How to make old content new again

The Scribble Weekly
Vol. 1, Issue 2

At Scribe, we deal with clients who, like you, may already have lots of content — huuuuuuge (à la Donald) libraries containing blog posts on all sorts of topics.

But when do you stop and evaluate the quality of what you've got? Are you paying attention to how many people are still looking at or interacting with your content?

If you feel like you’re creating content for the sake of creating, then this Scribble’s for you.

Make old content new again

While we would never advise you to stop producing content altogether, it’s always a good idea to pause, take inventory, and make your existing content work harder for you over the long term.

We call this process content optimization, and we begin by auditing posts and gathering data for two key metrics:

  • Page views:
    First, we try to narrow down the top post by pageviews, or how many people saw it on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. If the post is older, then we look at year-over-year (YoY) performance, too.

    It’s common for blog post pageview numbers to taper off over time, but it also depends on how you’ve promoted that single piece of content with other content marketing strategies like social media amplification or targeted ad distribution. We also look for unique curves and blips in traffic and try to find answers for what caused those events.

  • Conversions:
    Second, if the data is available, we look for the number of conversions, or how many people took action from a post. Your posts will convert if they have clear calls-to-action. Each post should ask your readers to do something when they read it.

    Fill out a loan application? Schedule a consult? Log in to an account? Activate a feature? Apply for something? Calculate a payment?

    If you’re not asking your readers to do something with every post you write, then you’re missing out on an opportunity to convert.

You can get an idea of your existing site traffic by using Google Analytics or even connecting GA to your content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix.

When we finish with our analytics pre-work, here’s what we do to give each blog post or article legs, so that we can maximize the return on your content investment.

Our 5-step content optimization strategy

1. Make it evergreen: 

We remove any references that would timestamp or “age” the content. This is not about eliminating your “Post-Brexit vote market analysis” but more about removing references to “Christmastime being around the corner,” or “this summer being one of the hottest on record.”

Readers like to know that they’re reading current content. If you’re refreshing content from several years ago, you can always add in a new datestamp or republish content to the same link.

The bottom line: Avoid phrases that will lock your content in to certain holidays, seasons, or events.

2. Add long-tail keywords: 

Long-tail keywords are the specific keywords and phrases that have low volume and low competition, but are unique enough that searches for those words and phrases will consistently rank highly among search results.

In our work, we optimize existing pieces for both popular and unique words and phrases that will distinguish you from the competition. You’ll notice that while many people do search for popular keywords, most search demand lies in those unique, descriptive long-tail keywords.

Source:  SEOMoz.org

Source: SEOMoz.org

For example, here's how long-tail keywords might work in the context of a search for men’s running shoes, and specifically red Nike men's running shoes: 

Source:  Smart Insights


The bottom line: Add a combination of top ranking keywords as well as unique search words and phrases.

3. Revise and refresh titles, headers, and meta descriptions: 

Known as html tags, your title, H1, and H2 tags are how your blogs are categorized and read by search engine algorithms. You can also check out this awesome videothis article, and this one too, to learn more about creating perfect post title and header tags.

We improve article titles and header tags so that they are unique, catchy, clear, and more deliberate in a person’s natural line of questioning. It’s also a good idea to use only one H1 tag, while using H2 tags throughout your post to divide your content. If you want to read up on how we devise some of our titles and headers, check out this article.

The bottom line: Use unique and clear title and header tags.

4. Add backlinks: 

This is simply the task of finding opportunities to link your fantastic content back to your own fantastic content. For example, if you’ve written one article about the four asset classes and later you write individual articles about stocks, bonds, cash, and property, then you should cross-link each article to the main article and to each other. Backlinks are just one of 200 factors in Google’s search ranking algorithm.

The bottom line: Links back to your site are a good thing and help validate your content on a topic.

5. Add calls-to-action: 

This may have less to do with search results, but it adds purpose to each piece within your content trove. When you revamp your old content, you’ll want to discover opportunities to encourage your readers to take action, whether it’s to download an e-book, apply for a loan, schedule a consult, share something on social — it could be anything that’s in line with your content funnel, which we’ll dissect in a future Scribble issue.

The bottom line: Give purpose to each piece of content by encouraging readers to take a next step or just do something.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how we optimize your content.

Because once this work is done, there are SO many ways we can also help you recycle old content. So. Many. Ways.

You can promote it across all of your social channels. You can repurpose it into other formats like whitepapers or e-books that are only revealed after a person goes through an email subscriber capture form. You can make a video out of the text.

Scribe can help make your old content new again and help redistribute it to the world. If you want to know more, then reply to this email or write us at hello@thescri.be.

That wraps up this week’s issue of the Scribble!

— Your friends at Scribe

Next week:

  • What is paid, earned, and owned content? We break it down.

  • We’ll, hopefully, finish one of the seven books we’re reading and write a stellar review about it.

P.S. And now, a 20-Second Streaming TV Review

Fleabag, Season 2 - (Seasons 1 and 2 streaming on Amazon Prime)

Well-paced, wickedly funny, and one year later our eponymous heroine (played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge of “Killing Eve”) seems more self-assured — until she falls for the one man she has absolutely no business pursuing. A masterpiece in the art of balancing themes of grief, love, loss, and dysfunctional family relationships