Naturally, as a blogger, you do your very best to always create new content. You may have learned that you need to come up with new content at set intervals to show Google that it needs to index your site. And that is true. But don’t forget your old posts either! Because there are many reasons to dust off your old material every now and then. I’ll explain below why and how.
Why cherish old blog posts
You could of course just forget about old blog posts. They were fun when you wrote them, but now you focus primarily on the present. Why would you invest time and energy in those? Well, here’s why:
- Branding: If visitors to your site end up on old content via a search engine, they may get a wrong impression of your site, because it contains old irrelevant information, or because the style and content no longer match what you post today.
- Google likes fresh: New pages or posts are picked up by Google and old posts that have not been updated for a long time are ignored for indexing. Old information can even go at the expense of Google rating of your total site.
- Back links: There may be websites that refer to your old post (back links). These back links not only provide traffic, but are also good for your Google ratings (the more relevant the back links, the more important Google rates your site). By rewriting an old post, the back links remain intact.
- Stats intact: Another advantage of reposting is that the statistics, comments and likes of your posts will all continue to exist.
Apart from the (boring) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) reasons, there are a number of other good reasons to pay attention to your old content:
- New audience: New visitors do not yet know your old content. Perhaps you get new followers on social media every day and they don’t know that you wrote something great last year.
- Remedy against a writers block: If you just don’t know what to write about anymore, rewriting an old article can be a good start. This way old – updated – content can become relevant again. Also for your existing audience. They may have overlooked the message at the time, or have since forgotten it.
- Changed opinion: Your opinion may have changed over the years. Or you have gained new insight. Or new information. Old blogs can contradict new blogs and that is far from handy.
What are the best posts to dust off?
There is no fixed rule for this. Start with posts that – in the past – have attracted many visitors. Certainly if that post is already a few years old. Chances are that it contains a popular topic.
But it may also be that an old post has become relevant again. For example because of a new trend, a recent film, a statement by a famous person … you name it. Because of this it may be that you want to bring to the attention what you have already written about years ago.
How you can make old blog posts work to your advantage
Once you have figured out which old post you want to bring to your attention, there are basically two ways to do that.
The lazy way
The lazy way is to use a plugin that posts old posts again on social media or on your blog. The content does not change, but your readers get to see it again and that can arouse their interest.
The advantage is that it costs you little effort and can still generate a lot of traffic. The ‘Revive Old Post‘ plugin can, for example, post old posts on Twitter at regular intervals, so that your followers will click on them.
There are also plugins – such as Republish – that reset the date of your old post to that of today. This will put old posts back on your front page.
The disadvantage of ‘the lazy way’ is that you run the chance that old blog posts will reappear at irrelevant moments. For example, an article about the winter, can easily reappear at the top of your page or on Twitter in the middle of the summer.
The diligent way
A better but much more intensive way to make your old blogs work to your advantage is by rewriting them. Once you have determined which post you want to bring to the attention again, read it critically.
What you should NOT do is create a new post where you rewrite your old content. Then you lose all incoming links. It is better to adjust your old post:
- Update info. Have people you refer to died or changed jobs? Do you refer to matters that no longer exist? Are the figures you mention still relevant? Does the product you mention still exist? Refer to today’s trends. Also look carefully at time references (‘this year’ may have to be ‘a few years ago’).
- SEO: Are all links still working? Also take a good look at all the tags and headings that you use. Also check meta tags, image alt tags, etc.
- Pictures: Consider placing new pictures that fit more with today’s trends.
- Style: Your writing style may have changed a bit in the last year. Place sentences in the style that you are currently using.
- Date: Do not forget to update the date.
- Internal links: This is also a good time to see if in the meantime – since the post first appeared – you may have written other posts that you can link to this post.
- Make the reader aware of the changes: You may want to show the reader that this is actually an old post that you have recently updated. Only do that if it is relevant to the article.
Never just throw away an old blog post. That is a probe for any incoming links from other sites. In that case, try making a 301 redirect to another post that may be relevant.
If you have rewritten and improved the post, make sure that you bring it to the attention of your readers, for example via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts.