Have you spent the last few years creating new content without going back to optimize any of your existing pages? You could be doing your website a disservice.

Online content pages never die, but if you don’t refresh and optimize pages from the past they can’t produce the residual value that’s available for your website. Many companies focus on building new content, even if it’s a spin on something old, which is ok, but your time could be better spent if you refresh some old pages.

Those Previous Successes Can Still Pay Off

If you regularly create blog pages for your site, you know which pages landed on the first page of Google. Those were your big wins. These are the pages that Google Analytics showed received the most views and visits from online users. These older pages might have had a short lifespan, or they could be long-lasting Evergreen content that counties to pay off. Either way, you’ve got to figure out what you should do with them and ignoring them is not an option.

Why Should You Optimize Older Pages for SEO?

Isn’t the best way to move forward in the creation of new content that’s properly optimized for SEO? Some might think this, but the fact is, older web pages have value that’s been built over time. That content you created three years ago could still be relevant today. This relevance is important to your website. The fact that you have some pages that continue to offer value, means you’ve got some hidden gems in your website that simply need to be brought back to the front of the site. If you update these pages, Google may rank them on the first page once again.

Some of Your Older Pages Need to be Rewritten

Its entirely possible you’ve got some website pages that don’t have all of the necessary SEO elements and won’t rank in the first ten pages of Google, let along on the first one. A video you used years ago might not be active any longer. You could need to refresh your outbound links in your content to give them a stronger fit on your site. It’s also possible your writing wasn’t up to snuff or the content remains from the days of keyword stuffing. No matter what the reason to update the older page, it could bring value to your site today.

Can a Refresh Bring an Old Page back to the First Google SERP?

Many times, if the content was good enough to be on Page 1 when it was initially developed, a refresh could have the same impact on the page. Updating older content that wasn’t on the first page originally could bring that content to this page, but it might take a little longer than a content page that was already at the top of the SERP. Because of this potential, its more than worth your time to update your pages.

How Much Time Should You Commit to Updating Your Content?

Should you ditch the efforts of building new pages in favor of updating your old content? No, you still need a healthy balance of new pages for your site to contain the most updated information for your readers. Google suggests you split the time in half. Spend half the time creating new content and half the time updating older pages. This will give you a healthy balance and bring some of those older Evergreen posts back to the top of your site and to the top of the Google SERP.

How do You Know Which Pages to Update?

You’ll want to start with a content audit to find the right pages to update. Google Analytics can be extremely helpful in showing you which pages performed well in the past and which weren’t as good. Do you see some pages that either brought some impressive traffic numbers to your site or have the potential to get better rankings if you update them? These are the first pages you want to update. They should provide some immediate returns on your site and get this ball rolling for you.

What Should You Do with Outdated Pages

Not all of your content is Evergreen and not all of it should be updated and given a new life. Some pages should be offered a 301 redirect to an updated URL that covers the same subject matter. An example of this might be a page that talks about a new product that’s in testing, but when you look to update the page, the product is already in production. Rather than wasting your time updating the page about the testing of the product, use a 301 redirect to send readers to the updated information. This adds relevance to the original URL and saves you the time of updating an article that’s done providing benefits to your website.

You’re Building Value Over Time

More content on specific subjects helps you become the authority in that area of your industry. It could be that you talk at length about a process for building an item or that you share several pages on a particular item and all of its variations. This is building authority in your field. It’s important to continue to grow and cultivate this value by updating your content pages. Google recognizes authority in a specific space and rewards that authority with higher page rankings.

Add Content Updates to Your Schedule

This is where you have to sit back and understand the value of updating your content. The value is pretty high, especially for pages that have paid off in the past. You want to add content updates to your schedule, but that might mean you cut back on the number of published pages you produce each week. That’s ok, when you begin to refresh your content you’ll see the returns you desire and understand how these pages bring value to your website.

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