In the online world content is king. Anyone who follows my work knows that I am huge content marketing advocate. Creating quality content on a regular basis and publishing to your website is the single best way to attract and retain website traffic.
People who are interested in your subject matter are going to keep coming back to your website as long as you continue to make the investment of producing fresh quality content. That said, one this that even the best website developers using content marketing strategies forget to do is refresh existing content in order to refine and evolve their stories.
Taking thirty minutes to an hour to write a great article, then another 15 minutes for spreading that content through your social media sites is a big time investment for someone who has more than enough things to do on a regular basis. If you’re going to make that investment a few times a week then it makes sense a few times a year to go back through the content that you have produced in the past to refine it and keep it fresh for your website visitors. You will see a number of nice benefits if you take the time to update existing blog articles and website content. In this article we will explain the importance of keeping content fresh, let you know how to go about doing it, provide you with a few tips for updating existing content without spending a ton a time and effort on it, and finally conclude by discussing the benefits of updating existing content.
Why You Should Regularly Update Existing Website Content
When you take time to create really great content on your website, whether that be a blog article or web page, you should try to set time aside each quarter to go back through some of your highest performing blog articles and web pages to refresh that content. By going back through your existing content and refreshing it you are telling search engines that you have made updates to the web page, which will in turn tell them that the content might again be relevant to serve up higher on search pages. You are also letting your website visitors know that you care about them and the content that they are reading. By you going back through your content you can provide new updates based on any new information on the topic that you may have come across since you wrote the content. This might really help someone who is using that content and needs the latest information. By updating your existing content you are providing additional value to your website visitors, as well as, helping yourself by getting more eyeballs to that content through organic search results. By taking time to do this each quarter you will create a website that blows away your completion. Website visitors will appreciate it and you will definitely reap the benefits of that.
How to Update Existing Website Content
You might be saying, but Ryan, I barely have time to keep up with creating new content for my blog and my website on a regular basis, how the heck am I going to find time to update the content I’ve already created?! I know. I hear you. And I definitely understand if you can’t make the time to do this. For me, whenever I decide what to spend my time on I do a cost/benefit analysis quickly in my head. If the benefits of doing something outweigh the costs of doing it, I’m game. You must do the same. Hopefully once you finish reading this article you will be convinced that the benefits definitely outweigh the time costs that you will incur while doing so.
In order to update existing content you must first determine which content makes the most sense to update. Depending on how much time you have, pick the top five to ten web pages on your website, whether they be blog articles, web pages, or even custom landing pages, based on your traffic numbers over the past quarter. You want to spend the time updating the website content that the most people are reading and finding value in. Don’t waste your time refreshing website content that nobody is reading. Use Google Analytics or any website reporting tools that you use in order to find out what your top performing website pages are in terms of visits, time on page, etc. Once you have identified your top performing website content for that quarter and you have the web pages you are going to spend time refreshing, follow the steps below in order to get the most out of your time refreshing your website content:
- Re-read each web page to reacquaint yourself with the content. Yes, you can skim it as long as you were the original author.
- Once you finished reading a web page take some time to think about whether or not there has been any new information released about the topic that you wrote about. Perhaps you should even go out and find some new content from other sources which may have been published after you published your content so that you can link readers to it (don’t do this too much as you don’t want people leaving your website if you can help it). You may have even put out new content on the subject since you last published the article, or better yet, maybe you are running some sort of contest or there is a big event coming up that’s related to the content. Gather all of that information together.
- Go back through the content and add in any new information wherever relevant OR simply go to the bottom of the content and write “UPDATE” in big bold letters. Then put any new information you have on the subject right there.
- Repeat for the rest of the web pages that you are updating. It’s that easy.
Tips for Updating Website Content Quickly
Now that you know just how to figure out what website content you should refresh and how to go about doing so, now it’s all about doing so a little quicker, right? I can tell you that after a few quarters of refreshing your website content you will definitely get faster at it. Not that it takes more than an hour or two at most in the first place, but again, I know time is your most valuable resource so anything that can help save you a few minutes is important. So with that said, below are a few tips that I use when going back through my existing website content to give it a fresh twist. It should help save you some time, as well as, get the most out of your efforts.
- Keep an eye on your top performing content throughout the quarter, this way when it comes time to select the website content to refresh, you already have a good idea of what content you will target.
- By keeping an eye on your top performing content all quarter you will start to know which articles you will be updating, which will allow you to keep an eye out throughout the quarter on any new information posted by yourself, or others, that you might want to include when refreshing your existing content.
- Try to link to your content before outside content whenever you update a web page and decide to link out to another web page. Internal linking is great for SEO, especially when you can update existing content.
- Keep your updates short and full of great information. You don’t have to add a thousand words to existing website content. You simply want to add quality new information and then move on.
- Promote that updated content through your social media channels to get an extra boost for your efforts.
By following the tips above you should be able to complete this task in one to two hours. You will also get the most value for time spent by following these tips. Now that you understand how to go about refresh existing content, and how to do so as quickly as possible, let’s get into the benefits you will receive for taking the time to update existing website content.
Benefits of Updating Existing Website Content
Picking five to ten pieces of website content to give a facelift to each quarter can really help your website. It’s a great way to separate yourself from your competitors as it shows your readers that you care about providing them with the most current information and you are willing to spend time in order to ensure that they have it. Below are some of the main benefits that you will receive if you decide to take the time to update your existing website content on a regular basis.
- Increased website traffic – as mentioned above, search engines recognize when a web page has been updated. They will push those older web pages back up the search rankings for your keywords if they know you are updating your content.
- Increased time spent on those web pages – by providing new information on existing web pages you will see that people are willing to spend more time reading your content.
- Repeat traffic to existing web pages – people who have read an article in the past will come back and re-read it if they know it has been updated and the topic is important to them. If you wrote a quality piece the first time people will re-read it if they know you have taken time to update it with more timely information.
- A second opportunity to go viral – anytime you spend your time updating content you need to re-promote it through your social networks. This provides another opportunity for your content to go viral.
Taking Time to Update Existing Website Content
What do you think? Is updating your existing blog articles and web pages every quarter worth your time? I really think it is. I have seen results from doing this, and so have my clients. Have you ever attempted to refresh existing website content? Did you notice an uptick in website traffic to those web pages after you made the changes? Were people spending more time on those pages than before? If you have any experience with this please leave a comment below to help provide some additional context to those readers who might be considering this initiative for their website. For those of you who have never done this before for your website, please feel free to leave a comment with any questions that you have. Thanks for taking time to read this article. I’ll be sure to come back and update it in a few months.
Image Credits – Typing on a keyboard via BigStock