It is every content marketer’s dream to rank at the top of search engines, or at least land on page one. According to research conducted by Backlinko, Google will reward you by increasing your position as a result of having meaningful and engaging content that is refreshed and updated regularly – and ultimately lowering your bounce rate.
A study of over a million search results by Backlinko showed a distinct correlation between bounce rates and rankings:
Rather than writing articles entirely from scratch, consider re-writing and re-purposing existing content by refreshing it with updated information. Google already recognises the existing content on your website, therefore it makes sense to use what is there and improve it in order to rank higher and increase engagement. In fact, 60% of marketers say that producing engaging content is their biggest challenge in 2016.
In order to improve the search engine and web user experience, Google runs countless algorithms that are always testing and verifying websites. The criteria for well-performing sites can be as specific as a higher number of clicks to the link with fewer clicking back. As a result, Google will recognise higher engagement with that page and retain their position on page one. Re-publishing existing content on your site gives you a better chance of retaining and increasing your SERPS position if engagement on this page was already high. Rather than going through the rigorous process of developing new content and optimising, it makes sense to refresh existing top-performing pages on your site.
Each year there are more than 600 algorithm and ranking factor updates, with the most recent being “Fred”, causing issues with websites which contain short or keyword stuffed articles. The below data, according to MarketingProfs, indicate that Fred has in-fact negatively impacted many websites with poor quality content, driving traffic down.
Another important factor for higher-ranking pages is regularly updated content indicating that refreshing your existing content can give you a ranking boost.
The depth and breadth of knowledge contained on your web pages can also influence rankings. When you publish several times, you are essentially building up your topical authority on certain topics. The more you publish content within your niche, the more Google associates you as a reliable source. Building up topical authority takes time and effort, but can broaden your reach when it comes to your target keywords and prospective audience.
When you build your authority, naturally, more sources will start to cite and reference your blog. Over time, you will notice that:
More high quality Backlinks = Higher Rankings
Optimising your pages and posts can be trial and error, especially if you are producing new content on a continual basis. By improving and expanding on your existing content, you can add layer upon layer of attributes that assist in boosting your ranking. Your site has a greater chance of reaching a wider audience by earning links, amplification, social shares and engagement, signalling to Google that your content is worthy of ranking. Not only this, studies also suggest that Google rewards blogs that contain Long-form content rather than short-form content.
The first step in updating your blog content is to identify posts that will yield better results. This will ensure you don’t invest time and effort into updating existing content that won’t necessarily perform well.
There are numerous online tools that can assist with reporting site and SEO performance. Using this tool, you can filter top performing pages and review other pages that were outside the top 10 for the nominated keywords. As you drill down, the report will show you the focus keyword, estimated search volume and Google position.
The example above shows the ranking results for two blog posts and their respective keywords:
By updating these popular posts that already yield a high search volume, it is likely to see an increase in their performance, bumping up their position by a few spots. As a result, there would also be an increase in the number of page visitors as well as subscribers.
It therefore stands to reason that prioritising these well-performing posts that rank around the top 10 will cause a significant boost to your traffic. There’s still a possibility for increased traffic on posts that rank lower, but the results won’t be nearly as significant. Typically, going from page 2 to page 1 is going to make a more impactful difference than going from page 4 to page 3.
Duplicate content on your website can be penalised by search engines, and decreases the web user experience. Instead of publishing an additional blog post that could potentially be the same, simply modify the original article.
To update your existing post, simply copy/paste the text into a new draft, make the necessary changes and then copy/paste the HTML back into the original post. If the post title, tags or SEO snippet has changed, you may be tempted to modify the URL. Even if your software automatically creates redirects, it is important to keep the URL the same, otherwise the redirects may remove some of the link value.
Reputable sites containing blogs written by professional authors often add notations every time a post is updated. If a note isn’t present or visible, there may be confusion by your readers who will see a current publish date but comments and feedback from years ago. We recommend you incorporate an Editor’s Note so your audience is clear about any content modifications, and to assist with the chronological order of the article.
Here is an example:
Keeping your content accurate and up-to-date is important for your readers, especially if the information is time-based or no longer applicable. Modifying, adding and removing content keeps the post current and more relevant for your audience. Here is a simple check list as a guide:
The meta description on your post is a 160-character snippet that will show up in search results. It is the first thing searchers will see, so it’s critical that you keep it current, as well as enticing and engaging so readers will click on it. A meta description that arouses curiosity is likely to have a higher click-through rate and get more traffic to your post.
The final step in the process is re-publishing your post, but with a current publish date. While this might look different depending on which CMS you use, here’s an example for WordPress, which is the most popular and widely utilised web platform worldwide.
From the ‘Edit’ page in your post, go to the ‘Publish’ box in the top right-hand corner and click ‘Edit’ next to the ‘Published on’ date.
Enter the new publish date and time, hit ‘OK’, then hit ‘Update’ to save.
We understand that putting together a succinct content strategy that fulfills both your business objectives and aims to engage your target audience can be time consuming and if not executed properly could do more harm than good. Content marketing is one of the most cost effective ways to drive organic growth. We know this because it’s what we do everyday for our clients. In saying this, if you feel that your content strategy needs re-aligning, feel free to get in touch with us on 02 8310 2393 or send us a message any time.
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