How Removing & Updating Old Content can improve SERP Rankings

28th July 2021

Targeting keywords, building backlinks, and creating new content. All these SEO strategies take several months of waiting before you see a difference in your organic rankings or traffic. Unlike having paid ads that bring traffic to your website on the day of your launch, SEO is a strategy that takes a long time. But what if I told you that not all hope is lost. You can revive your old content with a few tweaks here and there and you can achieve the results you are looking for.

Recycling old content means getting your pages back to life again. This helps boost your website rankings even if they are performing well or not. Google always loves some fresh content. Why? Because it is more relevant to the user. They have even said that they have a freshness algorithm that impacts 35% of searches. By updating your old content you can see your pages shoot up several other search positions in a matter of weeks.

Why reviving old content boosts rankings?


As we said, Google loves to see your content that is new or fresh. Websites that post fresh content usually are the ones that get higher rankings than outdated posts. But if you post new content always, your old posts go unnoticed in the SERPs. Your website gets over 40% of organic traffic by updating your old content posts. That is why re-publishing old posts can bring new life to your posts. Once you have posted your updated content make sure you update the date as well. Google will then crawl the website again and it will recognize this as fresh content, giving your rankings a boost.

Here's how you can update your content to improve your search engine results page (SERP) rankings in just a few weeks.

1. Identify the posts you want to update


The first thing you need to do is find out which posts on your website need to be updated. Analytics and Google Search Console are the best places to look for. Analytics help you see which pages that are performing well, getting the most traffic, and earning high engagement. Now you know that these are the pages that are performing well. Here are the steps to Search Console:

  • Log in to Search Console.
  • Go to your dashboard.
  • Next, choose ‘Pages’ and tick ‘Clicks,’ ‘Impressions,’ ‘CTR,’ and ‘Position.’ from the options available.

After selecting those options you will see something like this. Google lists out all the pages and shows you where it currently sits on the SERPs. Google lists out 10 search listings on the first page. Start by focussing on the pages that are in the 10-30 positions. This is because 91.5% of searchers on Google don't go past the first page. Gather the first 10 pages you see. This will help you focus on the posts that are giving you the highest amount of rankings rather than optimizing every single post which will consume a lot of your time.

Some website owners think that if they add a new page to replace their old content it will add more pages to the index. But this isn't the best choice. It is always better to just update your existing URL instead. The existing URL already has an established history and earned some rankings. Creating a whole new page makes you start from scratch. Keeping all your updates on the same page also helps you from not competing with yourself.

3. Delete ancient content

The content on your website can be updated and optimized easily. But not all your old content needs to be taking up space on your website. For example information on products, services, or old job postings that you do not need anymore. Blog posts that are too similar to others or more popular, are the ones that need to go from your website. The same applies to any duplicate content for your website. A 301 redirect usually is the best choice for handling all such pages. The benefit is that it drives people towards an updated page or points old products to new products that are related. This helps retain value to the old URL that you had.

Make sure not to add too many redirects to your website as it can put a heavy load on your servers and slow down your website making it negatively affect your rankings. In some cases, you can add a custom message explaining that the content was outdated and link the audience to a related page.

4. More content

Ultimately adding more content to your existing pages is going to help. In theory, the best content ranks at the top of the search. SerpIQ found out that, the more words on a webpage, the higher it ranked. Ensure that your page has more than 10-15% more words than the keyword your competitors are ranking for. You do not want to add content that is similar to your competitors. Do your research, read other blogs, discuss your topic and get ideas on what to add. Remember that your content is not limited to text. You can add images and videos to your posts to make them better. The Google crawlers will factor in images and videos too when they re-crawl your posts.

5. Add More Keywords

Do keyword research to make your content more relevant. Ever since you last added content to your post, you might have come across new long-tail keywords to target that you weren't aware of before. We don't recommend changing the main/seed keywords in the posts because that will cause a disturbance in the rankings. But if you add long-tail keywords it will help get your posts to rank higher. Update all your existing posts with new keywords.

6. Update the Title and Meta Description

Your CTR (click-through rate) influences how your page will rank on Google. Type the keyword you are targeting on Google and review the title and meta description of your competitors' pages. Make sure your post links provide more content for a keyword that is searched for. Writing up good titles and meta descriptions will help you get more CTR's. You must make them unique and make sure they aren't too long or short. Use accurate keywords and not the stuff in keywords. Write your content for people and not robots.

7. Promote your content to get more traffic

Research shows that reposting your content can get you 75% more traffic online. Social media is a great place for promoting your content. Posting on social media will get you shares, clicks, and links too. All these are a part of conversions, boosting rankings and trust. ViralContentBee and DrumUp are two platforms where you can repost content on social media.

The next thing you need to do after optimizing your posts is to index your pages. So how can you get your pages to index faster?

Updating your pages and leaving at that, Google can take up to weeks or months before revisiting your website and recrawling your pages again. Instead, you can just resubmit your pages to Google for faster indexing. Go to Search Console, go to the Google Fetch tool, and submit your pages. After doing this Google will take a day or two or even a week to crawl on your page. You can always track to see the progress of your updated pages by using the ‘Dates’ function. You will need to wait for at least 2-3 weeks to check results after Google recrawls your page.

Final Thoughts

SEO isn't just about creating fresh or new content every time. All your work or content done in the past needs to be kept up-to-date or optimized for today's searches. As Google's SERPs are dynamic and keep changing, your page rankings too will change all the time. So if you don't keep updating your old page content they will be pushed down further. Contact DigitalCrafts today to find out how a personalized SEO strategy can improve your website visiblity and turn more of your visitors into real and paying customers.

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