Most of us who have been writing for a long time have an entire archive of content that still gets a tremendous amount of traffic. If you are doing it right, your older content should have just as much traffic, if not more, than anything you create new. And while it is tempting to always create a followup post and link them together – with the idea that two page views is better than one – and that is often what many content strategists recommend, but really, it should only be for specific cases. But when is it better to actually just revamp that old content than just create a brand new version with the new updates or from a different angle?
Secure in its rankings
When you pretty much own one of the top spots for the particular article or blog post, it can be hard for your new content to compete with it, especially if you have plenty of links, +1s, tweets, going into it.
Keyword tweaks Maybe when you wrote the article, it was commonly referred to it one way, but now another word is more common. Or maybe there are two ways of referring to it but you only used one. A perfect example is if you wrote an article on green gardening techniques, but failed to mention eco-friendly in the article anywhere to take advantage of both. Just make sure you don’t sacrifice readability to add those keywords or cross the line to keyword spamminess.
You just might have the blog post that everyone has linked to and recommended. Kudos! But do you really want people to think some of your slightly outdated thoughts or tips are the best you can do? Often, people won’t even realize it is an older article if they aren’t looking for the date, and you don’t want them thinking anything you said that is outdated – or currently just plain wrong – reflecting on your reputation.
Outdated = Wrong
There was a day when commenting on blogs was a great way to get links. Or when buying links was nothing more than a slap on the wrist by Google if you did it. And link exchanges were something all the cool kids did, even if it was between your Underoos fan page and someone’s holistic healing website.
Change of Opinion
Maybe you have a blog post where you proclaimed buying links was the most awesome of awesomeist and everyone should do it… then Panda’s Zoo hit you full force… as did your opinion that paid links are now the bane of all evil. There is no shame it revamping your opinion – and feel free to include a disclaimer that it was valid years past, but not so much now.
Maybe you just want to add some updated charts or toss some images on that you were lacking the first time around. Anytime there is something you can cosmetically do to an article or blog post without affecting anything else, you should do with no hesitation.
Refreshing broken links
Maybe some of those sites you linked to once upon a time are now residing in deleted domain heaven. Or maybe someone finally moved off their blogspot.com domain to mynewawesomeblog.com. And if you want a quick way to find where you link to 404s, Xenu Link Sleuth is probably the oldest most useful tool for SEOs, and has been around since 1997. Then take any 404s and either replace with the new URL or find a good current substitute.
Especially if you aren’t a natural writer, your skills have probably grown over the years. Sometimes going through old content with a copyediting frame of mind can fix things like oddly worded sentences, incorrect grammar, typos and more. Anything you can do to make something read easier is a good thing
Still not sure?
Still not exactly sure if you should simply rewrite a new article and link them, or update the old one, look at it from a visitor’s perspective. Is the update something that brings something new to the table, and gives something more to the reader by linking to points you made previously? Then going with a new blog post is probably the way to go. But if the content is stale, outdated or even incorrect, yet is still bringing in a significant amount of traffic from people who view that page as the landing page on your site, then updating the old is probably the best thing to do. A blog or website can always benefit from fresh new content, but if that content is outdated, update the old, then add the new and link them up.