Do old items still have something or should you just delete them?
This is a question many bloggers and website owners have been involved with for a long time.
In this article I give practical SEO tips on how to benefit from old articles by optimizing and republishing them.
In addition, I show examples of my own blog and go into what has brought me with it.
Why should you optimize and republish old articles?
Anyone who has been blogging or running a website for some time, is gradually accumulating a large article archive. This is quite normal and also a great thing, because more articles usually mean more visitors.
Nevertheless, such old articles are often not easy to find, the content is no longer current and it is usually given away a lot of potential.
That’s why it’s a good idea to update the old articles. Apart from the fact that it often makes less work to optimize an old article than to write a new article, this brings further advantages.
For example, from an SEO point of view, it is often better to revise an existing article than to write another post on the same topic. This creates more duplicate content and the focus is lost.
For example, in my board game blog, I quickly changed to writing a single article for a recurring topic and updating it. For example, my article about the Game of the Year award . Instead of writing a new article each year, I’m updating the existing article and republishing it.
In general, by revising and republishing, it is possible to breathe life into the old article and find more readers for it. And that does the whole site well.
Examples of what the optimization has brought
Before I come to the SEO tips, I would like to first show what this optimization and republication of old articles can bring. So you can find out on vox.com and moz.com what these measures have brought. Better Google rankings and more visitors were in many cases the result.
Here you can see quite different results of the optimization. Of course this starts with the increase in traffic, but you can also see that the articles come from different starting situations.
Very well, for example, the optimization on the article “These marketing measures are the most popular!” Impacted.
The number of ranked keywords has increased for all newly published articles since the date of republishing. This is another positive result of the revision.
But the optimization did not work for every article. There is also one or the other, where the number of visitors remained the same (low). Of course this is not great, but not a broken leg. I will look at these articles again in the near future and consider what the reason for this is and how I can possibly better optimize the articles.
Which old articles are suitable?
Basically, a revision and republication brings positive results. But which old articles are eligible? There are different approaches.
- It is understandable that above all timeless topics are well suited for this purpose . An article about the WordPress update 4.4 is simply no longer interesting today and there is hardly any update. Instead, timeless topics are much more interesting that still interest readers today.So you could go over the oldest articles and write down those that are still interesting in the subject today. The other one could actually delete it, whereby one should first check whether these receive traffic. But if the topic is basically no longer interesting and the article receives no traffic, then you can delete this good conscience.
- Another approach is the ranking potential . You look at it with an SEO tool, which articles are just outside the top 10 in Google. Even articles that are on page 1 in Google and could be even higher, are interesting.The tool XOVI * allows such an analysis, so that one can see the opportunity keywords, which could bring significantly more traffic with relatively little optimization expenditure . The associated articles are usually very well suited for optimization and republication.On the other hand, one should rather stay away from articles that rank at the front. There is a risk that you break something rather when changing the content. These articles should be updated only slightly (eg obsolete numbers) and then just republish.In the Google Search Console you can see the click rates very well. If you find articles that show good CTR despite good rankings, they are also candidates for optimization. Whereby less the content should be optimized than the meta-data.
- If you make money with your website, you should also consider the financial potential . So here it is more likely to optimize articles that bring interested buyers and are suitable for monetization.When using affiliate marketing , these could be the article types Review, Test, Top10 List and so on.
At the end of the selection you should have a list of 10-20 old articles that you want to revise. Here it is important to note down, when the article was originally published, how much text this has and how the traffic is so far.
8 SEO measures for old articles
Let’s finally get to the optimization. Of course you should not simply republish an old article. This may have worked in Google before, but the quality requirements have risen sharply.
In addition one does not want to offer the own readers any outdated information in a newly published article.
Therefore, it is important to perform an analysis of the article beforehand, answering some questions:
- What problems do I see in the article?
- What are competitors doing better in the Google Top 10 to the main keyword?
- What new information and experiences can I contribute?
- Where do I want to go with the article?
Once you’ve thought about it, it can go to optimization.
- More content: More content does not just mean more text, because meaningless words do not lead to success today. Neither Google, especially the readers find that great. Instead, you should go deeper into the topic and explore other aspects.Often, since the first publication of the article, new information and aspects have emerged that can be dealt with. Then there are examples and tips that you can bring in from your own experience since then.Depending on the subject of the article, you should also research again and supplement other information in this way.
- Update existing content: In addition to the addition of additional content, it is also important to update the existing content. This includes eg current data, new links to further information (also new affiliate links) and new insights.On the other hand, you should delete inappropriate or strongly obsolete contents when they are no longer useful. But you should do that with caution and do not overdo it.In addition, you should check the spelling and grammar of existing content and improve if necessary. These do not have to be perfect, but often you yourself have gotten better at it too.
- Structure and readability: If you add a lot of new content, you often have to tweak the structure of the article as well. Shorter paragraphs and not too long sentences belong here among other things. New subheadings and listings also provide better scanning and readability.Possibly. is also an adaptation of the content to the current layout necessary (image width, etc.). I’ve probably changed the layout of SiN five times in the nearly 12 years. An article from 10 years ago has to be visually adapted.
- Other content types:Today more important than ever are other content types. This can be eg pictures, photos or graphics. But of course, videos are now very important and can upgrade an old article. It is quite easy to make videos from articles .But other types of content, such as audio or infographic, are conceivable.
- On-page SEO: Another important point of optimization is on-page search engine optimization. This includes many things, such as the alt text for images, exact keywords in headlines and subheadings, sufficient keywords in the content (without keyword stuffing), the use of semantic keyword alternatives, fixed broken links and more.Also an important measure are links to other (newer) own articles in order to produce the thematic relevance. But also links to high-quality external information are rated positively by readers and Google.If you want to go into depth, you can use a WDF * IDF analysis tool to optimize the article.
- Meta-information:Also on-page optimization include the meta-statements. I have listed these again separately, as these, among other things, the clickthrough rate influence very strong.The title and the description should contain the most important keyword, but also be attractive and curious.Incidentally, the on-page optimization is much easier with an SEO plug-in , such as Yoast SEO, because it analyzes many factors and points out problems. In addition, you should always think and not just rely on such tools.
- linking:Internal linking is also an important optimization. For this one sets after the republication left of other own articles. Of course, these should be thematically appropriate.Possibly. You can also include a link in the navigation or sidebar, if it is a particularly important article.With more effort, but still very important, are new backlinks * from the outside. Here you should take the time to select and use the available backlink sources .
- Promote: Finally, there is still the newly published article to promote. This is of course especially suitable for one’s own social media profiles, but Facebook advertising is also conceivable.You can also promote such articles in your own newsletter * and if you use Sneeze Pages , you should also link the article there.
Special case: Merge several articles
It may happen that you previously published a multi-part series of articles. Here is the question of whether you publish this as a new revised series, or the articles summarized in a large new article.
Likewise, it may be that you previously published some similar articles. It might be worthwhile to merge the contents into a single article.
For example, I did that with a series of articles and I am satisfied with the results. Now I have a very extensive and in-depth article on a subject, rather than a series of short and not so useful articles.
The result is more content in an article and from a SEO point of view, there is no longer any trouble with similar articles, just the focus on an article. In this case, the URLs of the deleted articles should be redirected to the one newly published article .
New or old URL?
A question that is asked again and again relates to the URL. You could either continue to use the old URL or publish the revised article under a new URL.
That depends on the individual case, but I’m more in favor of keeping the old URL. After all, there are usually backlinks to the old URL.
If, however, very important keywords in the old URL are missing or, for example, the date of article publication in the URL is in, you should rather use a new URL. In this case, you should redirect the old URL to the new article URL.
What else should you pay attention to?
In general, timeless themes are best suited for this update. If users googling the topic of the article today, then it may be worth revising an old article.
The URL of the article should not include the publication date. This was the case for this blog here. That’s why I changed the permalinks last year , which was a bit tricky. But it worked well and now my URLs are time independent.
Another point is old comments. I received comments on many of the newly released articles at that time. These are now also 10 years or older. This looks funny with a newly published article. Either you delete these comments or you refer to the article in the update. That should be decided depending on the situation.
Potential problems with the revision
How exactly Google rates old articles and how it handles changes is hard to predict. I would definitely be wary of an old article that still has very good traffic scores. After all, you do not want to risk careless changes, so you have less traffic than before.
Most of the time, obsolete items have relatively low traffic, so changes can only lead to improvements.
One topic is also the VG word . To my knowledge, a change in the text size of +/- 10% is okay. But it can also cause problems. And if you also change the existing content significantly, then you should possibly use a new Zählpixel.
The optimization and republication of old articles brings especially for older and larger websites. After all, these usually have a large archive.
By contrast, new websites usually benefit more from really new content and active backlink build-up. Of course, older websites should still publish new content. That’s just part of it. Both, new articles and updated old articles should be part of their own content strategy