January 28, 2023
Learn how we increased our client’s traffic by over 184% by simply updating ageing content. Learn how to revamp your old content in no time!
The adage “content is king” permeates marketing messages left, right and centre. And in today’s digital marketing landscape, content has become an essential cornerstone upon which all success lies. However, coming up with new content ideas and creating assets is expensive and time-consuming.
What if there was a more efficient way to leverage content marketing to help boost rankings in search engines, traffic to your website and conversions?
Better yet, what if you could achieve all of this (and more) while simultaneously halving your content costs?
Well, we have great news for you! By simply updating old content, you can achieve significant results in a shorter time frame and with lower costs when compared to creating new content from scratch.
Make sure you read this post to the end as we walk you through a step-by-step example of how updating ageing content for a financial services firm boosted traffic by up to 184% and conversions 1220% in a couple of months.
Ageing content, also referred to as old content, is content that has been published on your website a while ago. Anything older than 12 months could be considered ‘ageing content’.
In many cases, the content may present outdated information and no longer comply with best practices for online marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO). Not to mention that there may also be new players in the market who have created similar, more up-to-date versions of your content and are able to take your market share as a result!
A simple yet elegant solution to keep your brand front and centre is to revisit your ageing content and update it.
Both search engines and users prefer current, up-to-date information. With over 4.4 million new blog posts being published daily, there’s no shortage of information out there!
Even if you created an absolute masterpiece five years ago, it is likely the content performance will degrade over time.
New competitors arise. The information may be outdated. Or, worst of all, search engines deem your content irrelevant and no longer show it at the top of search results.
Over time, content degradation will lead to a decrease in:
We successfully reclaimed all three on one of our client’s websites, and if you read until the end of this post, you’ll learn exactly how we did it.
Our client operates in the financial services industry and had a wealth of content in its online information centre. Some of these articles were written years ago, and each brought in hundreds, if not thousands, of readers per month during their peak.
Over time, there was a slow decline in the performance of most of these articles, so our team investigated what could be done to reclaim lost rankings, traffic and conversions.
We were able to boost each article in less than two months and achieve the following results:
Below, we share exactly what we did to achieve these results.
Let’s take a closer look at the results we achieved only two months after publishing the updates to the live site.
[th]Growth of Keyword Breadth[/th]
[/tr][/thead][tbody][tr][td]Article 1[/td][td]184.50%[/td][td]555%[/td][td]286%[/td][/tr][tr][td]Article 2[/td][td]136%[/td][td]n/a[/td][td]150%[/td][/tr][tr][td]Article 3[/td][td]107.60%[/td]
[td]From 0 to an average of 2 conversions/month[/td]
[td]212%[/td][/tr][tr][td]Article 4[/td][td]176.80%[/td][td]485%[/td][td]n/a[/td][/tr][tr][td]Article 5[/td][td]162.60%[/td][td]n/a[/td][td]150%[/td][/tr][tr][td]Article 6[/td][td]133.80%[/td][td]n/a[/td][td]460%[/td][/tr][tr][td]Article 7[/td][td]77%[/td][td]1220%[/td][td]n/a[/td][/tr][/tbody][/table]
What’s interesting to observe is that there wasn’t consistent growth across all metrics for all articles.
Only Article 1 improved in all three metrics. In just 2 months, we almost doubled the monthly traffic the article received, skyrocketing it to an all-time high!
Article 1 session growth:
This was supported by a significant growth in conversions from the article:
Keyword breadth increased from 71 keywords to over 220:
Article 7, on the other hand, did not see a huge growth in traffic. However, it had the biggest lift in conversions. This article alone was pulling in a maximum of three conversions per month (with many months not receiving any conversions). After we upgraded the content, the lowest number of conversions has been 12 per month. That’s a minimum of 4x improvement!
To identify content that you could potentially update, we suggest you start off by looking at your website’s sitemap. A sitemap lists all the pages on your website and can often contain information about when the page was published.
You can also log in to your website builder and look at the time stamps of when you published each page.
Make a list of all the pages published over a year ago, as these will be the most likely to be out of date or experience performance drops.
Using the list you’ve created, it’s time to investigate each page one by one to identify if there has been a performance drop and, if so, why. There are many reasons why performance drops occur, including:
It’s important that you identify the reason behind the performance drops because this will guide the correct course of action to take.
In the case of our client, all the articles we upgraded were suffering performance drops because they did not cover the topic in-depth. Competitors had since released content that was deeper and of a higher quality.
However, our client had the benefit of time. Their content had been created many years prior and had been ranking quite well by search engines at various points in time. This meant that despite there being some drops in performance, search engines still considered the client’s site to be an authority in the finance industry.
However, as standards for content quality have changed significantly over recent years, we found that our client’s content was not covering the level of depth that is necessary to maintain the highly-coveted top position rankings these days.
Once we identified the issue, we then architected a solution to solve that exact problem rather than flying in blind and changing things just for the sake of it.
Keyword research is the process of collecting a list of queries people enter into search engines like Google. These queries are enormously helpful when it comes to understanding how people are finding your content through search engines.
We perform keyword research for each and every content piece we create. In the case of our client, we used an industry-leading SEO tool, Semrush, to investigate the keyword performance of each page.
We looked at the history of all keywords the page had been ranking for and compared it to the present day. Our analysis found many of the keywords that the pages had lost or declined in rankings were for terms that were not covered particularly well on the page.
For instance, one article was about the 6-year tax exemption rule on property. It had previously ranked for all sorts of terms relating to this rule. However, upon closer examination, we discovered that the content did not actually contain direct information about contextual concepts like:
Without mentioning these critical elements in the content, the page could not sustain rankings for keywords related to any of these topics in the long run.
Our solution to target the ranking and traffic drops was to incorporate new sections of content that plugged the gaps we identified. We expanded the content structure and added multiple new sections to every page to help reclaim the lost or declined rankings.
In doing so, we were also able to successfully recover (and surpass) the level of traffic each article had been receiving prior to the changes!
We also incorporated a new call to action element in the middle of articles in an effort to boost conversions. In the headline, we also made it clear that the article offered a downloadable guide. We had tested the design of a new section on Article 7 prior to launching it for the other articles we upgraded. We saw great results immediately, so we proceeded to roll out the new call to action section to all the upgraded articles too and saw up to 1220% lift in conversions!
The specific changes you may need to make to your content could be different. It all depends on the reason why you may be seeing ranking and traffic drops.
If you’re unsure how to discover this reason or what the best next steps are, book a free no-obligation strategy session with one of our senior digital advisors.
Book a no-obligation 90-minute strategy session to see how you can get the most out of your current content strategy.
Once you update your content, it’s time to track progress. It’s highly unlikely you’ll see immediate progress as it takes time for search engines to understand the changes you made.
However, after a few weeks, you’ll generally see a spike in traffic and keyword rankings if you implemented the right solution.
In our client’s case, we saw results within the first 2 to 3 weeks since they had some existing authority to work with. If your website is newer or if the content you are upgrading has never really experienced a peak in search engine rankings, your progress may take longer.
There are many nuances involved that could impact your content performance either way, and your mileage may vary as a result.
New content takes a long time to be indexed by search engines. In many cases, it can take over six months before you start seeing new content start ranking.
With ageing content, you have the benefit of time on your side. Search engines are already well-acquainted with your article, so it takes less time to see improvements. It’s a bit like accelerating your car. Getting started takes far more effort and time than switching gears once you’ve gained enough momentum.
By comparison, we posted a new article on the client’s site in the same month we upgraded a number of existing articles. The new article is currently receiving around 20 visitors per month from search engines.
In the context of the topic and competitive landscape, this is great progress. However, it is slow progress when compared to the hundreds of new visitors we were able to achieve with each upgraded article in the same time frame.
So, in short, creating new content is not only time-intensive and expensive, it’s also slow to deliver results. It certainly has an essential place within the broader picture of your content strategy. But so does updating your existing content for quicker and easier wins!
If you would like to prevent content degradation and reverse any performance drops, it’s time to pay attention to your site’s ageing content.
Start off by establishing an alert system in Google Analytics so you can be notified if traffic has dropped below a certain level. At EngineRoom, we have a sophisticated platform that includes this feature pre-built. It’s what sets us apart from other agencies and how we help all clients stay ahead of the curve.
We can also help you track and monitor specific keyword rankings, so you know exactly what actions need to be taken in your content upgrades. It’s not always a matter of adding more content!
Despina is a Senior SEO Consultant with 8+ years of experience growing B2B, e-commerce, SaaS, and national brands.