How often should you update your website content? Short answer: As often as you can.
I get it. Like most large content teams, you’re hustling like crazy to keep up with the demand for new content. Finding and updating dated content often goes to the back of the line in your task list.
Updating Older Content Can Boost Your Search Rankings
However, the benefits are well worth the time it takes to audit and update your older content. First, your older pages have some degree of SEO clout simply because of their longevity. But since search engines love to gobble up fresh content, you need to update those older pages as often as you can.
Content Updates Keep You Ahead of Your Competitors
As content strategist Nick Cesare advises, content updates are essential for keeping ahead of the competition. With search rankings leveling the playing field, content from newbie companies often outperforms that of large corporations. Having an effective content lifecycle management strategy can keep you ahead of emerging competitors.
Although large content teams spend large chunks of time creating new content, they risk ranking lower in search results if they neglect to update their older work. If your content platform can categorize content by metadata, audits can quickly identify content that needs a refresh to keep you at the top of your game.
Update Content to Adapt to Changing Search Intent
Every year, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary issues several updates to its collection of words and definitions to reflect cultural trends and emerging technologies. Search terms, too, need to reflect those trends and developments. If your keywords and their synonyms don’t match what most of your target customers use when they search for your products or services online, you’ll miss a sizeable chunk of potential customers.
Similarly, if your target audience is searching for information about a topic, you need to address the “why” behind their search.
As Cesare points out, a person searching for information about the topic “coronavirus” in 2019 would likely be looking for research data, while a search for the same topic in 2021 would probably want general information about prevention and treatment. Staying on top of the news can help you target content you need to update with a new angle.
Revise Content with Outdated Statistics and Illustrations
Using statistics and infographics to illustrate a point you want to make is an effective content strategy. But if your information is out of date, you will frustrate your audience, who will likely turn to your competitors’ content for more current numbers.
At least once a year, you need to update content that uses numerical or historical facts to make its point. That way, you’ll keep your reputation as an authoritative source of information about your industry.
Update Content That Drops Off in the Search Rankings
It pays to keep a close eye on your content analytics to single out pieces for updates. Posts and pages that used to sit atop searches for your target keywords but have dropped in recent weeks are likely ripe for revision.
Usually, you’ll find that your competitors have provided your target audience with information that your pieces lack. Adding more actionable information your audience can use to solve problems can help you climb up the ladder again.
Keep Your Top Performers in Tiptop Shape with Timely Updates
Just because you have a page that outshines the competition now doesn’t mean it will remain that way. Keep your content pillar pages in top shape by adding even more helpful advice to make them the go-to source for information about your industry.
Add Visual Impact to Text-Heavy Pages and Posts
According to video content provider Wyzowl, the average human attention span plummeted by nearly a third in only 15 years.
Image via Wyzowl
If you have older blog posts or static pages that provide few visual breaks for your readers, add some visual pop to help readers stay on the page longer.
Additionally, add more formatting to older posts to help readers who prefer to scan content rather than read every word. Bullet points, subheadings, and call-out quotes help guide your readers’ eyes through long-form content.
Look for Broken or Outdated Outbound Links to Update
Links to other authoritative content in your industry help position you as an expert and confirm your own research conclusions. Unfortunately, those links don’t always stay up — because your sources are likely updating their content regularly as well.
If that information is essential to your core point, look for other articles on the same topic that cite the same facts. Chances are, you’ll be able to update your references with working links.
Look for Issues in Your Underperforming Pages
Ever been to a fireworks display where the finale turned out to be a dud? If you’ve been in content marketing for several years, you’ve probably experienced the same kind of disappointment when a piece you thought would light up the internet turned out to be a dud.
Don’t kill it without a thorough review, though. You might be able to turn this dud into a winner with a few tweaks.
- Do keyword research: Start with your keywords. Are they the words you use to describe your products, or are they the terms your audience would likely use to find them?
- Check for jargon and hard-to-understand technical terms: On a similar note, your copy might be overly technical. Revise it to make it more readable from a layperson’s perspective. Lose the jargon and use plain English.
- Rethink user experience: Adding interactive features, like maps and calculators, or catchy visuals can often transform a blog post or webpage into a top performer. Approach the content as your target audience would and revise it to give them a stellar experience.
- Add links to new content to well-performing older content: As you’re revising your older content, you can provide readers with more in-depth information when you link to newer content on the same topic. It’s a win-win proposition since the links will likely give your more recent content more views while adding fresh links to your older content.
- Revise older content to perform better on mobile devices: Although you’re probably prioritizing mobile compatibility in your newer content, don’t forget to revisit your older content to optimize it for mobile devices.
- Jazz up your headline: Headlines need to do two things: catch a user’s attention and promise something — whether it’s to solve a problem or provide information. If poorly performing content lacks a great title, give it one and see if it attracts more audience attention.
Finding the content you need to update is easy when your content marketing platform can categorize and find your content by topic, place along the buyer’s journey, date, market segment, or a wealth of other categories. DivvyHQ’s robust metadata management feature gives you the power to search for older or underperforming content in just a few clicks.
And, since it integrates with Canto, a powerful digital asset management solution — and hundreds of other business platforms — it gives you a place where you can handle everything content-related in a single digital space. Try it free for yourself for 14 days — and get a jumpstart on your content updates today!