How to make old content marketing new again

By Amy Gesenhues

A major benefit of high-performance content marketing is that it doesn’t have to retire. If a blog post, article or any piece of content does exceptionally well pulling in traffic, even for a short span of time, the topic can inform future content marketing choices.

Expert content marketers know this and often recreate and update content that has delivered, giving it a second life and more opportunities to drive bigger results.

From 50 clicks a day to more than 200

SEO consultant and podcast host Dan Shure was able to take one of his client’s previous columns that had been part of a series answering reader questions and turn it into article that delivered substantial organic search results.

The original column was part of a reader response series on Mark’s Daily Apple, a fitness and nutrition website. The ‘Dear Mark’ column was a response to a question about intermittent fasting, serving only one objective – to offer reader feedback. The objective shifted when the column was identified as content that could be repurposed.

“The objective did change because [Mark’s Daily Apple website owners] saw over the years that the article originally drove search traffic, but that search traffic to this single article had declined. The search traffic was accidental, so the objective became to totally refresh the old ‘Dear Mark’ entry into an actual up-to-date post which could drive search traffic.”

The Process

Shure took the following steps to repurpose the ‘Dear Mark’ column:

  1. To start, he moved an exact copy of the original piece to a noindexed archived page on the website.
  2. He then completely rewrote the original content as an actual article (versus the reader-response format).
  3. The previous content was replaced with the newly re-written version of the article, but remained at the original URL because it had gained authority over the years.
  4. A link to the archived (noindexed) version of the content was included within the new article along with a note to the reader explaining the content had been updated, but that they could still read the original version.
  5. Also, a link was included within the archived version back to the new content.

Mark’s Daily Apple: Old Content vs. New Content

“The set-up was done with both the user experience and the Googlebot’s experience in mind,” said Shure. Users would see a note that the article had been updated and that they could visit the archived version if they wanted, while the Googlebot could identify the connection between the old and new version, but not index the archived version.

The Results

Without any extra promotion, the newly produced article resulted in high visibility and a significant upshot in traffic once Google picked up the updated article.

“The article went from barely 50 clicks a day to well over 200 clicks a day, and still maintains 125 clicks per day,” said Shure.

Turning a ‘listicle’ into a lasting piece of content

Brad Smith, founder of the content marketing agency Codeless, said his team often refreshes old content to keep it relevant and deliver better results.

“Basically, we take content that historically performed well, but is starting to …read more

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