How to Identify and Refresh Outdated Content

Consistency in generating new content is a tried-and-true path to blogging success – and every blogger knows it. But the more content you add, the deeper you bury all of your past work in the archives. It starts to lose all of its traffic and relevance, and that’s really unfair – especially to those articles that either performed really well in the past, deserve more attention than they currently get, or just need a minor makeover to perform well. But all hope isn’t lost.

In this article, you will learn  how to identify and refresh outdated content. Just a few tweaks here and there, and you will be able to breathe new life into old pages, thus bringing your rankings back from the dead.

To refresh outdated content is one of the best marketing strategies out there.
Alt-tag: A person using a laptop.

Why recycle old content?

Certainly, seeing your past work fade away can feel like a punch in the gut, especially if it offers immense value. It feels unfair. But in reality, it’s not about that. Bringing back your old and dying articles to life again is actually a legit and quick-win marketing strategy that brings lots of benefits. The most important advantages are:

  • Better Google rankings. For one thing, Google loves fresh content. It’s considered more relevant to the audience and thus gets a higher ranking. Therefore, updating your old stuff regularly improves your chances of having your SEO efforts recognized.
  • Higher click-through. The fresher the date of your content, the higher the chances of your target audience engaging with it. Readers want current content. So, between two articles with similar titles, they will click the more recent one. Updating your content changes its “freshness score,” thus boosting your website’s rankings.
  • More value for your audience. Every blogger wants the best possible experience for their readers. Recycling old content allows you to refine and update your content, helping it stay relevant. You can add new valuable information, link to better resources, fix grammar and spelling mistakes, and any broken links that could otherwise result in bounces.

Which blog content should you update?

Let’s face it: not all of your old stuff will stand a chance. What’s more, attempting to update them all would be no less than a Herculean feat. So, how do you decide what pieces are worthy of a makeover?

By running a content audit, you can learn how all of your posts are performing and then prioritize the most important ones. Look for content that is:

  • Evergreen. Blog posts that retain relevance and bring great value to your readers long past their publication date. All kinds of guides and how-to content, tips, listicles, FAQs, etc., are examples of evergreen content.
  • Time-sensitive. Stats, trends, industry reports, and all other content with a metaphorical expiration date. These are pieces like “How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day 2021”, “The Top Movies Coming to Netflix in 2022”, and “Best Home Heating Tips,” which you get to update every year.
  • Popular and high-performing. Do you have pieces that went viral and generated a lot of shares in your arsenal? They deserve a touch-up. If your audience found them valuable once, it means that you can garner attention once again by improving them.
  • Using the same keywords. There’s no point in having multiple articles with the same keywords because then you are basically competing with yourself for SEO purposes. Make sure to refresh outdated content such as this by either changing the KWs the posts are ranking for or consolidating them.

Best ways to make outdated content fresh again

1. Change the formatting

If you have any old pages that brought you traffic and earned a lot of engagements in the past, that’s great. It means that people already love it, and all you have to do is diversify it and change the content format. For instance, you can turn a blog post into a YouTube video, an eBook into a blog post series, a podcast or video into a blog post, make an infographic of one of your blog posts, et cetera. The possibilities are truly endless.

2. Repurpose content on social media

Social media is a fantastic way to increase website traffic and brand exposure. Dissecting your content into smaller chunks, such as stats, quotes, teasers, summaries, visuals, and bullet points, and publishing them on Twitter, Instagram, etc., offers multiple advantages. First, you get to save yourself the trouble of coming up with new post ideas. If a post performed well in the past, you could now replicate this success. Second, you get to drive traffic to your website by incentivizing the viewer.

Want more traffic and brand exposure? Consider repurposing old content on social media.
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5. Follow up on old posts

If you’d rather extend the life of an older high-performing piece than pump out new content, why not transform it into a series or two-part post? Following up on your old content helps you do justice to a complex topic, highlight the current updates, draw in the people who read the first post, attract new audiences, etc. Of course, remember to include the original title of the first post (you can add something like “Part 2”) and link back to the original article.

4. Create an email series

With the growth of your email list come new subscribers, and chances are high that they aren’t familiar with your previous content. Why not then break down your old stuff, polish it, and serve it to your subscribers? Smaller chunks are more practical and digestible, which makes them perfect for daily email series. Plus, you’ll get more traffic to the old post.

5. Republish guest posts

If you have been blogging for some time, then you’ve likely been toying with the idea of guest posting as well. Why not then feature those guest posts on your own blog? This can deliver completely new perspectives and fresh content to your readers, and it’s as simple as asking the site owners’ permission. Given the promotional boost they can get, most owners should be perfectly fine with this as long as it has already been published on their websites.

6. Target newer keywords to rank

Odds are, you have a backlog of old posts on your site you could optimize and make fresh and shiny again. Once you’ve picked the blog post you want to revamp, identify the keywords it is already ranking for. If it is currently stale, try targeting newer keywords (and secondary keywords) to rank. 

7. Remove broken links

To make the ‘old’ content more valuable, be sure to scan for and remove any dead or irrelevant links. Not only do they harm your visitor experience, but they also signal bad site quality to search engines. Every element has to be fully functional and serve its purpose – it’s just how things work. Otherwise, your content immediately ranks lower because it’s deemed old, outdated, and unauthoritative in the eyes of search engines. However, with dozens of pages and sub-pages, checking manually if the links are valid or not can be a lot of work. Fortunately, there are lots of tools for checking broken links that can help you find them easily. Some examples are Dead link checker, Broken Link Checker, and Screaming Frog SEO Spider.

Search engines view dead links in your posts as red flags.
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8. Consolidate mid-performing content

Naturally, top pages need to be kept current. But have you tried combining similar content into a single post? This does three things for your website. Firstly, it lengthens the original post with rich content and less fluff, which is something that search engines generally prefer. Next, it removes duplicate content that might even be competing against itself for a specific keyword. Plus, by reducing the number of pages on your website, you keep it cleaner, faster, and more navigable. Finally, it saves you the time and trouble of unnecessarily pumping out new content while retaining the content quality and increasing traffic to the post.

Final words

If you’ve been blogging for a while, then it is highly likely that you have a bunch of older posts that are no longer delivering the desired results. Rather than letting them linger and decay in your archives, do your best to learn how to identify and refresh outdated content. It takes very little time yet yields incredible results almost instantly. So, get started today!