When we discuss the ‘shelf life’ of content, we’re referencing how long it keeps getting traffic and/or engagement. Depending on the platform, the expected shelf life of content can vary widely. For example, tweets often have a shelf life of roughly 30 minutes and Facebook posts have an average shelf life of 4 hours. The shelf life of a blog post can range from days and weeks to months and years.
Because of the potential for a long shelf life, optimizing old blog posts offers a wide array of benefits. These include:
Maximize Your Investment. The amount of time and resources it takes to produce a high-quality blog post can be substantial. The longer the shelf life of each post is, the better your return on investment (ROI) can become.
Capitalize on Existing Traffic. One of the essential elements of a successful online marketing campaign is actually getting visitors to your site. If you have old blog posts that are attracting a large audience organically, updating them can help you take advantage of this traffic.
Increase Conversions. Typically, the lower your site’s bounce rate, the higher your conversion rate. By optimizing old blog posts that have a high level of traffic, you can reduce the post’s bounce rate and increase conversions.
Use These Quick Updates to See Real Results
Because the vast majority of visitors will only scan your content, you want to make it as reader-friendly and engaging as possible. The following quick updates can often be accomplished with little to no changes to your existing copy.
Add Images. Images help break up the monotony of text. They add a visual element that encourages visitors to keep scrolling and stay on the page longer. And, they can help visitors retain information better.
Update Call-to-Actions (CTA). Without engagement, you might as well be writing your blog posts in a journal you keep tucked under your bed. The purpose of CTAs is to get visitors to engage. This engagement could be anything from opting into an email list and exploring more content to sharing your article and buying a product.
Break Up Long Paragraphs. Statistically, more than 80% of web visitors will simply scan your page. You want to make it as easy possible for visitors to know if your post will be helpful and interesting. Short paragraphs (3-sentences or less) help the human brain quickly process and absorb information.
Add Headers Headers are another element that allows the brain to scan content. This offers your readers an outline for your blog post. Your visitor should be able to scan them as their own, comprehensive piece.
Incorporate Lists Lists are another engaging element you can add. Breaking content down into lists (like the one here) allows visitors to quickly process a large quantity of information.
Include Robust Hyperlinks Robust hyperlinks refer to highly relevant links offering additional information that builds upon the blog post’s content. If you can link to content within your site, even better. This keeps visitors on your site longer.
Add “Additional Reading” Links at Closing Additional reading lists are a natural way to include more hyperlinks. They give visitors an opportunity to keep exploring your site that feels organic.
Use High-Level Updates to See Long-Term Benefits
High-level updates refer to more time-intensive updates. These updates often include research and writing additional text. While these are definitely more of an investment, they can offer substantial long-term benefits in the way they signal relevancy and increase your online real estate.
Correcting Outdated Tips and Facts
Every industry changes over time. Current best practices become antiquated. And, new technological developments reveal more efficient methods. This means the advice shared on your blog post last month or last year may now be outdated.
Correcting outdated tips and facts signals to your visitors you are an industry expert, helping to build trust. It can also help signal to search engines that your content is more relevant. This is because search engines like Google consider newer content more helpful than older, legacy posts.
Drafting Follow-Up Pieces
A follow-up piece is a blog post that builds upon an older post. This might mean taking a single section of that post and looking at it more closely. It may include targeting a specific search term being used to find your old post. Or it may be expanding upon the conclusion.
To maximize the effectiveness of these follow-up pieces, you should update your ‘old’ post to incorporate a link to the follow-up piece.
Optimizing Old Posts Increases Sales
We’ve found optimizing existing content as part of content marketing strategy can substantially attract additional web visitors, reduce bounce rate, and increase conversions.
As part of the content marketing strategy we designed, implemented, and managed for Tru Health, a Santa Rosa-based naturopathic medical clinic, we updated more than 15 old blog posts. This contributed to a 333% increase in new customers weekly by helping their site rank better organically in search, be more valuable to their audience, and identify the clinic as a reputable solution for their site users.
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