Getting more visitors to your website is one of the top priorities for most businesses. Especially when your website is new, this usually means adding new content to your website.

But if you already have a lot of content (more than 50 articles, for example) on your website, what works even better is not just adding new content, but also doing this: updating your content.

If you’re not already doing this for your content, I hope this case study will convince you to dig into your archives and get to work ASAP.

Case Study: 10 Hours of Work for 27% More Traffic

If your website is more than 3 years old and you regularly add content to it, it’s likely that some of your content is due for an update.

Resources you previously linked to may now no longer be available, information that was true at the time might not be true today. These two problems give your readers a pretty poor experience on your website. Most people don’t like clicking on dead links or reading stats from 2015.

This is what happened on one of my sites.

After running one of my main sites for almost four years, some of my content pieces were sorely needing an update. A large number of links were broken and some information was no longer accurate.

So last month, I decided to do an audit on my content and update all the pieces I felt needed an overhaul. Once the audit was done, I scheduled 20 pieces of content for updating.

I’m still in the middle of updating all the content, but I’d like to share with you the traffic spikes to two of the content pieces I updated first:

After just two weeks of updating these two pieces of content, I noticed a 27% spike to both pieces. These pieces of old content were about the same thing, but with some new information added in.

Just two weeks before that, it was receiving a constant amount of traffic every week. These traffic spikes were purely because of the content update.

So, why does this work?

Here’s why updating old content work so well:

First of all, when you update your content, you make it fresh and relevant in the present year. This means anyone who reads it will likely to stay on your page longer, giving Google signals that your content deserves a higher rank.

Secondly, when you update your content, you are also likely to add new keywords into it, giving your site a lot more new and relevant keywords to rank for. This works especially well for content that’s already ranking on the first page of Google.

In fact, updating old content works so well that marketer Neil Patel hired full-time staff just to update old content from his thousands of blog pages.

How you can apply this to your blog

If you’re excited by what you just read and want to see a boost to your traffic by refreshing your old content, the good news is it’s a pretty simple process.

Though, some people may think that updating content means increasing the length of their content. In reality, if you want to have the best effect, there is much more to that. The core of updating old content is improving it, that is, making your content better than it was before.

Here are some ways you can do that:

Rewrite entire paragraphs or sections where needed

It’s highly possible that a lot has changed since you first posted the article. A lot of things might have changed. You might even find that your writing style is different (and better) now.

Removing irrelevant content

Having irrelevant content in your articles can hurt its credibility. Go through the entire article and remove parts which don’t fit in the current context of what you are talking about.

Add new LSI keywords

To improve your content further, consider adding LSI keywords to your old content. LSI keywords are keywords that are often found together with the keywords you are targeting. You can use free tools like LSIGraph.com to discover new keywords to add.

Do a content freshness review every year or every two years

Updating your old content is just as important as adding new content to your site. Content inevitably gets old and the less relevant the content is, the less traffic it will get over time.

While adding new content is always encouraged, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of updating old content on your site. Only adding new content but neglecting to update your old content is like pouring water into a leaking bucket: it will take you much longer to grow.

Conclusion

As your site grows, you’ll likely need to dedicate a portion of your time to updating your existing content rather than focus on adding new content to the website all the time.

You can do this by doing a content freshness audit every year or every two years and refreshing your content to make it relevant to the present year. This will give your old content a boost in traffic and keep it as one of your traffic generating assets for a long time to come.

Done right, updating old content can give you quicker wins compared to adding new content.

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