Keep your content fresh and up to date!

How do you make sure that all content on your website is still relevant? Why is that even important? For some of you, coming up with new ideas for blog posts seems the biggest challenge of blogging. However, you want your existing posts to show up-to-date content as well. And that could even be a bigger challenge! Here, I’ll explain why it’s worth investing time in having fresh content on your site. I’ll also give you some tips on how to achieve this.

Why is up-to-date content important?

Updating content is essential, because you don’t want people to find information on your website that isn’t valid anymore. If you’ve written a high quality blog post and optimized it well, chances are that people will find that post in the search engines. That was the whole point of writing and optimizing that post in the first place. Imagine a blog that hands out SEO advice to its readers. Older posts shouldn’t contain advice that isn’t valid anymore, because you want people to invest time in SEO strategies that work nowadays.

Why is fresh content important for SEO?

Keeping your content fresh is important for SEO reasons as well. If you rewrite an article, Google will notice changes in that particular article. If you update your content regularly, you’re actually showing Google that your site is alive. You could either update an article – with or without changing the date – or you could republish the post.

Read more: Should you republish old content? »

Tips on how to keep your content fresh

1. Crucial: update those cornerstones

My most important tip on keeping content up to date is to focus on your cornerstone articles. These articles should be the best articles on your website. These are the articles you want to be found for. So, these should be on the top of your list, while updating content.

In Yoast SEO Premium you can now turn on a beta version of the new SEO analysis, including a stale content filter. This handy feature will let you know whether your cornerstone content hasn’t been updated for 6 months or longer. On top of the post overview you can click on the filter and see which cornerstones you should go through and update. Learn all about testing the new version of the Yoast SEO analysis here

Let me give you an example from I mostly write about blogging and about content SEO. The most important article about content writing is SEO copywriting: the ultimate guide. Regularly, I write a new blog post about content SEO or about copywriting. I do some research for each and every one of those (I really do!). I discover some new things. These new discoveries should be covered – briefly – in my cornerstone article as well. So, I (should) take the time to update my ultimate guide now and then too. And you should do the same!

2. Update posts that generate a lot of traffic

Updating can be a lot of work. And if your site becomes really large, this could be a day job! If you have to make choices which articles to tackle and update first, take a look at which pages generate a lot of traffic. Start with those. These are the pages that are actually seen by your audience. These pages have the highest priority on showing fresh content.

3. Delete really outdated posts

As your blog is growing and you’re writing tons of blog posts, some of your content slowly becomes really old. Some posts are evergreens, but some posts just aren’t. If these articles aren’t read by anyone either, you could decide to delete them all together. This will clean up your site nicely! If you do decide to delete a post, make sure to read Joost’s post about properly deleting a post.

Keep reading: The site structure of a growing blog »

4. Merge posts that are much alike

If you publish lots of posts – like we do – you’ll end up with some posts that are quite similar. When you’re updating old content, check if you have posts that are much like the one you’re updating. Those posts might diminishes the chance of ranking for the one you’re working on! This phenomenon is called keyword cannibalization. You can solve this by checking which of all these posts on the same topic perform best in the search engines. Update the one that ranks highest and merge the other posts into that one, high quality and complete, blog post.

5. Don’t forget ‘other’ pages

Not only your blog posts should have up-to-date content, other pages are important as well. Don’t forget to update those FAQ. Perhaps new questions have emerged among your audience. Make sure to add those. While updating your website, don’t forget the ‘about page’, the ‘contact page’ and other static pages on your website. I understand that this content doesn’t change that often, but make sure that changes are actually being made!

How to keep content fresh?

Keeping the content of your website up to date and fresh is important if you want to attract readers from the search engines with (somewhat) older posts. While rewriting and refreshening old content, make sure to start with those cornerstones and most popular articles first!

Read on: Website maintenance: clean up old posts & pages »

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