Bring Your Old Content Back From the Brink of Death

It’s Not Only Content that Can Be Brought Back From the Dead

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The future has arrived. Not the sort of future with flying cars and teleportation, but rather, the sort of future with mad scientists experimenting with mortality.

A controversial new procedure is currently being performed on animals, which brings them back from the dead. Crazy, right? The animal has no heartbeat, no brain activity and no blood coursing through its veins.

This state of affair lasts for hours or days on end. And yet, once scientist Peter Rhee warms the corpse back up and reinstates the blood flow, the animal springs back to life, oinking or mooing as per normal.

The scariest part? They’re about to start human trials on gunshot victims. Will we soon be living in a world of immortality? A world where ordinary human beings share the side walk with death-cheating zombies?

Regardless, you can rest assured that the topic of this post is distinctly less ominous then the first part. It’s about reviving your old, smelly, rotting content and giving a second lease on life.

Why Bother Reinvigorating Old Content?

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If your company has been blogging, creating whitepapers, or authoring eBooks for a while, I’d be willing to bet you’ve got some old, decaying content hiding in the depths of your website.

But why should you care? When does this become a problem?

Well, it’s less of a problem and more of an opportunity. Anyone that has ever had to juggle the demands of a full-time job during the day and content creation in the evenings knows how taxing this arrangement can be. So why not show some respect for your personal time and take a short-cut? Why not build and improve on the content foundations you so tirelessly laid?

Some observers say that this is a lazy strategy akin to beating a dead horse. But they’re wrong for one key reason.

When you originally published your content into the internet abyss, you may not have been aware of search engine optimization best practices. As a result, very few people may have found your content through organic search. If this is the case, you would have severely limited your audience.

The amount of eyeballs you got on your content may have also been restrained by your daily website traffic. Perhaps you were a young start-up at the time your content was published, which meant that only a trickle of traffic streamed into your website everyday. Now that your company is all grown-up with a plethora of regular website visitors, you have an opportunity to redistribute your material. Why not let your new, enlarged audience see your old, high-quality content?

Either way, let’s not dwell on the past. Let’s give your content the jolt of life it needs. Below are 5 tips to get your content alive and kicking again.

5 Tips to Revitalise Your Old Content

1. Keyword Research

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Keywords allow Google to play matchmaker between those seeking content and those providing it. If you previously wrote an article without a keyword focus, you would have inadvertently stripped Google of its power to play Cupid.

Think about it this way. You may have wrote an article about “purple widgets”, using all sorts of metaphors, entertaining analogies and clever synonyms. Any reasonably educated human would know that the subject of the article was about “purple widgets”. But if you never explicitly use the words “purple widgets” in targeted locations in a way that adheres to SEO best practices, Google may have been oblivious to the fact that your article was about “purple widgets”.

Luckily, this can be quickly fixed. All you need to do is use a tool such as Google’s Keyword Planner and choose a high-value keyword to target.

Once you’ve settled on one, follow step 2 below and you’ll restore the bow and arrow into the hands of Google, giving your article the much larger audience that it deserves.

2. SEO on-page optimization

Your first priority should be to update the URL of your article with your high-value keyword. So maybe your URL becomes:

http://www.widgets.com/articles/5-ways-to-use-purple-widgets

The next step is to update your title tags and meta descriptions, which are what Google shows users in its’ search engine results pages. Below is an example of how you might do so:

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After this, it’s a simple matter of updating the H1’s and H2’s of your content so that you explicitly mention “purple widgets” where possible.

For those new to SEO, Hubspot provides a great synopsis about on-page optimization in section 2 of their e-book.

3. Internal Linking

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The internet is a spider-web of connections between websites, which are created through hyperlinks. It is these connections which help Google determine how important your website is. Think of it this way – every hyperlink you receive from an external websites is a vote of confidence from other internet users. It’s how Google becomes reassured that your content is great rather than garbage.

Your own webpage should be a microcosm of this spider-web structure. To do so, simply link your archived blog posts to other blog posts. Take a few minutes to read through your favourite old blog posts and try and spot opportunities where it would be natural to link to other posts from your archives.

Interlinking your posts in this way will keep visitors on your website longer while also increasing the visibility of other posts in your archives. At the same time, you may even see an improvement in your search engine rankings from doing so, because each internal link passes on “link juice”. Just make sure to use relevant keywords in the anchor text. In other words, if you’re link to post about “3 reasons why the green widget fell out of fashion”, hyperlink the term “green widget”.

The team at Inboundnow recommends adding 2-3 internal links to your archived posts. They also recommend that you put priority on your old posts, “since your old posts have had time to gain authority, as they’ve existed longer, you can link from them to your newer posts to give them an SEO boost.”

4. Social media distribution

Nowadays, after you publish a new post to your blog, you’re most likely sharing it through your social media profiles. But when you created your old content, your content distribution strategy may have been in its infancy, and so your content may not have been shared to the masses via social media. Perhaps you hadn’t yet hired that young whippersnapper to manage your LinkedIn page or your Twitter account.

Social distribution of key posts in your blog archives will help you get more life out of old content. Many of your follower’s social followers won’t have seen your legacy content, so it’s a good opportunity to educate them on topics you’ve covered in the past.

A great way to broaden your social media reach even further comes from SEO guru Neil Patel. He suggests that if your blog post links to other relevant sites, you should e-mail the author of the piece you link to, and ask them to share your post on social media. A great template for how to reach-out via email is provided below:

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Astonishingly, in his experience, about 20-25% of people you email will go ahead and tweet your post. In turn, this will bring more users to your website, and some of these users may end up linking to your post in a future blog post.

5. Amalgamate old posts into an e-book

This innovative approach comes from the team at profitblitz. They argue that, “If you have a number of old posts on related topics in your archives that are worthy of getting more attention, you could compile them together to create an e-book. You could then give the e-book away for free at your blog, which would help to get more eyeballs on the content of those old posts.”

At first glance, this task may seem daunting. You may be asking yourself “Won’t I need to pay a designer to create an e-book for me?” In actual fact, there are plenty of programs out there that will help you create an ebook for free. Start with OpenOffice, which will allow you to create a slick pdf.

How do you reinvigorate your old content? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

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