Stop right there! Don’t add more new content to your blog today.
Instead, let’s spend some time learning how to update old blog posts to make them a better fit for Google. This is a great way to score some easy SEO wins.
In a nutshell, here’s my process for updating old blog posts:
- Filter your site for low-hanging fruit (positions 5-20)
- Refresh dates in titles and text body
- Update key information if time-sensitive
- Add FAQs section targeting People Also Ask
- Highlight key points with pull-out sections
- Improve title and meta description
- Improve internal linking to boost low-performers
- Target search intent early in the post
To learn about each step in detail, keep reading the article.
Many of my posts make big leaps in the rankings just a few days after going through this process.
But sometimes posts get stuck on page 2 and are still there a few weeks later. That usually means they need more comprehensive and in-depth SEO work.
In those cases, I’ll start by taking a deep dive into the top SERP competitors. In particular, I focus on those pages from domains with low DR or DA scores. If Google puts content from a weak domain on the front page, that tells me the domain must be doing something right.
I’ll analyze their content, keeping my focus on how best to answer the search intent. Then I’ll make sure my own article includes all the key elements from those top ranking posts (but without copying them).
Also, I’ll offer a few new insights, a different perspective, updated statistics, or similar. Doing so makes my blog post stand out among all the others and gives it a better chance of ranking.
Thanks to following this process, I’m now ranking sites in positions 1-3 for hundreds of keywords.
Let’s take a more detailed look at my tried and tested 8 step process for how to update old blog posts.
How to Update Old Blog Posts For Easy SEO Wins (My 7 Step Process)
#1. Filter your site for low-hanging fruit
Discovering how to update old blog posts starts by choosing which posts to work with.
Use your favorite keyword tool, e.g. Ahrefs or Semrush (or just Google Search Console) to filter for articles on your site ranking in positions 5-20.
I like this position range because it tells me posts ranking here are already doing well. But they will benefit a lot from a little extra push. 5-20 is the best range for finding the low-hanging fruits.
#2. Refresh dates
Lots of blog posts have titles like “Ultimate 2023 Guide”. If you’ve got any of these on your blog, then it’s important to update the date when the year changes (many people forget to do this).
I’ve often noticed posts dropping in the rankings if I forget to change the date once a new year has begun.
Google wants to show users the freshest and most relevant content. So it makes sense that anything that seems outdated would get pushed down in search results.
Simply updating those dates often triggers a near immediate rise in the rankings.
#3. Update key information
You should make sure blog posts are up to date if they contain timely information, such as citing statistics from a certain year. You should also update your posts if anything significant in them changes.
For example, I published an article about taxes for foreigners in Portugal. But once the laws changed, I updated it with the latest information.
Don’t forget that ranking on page 1 of Google is a big responsibility. You don’t want to spread inaccurate information, even if it’s unintentional.
#4. Add FAQs section
Make sure each article includes an FAQ section at the end. This is a great way to place additional long-tail keywords into your post – improving its chances of ranking for lots of them.
Use Also Asked (or just Google’s “People Also Asked” section) to find new questions to include. T
Then use an FAQ schema plugin to add the questions into the post. I like the one from RankMath. It’s included as part of their all-in-one SEO plugin (which is one of my favorite SEO tools for bloggers).
Then draft the answers. Google likes it best if you mirror the question in your answer.
For example, take the question “what is the safest country in the world?” You should start your answer by saying “the safest country in the world is X”.
You can then go on to add further detail to the answer. But always start by mirroring the question.
#5. Highlight key points
I like to improve the user experience on the page by pulling out key points and placing them within a highlighted box.
The one below is my preferred choice. It’s part of the Start Blogging Blocks plugin for use with the Kadence theme.
Add callout boxes like this one to highlight important points in the body of your blog post text. I like naming them “Pro Tips”, but you might want to name them something else. It’s up to you.
These boxes are also a useful way to draw the reader’s attention to important products or services, such as your online course, consulting sessions, or an affiliate product that you want to promote.
#6. Improve title and meta description
Having compelling titles and meta descriptions will improve your click through rates. That’s good for SEO because it lets Google know that your content appeals to searchers.
I’ve discovered that ChatGPT is excellent for producing great titles and meta descriptions. I normally ask the AI to “write a compelling and human-sounding meta description not longer than 160 characters for a blog post with the keyword X” (insert your desired keyword).
You could also use an AI tool, such as Jasper AI, to do pretty much the same thing.
#7. Improve internal linking
One trick for getting rapid improvements in search ranking is to add more internal links to the article you want to boost. To clarify, I mean linking out TO that article FROM several others on your blog.
For maximum SEO juice, link out from your top ranking articles with the largest amount of traffic and external links. I usually link out to the article from at least three other high performing articles. If the article in question is extremely important then I may also add it in the top menu on the homepage.
Adding extra internal links can send your articles flying up the rankings. In fact, it’s almost as good as scoring external links (and it’s totally in your control).
#8. Target search intent early
I like to answer the main search intent of the keyword as soon as possible. It works better than making the reader wade through a long introduction section to find the key information.
For example, let’s say I’m writing a post targeting the keyword “best health insurance for freelancers”. It might be tempting to launch into the post with a long intro titled “what is health insurance?”
Don’t do this!
First, it insults the reader’s intelligence (if they’re searching for best health insurance then they don’t need to be told what health insurance is).
Second, it fails to answer the search intent at the start of the article. That failure may cause readers to lose interest and bounce off the page, sending a negative signal to Google.
Instead, I’d open the article by stating right away which brand offers the best health insurance (and why). Then I’d invite the reader to check out alternative options if they’re interested in doing so.
Learning how to update old blog posts is a great way to score easy SEO wins.
You’ll be amazed by how much difference these small tweaks can make. And the best part is, they’re all under your complete control.
Have you started updating your old blog posts yet?