Why You Need To Update Dates When Republishing

Why You Need To Update Your Post Dates When Republishing

Better Marketing

Do you have a lot of content of your blog or website that seems a little stale and outdated? Now may be the time to freshen that content up rather than creating a new version of the topic.

Often we forget that the best way to create relevant content is to freshen up a new blog post with updated ideas and words. But many times the content gets a facelift and you leave the dates to when they were originally published.

According to Danny Goodwin, SEJ’s Executive Editor “Outdated information is bad for users – which will reflect back on you as a brand/business. If you have a post ranking #1 that was written in 2013, it makes perfect sense to update it.”

If I have the choice of reading content published in 2017 that ranks #3 or something published in 2011 that ranks #1, I often find myself clicking on the newer result.

Fresh content will get you some new eyes on your site but only if the audience knows its new (to them) or a freshen up posts. That's why it's important that you update the date along with the content.

Google searches with date notations.

Three Reasons To Update Your Blog Post Date

Tells your audience there is a change

You always want to write for your audience to address their needs and concerns. So think about what you look for when you are searching for answers to questions.

If you're like me you look at the headline and the date.

As a matter of fact, many times when I do a search I start with the phrase or question and then I sort those results by past year. It's not that I don't discount information older than that but I want the most timely information first.

And you may have an evergreen post that you've enhanced with a video or infographic but if you don't let your audience know that some of the information is newer then you could be missing opportunities.

Google likes fresh content

Did you know that content that has been more recently published usually gets a higher ranking than outdated pieces? Why?

Moz explains “Content that changes more often is scored differently than content that only changes every few years.”

But you can't only change the publishing date and call it a day. You need to enhance the article, update the information and freshen up the content that was originally published.

When Google crawls your website again, it will recognize these pieces as fresh ones, which will cause a boost in search engine traffic for that page.

David Schneider, the co-founder of Ninja Outreach, explains this in his article How to Re-Optimize Your Old Blog Posts To Boost Traffic where he increased organic traffic on the site by over 40% by bringing old content back to life.

Get rid of off-topic or shallow articles

When starting out new to blogging or business your needs and writing changes. Most long-time bloggers and publishers will tell you that there are posts on their blogs that they would rather not keep there.

Those post could be irrelevant because their focus has changed or it could be that when they started their writing was not as strong as it is now.

When I first started writing I was a virtual assistant so many of my posts were around topics based on those looking for general admin and productivity help.

And many of my articles were short listicle posts or curated quotes and tips from others. The articles were short and less than helpful for my audience so out the needed to go.

Some of those articles got rewritten and republished so that the focus shifted from virtual assistance support to technical support and website strategies. Many of the articles though did not make sense to keep or update and those articles became unpublished and eventually deleted.

Where Do You Start When Republishing

Look for the least popular posts of all time

Google Analytics is a treasure trove of information including which posts receive the least amount of traffic. That's the place you can start.

We generally look at popular and try to tweak them to make them more popular but if those posts are already getting traction why not reverse engineer and built up the articles that need some love?

Take a look at the bottom of the list posts and determine if it would make sense to freshen them up, add a new concept or some additional media to enhance the message.

By looking at the page view and time on page you can tell how many are visiting and how much time they are spending reading the article. If it's seconds then you know there is information that is not catching their attention.

time on page and pageviews from Google Analytics.

You want to decide first off why the article wasn’t popular. A few causes may be:

  • They're not evergreen or may have time-sensitive information
  • They don't have enough “meat” to them
  • They're off topic and out of your niche
  • They have not been properly optimized

Optimize old posts for new keywords and calls to action

You may have some posts that get traffic and traction but don't have a clear call to action, any comments or interactions. Those posts you can give some love by looking for new keywords to optimize for and next steps.

With older posts, you can start optimizing by looking at your keywords. Are you relevant keywords included in the following?

  • Title
  • URL
  • Headers
  • Meta description
  • Image names and alt tags

Next look at the content depth. You don't want to add words because Google favors longer blog posts. You want to add words to add to the depth of the topic.

Look for sections that you can add content to further help your readers. Or clarify a process by adding more detailed steps instead of a simple list. You can even add a video that shows a step by step tutorial.

When Updating Publishing Dates Don't Forget These Things

Make your text more scannable

Even if you add more words to the articles, additional images or media you will still have those who won't read the post. For those, you want to continue to get your most important points visible.

Some things you can do for the scanners and skimmers:

  • Break up long paragraphs and sentences into smaller ones.
  • Use formatting such as headings, bullets and bolding
  • Use images to enhance the thoughts

Check for permalink changes

If you don't have the date in your URL then you won't have to worry about this. However, if you include the dates in your links you'll need to create a redirect if you believe that there are any links to the article.

redirect your URL if there is a date in the permalink.

Promote the updated content and article

Like any other blog post, you need to help spread the word and promote the post. It's time to make your post reach a wider audience.

Start with checking any scheduling apps you use. If you are using automation to schedule your posts, be sure to remove any updates for the old content and update to include the enhancements.

You can also promote in social groups that allow you to add content that is promotional in nature.

And don't forget to share with your audience. If someone has been on your list for a while they may have read the original article but could benefit from the updates you created before republishing.

Updating old blog posts are an easy way to publish fresh content without having to write a new article from scratch.

It's time for you to head over to your blog post list or Google Analytics and find posts that can use some extra love and attention. Make sure you're keeping track of the keywords and original rankings for the posts you are giving a revamp too.

And don't forget to add the information to your content audit list so that you'll know this was a republish and you have the correct information on that piece of content.

Have you recently republished a post on your blog? Let us know what it is.

Get the help you need for reviewing your content and keeping your site up to date with one of our maintenance programs.

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