I’m glad to be back from vacation after a week completely off the grid. Talk about a drastic change in lifestyle, going to a place where devices don’t even work (thus removing the temptation to “just check in”). I recommend it heartily.
Before I left for vacation, I thought I’d run an experiment using reruns on social media to power my social media postings for the week. Instead of my normal routine of a new blog post each day plus a welcome message (2 links back to my website per day), I went to five reruns plus a welcome message (6 links back to my website per day). Each rerun was a link back to a past popular post of mine from the past two years.
Now, going into this, the logical hypothesis would be a 300% increase in website traffic, right? I literally tripled the number of direct links back to my website. In fact, it should be even more, because my audience has changed and grown in a year. Last year on Twitter alone, I had 7,000 fewer followers:
So with an audience that’s bigger and triple the number of links, let’s see what the results were:
Cue the womp womp trumpet, please. Yes, folks, you read that correctly. I had 43% LESS traffic this year compared to the same calendar week the previous year. The traffic source that drove the loss? Organic search traffic, where I had half the visitors from last year.
It’s been shouted far and wide that Google loves relevance, freshness, and diversity of content. Re-runs with no new content paint a bulls-eye on your butt for freshness and diversity, and in the world of the content shock, someone will always be creating more relevant content today than content you made a year or two ago.
The bottom line? Re-runs didn’t work for me in this particular test case. My site took a beating on organic search traffic by my taking my foot off the gas for a week. Does this mean re-runs won’t work for you? Of course not – as always, you need to test for yourself. However, go into that test with a modified hypothesis, now that you’ve seen at least one test case where the result fell far short of the hypothesis.
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OK, but how was the performance from Twitter alone? It sounds like it was the only place that you actually promoted the old content. Also, how did organic search from Google perform the week before you went on vacation as compared to last year? Is it possible that Google’s algorithm changes or some other factor simply doesn’t favor your site this year like it did a year ago?
However, instinct tells me that a substantial “back catalog” of posts over a significant period must contain posts that are of value to someone.
If my behavior is any guide, when i find a site with good content, I will brows it, but spend more time on the more recent posts, perhaps missing the gems hidden in the archives.
It is certainly the case with ,my blog. When I rerun posts from 4 or 5 years ago, so long as they are relevant, they attract an audience indistinguishable from the norm.
Unfortunately however, the numbers are challenging to conduct a statistically reliable outcome. ,