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Tulips next to a laptop - How to update website content for SEO

Spring clean your content: How to update website content for SEO

Spring is a great time to revise your content marketing strategy and refresh your existing content to make it work harder for you…

Keeping your website content up-to-date is important for a number of reasons. Not only does fresh content make your website look more professional and authoritative to visitors, but it also helps improve your ranking in the SERPs (search engine results pages). In turn, this can increase visibility, which means more traffic and potential customers for your business. In this post, we show you how to update website content for SEO and share some tips to do it well.

Table of contents

  1. Why should you update website content
  2. How to update website content for SEO
    1. Determine which content to update
    2. Begin updating your content
    3. Adjust the format as necessary
    4. Use targeted keywords
    5. Change the date
    6. Create a schedule for updating your content
  3. Tips to update your website content for SEO

Why should you update website content?

Woman editing a webpage - How to update website content for SEO

If you are looking to improve your website’s visibility on search engines, you’re going to need to optimise your new and existing content for SEO purposes.

Search engine users tend to click on the first few results displayed on the first page. For instance, recent research from Sistrix showed that the first organic search result received a click-through rate of 28.5 %. So to bring more users to your website, it’s important that you rank well on Google and other search engines.

Just as importantly, if you have previously published fully or partly plagiarised content, then you’ll want to create new content in its entirety. Not only is plagiarism unethical, but it can also get you penalised by Google – which will hurt your website ranking and visibility in the search engines. So be sure to always write your own content!

While updating existing content is quite an involved process that takes time to get right, it is well worth the effort.

Read More: What does CTR stand for in marketing and why does it matter?

How to update website content for SEO

Now we know why it’s important to keep content up to date, here is a basic step-by-step process to follow:

1. Determine which content to update

Updating your website content for SEO purposes is quite an involved process. There are a few ways to choose where to start:

  1. If you don’t have a lot of existing content on your site, then you could work through in a linear process, starting with the oldest. Generally, content that is older than a year needs updating.
  2. If you have a lot of existing content, you may choose to select the most urgent content, such as the topics that are trending, the least optimised or receive the least traffic.
  3. If you have a lot of content, you can also choose to prioritise those which have lost the most traffic.

The last method is best practice for organisations and businesses with more resource for content marketing.  In its simplest form, you can use Google Search Console to help. Under the ‘Pages’ tab, filter to the ‘Last 28 days’ to compare it with the ‘Last 28 days year on year’. Then select the ‘Clicks’ column from the previous year and assess which pages have lost the most traffic. For a more in-depth tutorial, you can view Neil Patel’s video guide.

2. Begin updating your content

You don’t necessarily need to rewrite your content from scratch so long as it was original and insightful to begin with. The simplest way to update content is to fact check it, add new examples or statistics, check that all your links work and ensure it is well-written. You may notice that your brand style guide or tone of voice has changed over time, so it doesn’t hurt to update it with this in mind too.

3. Adjust the format as necessary

Good structure is one of the most important factors when it comes to SEO so consider the layout of your content. Try to create shorter paragraphs and sentences that are easier to consume and leave lots of white space. Other elements such as colour, quotes, text boxes, lists, infographics, images, downloadables and interactive elements all help to keep your content fresh and engaging.

4. Use targeted keywords

Someone doing keyword research - How to update website content for SEO

A key reason for updating old content is making sure it’s optimised with the right keywords.  This means having a target keyword or phrase for each post that is ideally used in the title, introduction, one subheading and in image alt text. Doing this will help improve your website ranking in the search engines, as Google will see your site as being more relevant to those terms. Be sure to do some research on what keywords people are using when searching for information related to your business.

Read More: How to create a keyword strategy

5. Change the date

When you are happy with your updated content, change the published date in your CMS. Also add an italicised line to the top of your article that says something to the effect of:

“Article updated on [DATE]”

This clearly signals to Google that your content is up to date and will help it trump other pages vying for the same keyword that may be older than yours. Once you’ve done so, you can resubmit it for indexing via Google Search Console.

6. Create a schedule for updating your content

As well as creating new content regularly, ideally via your blog, one of the best things you can do for your website’s continued visibility in the SERPs is to gradually update your existing content. So be sure to set a schedule for yourself to publish new content on a regular basis and to identify what pages need updating and when. This shows Google (and other search engines) that your site is active and is regularly updated, which can help improve your positioning and traffic.

Tips to update your website content for SEO

To help you update your existing website content so that your SEO ranking improves, try following these tips:

Make your headlines more engaging

Headlines are a useful way to draw readers in and signpost the content so they can find useful information. If your headline isn’t interesting, it is very likely that users won’t click on the post. This can be particularly frustrating if the content itself is high-quality, so try to use emotive or engaging words and phrases to draw in more readers.

Use a different keyword

Your keyword choice might be an issue, especially if you are targeting keywords that are popular. It’s worth looking into less popular keywords to help your content stand out from the crowd. You can try long-tail keywords or adjust the selection of keywords so that they are more accurate towards the content, rather than general phrases or terms.

Include new images and alt text

Someone taking a photo of a sunset - How to update website content for SEO

The more useful information that your website can provide search engines, the better. Rich information such as alt text or new images bumps your page to the ‘new’ category on search engines which places you in a higher page ranking.

Update your content with statistics

Statistics can be a useful way to add more content to copy, but if it is outdated statistics or research this can impact your page rankings. Make sure that the research and statistics that you use are relevant and up-to-date to boost your page rankings and improve the quality of the content that you provide readers.

Replace old, broken links with working ones

If your website has any dead, old or broken links then search engines automatically lower your page rankings. Thankfully, Google Search Console has a tool to find the broken links and makes it easy to replace them with usable ones. This should improve your search ranking and ensure readers have the best experience on your website.

Roll out the updates!

With all of your website content updated and optimised, make sure you resubmit it for indexing through Google Search Console. You should find your website experiences more user traffic thanks to improved search engine rankings. Be sure to share any updated posts and articles through your social media platforms to direct readers to them.

Once you’ve rolled out the changes, take the time to monitor and inspect your positioning for search terms, traffic and click-through rate to see how the changes have impacted your website visibility. There is usually some trial and error involved in finding what works best for you, but employing the ideas discussed in this article should make it easier for users to find and use your website.

✏️ Discover the best way to write SEO content for your website on the Copify blog.


Header image: Alexander Filonchik

Embedded images:  Myriam Jessier, Annie Spratt, Anna Vi

Bruce Orrock

Bruce is a qualified copywriter at Copify with a background in journalism and marketing. He has almost a decade of experience in newsrooms across the UK, as well as time served in the B2B marketing sector. Bruce enjoys writing about nature, ecology, marketing and journalism but is comfortable covering most topics. With a great love for the outdoors, you can normally find Bruce roaming the Scottish Highlands when he isn’t writing copy.

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