Don’t just abandon your content once it’s been published. Your old content can be just as valuable as your new content — you just need to keep it updated and circulated. In fact, old content can actually be more valuable than your newer content because it tends to rank higher in search engine queries. Well-written content can be leveraged for years to come with just a few simple techniques.
Go through your older, more popular pages and find areas in which you can potentially interlink new content that you’ve written. Interlinking can greatly reduce bounce rates — provided that it is done sparingly and usefully. At the same time, make sure that all of your new content is properly interlinked to relevant content that you have created in the past. Conscientious interlinking is one of the best ways to push traffic towards older articles and to improve overall engagement.
2. Improve Your Most Popular Content
Your most highly-trafficked pages and posts are the cornerstones on which your traffic is built. If they fade from relevance, your site will fade from relevance. You can’t always guarantee that you’ll have a new “hit” on your hands. Protect your traffic by improving the content that is most often visited on your site. Add new information, curate better links and answer any relevant questions you’ve received. One important thing: don’t remove content while you update. If you need to update, it’s better to add additional content either at the top or the bottom. Apart from glaring errors or mistakes, removing content can be harmful.
Tools such as the Online Broken Link Checker can crawl your site for broken links. Articles that feature broken links will not be as useful to readers and not as readily shared. You may also have broken links to your own site and just not realize it — especially if you have restructured your website at any point. Broken images should also be reviewed for; nothing makes a website look unprofessional as easily as a broken image.
4. Share Your Old Articles on Social Media
Don’t use your social media accounts purely for new content. Share some of your most popular articles on your social media accounts from time to time. If you have a scheduling application, consider scheduling promotional posts in advance every time you post a new article. That way you can ensure your older posts are not forgotten.
5. Create Random and Flashback Features On Your Site
Your site can promote random, related and flashback posts to connect readers directly from new content to old content. Related posts are more likely to increase engagement because they are already related to what the reader is looking for — but random, popular and flashback features may be more effective for entertainment sites, where the reader may not be looking for anything in particular.
6. Elevate Everything to Current Content Standards
When a site is first developed, it can be tempting to try to build a content inventory through any means necessary. Due to the way that Google scores website quality, this isn’t a great idea; an entire domain can be dragged down by its worst pages. Go through your very old content and make sure that it meets your current editorial standards. Add images, improve grammar and extend the length of content as necessary. At the same time, you may want to check on the continued accuracy of any facts and statements.
If you have a few pages or posts that are never viewed, you might want to consider either redoing them or deleting them entirely. As mentioned above, a single low quality piece of content can actually have a detrimental effect on your site’s overall quality rating. But sometimes there’s a reason that content isn’t being viewed. Perhaps it is poorly keyword optimized or it has a particularly generic title. Improving upon this content could increase your site traffic without needing to create entirely new content.
8. Answer Comments and Engage Visitors
Many visitors — through many comment systems — will be notified when you’ve replied to them. If you want to create a highly engaging website, as well as build customer relationships, responding to comments and otherwise directly engaging visitors on older posts and pages is a superb opportunity to do so. Readers will also be able to benefit from the comment thread when they visit your post or page in the future.
Sometimes there are issues that just slip past us. There are a few tools that you can use to check your spelling and grammar: Grammarly and After the Deadline are two of the most popular. If you’re already editing your old content, it can’t hurt to check for any grammar, spelling and style errors.
10. Try to Avoid Repeating Yourself
If you post too many articles on a single topic, you could end up in a situation where you’re actually competing against yourself. It’s better to improve upon old articles than to repeat or rehash them, as tempting as it may be to cover ground that is familiar to you. If you do need to write again on a similar topic, make sure that your new content is different from your old content in structure and focus.
11. “Archive” Content That You No Longer Want to Promote
What do you do with content that’s still valuable but isn’t great? You don’t want to get rid of it — but you also don’t want to be judged on it. Archive it by moving it to less often trafficked areas of your site. For instance, you might remove it from all categories except for one in a WordPress blog. It will still be accessible through search engines — and still contribute to overall SEO — but it won’t be as easily viewed by the casual reader. You can also add a banner or statement at the top, such as “We’ve covered this topic in a new article! Click here to read our updated thoughts…”
Every piece of content on a website contributes to its overall quality and health. If your older content is languishing unattended, your entire site will suffer. Taking some time to renew, revitalize and repair your old content is a great way to get a boost without having to invest in all new media — and it’s also a good way to take a bit of a mental break and get some inspiration for the future.