Why & How To Keep Your Content Up-To-Date

5 min read

Of course, your business website and social media contain carefully written and curated content: from thought leadership pieces through to product descriptions. It goes without saying that the content is fully optimised. But, is it delivering the best results it can … and what can you do about it?

Before we get to how to keep your content up-to-date, let’s find out WHY you should do it. What happens when your content stops being relevant or falls out of date? Let’s look.

Spoiler alert! Evergreen content and new, topical content: it’s a beautiful combination. But, here’s the thing: you should also update older articles.

Topical content: What’s trending?

Your topical content is created in response to seasons and trends and quickly goes out of date. But what it does do, is drive traffic with news, new products. developments in the industry or anything trending.

Topical content works well as listicles, product showcasing,  podcasts. And don’t forget infographics – they are the most likely type of content to be shared on other channels. 

Playing the long game: Evergreen content

Not all content needs to be recently written in order to be both relevant and up-to-date. This doesn’t make sense, right? However, evergreen content can still be as powerful months or years after it is published as content written today. 

So, what makes evergreen content so important that it should be part of your content mix? 

The superpowers of in-depth pieces like these are:

  • Authority: This kind of content establishes your business as an authority in your industry. Or yourself as a trusted expert to follow in your field. This is an essential contributor to successful online marketing. If a prospect is faced with a choice of service providers, products or eCommerce sites, they are likely to trust the one with a good name. That’s the power of your reputation at work.

How this differs from new content is that it’s the solid foundation on which your of-the-minute contact can be built. New social media posts, listicles, news articles can refer back to this pillar, giving them credibility in a fickle and fast-moving digital environment. 

  • Customer Journey: The natural next step of someone whose interest has been piqued by a recent post that has popped up on their newsfeed, is to look at the source. And there’s your evergreen content, answering questions left by the posts, or giving fundamental information about your industry, your products, or your company.  The best part? It’s already written. This is a great time-saver.  

So, if evergreen content is so great and continues to drive traffic to your website, and your topical articles are keeping your website fresh, why do you even need to update anything? Clearly, there’s a bigger story behind a content strategy designed for performance.

Why & How To Keep Your Content Up-To-Date 1

Is your (old) content doing more harm than good?

Here are just 3 reasons why your older content is dangerous when left to lie fallow.

  1. Horrible UX: Nothing says, Moving On as quickly as a slow website. Updating old content doesn’t just mean fixing facts or choosing more recent examples. It’s also about cleaning up. For instance, large media files will increase loading times. Compress your images and videos. 

  2. Under-optimised: There’s a good chance your old content can be adjusted to meet current SEO best practices. For instance, in the past, you may not have used longtail keywords, fat head keywords, or keyword clusters.

  3. Reputation management: The updated tag on blogs shows the user that you are on top of your game; the opposite of old-fashioned articles with information that’s just plain wrong.  

Should you remove or update old content?

See: (digital) time moves quickly, and what was trending yesterday is out-of-date today. 

There are 3 things you might do with bad old content: 

  1. Ignore it – only an option if you have no idea of its impact on your SEO. Let sleeping dogs lie, right?
     
  2. Remove (or deindex/redirect) content – only an option if you have analysed the content on your site and have found that there are issues such as; cannibalization, indexation bloat or duplication.

  3. Update, rewrite or consolidate it – but why bother?

Simply put: if the original content is still valuable, then it is worth updating. 

Recognise the opportunities

What is promising content? It has valuable backlinks (which take time and effort to get) even though it may have few conversions or below-average engagement. It may rank on the first search engine results page, but could — with a bit of a refresh — make it into the top 3. You could have several articles on the same topic, but one of them gets substantially more traffic — salvaging the best bits and consolidating them into one would make it stronger. And, of course, it could well be more cost-effective to edit and upgrade original content instead of having new content created.

So: does the original content present an opportunity to get a better ranking; drive more traffic; create engagement; or result in conversions?

Ways to get your content up-to-date

 

  1. Audit: Identify content with the best potential.
    Use Google Analytics to determine which were the best-performing blogs or posts before they stopped attracting traffic. These are the ones to start with: users have found the topic interesting, and – with a fresh spin or new data – are likely to do so again. Consider metrics like time-on-page, bounce rate and conversions.

  2. Health check: Identity what you need to fix to bring your content up-to-date.
    Between then and now a lot could have changed, and not just information. Look for:

    1. Broken links: Whether the problem is an internal one (links to other content on your site) or external, broken links lead to non-existent web pages. Users are frustrated by a 404 error. But, it’s not just a UX issue. Broken links compromise a website’s integrity and interfere with Google’s ability to crawl and access the site, impacting negatively on indexing and ranking over time.

    2. Load time:  How quickly your website loads has a critical impact on SEO. A fast-loading site indicates quality, professionalism and the intent of your website to meet user expectations. Google crawling, indexing and serving are all improved. So, this is a good time to compress large media files.

    3. On-page SEOThe meta-description tells both Google and the reader precisely what that piece of content is about. Here’s a short checklist of questions to ask: 

      • Does the meta-title and -description still match the user’s intent? Like: are there keywords that match the words users are likely to type into the search bar? Or: does the blurb appeal to a user at the right point of the customer journey? A customer that’s ready to buy won’t be attracted by a meta-description crafted for awareness-building.

      • Does the meta-description match the content? A user that clicks through on the promise of answers to a specific question, will bounce if your content doesn’t deliver.

      • Does it include a call to action? Like: learn more; read on; find out.

    4. Quality control – Are the words on your website doing the job?

      • Readability: The easier it is to read, the more likely it’ll be read.
        It’s what the user wants, and Google is all about giving the user what they want. Tips to making your content more readable include:
        • short sentences and short paragraphs

        • insert headings as stepping stones for the skim reader

        • include images, infographics or videos

        • Call to action: Check that the CTA is still in alignment with your sales funnel. 

Previously, you may have wanted prospects to request a call-back. Now, your strategy could require prospects to download an ebook and so support your lead generation activities. 

Is that all?

Keeping your website functioning properly and populated with content that is valuable to  the user is a continuous process. Maintenance is essential. Creating fresh content is just one party of a high-performance strategy. Consolidating and leveraging the power of your old content is just as important.

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