Keeping a blog fresh has taken on more of a significance in recent times and for a lot of people the issue lies in how to make existing blog content fresh. However with the right processes and system a lot of the difficulty and challenge can be removed. (Image credit: Flickr)
Why freshness is a factor? Google’s perspective.
With all the changes that have been made by Google more recently there is weight being given to fresh content especially in light of their caffeine web indexing system. This has impacted the manner in which search results are displayed. Google is trying to guess semantically what users want based on previous searches and social media signals. Webkite has a nice infographic which can be found here, that provides more of a perspective on why freshness matters.
The challenge with aged existing blog content
Content that is fresh and that tends to rank well generally includes current news items as well as events that occur on a regular or predictable cycle such as the F1 Grand Prix’s, Wimbledon etc. Unfortunately most blogs tend to fall into the category of having aged content. This doesn’t mean that Google search results discounts aged and existing blog content completely. Just that it needs to look for certain indicators that help it evaluate which competing piece of content is more useful and relevant to a search query.
The good news is that your existing blog content can be given a breath of freshness, to help it increase rankings. Here are 46 ways in which to do this.
- Create new pages. The search engines will see blogs with new content and pages added frequently in a more favorable light in that they will index your blog more frequently, and new content will suggest that your content is of some relevance. greater relevance will be attributed depending on the number of links coming to your pages. Over time if content is added regularly and consistently traffic will increase. However putting out large volumes of content is hard and the quality of content is important in engaging the audience.
- Guest blogging. To further engagement and get links it is important to blog on other popular or reputable blogs by being a guest blogger.
- Invite others bloggers. Blogs such as social media examiner publish a lot of content on a daily basis by inviting other bloggers to write on their blog.
- Conduct interviews. Add a bit of perspective and spice by conducting interviews with related experts or even experts in your niche.
- Create an editorial schedule. To help put out content on a regular basis and frequently, requires discipline and organization, which is where an editorial calender would come in handy.
- Spend time on new concepts. Putting out new content is hard, especially of it is to be relevant and engaging. Those who do it successfully tend to make time to do a bit of research and create concept ideas to blog on.
- The month long series. In line with the above idea is also the idea of creating themes for a month by which end you could have a quality report or guide to add to your existing blog content.
- Review and update posts. Review your posts, especially your recent ones and make any changes.
- Modify posts when linking to them. When linking to older posts see if they need to be modified or updated in any way to make them more relevant to readers.
- Conduct content audits. Making regular reviews of your content a priority on your calendar is something that should be planned ahead, so at the very least large sections of your existing blog content can be audited.
- Change the homepage. Think along the lines of the Verge or Drudge’s home page which changes on a daily basis. Can you make changes to the layout, headlines or images?
- Focus on and update hub pages. Hub pages are pages where lists content around a particular topic. ensure these are updated on a regular basis and insert new links.
- Comment frequently. Comments on your blog are an indication of whether you might be an authority, so engage with those that do comment on your blog and help keep the existing blog content fresh.
- Comment on other blogs. comment on topics that are relevant to your niche on other blogs. Its a great way to build relationships and get on peoples radar who in turn may comment on your blog. But ensure that your comments are valuable and on topic.
- Leverage social media. If you haven’t already leverage social media so that you are engaging more people across different platforms. Don’t just re-post information that is on your blog, engage your audience make it personal and unique.
- Create a comment competition. Reward those who comment the most of your blog. This could be done by recognizing them publicly and by providing links back to their website or providing something else of value to them like copies of books that you have been reading more recently and think should be on people’s reading lists.
- Give thanks. Be thankful for comments, mentions, tweets and retweets about you or your content. This helps build relationships and will only further sharing of your existing blog content.
- Return favors. If people follow your blog or then follow theirs and comment on their posts and share them across your social media platforms giving them due credit.
- Keep the content focus. Ensure that your posts are centered around the topic that you started with in order to keep your audience.
- Run contests. Contests are a great way to generate more interest and pick up some more traffic. And can be as simple as encouraging people to tweet your content the most. Giveaways of prizes that are of interest and relevance to your audience including books can be just what they are after.
- Make it easy to repost, tweet and quote your content. Give your readers and followers the freedom to re-post, tweet and quote your content in exchange for a link/credit back to you. remove any restrictions or difficulties with this.
- Encourage people to explore the archives. Ensure there is a search box for people to explore the archives. A plugin that displays the most popular posts is another way to encourage people to explore your blog archives.
- Is local a focus? If your blog is related to services or products available locally, then make use of local listings if you haven’t already including Google, Yahoo and Bing.
- Audit online profiles. Ensure each of your online profiles are up to date with regards to the biography and website URL’s.
- Think like your customer types. Put yourself in your customer types shoes and think about the issues they face and the keywords they use and then check to see if your new and existing blog content is relevant to them and if it uses keywords that are likely to be used by them.
- Run surveys/polls. get more engagement and feedback with surveys and polls. theoatmeal.com provides some fun examples of these.
- Link up with authorities. For example colleges and universities. Contact these institutions with a reason for them to link to your website. Are you looking for interns for example or partnering with them in regards to some research?
- Drop the flash. Fortunately fewer sites are using flash but if you are, stop using it and replace it with something more SEO friendly and mobile friendly as well.
- Get to know your metrics. Understand what types of content seem to be attracting readers, where they come from and what terms they are using to find you.
- Review visitor time spent on site. This will let you know what types of content are relevant to readers and getting people to spend more time on your webpage is an indication to the likes of Google that your blog content is relevant and fresh.
- Use press releases. A news section on your website which has a version of a PR release would send traffic to your website. It serves as a way to let current and potential clients know what is going on with your company.
- Use White papers. if you have a lot of white papers, creating a resource section on your website where content can be accessed freely if traffic generation is only required, or obtained when having filled out a form is a way of qualifying leads.
- Use images. Use SEO optimized images in your blog content and press releases and ensure they load quickly.
- Use videos. Generally speaking video does tend to increase on page time. So bust out the webcam or video camera better still and use it frequently. Video provides your blog content personality and can be easily shared.
- Create social proof. Have you got a whole bunch of followers if so create social proof with Facebook plugins. This again will increase time spent on your site and add freshness to your existing blog content when people comment on posts.
- Increase page load speed. From an SEO and user perspective it is important to increase page load speed and reduce bounce rates.
- Write sassy headlines. eye catching headlines that compel readers to find out more will encourage people to read your blog content as well as your existing blog content.
- Write enticing and compelling content. Enticing content that engages readers, builds trust and value in their eyes and is also SEO friendly will only serve to bring about more conversions.
- Change the design to highlight content. ensure your best posts and relevant topics are prominently displayed on your website. change the design if need be to highlight your blog content that works well.
- Pay attention to existing blog content that hasn’t worked so well. Examine why it hasn’t done so well. Whatever the problem, see if it can be fixed or updated.
- Add new info to old posts. You can increase the freshness of your existing blog content by updating it with new info or restructuring it so that it becomes more of a shareable piece of content.
- Monitor and use trends. Adding to or responding to hot topics based on trends can only serve to bring about more links and traffic to your website. Its also a great way to add to your existing blog content. Google trends and Google insight have now been combined and is a great place to start.
- Quote experts. Use quotes from experts or authoritative people in your niche. Use quotes from interviews with them. The experts might even link to you as would some of their followers.
- Know what people are searching for. Google suggested search results is a simple yet effective way of finding out what kinds of terms people are using to look up answers or info. Use these in your blog content or use them to refresh your existing blog content.
- Use the right keywords. Keep tabs on this on a regular basis and ensure that your findings are reflected in your tags and keyword usage.
- Under gird all of the above with proper SEO strategy. Understanding , building an effective strategy and implementing SEO with all the changes that are taking place can be both time consuming and a lot of work. It would be best to hire someone or a company with the expertise to build your SEO strategy and implement it.