thorough check to see if your content isn’t being optimized for any of these particular keywords. You can check out the keyword research platform I use to learn how to find phrases your customers use when searching. Jaaxy is the number one Keyword Search Platform available on the market. Please see my thorough review on the Jaaxy platform HERE. It is Keywords and SO much more.
2. Optimize Your Content For Semantic Search
It is very obvious that Google and other search engines are getting better at deciphering both the context and the intent for searches to produce results that are relevant. This will pretty much mean that they are able to analyze the search phrase. They do this to find out what exactly the searcher is looking for and what the meaning is behind that particular phrase. It will also mean that your content has an opportunity to rank for more keywords, which includes synonyms and other variations of the search phrase.
- To update content for semantic search, you will need to create a context including companion words. These are the terms that help to describe or contextualize a search phrase. For example, take the simple word “apple”. It is just about impossible to discover if a person who
is searching using this term is looking for a computer manufacturer, the Beatles old record company or a fruit. But combine it with the word “laptop,” and instantly the search intent becomes quite clear.
- You need to use synonyms and different variations of the search phrase. This can help to expand the context of your copy and to evade keyword stuffing by lowering the number of times the original key phrase has been included in the copy.
- You can conduct a Semantic Keyword Research. Searching for and finding semantic keywords are different from traditional keyword research. Semantic keyword research involves coming up with variations of the search phrase and the related search phrases and then being able to use them both to find thematically-related keywords.
- You should write using your audience’s natural language. Natural language, which consists of words and phrases your audience would use when searching for information, lies at the center of semantic search. One of the most effective ways you can update your content for semantic search is to replace verbiage with common terms that your customers will use.
3. Improve Your Internal Linking
Interlinking is the method of linking different pieces of content on your website to permit page rank between them. The number and the quality of internal links that are pointing to a page may suggest the importance of that page within the website’s structure and then can positively affect its rankings. If your content is comparatively new, relevant and already follows the post-Panda quality guidelines, then a method to refresh it may be by interlinking it with other pages that are authoritative.
4. Link to More Authority Sites
This is a very simple but extremely strong tactic. You can include more links to high authority websites to demonstrate to Google that your website is in some way related to those websites. What are high authority websites? They are informational websites (i.e. CNN or Huffington Post), and educational or government websites.
Why do these types of links work so well? You probably are aware that a link from a high authority website will boost your SEO. But the same thing will happen if you link out to such a website, as well. A search engine will put weight on such links on your web page as a positive and will automatically assign a bit more trust to your content.
5. Incorporate User Generated Content Into Your Website
One of the easiest ways to integrate semantic keywords and expand your content is by allowing users to contribute their own copy. A user-generated content, such as testimonials, reviews, and opinions, is one of the best methods to keep your content fresh. It will also help to expand the number of keywords it could potentially rank for.
If at all possible, let your customers leave reviews or feedback. This will not only increase the content, but it will also introduce new semantic keywords. Of course, this strategy will not work for blog posts since they are dated. But if you are looking at updating your landing pages or informational pages, User Generated Content could be a great way to do so.
It is absolutely true that the majority of your traffic comes from a handful of pages. That however, does not mean that the rest of the content you have is worthless. By refreshing those pages, it will enable you to breathe a new lease on life into them and increase traffic to your website.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post on How And When To Refresh Old Content. I hope it provided information for the reader and was in some way helpful. Please feel free to leave Comments or Questions below. Take care.