Content is a lot like fashion. A hot fad burns bright for six months and then people stop wearing it. A timeless piece like the little black dress, on the other hand, wears well in any season. That's why most marketers focus on creating evergreen content, which resonates for months or even years after it's created.
Just because the topic is timeless, however, doesn't mean the post has the same appeal it did on that first day. New always trumps old, and that blog you wrote two years ago will be overshadowed by the infographic published last week. Luckily, you have the power to breathe new life into old content.
Research shows that fresh content outranks older content both in search rankings and in clicks. If you tend to create content and then forget about it, dig into your archives and follow these five tips for updating old content.
1. Refresh links.
A blog written five years ago might have performed better with a few well-placed links, but bad links do more harm than good. Old content can appear more contemporary if the outbound links have kept up with the times.
Regularly check links in your old content - you never know which websites have folded or which articles were deleted from the archives. If you find links that need updating, look for newer evergreen content, which has a bigger impact on rankings than older, dated posts.
2. Incorporate new information.
The world is constantly changing, so the term "evergreen content" can be misleading. If you wanted marketing advice, you wouldn't read a guide written in 1992. You might, though, if you knew that guide was regularly updated to fit the needs of new readers.
Look at old posts and update any items that are now outdated or irrelevant. You might even turn this into a long-term strategy. For instance, that buyers' guide from 1997 could turn into an annual post if you update it each year to reflect changes in the marketplace.
3. Use new keywords.
Like everything else on the web, keywords have a shelf life. The hottest keyword from six months ago might be a dud today. If you're already analyzing keywords, use your insights to keyword-optimize stale content and liven it up.
That video you posted to YouTube three years ago can't be edited, but you can change the metatags to attract attention from the search engines. Update keywords in older blog posts so they compete for views with more recent entries.
4. Rewrite it.
Maybe you think your content isn't worth cosmetic changes like new links and keywords. Even if that's true, you can still give it a second wind. Just take your best blog titles and give the material a complete revamp.
Some headlines always garner attention, even if the specific information changes from year to year. Instead of trying to revive the old post, take the headline and write a whole new blog around it. In a few years, you can rewrite it yet again and attract new readers.
5. Present it in a new format.
Content authors are always using the latest technology to deliver evergreen information in a new way. Just look what happened when people started creating video blogs. These new formats present new ways to repurpose old content.
Don't rewrite that blog about crafting wooden furniture you wrote in 2005 - put it in a video format. Instead of trying to update that white paper about business management, put it in an infographic and see even better results than the text post that inspired it.
No piece of content can resonate forever, but in many cases the insights can. Don't just leave old content to gather dust. Give it a makeover and find a whole new audience.
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