September 30, 2014

Extending the Life of a Blog Post

Blogs are great for getting significant search traffic and other stable forms of traffic on long-term basis. However, with the activities of maintaining a blog, it’s very easy to get caught up in focusing strictly on new content. Most bloggers don’t touch their old posts after they’ve been published, other than maybe fixing a typo or a dead link.If you update your blog on a regular basis, you will have a considerable amount of content on the site that has serious potential for driving traffic on an on-going basis. With stable sources of traffic sending visitors to your older posts you will be able to increase your exposure to new readers even without posting ad frequently.

In this article we’ll look at a number of things you can do to improve the impact of the older posts in your archives.

1. Look for Easy SEO Opportunities

Last month I published a post Simple SEO Changes to Improve Unexpected Rankings. That post covers some very easy things you can do to improve the rankings of posts that are already drawing traffic for specific search phrases. If you have a blog that’s been around for a while and built archives with a decent number of posts, one of the easiest ways to add more value to your older posts is to identify opportunities that already exist.

If you have a post that is drawing traffic for a specific phrase, make sure the page title is optimized for that phrase, add some internal links using that phrase as anchor text, and build some links from other sites to that post. Since these posts are already driving traffic for these phrases, if you can improve the rankings with some simple changes you should see a noticeable increase in search traffic.

2. Promote Your Best or Most Popular Content

Many blogs include a list of popular posts in the sidebar. This can be an effective way of directing new visitors to the best content on the site, and improve your chances of turning that visitor into a subscriber or a repeat visitor.

Sidebars aren’t the only place to promote your best work. Links within the context of the new blog posts will have the most impact in terms of click-throughs, so make an effort to link whenever appropriate.

You probably spent a lot of time writing your best posts, so make sure that you’re still getting something out of them rather than letting them collect dust in your archives.

3. Build Links

Achieving solid search engine rankings is probably the best way to extend the life of your blog posts. Even a small increase in the number of search visitors you draw on a daily basis will make a big difference over the course of a month or a year. Most bloggers focus link building efforts only on new posts, but you can also build links to your older posts. If you have older posts that have potential to draw significant search traffic, spending some time building links could be a great investment of your time. You could exchange links with other bloggers, do some article marketing, build Squidoo lenses, or some other type of link building activity.

4. Consistently Use Internal Links in Your Posts

Going back through your archives and adding internal links to other posts can take a lot of time. You can help yourself out and work to extend the life of your posts by using internal links in your new posts. Get in the habit of reading through your posts before publishing just for the purpose of identifying opportunities for internal links to your older posts. You may get some click-through traffic from your subscribers to the older posts, plus the links can help to establish them with search engines.

5. Go Back and Update Important Posts

The posts from your archives that are drawing the most traffic on a regular basis are assets to your blog. Rather than just leaving them alone and hoping that the traffic continues to flow, go back to the posts periodically to see if there are ways to improve the post. Is the information out of date? Are the links still active? Is there new information that could be added to improve the post? Could the formatting be improved to make it more reader-friendly?

Be updating your posts from time-to-time you’ll help to keep them relevant and useful for a longer period of time, which should help to ensure that they continue to draw visitors.

6. Focus on Quality Over Quantity

Most of us bloggers feel the need to publish a certain number of posts per week or even per day. Consistent posting is a great habit to develop, but quantity of posts should not take priority over quality. If you’re rushing to pump out new content just for the sake of having something new for readers, it’s likely that these posts will have little long-term value, and shortly after they are published traffic will fade and they will rarely be read again.

By focusing your efforts on creating the best content possible, you’ll draw more links, attract better search engine rankings, and develop a better reputation among readers in your industry. In this case your archives will be a strong source of on-going traffic.

7. Use Landing Pages

If your archives include a number of posts on similar or related topics, consider creating a landing page that provides some information and links out to these posts. The page could become a valuable resource for visitors and funnel traffic to posts in your archives.

8. Evaluate Your Stats

Most bloggers are obsessed with stats, tracking visitors, page views and subscriber counts on a regular basis. But many times the stats aren’t really used productively. By evaluating which posts on your site are drawing the most on-going traffic and which search phrases are sending visitors, you can probably use this information to come up with some ideas for new posts that will be likely to turn into strong long-term assets in your archives.

What’s Your Opinion?

What do you do to improve the effectiveness and impact of your older posts?

About Steven Snell

Steven is a web designer, blogger, and freelance writer.

8 comments

  1. This is a great post, ive been looking over my older posts that have been getting alot of direct search traffic and experimenting with the title keywords im going to see how it affects findability , also adding to older posts and sprucing them up is a good idea.

  2. Thanks for the feedback Max. I think you’ll only see that increase as more time goes by. I was recently looking over my stats for Vandelay Design and realized how much of my traffic was going to older posts as compered to the new ones. It used to be almost all going to new posts, but I guess it’s not surprising that after almost 2 years of consistent posting the archives have become more valuable. However, looking at that made me realize how little I have actually done to maximize what I’m getting out of the archives. A lot of the information in this post was written to myself as much as it was to the readers.

  3. I can think of 2 ways to improve traffic to older posts.

    The first is an extension of Internal Links. If you have other related websites (such as yourself Steven), you could look through those posts to identify any opportunities to link back to the other site.

    Secondly, I have only recently joined Twitter (@abrishca) but I have noticed a few tweets of late that point to older posts. They may or may not relate to current topics or other blog-posts, but it certainly would be an effective method of getting “newer subscribers/followers” looking back at your older content.

    As this sort of market is starting to get saturated, further concentration on these methods will be needed to ensure traffic consistency.

    Thanks for the post,

    Craig.

  4. Great post man, as I am just starting in blog world this kind of advices are really important to my future as a blogger, so I have you on my favorites in case I need to remind this kind of theme, and I hope that will be soon.

  5. How about closing a post with “Related Articles” at the bottom? I think that’d be a great way to hi-light some of your timeless content…

  6. Awesome Post Dear keep writing so that we can take benefit from your very useful knowledge

  7. Thanks for this! I just gave our blog a tune-up and I’ll go back now and apply these ideas. I was looking for one that I like the most, but really they are all great recommendations!

  8. This is very insightful. As for point #5, it’s important to check the old posts and fix any broken links and/or remove unessecary links.

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