Last Updated on September 3, 2020 by David Bryan
How a Content Refresh Can Boost Your SEO
A website is nothing without content.
Unfortunately, many site owners underestimate the importance of this in their SEO and digital marketing efforts. A regular content refresh can be key to remaining on page one of a Google search.
Simply applying thousands of words to a site will not necessarily boost your SEO ranking. Google will simply discount or even penalise irrelevant or nonsensical copy that lacks substance. If your site has seen a sharp drop in traffic, it may be time for a content refresh.
In this guide, we will cover the following areas:
- Why is content important to SEO?
- What is a content refresh?
- How to do a content refresh
- What does the data say? Does updating content really work?
- What about evergreen content?
Why is content important to SEO?
There are countless benefits to good content on your site 1. By filling a source with high-quality, authoritative content, you can boost your SEO results.
The reasons for this include:
- Good, relevant content will attract more visitors, which means a higher click-through rate. This will improve your Google ranking.
- A content update will enable greater opportunities for authority backlinks. This, in turn, is a quick and easy way to boost your SEO providing the links are gained naturally.
- Superior content helps you organically include keywords in your text. This, in turn, prevents the likelihood of keyword-stuffing that would see your site penalised in a Google algorithm update.
Once you have the best possible text in place, you can focus on other elements which are important to SEO. This includes backlinks, keywords and meta tags.
What is a content refresh?
A content refresh, as the name suggests, involves rewriting and amending the existing copy on your website.
This content update can boost your SEO, especially if you place greater emphasis on what Google is seeking. Familiarise yourself with relevant algorithm updates to fully understand how to appeal to Google and avoid being penalised. Consider what users want most of all and what they will find useful.
A content refresh does not involve completely erasing and rewriting your entire web presence. A content refresh is effectively a content update, not a complete replacement.
It remains important that you review the performance of your site, though. Check your key analytics and look for any changing patterns. This will enable you to take the appropriate action to boost your SEO or react to any potential negative side effects. Remember, updating content doesn’t always mean you will see an improvement in rankings.
There are particular occasions when a content refresh becomes critical 2. These include:
- A sharp drop in traffic. Something about your copy is not appealing to users, Google or both. This must be addressed as a priority.
- Your content is no longer relevant. Facts surrounding a situation may have changed, or perhaps your site is now targeting a different audience. Either way, a content refresh is required to maintain relevance.
- A lack of authority. Google’s E-A-T and Medic algorithm updates placed a great deal of emphasis on expertise. Mere opinions or speculation are no longer sufficient or desirable. Update content to ensure that your site speaks with confidence and weight.
A content refresh isn’t as simple as hitting search and replace, replacing common keywords with synonyms. Take a moment to think about how you can boost your SEO. Look at high-ranking competitors and see what they are doing differently to you.
How to do a content refresh
If you are wondering how to do a content refresh, consider the following 6 options:
- Make outdated content new again – Look for old outdated content. These could be yearly or seasonal topics that you’ve written about or where you’ve provided recommendations in previous years. Make sure the content is up-to-date and relevant. Don’t forget to re-date your page, so that users can easily see that it has been updated. Consider adding an “Editor’s Note” providing the modified date and a brief summary of the changes.
- Consider search intent and your keywords – Does your content reflect what a user would be searching for? If not, think about your target user and their mindset. How would they search and what keywords would they use. Use this as an opportunity to re-optimise your content or fix any issues where old content wasn’t optimised correctly. If you’ve ever outsourced your copywriting, check that your content hasn’t been over-optimised for keywords and fix this. Tools like this one can be very handy in identifying high or unnatural keyword density in text.
- Make your content more visually appealing – Could you replace words with more visually appealing media such as videos or images? Does your site lack easily digestible structured data such as lists or tables? Are your sentences running long? If so, consider converting old lengthy content into a simpler, more visually appealing format.
- Improve grammar, spelling and readability – Is your content riddled with spelling or grammar issues? Use a tool like Grammarly to make sure you don’t have grammatical errors and improve the readability of your text.
- Fix any broken links and references – While checking your spelling and grammar, check whether you have any broken links and fix these. This can also be a great opportunity to remove old outdated links or references and change them to link to newer, more relevant pages.
- Improve the overall appearance and markup of your content – Having a page which simply contains lots of plain text can be immediately offputting and not very appealing to the end-user. Consider the use of whitespace, break up your text into easily digestible sections with sub-headings. Improve your SEO by applying correct use of HTML tags, e.g. a single H1 for your main title, H2-H5 tags for sub-headings, etc. Add captions and ALT tags to images where these are missing.
All of the above issues can be resolved with a content refresh. Finally don’t forget to promote and share your content following a refresh.
What does the data say? Does updating content really work?
All website owners are keen to boost SEO. A content refresh is often held up as a method of achieving this, but does it work?
It can take a lot of work to update content. Additionally, if you are bringing in external copywriters and content creators, expenses will be incurred. You’ll be keen to ensure that you see a return on your investment.
Adding fresh, new content can see an immediate boost in SEO, as a content refresh will be acknowledged by Google 3. Over time, your content will become increasingly dated. This will be reflected in your site’s search ranking.
As a rule, all content has a twelve-month lifespan on Google 4. Once your copy is over a year old, it has moved past peak maturity. From here, you will find your ranking start to decline. The content is considered stale, and potentially irrelevant. Without any attempt to update content, expect your site to follow a life cycle similar to this.
|Months 1 – 2||Slow build in traffic, sporadic visitors|
|Months 3 – 6||Steady build in traffic, especially if your content goes viral|
|Months 6 – 12||Peak traffic, with plenty of visitors investigating your site|
|Months 12 – 15||Traffic starts to slow and eventually drop off as your copy is past its peak maturity|
|Month 15 onward||A continued drop in traffic – users are no longer interested, and your ranking is impacted by the lack of freshness|
A content refresh will restart the process for your site and help you to slowly but surely build traffic again.
What about evergreen content?
To truly achieve your aims with a content refresh, retain your evergreen content 5. This means maintaining popular subject matter and keywords that will never go out of date.
We all hope that the search terms, “COVID-19” and, “Coronavirus” will drastically reduce in popularity in the months and years to come. The pandemic has wreaked enough havoc on our industry. Content which is written around “How to improve health”, however, will always be in vogue. Build your content around these perennial topics and you maximise your opportunities to boost SEO.
Conclusion: How to elevate your SEO by updating existing content
A content refresh is essential to boost SEO, but it will only be as effective as your existing material. Ensure you are working from a solid base of superior copy 6.
This will make it easier to update content as you go along. You’ll be applying changes, rather than reinventing the wheel.
A boost to SEO is not the only advantage of a content refresh, though. You will also ensure that your copy remains relevant, cutting edge and engaging. This will appeal to Google’s algorithms and increase your chances of remaining close to the top of any searches.
If you need help, Opace can assist you with this, ensuring that your entire content strategy, including refreshing your content is a smooth and painless process.
For further assistance, please get in touch here.
References and further reading