Ever heard the saying “There is nothing new under the sun”? There’s a certain truth to it. You don’t have to pressure yourself to generate new ideas all the time. Instead, go back to your content calendar from last year and see what went well in the past. It may have the potential to be updated and get your audience excited about it all over again. Plus, it protects you from content decay, where it declines over time and loses organic traffic from Google, unless it is updated regularly.
Questions to ask yourself before choosing what to refresh
Is the content evergreen, or does it need constant updates? For example, a blog on “The best budget smartphones of 2021” may need to be refreshed several times a year, as all the new models are released. However, a blog on “How to build an email list” could be updated once a year, or even less, since best practices don’t change as often.
How is the content performing? You can analyze your content with Google Analytics, as described earlier, or Google Search Console. Another option is to use a third-party tool such as Ahrefs or SEMrush. If you see content that previously performed really well starting to taper off, then this is the perfect piece to consider for a refresh. If it doesn’t have any fluctuations or it has an upward trend, then you can leave it for another time.
Example: How to refresh an article
First, read the article and update all outdated information. For example, you might have shared statistics from a report from last year. You could update this with data from the current year, to make the information more up-to-date.
Next, analyze the top search results on Google to see what other information is missing in your piece. Have your competitors shared something that didn’t cross your mind? It might be worth adding to your new version (without plagiarizing, obviously). 😉
Then, do a keyword analysis using a tool like Google’s Keyword planner to establish search intent and find trending words and topics to add to your content. These might have changed since you first wrote it, so be open to adding new information or editing the current content.
Check all internal and external links to make sure that you don’t link to a broken page (it’s a bit disappointing when you click on a link and it takes you to a 404 not found).
Finally, publish the updates! If you want to, you can leave an editor’s note at the end of the article with the original publishing date. We often do this with our articles, just like this note below, because it’s confusing if people see old comments on the posts from several years ago, and are unsure how new the current content is.