In the beginning, bloggers eagerly jump right in without giving too much thought about the whole process of blogging. And sometimes that is a really good thing. Posts turn out to be raw and honest. However, they also tend to be short on information and word count, not to mention, visually unappealing. If you are anything like me, some of those first articles make you cringe.
Your style of writing, your brand, maybe even your niche has changed since those early days. Your first instinct may be to delete those posts, but that would create 301’s unless you take the time to create redirects. If there is even a hint of value, you should try to update your posts instead. Updating old posts can literally double your traffic overnight if you take the time to do it right. Especially if the post was received well when it was originally published.
I recommend going through your old posts, updating one a week, using the following 10 steps to really super charge your pageviews.
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How To Double Your Traffic Overnight By Updating Old Posts
1. Update information.
Is your old post outdated or do you have additional information to share? Maybe you were brief and can now expand on the topic. Use this opportunity to do some research, add some personal experiences and increase your word count. Longer posts are better for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The ultimate goal is to help your old posts rank higher in searches and bring you more organic traffic.
2. Update keyword & meta descriptions
When I first started my blog, I had no idea about SEO. I was probably a year in before I heard about the Yoast plug in. If you don’t have it yet, I strongly recommend adding it to your WordPress blog.
- Yoast helps you optimize your keywords thereby increasing your visitors from Google and Bing.
- It connects your social media profiles to your blog which helps you attract more visitors from social media and
- Yoast lets you know if your posts are visually nice to read which helps readers consume and engage with your posts more.
If you have been using Yoast from the beginning, check if the keywords and meta description previously chosen, were the best choice for the post. If the keyword needs to be changed, make sure the post and meta description are changed as well. Not to mention the file names and alt tags for all the images too. (more on that later)
Updating your old posts gives you the opportunity to make sure all the fields in the Yoast plug in are completed and that you have the “green light”.
BONUS TIP: Break up large blocks of text with new paragraphs and images to improve readability.
3. Update your title.
If you are a year into blogging or have over 100 posts published, and you feel like you should be getting more pageviews by now, you need to check your titles. Titles can make or break your blog. It was the number one reason responsible for low traffic when I was doing blog audits. And I gotta tell ya, I shocked pretty much 90% of the bloggers I worked with when I said, “Your titles suck.” It seems that most bloggers have no instinct for judging their own post titles.
- A good title makes someone click and read.
- A good post delivers on the expectation given in the title.
So if you are not getting the click-throughs you expect, you need to do some A/B testing on your post titles.
You can do this several ways.
- You could change the title on your actual post.
- You could change the social media title through Yoast or Social Warfare.
- You could create new pins with new titles.
BONUS TIP: The text on your image does not have to match the title of the post.
Whichever method you choose to test different titles for your post, I strongly suggest using the Co-schedule Headline Analyzer to craft your new titles.
Here you can see me testing titles for this post:
4. Change your URL. (optional)
If you have updated your keywords and have crafted a new title that is generating traffic, you may decide to give your SEO a real boost by changing your URL. Changing the post URL will create 301’s for any old links floating around on the internet (for example: pins on Pinterest). Be sure to set up redirects from the old to the new URL. You can do that easily using the plug in, Redirection.
5. Create new featured images/pins.
Nothing freshens up an old post faster than a nice, new, crisp image. Make sure all of your old posts have a featured image and a pin.
- Check out this post for a list of sites for free, high resolution images you can use for your blog.
- Check out this post for a tutorial on how to create the perfect pin.
BONUS TIP: Before uploading an image to your WordPress media files, rename them on your hard drive. The name of the image should contain your keyword. (chosen in #2) Not only does that help your SEO, it also helps optimize your pins on Pinterest.
6. Make sure alt tags are filled in.
My number one source for traffic is Pinterest. Pinterest scrapes the alt tag information from your image when someone pins directly from your blog. You don’t want your image shared on Pinterest with a blank description or whatever text the reader decided to fill in. Especially now when hashtags are allowed on Pinterest. You want to make sure that your pin will get the best start possible with the appropriate keywords and hashtags.
7. Add internal links.
Chances are you have covered either the same topic or something very similar in a new post since publishing your old post. To keep readers on your blog longer, you need to add links to those new posts in your old posts. And vice versa.
BONUS TIP: Be sure to use the keywords of the new post when linking to it in the old post for better SEO optimization. Do not use “click here”.
8. Add external links.
A great way to boost your domain authority is to link to a reputable site in your post, like WebMD and Huffington Post. If you link to a post with similar keywords on a higher ranked site than yours close to where you share your own internal links with similar keywords, you boost your own SEO and DA.
9. Add an opt-in or upgrade.
Enhance your new information on your old post by adding an upgrade or an opt-in, like a checklist.
You can click on the image below to receive your FREE pdf checklist for this post delivered to your inbox.
10. Add the post to your sharing schedule.
Now that your old post is new and improved, you need to get new eyes on it. One way to do that is add it to your automated social sharing tools, like Buffer.
It can be long and tedious work to update your old posts but it is so worth it. The next time you are suffering from writer’s block, use your time wisely. The potential to double your traffic is attainable if all the above steps are followed.