Blog posts are like wine: the older they get, the better they become!
One of the lesser known things about any popular blogger is; that they spend as much time editing old posts as they do write new posts.
Particularly after the Google Panda algorithm rollout it’s essential to keep all posts of your blog relevant and up-to- date. Personally, Every month I update at least 20+ old posts to make the posts ready for today.
In this post I will list the reasons why it is so important to edit old blog posts, and the benefits of doing so. You will learn practical tips on how to keep editing your old posts & what other things you should take care along with it.
So let’s go ahead and first understand why you need to start working on your old posts now.
Top 5 Reasons for Editing Old Blog Posts:
Your blog could be a news blog, a tech blog, a fashion blog or a blog in any niche. Your visitors can land on any of your posts from search engines or via referral. If you have a post which might be a year old or more, it may contain information that is not currently relevant.
The visitor who lands on the outdated or irrelevant information will hit the “close” button and move on to other options. You just lost one valuable visitor who could have become your reader or even your subscriber. At the same time you also missed an opportunity to earn money. Moreover, your blog’s bounce rate will increase and the average time-on-site will be low.
By keeping your old posts updated, you not only turn a visitor into a reader or subscriber, but you also improve one decaying part of your blog. (And your blog is your personality, after all!)
Let’s look at the sorts of things that need to be edited in old blog posts, and why they needed refreshing.
It is always important to proof-read an article to make sure that it is error-free. Most of the time we proof-read after writing a post, and then we publish it. When I look at a post that was written a year ago, and I sometimes find that they are full of silly mistakes, such as those related to grammar or spelling. Typos are a big turn-off to anyone reading your article, and when you revisit your old posts and read them with fresh eyes after time has passed, you are more likely to find those silly typos. You can also use this free Chrome add-on call Grammarly to help you in proof-reading.
Here are few more resources which you can open in a new tab for further reading:
- How to better proofread an article in 6 simple steps
- 8 point checklist before hitting the publish button
“An image is worth 1,000 words.” I have followed this mantra from day one of my blogging career.
Back in 2009-2010, I used to use any image from sites like Flickr or other similar sites. Now it is important to me to have an image that aligns with the topic of my post. A relevant image will encourage readers to read and share the post on their favorite social media platforms.
Additionally, my old images are usually of excessively large (ex: 1024*768), and my post content width is only 670 Px. Having an oversized image also affects the loading time of the post as well as the search engine ranking. What I do now and suggest that other bloggers do is download the image and re-size it to the size I need for my post, and use ImageOptim (or another image compressor) to reduce the overall size of the post. The idea here is to make the picture web-ready.
Make sure you also rename the image to make it relevant and search engine friendly.
These steps will help you to significantly improve the overall SEO score of your post. You can refer to this guide to learn about how images improve the SEO of your post.
Additionally, if you have used a screenshot of a website or anything else in your old post, it might now be outdated. Adding a new and updated image will give new life to your old post.
So here is the takeaway:
- Add relevant images.
- Make sure images are re-sized and compressed before uploading.
- Take a new screenshot and use it.
- Rename the image to make it relevant.
Update with new information:
One of the reasons Google may penalize your site with algorithm updates like Google Panda is thin content. Thin content could be in any form as I have previously covered in detail here. If you have a post that requires an update of information, you should do it right away. Treat your blog like a store where only relevant things are displayed, and outdated things are thrown away.
If an article is completely outdated and its information is of no current use, you should no-index it or remove it completely. I prefer to remove such content. In fact, in the past three months I have deleted over 300+ thin content from ShoutMeLoud. That’s more than 11% of published content, and I have noticed a significant increase in the site’s search engine ranking as a result.
Moreover, when you edit your old posts, you link out to new posts, and this increases the internal linking of your blog and helps with improved ranking as well.
Search engine ranking:
Sometimes one of your posts falls among the first search engine results. Make sure to maintain and add more value to such posts to lower your bounce rate and increase the ranking of other pages. You can use a service like SEMRUSH or GA JS bookmarklet to find what keyword your post is ranking for, and further optimize and target your post for certain keywords. I do this often, and it helps me to drive traffic to those posts that were formerly sitting idle and attracting no traffic at all.
Recently I discovered this useful WordPress plugin that shows me Google analytics data as post edit sections, and this allows me to determine if the post in question is getting any traffic or not.
If your post is missing a meta description, you should write one and add it to improve the SEO score further.
You should also read these two guides to learn more about making your article SEO friendly:
- How to write SEO friendly posts in WordPress
- What are the factors for making your on-page score high?
When you started your blog for the first time, you may have made the mistake I made by accepting comments that do not add value to your blog. Or perhaps you accepted some spam comments that are submitted by automated commenting systems. Once you re-visit comments on your old posts, you will find it easier to see those comments and at that point you should delete them. Also, if there is any comment that requires a reply, you should add it to honor the commentator and reply. Adding a meaningful comment will help you to improve the value of the article, and it may allow the article to rank higher due to improved keyword relevancy.
Here is an article you should read right now to learn more about moderating blog comments:
Apart from all of the points stated above, your blog will become more credible with updated evergreen content.
Here are two resources which will help you to learn more about how to implement these concepts:
How often do you edit your old posts, and on what basis do you choose them?
Do you also delete your old posts or you just no-index them?
Share your working style with us, and remember to also share this article with other bloggers in your social networks.