Best Practices for Updating old Blog Posts

How long have you been blogging for? Me? I’ve been at it since 2011 and I have so many great posts that just need some TLC. I’ve been slowly updating old recipes over the past year and giving them a breath of fresh air. Learn why you need to be updating previous blog content.

Why Update?

There are several reasons why you should update older blog posts. First of all, go back and actually read them.  If you have no idea what you’re talking about, what makes you think your readers would know? Are you providing your readers with an answer? They came to your blog looking for something. Did you answer their google search adequately? You can get personal and share a funny story with them, but overall – did you provide them with what they were looking for?

Google Boosts

Google loves good quality information on the internet. Google actually rewards bloggers and content creators when they have good content and they move them up the list on google searches. This goes back to answering the readers google search. If they are looking for a recipe, did you in fact provide them with a recipe and then take a few extra steps to tell them how to make it just like you did? Did you give them tips on how to measure, cut, prepare and serve the recipe or did they just check in and bounce out? You’re Google Analytics will let you know how quickly your viewers are bouncing from a post.

Google loves it when you go in and update the post with NEW tips, NEW data, NEW information that continues to make that post relevant. In the end, it’s all about what the reader thinks is relevant. Your viewers bounce rate and page clicking tells Google if they like the site or don’t.

What Should I Update?

Your Meta Description

If you have Yoast installed in your WP dashboard, you’ll want to check all of your keywords and placement of those keywords. Now Yoast will NOT tell you what phrase to use, but it will serve as as pretty good checklist for you to make sure that your keyword and phrase are used in the best places. Make sure that your Google Snippet is filled out kind of like a Jeopardy question. Think about what someone would Google and then give them that answer as clearly as possible.

Not on WordPress yet? In Blogger, you can add a meta description in the box for “Search Description“.

Your Shareable Images

You’ll also want to create images for Facebook and Twitter. By taking the time to do this, it helps your readers – those raving fans – to share your super awesome post with their friends. With a preselected image that is optimized for Facebook and related meta for the post, it’s so easy for your fans to share it.

FB images should be 1200 x 636 pixels

Twitter images are 1024 x 512 pixels

At this time, I don’t know how to set any presized images on blogger for these sharing platforms.

Your Affiliate Links

Take a look to see if there are any products you used and add an affiliate link. If you live in a state that you can be an Amazon affiliate, you should be adding valuable links so your fans can purchase things and then you make a few bucks in the process. Remember to disclose that your post contains affiliate links. Per the FTC, your disclosure must be clear, obvious, and connected to the post with the link.

The best practice is to disclose at the beginning of the post that this post has affiliate links so that you are being clear and transparent with your readers.  Also, per Google, all affiliate links must be no-follow links.

Your Follow/ No-Follow Tags

Your outbound links tell Google to follow or not follow the link. All links added to your post default to a follow link. You must decide if you want to make it a NO FOLLOW link by adding the code  rel=”nofollow” in your html. Example :  <a href=”http://www.website.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Link Text</a>. You would add this no follow tag when you are working with a company that is paying you for content. I also use it when I am linking to sites like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and all affiliate links.

Leave links as follow when they are VALUABLE to your reader and will provide additional great information that you know your readers will appreciate.  Round-ups are a great example of when you would want to use a follow tag. Wanna know what Google has to say about linking and nofollow tags? Here’s a great article from them.

Your Image Alt Tags

Finally, if you have been blogging since before Pinterest, you may not have added Alt Tags to your images. I know I didn’t. If you are new to blogging and aren’t filling out your Alt Tags, start NOW! These Alt Tags populate your Pinterest meta and they are searchable by Google bots which are constantly “reading” your site and looking for keywords. They want to know what your image is about. This is another great place to add your keyword and phrase that you are using in your title.

What Should I NOT Change?

Your URL

If you don’t know how to create a 301 redirect, DO NOT change your URL slug. What is the slug?? It’s the second part of your web address for that page. Example :  http:/onlineblogcon.com/best-practices-for-updating-old-blog-posts. Once that “best-practices-for-updating-old-blog-posts” is created and published, do not change it. You can change the Title, the Keywords, the Alt Tags, but unless you do a 301 redirect, do not change your URL.

If your URL includes a date, do not change that date. It’s part of the permanent slug. If you want to remove the date in your slug, talk to a web developer about transferring ALL your posts via redirects to the new format.

When Should I Update?

That is pretty much up to you. If a post is only a week old, but you haven’t optimized it for sharing or for SEO, you may want to go back and fix it. Culling through old content and updating your blog posts is a daunting undertaking. I suggest you start with the most popular ones and work in an orderly fashion. Check your Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics to find your most viewed post and your posts on page 1 of a Google Search. Find out what your fans are searching for and if they are actually going to your site or not.

Should I Update the Post Publish Date?

Some SEO gurus say Yes, while others say No. The ones that say no, are assuming that your content is already descent and you’ve gone in to clean up typos, correct links, and do some basic updating. It’s already ranking well with Google, so why change a good thing you have going? If you have made significant updates to the post with new images, new content, new links, new and valuable information, then you may want to update the publish date. Some will also add a note that this post was originally from 2011 and has been updated with a cleaner format and new information. By updating the publish date, this will also ensure that your post will go out to your RSS subscribers. Remember, it’s new to them!

 

So, there ya have it. Take a few hours each week to check in with your old posts. Make some changes and breath some fresh air into old content. Just because it was dud 3 years ago doesn’t mean it can’t be a hit now! Give your raving fan some great information to read and keep coming back for!

 



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