All bloggers sometimes need to take a good look at what they have accomplished and give them a thorough review. After all, coming up with your own content or articles is never a light task. You might even find some hidden treasures in doing so; some old articles might even be bringing traffic or could also be a lot more relevant today than they were back then.
For that matter, you’d want to maximize their potential – even if it has been years since their spark has seemingly died. It pays to update your old articles and apply new standards in search engine optimization. This can bring traffic to old articles. Think of it as giving an old car a new coat of paint. You know the thing’s way past its heyday but people might notice it more nonetheless.
Hence, before you might press that trash or delete button on one of your old articles, you might want to check out these procedures first. They ought to give your timeless blog articles more recognition than they had when you first published them. You can also treat it as a to-do list. Here are some ways you can bring traffic to old articles.
How to Bring Traffic to Old Articles
Link them to new related articles
This one’s probably already a given and is one of the oldest tricks in the book. However, we cannot stress enough just how crucial it is for your new articles with better traffic to link back to your old ones via related articles or hyperlinks. This will increase the likelihood of your readers spending more time on your blog. Of course, linking to old articles will also likely increase the chances of them being shared.
It’s not just new articles you can include hyperlinks to old ones. Even old articles which still garner a considerable amount of traffic can be updated to include links to old content. That is assuming the topics are related. If they’re not, you can also make a follow-up or “sequel” post to the old article you plan to link.
Assuming the topic stays strong and the SEO or keywords for them is still significant, giving your old articles a standalone updated version which still discusses a similar issue is always beneficial. They’re easier to do anyway since background information is readily available. For news blogs or websites, this is a must. Better yet, turn your old article archive into a series.
Check their meta-tags
How this applies to your old articles varies differently depending on their age. As we all know, SEO rules change quite fast since it all relies on Google’s algorithm one way or another. For that matter, some of your previous articles are bound to be outdated. Some of them might not even have the appropriate metadata for today’s SEO standards.
To save yourself some trouble on looking at each and every meta-tag or data for each old article, you can use SEO META in 1 CLICK. It’s a Google Chrome extension that will display all the metadata and information regarding a post.
It pretty much does what it says; you click the extension and it shows you everything you need to see in a written post from Yoast SEO metrics, header hierarchy, images and their alt text usage, and even links. As an added bonus, you can even check how mobile-friendly the post is or how fast the page loads. The best part is that it’s a free extension.
Once you have checked, then the Chrome extension can show you a list of things you need to change to improve the old article’s SEO. As a rule of thumb, you want to make sure these things are all accounted for:
- Main keyword
- Title and Description that contains the main keyword and as close to the beginning as possible
- A Title that’s at most, 12 words only
- A Description that’s between 50 to 160 symbols (letters and numbers)
- An H1/2/3 tag that’s not the main title for better relevance to search queries
Check the ranking of old articles
We did mention to include as many H1, H2, H3, and so on, tags as possible to improve the old article’s relevance on search engines. How some of these queries rank on the internet (mainly Google and social media) is also important. You can then check where your articles rank whenever someone inputs that query in a search engine quite easily.
There are several tools for that, but for now, we do recommend Serpstat for ease of use. You basically just input the URL of your old article into Serpstat’s search function, press “Search” and then you’ll be given SEO statistics regarding your post. The tool is free and there’s quite many of them if Serpstat isn’t to your liking. Others like SEMRush provide similar data and other analytical tools at your disposal and also have free options.
Once you’re set on the tool (free or otherwise) you’re using to check your article’s ranking, you can then change the URL or some of the subheadings (H1, H2, etc.) to include the top keywords associated with your post. Pay attention to the missing keywords tab under URL analysis, it shows what keywords your competitors are using in order to boost their ranking:
You might have to include them. Also, you might even have to replace your main keyword (as long as it’s close enough) and organically sprinkle them all over the article body again or also change the URL to fit the stronger keywords instead of the old one.
Improve the format
Work doesn’t stop once you have improved your SEO for the old articles. After all, SEO is just half the battle. The other half is how well you’ve written the content or how neat it is. It shouldn’t be too hard to fix the cleanliness of your posts these days, WordPress (assuming you use it) already gives you a formatting template that can be easily modified.
You’ll want to check if you’ve correctly followed these formatting metrics; some are from Yoast, others are pretty standard in online writing:
- Post Readability as per Yoast
- Text or paragraph structure- you want them evenly spaced; split those walls of text
- Images and videos (check their resolution or if they are still working)
- Outbound links for better credibility or network
- Presentation (opening paragraphs and introductions should be updated to be more interesting)
- Length of the post (Google prefers longer articles, add more information if possible)
Social media sharing
Last but not least, never ignore the capability of social media users to proliferate your posts. Just as you’re scheduling some of your latest content to be posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or even Pinterest, you also want to schedule some old posts, especially the timeless ones.
You can even use tools to schedule the promotion of these old articles yourself. Of course, that’s assuming you’ve done most of the previous tips above and updated the article. Even if you haven’t and are relying on social media alone to bring traffic back to your old articles, this would still be a good practice. You can use Hootsuite or Buffer to do this and make it as painless as possible.