Do you have old posts and pages that need some new life breathed into them? It’s worth taking the time to update your content. Not only is it better for user experience, fresh and up-to-date content is good for your SEO too. Follow the 10 steps below to update your content and make it even better the second time around!
This article assumes you already know which piece of content you want to update. Not sure where to start? Find out more about keeping your content fresh.
Preparing to update your content
When it comes to updating your content, it can be tempting to jump into edit mode and start making changes right away. But it’s much better to assess the situation and plan your actions! Making updates and improving your content in a piecemeal way might make it unreadable. It’s all too easy to end up with a ‘Frankenstein’s monster’ text, made up of patchwork parts that don’t really fit together well. Planning ahead and getting an overview of what needs to change will help you avoid this. Plus you can organize your activities more strategically and make sure your content goals are still being covered.
While you’re preparing to update your content, keep the purpose of the page in mind. Why does it exist? What does it offer for users? What role does it play in your website, and what goals do you want to achieve with it? Thinking about the purpose of your content early on will help you to keep it on track as you make changes.
Read more: Why the purpose of your text is important for SEO »
1. Complete rewrite, or small update?
Before anything else, you should read your post or page and assess how much work needs to be done to bring it up to date. You don’t need a detailed list of changes to make, just a good awareness of whether you’ll be rewriting the whole thing, or just adding an extra paragraph, for instance. If you only want to make small changes, things like fixing typos and spelling mistakes, then you can probably just make these changes directly. The rest of this article deals with how to approach making bigger changes to existing content.
2. Refresh your research
It’s a good idea to refresh your research before you make any content updates. Users’ search intent and the search terms they use can change over time, so you might want to take some time to research these again. You could also check out your competition again, too.
In addition, there might be useful clues in your Google Analytics or Search Console data. If your page has been performing well with long-tail keywords, maybe you can start trying to rank for shorter keywords with this update. If your page has been struggling, you can use your data to look at which metrics are below average and get ideas for improvement.
Keep reading: How to do a one-page analysis in Google Analytics »
3. Check what similar content you have
Keyword cannibalization, or content cannibalism, is a problem. Having too many similar pages on your site can make it confusing for users, and it can hurt your SEO too. Faced with similar content, Google doesn’t know which page to rank. And users don’t know which one they should click on, either. So you should avoid creating very similar content if you can. The easiest way to do this is by checking if you have any pages about the same topic. A little bit of similarity between pages isn’t an issue. But when the majority of the content on your page is very similar to another page on your site (or elsewhere), that is an issue.
There are various options to deal with similar content on your site, and some of them fit in very nicely in the update process! For instance, you could merge two similar articles into a single article, combining all the best parts. Or you could differentiate them from each other by adding more unique content to one of the pages. Or another option is to write about the same topic in a different way. Find out what similar content you have before you start writing so you can avoid creating similarity issues, and maybe you can even solve some!
Rewriting your page
Whether you use the Rewrite & Republish tool or not, you’ll want a copy of your old text that you can work on. Then you’re ready to start writing your content update!
Tip: Easier content updates with our Rewrite & Republish tool
When it comes to rewriting your page, we absolutely recommend you use the Rewrite & Republish tool in Yoast Duplicate Post. This is how it works:
- You click the Rewrite & Republish button
- A clone of your existing post or page is automatically created in a new draft
- You can take your time to make all your changes in the draft version
- Once you’re ready to update your content, click on ‘Republish’ (or schedule republishing)
- The new version will automatically overwrite the original version.