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Updating old content might seem counterintuitive and a bit of a waste of time, but it’s actually quite a valuable task if you’re a content writer who is struggling to hit important headlines whilst also trying to produce content for lower-priority clients. If you’re still not convinced that updating your old content is worthwhile, then let us explain to you why it is and exactly how to do it as effectively as possible.


Why should you update your old content?

There are many reasons why you should be updating your old content on a regular basis. But if you’re a content creator who is strapped for time, then repurposing old content could be just the ticket to get exposure and optimisation back on track without actually creating something that’s brand new. You’d be surprised by how effective updating old content can actually be, from re-asserting a solid reputation to ensuring a long-term following, here’s why you should update your old content:


It improves SEO

It’s widely known within the digital marketing industry that content eventually loses its value online. This is because search engines are specifically designed to crawl and find the most accurate, up to date information and display it to those who are searching for it. The older your content is, the more likely it is that it won’t appear on page one of the search engine results pages (SERPs). This is where SEO comes into it. 

You might have optimised the content when you first wrote it, but the effects of that will soon wear off if you don’t keep on top of it over time. By updating your content, you’ll be simultaneously improving the SEO, meaning that your updated content is far more likely to appear higher up in the SERPs, no matter how old it might be. Optimising for search engines means research, updating and including high-quality keywords. This sort of optimisation can be done using the:

  • Titles
  • Main heading (H1s)
  • Subheading (H2s)
  • Main body of text (paragraphs)
  • Metadata
  • Meta descriptions

By doing the aforementioned, not only will you have more exposure in the SERPs, but you’ll also increase domain authority, boost rankings and attract quality traffic that could end up generating excellent leads that will seamlessly convert into sales. You’ll also see an improvement in click-through rates and engagement. It’s a win-win for everyone. You have up-to-date, fresh content and your audience can use and enjoy that content as they wish.


It enhances user experience & boosts customer engagement

When looking back at your old content, think about how you would feel, as a reader, coming across an article you’ve written, for example. Does it sound state and outdated? How does that make you feel, as someone who might be looking for that information to read and enjoy? If you feel as though the content is now drab and inaccurate, then think about how your actual readers will feel if they land on that piece. 

If you give it a new lease of life, making it fresh and relevant again for the first time in a while, then it will help to enhance the user experience and boost engagement as well. Think about how pleasantly surprised they’ll be if they come across your content and realise exactly how old it is. They’ll be impressed by its quality and relevancy, making it more likely that they’ll share it online or with friends and family via messaging apps, for example.


It can help to reinforce your reputation & distinguish you from the competition

A reader is more likely to trust your brand if you’re outputting quality content that’s up-to-date and incredibly accurate for the time. This is something that’s even more important if you have content that’s several years old. The statistics provided then might well have changed, so go back through and input present facts and figures. Not only does this make your brand more trustworthy, but it also helps to set you apart from your competitors in the process.


It has the ability to transform website visitors into long-term audiences

With trust and rapport comes the generation of more long-term audiences. If they know that they can rely on you to provide them with accurate information, then they’ll keep coming back for more. It will instil a sense of value in your readers that they’re unlikely to find from other sources, if you update your content in the right way, but we’ll get onto that in a moment. This is something that’s incredibly likely if you have a blog or news page on your website. If your visitors know this, then they’ll return to read your consistent, high-quality and relevant content for as long as you’re putting it out there.


It saves time but you still get the same, excellent results

Content writers are often strapped for time, so when the opportunity comes to update existing content with exceptional SEO results, then they’re highly-likely to take it. It doesn’t take nearly as much time as coming up with ideas, doing some research and actually writing or producing the content. Even if they’re not looking to write articles, infographics and other content pieces take just as much time, if not more, so repurposing old content could be just what is needed if they’re already struggling to hit deadlines as it is. 


How to update old content

There are various ways in which old content can be updated, but it won’t take up a lot of your time, either. No matter what else you have on, you’ll always be able to find the time to do the following things in order to update old content as efficiently as possible whilst also receiving excellent results, almost as if you’ve written it from scratch. Here’s how to update old content:


Proofread it, looking out for typos & other issues

This is a really important part of updating old content. This is because search engines, such as Google, crawl sites and look for high-quality content to display to its users. Let’s say you’ve written an article about where to find the best coffee shops in the city and your competitor has written an article with the same title, then theirs will be further up in the SERPs if it’s well-written and mistake-free. 

If your copy is a bit lacklustre and is littered with grammatical erros, spelling mistakes and typos, then Google won’t want to display that to their users. Go through and fix everything you can before republishing, because no amount of keyword research and optimisation is going to help if your copy is low-quality from the offset.


Re-optimise your keywords

Keyword research is an essential part of any content creation, no matter what it is. From articles and infographics to website pages and e-commerce copy, keywords are what makes sure you’re appearing in the SERPs, because you know that people are searching for it. When looking at an old article, for example, start the keyword research process again. It might be that the keyword targets haven’t changed and that they’re still something that people are searching for. 

But then again, it might confirm that the keywords are no longer relevant so you need to go back and carry out up-to-date research. Once this is done, amend the copy accordingly, replacing old keywords with new ones. Remember, the sentences have to make sense with your new keywords in there, if they don’t, then you might need to restructure your sentences, or even whole paragraphs, to make sure it reads well and is still considered to be high-quality content by the search engines.


Create & stick to a content audit checklist

It can be easy to forget what it is you’re updating when it comes to different types of content, so it’s worthwhile creating a checklist for yourself to use along the way. This way, no matter how many pieces of content you have to update, you know you won’t be missing anything important. Some of the things you could add to your checklist includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Looking for any typos
  • Analysing the writing style and tone of voice to determine whether it still fits in with the brand
  • Fact checking
  • Updating statistics
  • Verifying reader intent regarding the keyword(s) you want to use
  • Comparing your title or headline to competitors and assessing how catchy it is
  • Updating old or outdated graphics or other visual elements that no longer fit in with the brand or message that you’re trying to convey
  • Looking through external and internal links to make sure that anything you’re linking to goes to the right pages and that they’re not displaying error codes, for example
  • Fixing broken links, if any are found


Update meta descriptions & meta titles

A meta description and a meta title needs to change if you have switched up the keywords you’re using. Look at how well your meta descriptions are working currently if you aren’t planning on changing it just for peace of mind, or clarification, that it’s either performing as needed or not having any impact at all. Google Search Console is a great way of checking the levels of traffic a content piece is receiving as it’ll provide you with valuable information about what is working and what isn’t. 

This is an easy, simple way of determining how well your meta descriptions and titles are working without doing a lot of leg work. The answer is simple, if you’re not changing the keywords and if your meta description is doing well, then don’t change anything. If you want to change keywords then the meta description and title will need to be changed to reflect this. 

If you don’t want to use new keywords but your meta description and title is lacking in performance, then you’ll need to re-optimise the content for new keywords, which also means updating meta descriptions and titles as well. They’re both easy to forget about, especially if you’re just putting all of your focus on the body of text, but they actually hold a lot of weighting with regards to how well a content piece does overall and how well it ranks in the SERPs – so don’t forget about them.


Kumo is a forward-thinking, highly-experienced digital marketing agency with over two decades of industry knowledge and expertise to draw upon. We endeavour to make sure our clients stand out from the crowd, carrying out meticulous SEO, PPC, website design and content creation services, to name a few, in order to set you apart from your competitors. Whether you need a new website, wish to have a blog on your site or simply want better results online, then get in touch with a member of our professional, dedicated team today – we’re based in Nottingham but are proud to serve clients throughout the UK.


Author Biography


As an experienced Copywriter, Lorna enjoys creating varied content for an abundance of different industries and sectors. From detailed, informative articles to creative infographics, she's always looking to inject originality into the work she produces. When she isn't working, Lorna runs her own lifestyle blog, plays the guitar and loves to take part in charity runs.