How to Rank Your Old Content

Do you know what percentage of your search traffic comes from your top 10 pages? When’s the last time you looked? Chances are, it’s a pretty big part of your total monthly website traffic.  The older your website is and the more content it has on it, the less those 10 pages tend to account for a larger portion of your traffic.

Generally, with smaller sites, the percentages are much higher where the top 10 pages make up the majority of their search traffic simply because there isn’t that much material available on the website. Does that mean you should just focus on your top 10 pages and ignore the rest, or should you focus just on generating more new content?

Quality Matters Over Quantity

Many people seem to believe that when it comes to web content, the philosophy of more is better applies. There are people who crank out dozens of articles every week and sometimes publish more than one article a day on their blog. And over time, they see their traffic grow, but not by much. They spend all of this time writing just to realize the majority of the content they publish never even ranked. So what should you do in this situation?

Begin focusing on your old and outdated content to boost your traffic. Consider this. You can publish one new piece of content a week to keep things fresh, but your team can update older articles as you work on new content.

When you write more frequently, your top 10 pages will typically make up a larger portion of your search traffic. By updating your older content, you can increase your search traffic exponentially and reduce your reliance on your top 10 pages.

Start with the Google Search Console

In the Google Search Console, you have access to data for up to 16 months. Compare this month’s results to the same period as last year. Click on date and then compare. Next, choose your older date first and then today’s date.

Look for Pages That Used to Get a Lot of Traffic

On the generated report, look for articles that used to get a lot of traffic but have less now.  This way, you’ll see old content that Google used to love but no longer pays attention to.

Look for Pages That Never Got a Lot of Traffic

After we’ve located those, it’s time to find content on your site that Google has never loved. Go back into the search console and look for pages that have a high impression count but never got any real clicks. The easiest way to find these pages is to choose a date range in the last month and look at each page  metric from an impression, click, and click through rate perspective. Sort the click through rate column in descending order so the lowest percentage is at the top and the highest person is just at the bottom.

Generally, the pages  at the top of the list have the most potential because it means Google is ranking you but you  just aren’t getting enough clicks. Most of the time, it isn’t just related to your title tag and meta description and has to do with the content on the pages.

With this information, it’s time to create a list of pages that have the greatest potential.

Prioritize Your Content Updates

Most often, the pages that have the highest potential are ones that used to rank but no longer do so. Google used to rank in like them which means that if you give those pages a bit of TLC, you can easily get Google to love them again.

The second group of pages may have potential but not as much as the first. These are the ones that have a high impression count but a low click through rate. These pages are more difficult to fix because they never really performed well.

Start Updating Old Content

Find the first article you want to update in your Google Search Console, and click on it. Then, click on “Queries.” If you see keywords that don’t rank in the top five or have a high impression value, go to your ranking article and check to make sure it is relevant to that term.

If it’s not, edit the article so that it at least includes that term and covers the topic.

For terms where you’re already ranking in the top 5 spots, use a keyword tool to get more keyword ideas. You should see long-tail variations of the keyword, so you can edit the article to include any of the long-tail phrases, you should see some quick gains in traffic.

Beyond including the right keywords, update the content to make sure all of the information is relevant, the photos are current and if you could include any kind of multimedia such as embedding relevant YouTube videos. This will help you increase the time on site of your visitors.

User Experience

Because user behavior is one of the biggest influencing factors with Google’s algorithm, you’ll need to optimize your newly updated content for these are signals to help boost its rankings. Takes time to optimize your title tags and meta description.

Why? If everyone searched keyword on Google and clicked on the second result instead of the first, Google eventually learns that the second result is more relevant and it should be ranking in the first spot rather than the second. Eventually, Google would change the ranking of the two sites.

By using persuasive copy and convincing people to click on your search listing rather than the competition, you’ll see your rankings climb.

Promote your content again because you’ve updated it and optimized it. Once you’ve updated the content, update the published date or the last updated date within your WordPress platform to signal to readers and the search engines that your content is changed, up-to-date, and more relevant. Share it on social media to get it circulating again and traffic will start coming in.

Build Links

Links are an important part of the ranking equation. You should create a new strategy or continue working on your old one to build more links to the newly updated content.

Once your website has 150 pages or more, consider focusing the majority of your time and effort on updating old content instead of creating new content.

If you have more than 1,000 pages, spends at least 80% of your time updating old content rather than writing new content.

The key to getting that old outdated content ranking again is a focus on the content that used to rank but doesn’t anymore.

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