Refreshing old content is a great way to give pages a new lease of life and improve rankings for keywords and topics that you have already covered in previous blog posts.
Find underperforming content
Refreshing content works best when you target pages that have dropped out of SERPs and are underperforming for some reason. If the post is not ranking adequately for a specific keyword, was published more than a year ago, and is lacking in ‘link authority’, then you have found a prime target for republishing.
To find underperforming content, head over to Google Search Console and click on the ‘average position’ metrics in the ‘Search Results’ section and then select ‘filter by position’ in the dropdown menu beneath. You can input a ‘greater than’ position of your choosing here. Targeting pages that are ranked fifth or lower is a good starting point. Higher pages are already performing well.
The ‘Position’ metric here is not a definitive assessment of your pages, but it will give you a general idea about the performance of your keywords. Any viable older posts should be targeting an important keyword that is capable of driving search traffic to make your efforts worthwhile.
Finally, see whether there are any blog posts or articles from competitors that outrank you for this keyword. This means that it is eminently possible to move up SERPs with a refreshed piece.
Check for backlinks
Higher-quality content will boost your rankings, but copy is not always the primary factor that holds back pages from performing better. Some pages above you may just have more link authority and an excellent makeup of backlinks. You can use a keywords explorer to see the URL Ratings (UR) and Domain Ratings (DR) for each page.
If a page is ranking above you but has lower UR and DR, then that points to content being the problem. This makes it a great candidate for refreshing as just a few tweaks could push it several places higher in SERPs.
Informational queries are best
When updating blogs, you want to serve content to searchers who want information from blog posts. If pages that are outranking you are centred on product or service copy, then it is likely that searchers want tools and software and not advice. A refresh here may not have much of an impact.
Now that you have identified a piece of content, you need to update it in a way that will give it the best chance of driving more organic traffic. Merely adding a sprinkling of new info or an editor’s note will not suffice if it does not serve any real purpose. For this reason, try to make sure that updated content aligns with search intent and includes basic components that have worked well for other high-ranking pages.
The format you choose to update with should be informed by search intent. People looking for information will respond well to how-tos and tutorials, for example. You can also find the basic building blocks that make up other high-performing pages by looking at the titles and headers used within them. Make sure to mention some of the common themes and then build on them to make your content better.
With all that done, you can now partner with an agency to update content or make changes internally before republishing it.