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How to Update Old Content for SEO

In the beginning, you were so focused on publishing as much content as humanly possible, and now, you have so many posts with so much potential that need a serious SEO update.

Or, maybe you’ve got so much on your plate already and you’re torn between publishing new content or watching old content flounder…

When I speak with fellow bloggers, time is the number one thing they all struggle with. They have so many content ideas, so many plates to juggle with photos, video, social media, recipe development, testing, etc. they simply do not have the time to go back and update older content.

As a result, content with tremendous potential falls flat! 

Keeping older content updated for SEO means ranking higher in search, more links, more traffic, more shares…which means earning more money.

Instead of simply editing a few paragraphs, dropping a few random photos, and replacing it with a new date, I give content creators a full SEO facelift for their older content. It maximizes what they already have and allows them to stay consistent with new content.

Related Reading: On-page SEO Checklist

But, if outsourcing SEO updates isn’t in the budget right now, you can follow my process for updating your own content in 10 simple steps.

Updating Old Content for SEO

1. Decide what to update

Start with low-hanging fruit, which means anything at the top of page 2 of Google search results. This can also be seasonal content, like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc.

Then, Google your existing title and skim through the top 3-5 posts on page one of Google SERPs. Note the questions they ask and any information they include that you believe may be relevant to your readers.

On the Google search results page, review the “People Also Ask” section for questions you can answer in your post.

Add these items into your post, along with any other missing information your reader could benefit from.

2. Proofread the Content

Proofreading is super important for content creators who develop recipes or DIY projects. For example, ½ cups of sugar instead of 12 cups of sugar really makes a huge difference in a recipe! Don’t squash your existing authority with small (but big) errors like this one! Pay close attention to any numbers or data that was included previously. 

Read the post thoroughly, editing for grammatical errors, typos, and redundancy. Correct these mistakes, and see where you can “wordsmith” the flow of the post.

If you’ve updated any processes or methods since publishing the first time, make sure your post reflects that, too. 

If you are an affiliate member, double-check for broken links using the Broken-Link Checker.

3. Check for Relevant Information

More importantly than SEO, relevant information determines the user experience.

Irrelevant information might include:

  • Brand names that are out of business
  • Dates
  • References to a certain event (ballet recitals, personal events, non-seasonal dates)
  • Redundancy

Remove anything that might conflict with the post title and information. Think about the post from a reader’s perspective:

  • Is this information necessary to this post?
  • Does this make sense to the reader?
  • What other useful information could I provide?

After answering those questions, incorporate that information into the content using appropriate subheadings when necessary.

4. Optimize for SEO

Review the keywords used for the original post. Quickly search those keywords to see if those keywords are still relevant to this piece of content.

If you believe you can rank higher, choose a keyword with a higher search volume per month. The key is to avoid the lower performing keywords and focus on those that provide value to the content in terms of organic traffic.

Related Reading: How to Do Keyword Research

You can find this information through keyword tools like, SEM Rush, Ubersuggest, or Keywords Everywhere. Also, reference Google Analytics or Google Search Console to see which keywords users search to find that post.

Use these keywords in your title, meta tags, subheadings, and alt text. 

5. Improve the Title

Similar to the previous point, update the title of your blog to make it more interesting.

The title should include a main keyword, but more importantly, it should tell the reader exactly what they will get out of reading the content. This is your opportunity to make your content irresistible!

Which would you rather read? “Macaroni and Cheese Recipe” or “The Easiest and Cheesiest Macaroni and Cheese Recipe!”

Review competitors’ titles on the same topic to draw inspiration from them.

6. Update Images

Updating images is one of the main reasons bloggers update a post. If you have recently completed a new photoshoot, be sure to include process shots. 

If you aren’t adding brand-new images to the post, here are a few things to check for with existing images:

  • File name
  • Alt text
  • Title

7. Add Internal Links

Internal linking is one of the best SEO practices for boosting content, but most bloggers do not take advantage of this option.

During the revision process, comb through the post thinking of other relevant posts that already exist on your site. If applicable, link back to those posts. 

The Marketing Content Planner

Promote evergreen and seasonal blog content, freebies, opt-ins, products, sales pages, & more across social media platforms.

Then, go to that post and link to your new post, or make a note to do so later. Creating a “web” of links between your content tells Google that your site is a) relevant and b) this post has authority on your site.

8. Add External Links

Outbound links are important, but often misunderstood. 

It’s always beneficial to link to other high-quality, relevant websites. Sharing another knowledge source to complement your content will help your reader learn more. 

Additionally, Google will interpret your content as one that has good references and resources, and therefore, allow it to rank higher on SERPs.

Many content creators believe external linking will “leak” SEO juice. While it may share the juice with other sites, this strategy will ultimately be beneficial to both sites.

9. Make it Reader-friendly

Fabulous photos and relevant information does not mean your content is readable. All of that is great, but does your blog post look like a dumpster of words instead of a clean well-formatted piece of information?

Many readers are “skimming” content for just the information they need, so give it to them!

Here are some formatting guidelines to make your content easy to read:

  • Pull out important pieces of information using bold or italicised text to place emphasis.
  • Underline important details.
  • Use bullet points for lists.
  • Use numbered lists for steps.

Regarding photos, consider a collage of process shots instead of several scrolls of photos. This is recommended because short sentences can get lost between photos during scrolling, and that’s a lot of scrolling on mobile. 

Plus if you are running ads, the scrolling can become cumbersome between popups, videos, and several images in one block. Especially on mobile devices, bulleted lists and process collages for instructions are easier to follow than scrolling through blocks of images.

10. Add a CTA

Where do you want them to go next? Depending on the past performance of the post, consider re-defining the CTA for optimal results.

Also, weave in your paid and free offers throughout your post where it makes sense. 

For example, that meal planner download that’s hidden away on your site would be a great resource to incorporate with weeknight meals or recipes in under 30 minutes!

You can use a CTA block or a simple link to the lead magnet or opt-in. Depending on your email marketing provider, the form fill will automatically go into your email list and distribute the product.

Finally, after all is complete, hit publish! If you would like Google to see that it’s a new piece of content, update the publish date. Also, make sure you resubmit the URL to Google using your Google Search Console account, so your updated content can be crawled!

Updating content can take a significant amount of time and concentration. If you are waffling between creating that new recipe or updating an old one, outsourcing SEO updates may be something to consider. If you would like to talk more about this service or other content promotion services, schedule a discovery call with me.