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Over the past 9 months, I’ve been running an experiment based on some general content marketing advice about keeping content fresh. For the veteran readers of the blog who have been here over the past 10 years – thank you! – you’ve likely seen a few blog posts which seem greatly familiar. You’re not imagining things; I’ve been refreshing content greater than 3 years old.

What Blog Content I Chose to Refresh

What content did I choose to refresh? Not everything, of course. I ran a report in Google Analytics, using the Google Sheets plugin, to determine which old blog posts, which pages to refresh and restore.

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The specific metric I chose was organic searches by page: the number of visits to that page from an organic search. The more searches a page got, regardless of its age, the higher priority in the refresh queue that page would be.

What SEO Changes I Made

What did I change on the individual pages? A whole laundry list of things:

  • Improved title/header graphics
    • The old posts rendered either poorly or had no preview image
  • A click worthy meta-description
    • Even those meta-description has no bearing on SEO, it shows up in social media previews
  • New/refreshed tags and categories
    • Much has changed since many of these posts were written
  • New/refreshed SEO focus
    • Many keywords from days gone by are no longer relevant
  • Technical SEO repairs
    • Lots of posts had issues, such as poor/no alt-tags on images, etc.
  • Rewritten copy that conforms better to the PEER structure
    • My writing skills have improved significantly; refreshing posts means reflecting these changes
  • Updated publication date and URL
    • Showing as new content helps take advantage of SEO and social algorithms which favor freshness

The SEO Impact of Refreshing Blog Content : 40% More Traffic

Looking over a year’s worth of data, I saw an immediate change in October when I first kicked off the program:

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In terms of overall website traffic, I saw a 24% increase in sessions that’s sustained through the 9 months of the program. However, when I filter down to just organic search traffic…

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A 43% year over year increase in organic search traffic is a massive improvement. The recycling/refresh program is doing wonders for my site.

Should You Refresh Your Blog Content?

If you’ve got old content laying around from years past that still attracts organic searches, go back and refresh the content. You’ve changed as a writer in the years since those pieces were published. Why not leverage their popularity and your improved skills to make them even better?


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