It wasn’t too long ago that content marketing became popular. With more and more people looking to search engines for answers to their questions, companies quickly learned the value of writing content to show up first in results.
But now, it seems like everyone is on board with the content trend. According to MarketingProfs, 2 million blog posts are written every day.
Let that sink in. Two million. New posts. Every day. That’s a lot of competition.
But pumping out new blog articles isn't the only way to gain online traction with your target audience.
In fact, investing some time in improving your older blog posts—otherwise known as historical blog optimization—can actually generate better results (and fast!). Read on to get the scoop...
Historical blog optimization is an SEO strategy that focuses on optimizing older blog content to drive more traffic.
This strategy can vary from post to post but typically involves refreshing the older content for relevance, updating the publish date, improving the on-page SEO, optimizing the post for keyword snippets, and re-promoting the post as if it were new.
If your strategy involves blogging every day and you’re not seeing the results you’d like, it's time for a different approach. Why? Because of the Pareto Principle:
The Pareto Principle states that 80% of your results come from only 20% of your efforts.
The principle is credited to Vilfredo Pareto, who noticed back in the early 1900s that 80% of Italy’s land was owned by 20% of Italy’s people. Translate that to the world of B2B marketing, and it means that 80% of your profits come from 20% of your sales. (Source: HubSpot)
The same principle is true for blogging. In almost every business case we reviewed, around 80% of qualified blog traffic came from the top 20% of blog posts.
With this principle in mind, in theory, only two of your next ten blog posts would provide value to your efforts. Instead of focusing on net new content alone, why not spend your time optimizing your older posts to perform even better?
To answer that, we did an experiment. We started with a blog post that received a steady stream of about 30-60 organic views each month. We optimized it using the tips from our checklist (see below). Sure enough, within just 60 days, we saw a 90% increase in organic traffic.
Not only does this method deliver a greater number of page views but optimizing older posts typically takes much less time than writing them from scratch. All your research and writing is already there. You just have to spend some time making it even better.
Embracing an optimization project doesn’t mean you have to stop writing new blog content altogether.
In some cases, it may make sense to combine the two strategies: spend 50% of your time writing new content and 50% optimizing old content. Remember, it doesn’t always need to be balanced.
For example, if you have hundreds and hundreds of published blog posts, you may want to spend 70% of your time optimizing and 30% writing new content.
Try varying your approach from month to month to see what works best for you.
Not every blog post is a good candidate to spend time optimizing. When approaching this project, focus on older blog posts that:
The first step is to export all your blog posts and their analytics into a working spreadsheet. We recommend popping this data into a Google Doc or Excel. Then, create a new column to keep track of posts that you’d like to optimize. Once you’ve got your new column, follow these steps:
Once you’ve audited which posts are good candidates for optimization, we highly recommend creating an editorial calendar to keep track of your priorities. Make sure your optimization strategy aligns with your current strategy.
Quick Win: Don’t have time to optimize every post? Schedule some of your top-performing older posts for social promotion so they keep driving new traffic.
Now you’re ready to start optimizing!
We’ve started historical content optimization for some of our clients and have seen incredible results—not only in terms of traffic increases but improvements to the quality of traffic visiting the page.
For the blog charted below, we increased traffic by 433.5% and saw a 52% increase in time spent on the page, going from a 100% bounce rate to an average of 3 minutes on the page:
Sometimes your efforts may flop. Any time you’re making changes to a post, there is a chance you’ll see a dip in organic traffic. Don’t be discouraged! No one can read Google’s mind. Keep track of when you made changes, and what changes you made to see what works best for your site.
Optimization is (sadly) not an exact science. But remember: you always win when you solve for your VISITOR and not for yourself.
Any questions? Let us know in the comments below.
Kate Moore is a Content Strategist by day, HubSpot expert by night. When she’s not getting distracted by her many fans (ahem – work emails and phone calls), she’s hunkered down, plugged into Spotify and writing about stuff that will make your work with HubSpot smooth and simple.