Content material refreshing is likely one of the finest methods to extend site visitors of your present content material, and it’s additionally an effective way to maintain the knowledge in your web site contemporary and as much as date.

Nonetheless, the content material refreshing course of isn’t all the time easy. For instance, some individuals fear about tanking their natural site visitors in the event that they replace the content material (a sound concern). Different individuals discover that it simply doesn’t deliver the dramatic site visitors enhance that some advertising consultants promise.

Fortuitously for you, I’ve been each of these individuals.

I’ve up to date most likely greater than 50 weblog posts previously 12 months, and I’ve made lots of errors. Nonetheless, I’ve additionally seen excellent outcomes, corresponding to content material that drives 10 instances extra site visitors and soars in rankings.

That stated, I actually wished to know why some posts carry out dramatically higher post-update than others.

So I did a knowledge examine on what makes some content material dramatically extra profitable post-update and why others proceed to flounder. Utilizing this knowledge, I’ve provide you with a content material refreshing technique that has considerably improved my content material refreshing success price. In the present day, I need to share that technique with you.

Opposite to fashionable perception, not all weblog posts are price updating. This is likely one of the single most impactful realizations that has improved my content material refreshing success price. Actually, I solely suggest prioritizing updates for outdated content material that earned 20+ month-to-month guests at peak efficiency.

Within the knowledge examine talked about above, 45% of the up to date posts had fewer than 20 guests per 30 days pre-update. Sadly, this 45% of up to date posts solely contributed 15% of the full site visitors enhance (of a 96% whole natural site visitors enhance).

Which means weblog posts that already had 20+ month-to-month guests earlier than the replace contributed nearly all of the full natural site visitors enhance.

My guess is posts with extra site visitors pre-update already rank for some key phrases in positions #5–10. Subsequently, it’s a lot simpler to go from positions #5–10 to first than zero to first.

So what do you have to do with weblog posts which have fewer than 20 month-to-month guests?

Assuming these posts are focusing on key phrases which are priceless to your corporation or include necessary thought management concepts, it’s undoubtedly price updating them. As well as, a smaller weblog will typically have much more weblog posts with fewer than 20 month-to-month guests just because it wants time to achieve traction.

Subsequently, it’s nonetheless worthwhile to replace them, however prioritize posts with essentially the most potential first.

Methods to replace your weblog posts

As soon as you realize which posts to replace, how do you truly replace them? I’ve discovered that lots of firms give freelance writers a course of that appears like this:

  • Replace outdated statistics, info, quotes
  • Add extra paragraphs for key phrases the posts are lacking
  • Take away sections which are not related

Nonetheless, I’ve discovered that the above technique isn’t one of the best method to refreshing content material. It makes the content material extra updated however doesn’t think about how the submit is (or will not be) fulfilling the search intent.

In different phrases, you must ask why your content material isn’t as helpful because the posts rating properly on Google. (I’m prepared to wager it’s not simply because there’s an outdated statistic within the third paragraph.)

From the content material refreshing analysis I’ve carried out, your submit most likely isn’t rating as a result of there’s one other submit that:

  • Is extra present.
  • Supplies actionable recommendation (or extra related particulars).
  • Presents a superb person expertise.
  • Is a greater match for the searcher’s intent.

To handle these points, listed below are the motion steps it’s good to take whereas updating your content material.

1. Replace outdated info

I do know I simply stated that refreshing content material is far more than simply updating outdated info—but it surely is part of the method.

As well as, I’m speaking about extra than simply updating outdated statistics and quotes. Usually, you’ll need to replace (or fully change) the examples to enhance how they match the search intent.

For instance, this is certainly one of my most profitable content material refreshing examples ever. It was producing about 4,000 month-to-month guests once I first up to date it in 2019. At its peak efficiency, it generated about 20,000 month-to-month guests.

Once I began updating it, I noticed that a lot of the examples within the submit had been outdated and lots of had been TV productions. This was an issue for 2 causes:

  1. TV commercials themselves aren’t actually an excellent match for somebody looking out “digital advertising campaigns.”
  2. Most people Googling this time period don’t have the funds for a TV marketing campaign.

Subsequently, I changed all 31 examples with 31 new examples of latest website positioning, content material advertising, YouTube, and podcasting successes.

Excerpt of blog post that shows one of the 31 examples


On reflection, I want I had targeted on a selected marketing campaign fairly than the model’s complete technique. That is because the searcher’s intent is a digital advertising marketing campaign, not a digital advertising technique. I wager the submit would have carried out even higher if I had carried out that. However we’ll get into searcher intent slightly later.

Key Takeaway

Is the knowledge you present updated with the present tendencies in your trade? This consists of not solely quotes and statistics but in addition examples that you simply use.

2. Add actionable recommendation/lower irrelevant element

How typically have you ever learn a submit that vaguely describes what it is best to do and lacks examples or the motion steps wanted to execute the recommendation?

Alternatively, have you ever ever learn a submit that has the reply to your query someplace in it? However then there’s a lot pointless info that you would be able to’t discover what you need.

Each are equally problematic and, sadly, frequent in content material advertising.

First, let’s talk about posts that lack depth. Sadly, there isn’t a particular metric you may examine to see if the content material has depth. Although, there are a number of indicators that may clue you in, together with:

  • Few to zero examples.
  • A considerably shorter phrase depend than what’s rating.
  • Generic ideas with no actionable info.

You may as well use content material optimization instruments like Clearscope, which reveals the subheadings that generally seem in different top-ranking posts. Whereas I like to recommend that you simply take these key phrase instruments with a grain of salt (don’t attempt to sprinkle in the entire key phrases), they can assist you uncover matters you’ll have neglected.

For instance, for those who’re writing a information to “medical website positioning,” the software could present that the phrase “backlinking” is often utilized in different posts. Provided that backlinking is a key component of website positioning, it is a useful perception since you’ll undoubtedly need to create a bit on that matter.

Past this, one of the best recommendation I may give you is to place your self in your target market’s sneakers (ideally, you’ve already carried out in depth market analysis and talked to a number of clients).

Ask your self: In the event that they learn this content material, may they implement the recommendation given and see outcomes?

To drive this house, let’s have a look at an instance the place the submit lacked depth. This submit, “13 Methods to Market Your Enterprise On-line,” is the very first submit I ever up to date. It was initially simply 930 phrases lengthy and drove between 30 and 50 month-to-month visits. The ultimate product is 1,700 phrases. It now drives over 600 month-to-month visits.

Line graph of organic traffic

Nonetheless, I didn’t simply determine to make it longer to perform this. As a substitute, I added related, actionable recommendation to help my argument.

For instance, within the excerpt under, you may see that I supported my argument (constructing a model is necessary) with a quote from Google CEO Eric Schmidt. I additionally added an actionable tip to make the tip much less imprecise.

Excerpt of blog post that includes quote and actionable tip

Every little thing highlighted was added or modified when updating the submit.

That stated, including extra depth isn’t all the time one of the best answer, as it could possibly make content material unnecessarily long-winded.

For instance, let’s say you’re writing a submit on “how you can change a tire.” On this case, the reader actually doesn’t desire a 2,000-word information—they only need to change their tire as rapidly as attainable!

So as an alternative of writing concerning the mechanics of adjusting a tire and statistics on how many individuals know how you can change tires, simply give the reader the steps they should change the tire.

Whereas that could be a fairly apparent case, I see this on a regular basis once I replace content material (particularly if it’s an final information). For instance, right here’s the desk of contents of a submit I’m making ready to replace:

Table of contents

As you may see, the content material is simply too lengthy and repetitive. For one, it talks concerning the ROI of influencer advertising twice. Certain, it’s an final information. However even these studying an final information solely need to devour the requirements to get them on their manner.

One other instance of how this content material is simply too long-winded is in chapters 2 and seven, the place each talk about techniques on reaching out to an influencer. Certain, they talk about barely completely different techniques. However I’d fairly learn one concise part on the 80/20 of influencer outreach than a number of sections containing each attainable manner you may attain out to an influencer.

Key Takeaway

While you’re writing, embody the 80/20 motion steps your reader must know, together with examples (hypothetical or actual) to show your level. Nonetheless, don’t write any greater than that. The reader doesn’t essentially have to know each single attainable option to do one thing or the precise science behind each matter. Get to the level.

3. Enhance the person expertise

Google has all the time pressured the significance of optimizing for person expertise. A lot of this takes place on the website degree (HTTPS, web page pace, and many others.). However there are issues you are able to do to enhance content material on a post-by-post foundation.

First, in case your submit is especially lengthy, think about including a sticky desk of contents to assist the reader discover precisely what they’re in search of.

Excerpt of Ahrefs' link building blog post; clickable ToC on the left

Second, pay a designer to create enticing, branded graphics. This can go a good distance in each protecting customers in your web page and establishing your weblog as an authority.

Third, break up your paragraphs (ideally none longer than three to 4 sentences) and use bullets to maintain the reader’s consideration. Keep in mind that most individuals are in search of quick solutions and are, subsequently, skimming. So opposite to fashionable perception, making your content material skimmable will truly enhance the time readers spend in your web page.

So simple as these items could sound, they’re tremendous efficient in my expertise.

Key Takeaway

Don’t low cost the significance of a weblog submit that’s clear and simple to learn. Generally, lengthy weblog posts are too irritating for customers, so you should definitely format your weblog posts appropriately and rent a designer to assist you.

4. Fulfill the searcher’s intent

Search intent is principally the explanation behind the search. Does the searcher need to be taught one thing or purchase one thing? Are they in search of an in depth information or skimmable listicle? Do they only desire a fast reply or numerous data?

In the event you fail to know the solutions to those questions, you’ll be susceptible to misaligning your content material with search intent. Consequently, it’ll be a lot tougher (generally unattainable) to rank the content material.

That is fairly a posh matter, as there are numerous methods chances are you’ll misalign content material with search intent. However listed below are three of the primary methods I’ve seen:

A. Submit fashion is wrong

Earlier than you write your weblog submit, Google the primary key phrase to higher perceive what sort of weblog submit the reader desires.

For instance, for those who’re about to put in writing a how-to information for a time period like “finest CRM for small companies,” you’re losing your time as a result of the searcher’s intent is clearly a easy checklist of instruments:

Google SERP for "best crm for small business"

On this case, they don’t need to learn a information about it. They only need to see some options!

In the event you discover that your weblog submit is within the mistaken format for that key phrase, you’ll most likely need to rewrite it altogether.

B. You might have an excessive amount of info irrelevant to the reader’s ache factors

One other difficulty I typically discover when updating content material is there are sections of content material that simply aren’t related to the reader’s ache factors.

For instance, a submit on “content material advertising KPIs” shouldn’t have a header with the phrases “what’s content material advertising.”

Whereas that’s a fairly excessive instance, I typically see subtler circumstances.

For instance, I just lately up to date a submit focusing on the key phrase “examples of storytelling advertising.” Once I regarded on the search outcomes for the time period, all of them had been checklist posts that had introductions round 100–200 phrases. The submit then dove into examples.

Nonetheless, once I regarded on the submit I used to be updating, there have been a number of sections earlier than the “examples” part that totaled 1,800 phrases. Actually, here’s what the submit’s construction regarded like:

  • What’s storytelling?
  • Science behind storytelling
  • Why is storytelling necessary for advertising?
  • 5 ideas of storytelling 
    • Precept 1
    • Precept 2
    • Precept 3
    • Precept 4
    • Precept 5
  • (Lastly!) Instance 1

On this case, the searcher’s intent is an inventory of examples. So if the searcher has to scroll previous 1,800 phrases to learn what they need, they’ll possible go away. This conduct is a sign to Google that your content material isn’t very good.

To replace it, I lower that intro and added a number of further related examples (a lot of the different posts had 11–12, so I made the submit match that vary). As of this writing (a number of weeks after my updates), the submit is rating second for “examples of storytelling advertising.”

Right here’s a screenshot of its site visitors trajectory:

Line graph of organic traffic

C. You aren’t talking on the reader’s data degree

Lastly, there are many weblog posts that miss the search intent as a result of they communicate above or under the reader’s data degree. Therefore, they’re deaf to the reader’s ache factors and wishes.

Let’s stroll by way of an instance.

Think about you might be promoting a SaaS advertising software to content material advertising managers, and the key phrase you’re focusing on is “content material advertising KPIs.”

Right here’s an instance of an introduction that’s under their degree:

Content material advertising is an effective way to extend your site visitors and generate extra leads for your corporation. Actually, anybody that performs a Google search is in search of blogs like yours to offer the reply to their questions. Nonetheless, some content material is simpler than others. Subsequently, to guarantee that your content material is on monitor, it’s good to measure KPIs (key efficiency indicators).

That is inappropriate for 2 causes:

  1. Content material managers already perceive the worth of content material advertising, so explaining that’s redundant.
  2. Provided that they’re trying to find KPIs, there’s no want to clarify why they want KPIs. They had been already satisfied earlier than they landed in your submit.

In distinction, right here’s a a lot better introduction for the exact same key phrase and situation:

Monitoring the efficiency of content material advertising campaigns is hard because the ROI typically takes months and even years to understand. Subsequently, most individuals measure their content material technique’s success by the site visitors it’s producing.

Whereas site visitors can correlate with higher enterprise outcomes, this isn’t all the time the case. For instance, chances are you’ll be driving site visitors that isn’t prepared to purchase or from a parallel trade.

Subsequently, site visitors shouldn’t be your solely measure of success. As a substitute, this submit will element which KPIs it is best to measure to make sure your content material is driving an ROI and how you can monitor them.

Discover the introduction above additionally speaks to a extra skilled viewers (content material advertising managers). It touches on their ache factors and pertains to how they’re (more than likely) already monitoring content material advertising. Now, it’s possible they’ll hold studying.

Nonetheless, the difficulty of talking above or under an viewers’s degree doesn’t simply apply to introductions. As you’re updating the content material, ask your self if every paragraph resonates with the viewers’s ache factors.

Really useful studying: Searcher Intent: The Missed ‘Rating Issue’ You Ought to Be Optimizing For

Key Takeaway

First, Google your key phrase earlier than you begin writing to ensure you are utilizing the suitable weblog submit construction (how-to, listicle, and many others.). Then ask your self if every part inside the submit is related to the searcher’s ache factors. Lastly, ask your self if the writing is on the searcher’s data degree.

5. Make ultimate optimizations

Now that you simply’ve carried out the exhausting a part of truly updating the weblog submit, just be sure you do these previous few optimizations, as they will imply the distinction between a 2X and 10X ROI.

First, check out your common click-through price (CTR) in Google Search Console. In keeping with a examine carried out by Databox, a very good natural CTR is 3%-5%. Subsequently, in case your submit isn’t hitting that benchmark, think about updating your title tag and meta description.

In the event you actually need to enhance your natural CTR, you may as well use a software like ClickFlow to run A/B exams in your title tags and meta descriptions.

One other straightforward manner to enhance your refreshed content material’s efficiency is by constructing inner hyperlinks to it from different posts which are related and highly effective (have loads of exterior hyperlinks from high-quality sources).

You probably have the assets, constructing exterior hyperlinks to your refreshed content material can also be an excellent technique. Whereas most outreach techniques are overused, right here’s one to contemplate: providing to replace the content material for the individuals whom you’re reaching out to (as an alternative of simply providing a visitor submit).

Right here’s an actual pitch I’ve used earlier than with success:

Hello Sam,

I learn your submit about one of the best advertising company instruments for 2022 and simply signed up for [Service] based mostly on the submit. So thanks for the rec!

Nonetheless, I seen that a few of the suggestions are slightly dated.

For instance, you suggest [Tool A], however I’ve discovered that there are actually cheaper instruments like [Tool B] and [Tool C], which do primarily the identical factor.

I additionally assume that for those who had 10 instruments fairly than 5 instruments, the submit would possibly rank larger. Would you want me to replace it for you free of charge? I’d additionally love to incorporate a (non-promotional) part on our analytics software, which lots of businesses use.

In the event you don’t love my new model, no stress to submit it.


You don’t have to make use of this precise template. However hopefully, this could get you began. You probably have examples of posts you’ve up to date that later carried out higher, chances are you’ll need to embody that someplace within the pitch.

Key Takeaway

When you’ve up to date your submit, the previous couple of optimizations embody enhancing your title tag and meta description to drive extra clicks, including a number of related inner hyperlinks to the submit, and constructing some exterior hyperlinks to the submit (you probably have the assets).

Ultimate ideas

Content material refreshing continues to be an underused tactic that lots of blogs can profit from. In the event you tried it earlier than and it didn’t work, there could possibly be one other underlying difficulty, e.g., a poor person expertise, an irrelevant part at first, or a poor search intent match.

On the finish of the day, not each weblog submit will carry out higher. Generally, engines like google simply don’t approve of sure posts. However for those who make refreshing content material a precedence, comply with the steps above, and add the up to date content material to your editorial calendar, you’ll have some posts that’ll take off post-update. This greater than makes up for the entire time invested in posts that didn’t succeed.

Obtained questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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