While search engine optimization requires ongoing work and maintenance, the benefit is that its effects are cumulative. The more work you put in over time, the better effects you’ll have as your efforts build on your previous work. A strong SEO strategy includes regularly publishing new content and keeping your website up-to-date. Yet a simple method that’s often overlooked is updating old content to continue to perform well on search results pages.
If you’ve been using SEO practices on your website for a while, chances are you have a decent backlog of content built up. Why not use that content to boost your SEO? There are a few simple steps you can take to refresh and update old content to raise its search ranking and get a second life out of it.
Choose a page you’d like to rerank for a particular keyword. Read through it and take note of where it appears on the search results page for that keyword. Then take note of the pages that rank above it, and read them as well. What are those higher-ranking pages doing that your page isn’t? In what ways can you improve your page to make it more useful for the search user’s intent than the pages above it?
Next, edit or rewrite the content on your old page to optimize it. If your page is particularly old, you may want to take changes to Google’s algorithm into account as you update it. What matters most now is not keyword density, but how well the page satisfies the intent of the user searching that keyword. Think about it from the perspective of someone running a search for that keyword—what questions do they have, and how can you create the best possible resource to help them?
Once you’ve polished up your old page, republish it. This will tell Google’s spiders to crawl the page and re-catalogue it. While just updating your content might help with the page’s SEO, the work that you’ve invested into making a more competitive page will help it land higher on the search results page.
Remember that SEO requires maintenance and ongoing work, and it’s not just about keeping your website in functioning order. Updating your old content is a useful and sometimes overlooked tool to keep your content ranking well, improve your website’s SEO overall, and give you an edge over your keyword competitors.