Let’s face it; we live in a pretty crappy disposable culture these days. If your toaster stops working, it’s most likely going to end up in the bin than it is in the shop to get fixed.
It’s cheaper and less trouble to just buy a new one and besides, that latest toaster in that catalogue has a chrome finish, hydraulic toast latch, connects to the internet and I’m pretty sure it’s the same one Ryan Gosling uses! AWESOME!
You forget all about the investment you initially put into that original toaster when you bought it, because newer is better!
The exact same thing occurs online, and on a much more massive (although less wasteful) scale – in particular with blog content.
In a lot of cases you’ll put a significant investment into writing content. It takes thought, time and in some cases money to come up with that recent 500 word masterpiece. Yet after the publish button has been hit and it’s been pimped out on social media for a little while it’s time to move on to the next one. That original piece of content is left to fend for itself, just like Wheezy the Penguin from Toy Story. Left on the top shelf to gather dust while the new and exciting toys get all the playtime.
So how do you ensure your content doesn’t get forgotten?
Typical content has a life span as mentioned above. It’s written, promoted for a little while, maybe shared a bit and then it becomes old content – left on the shelf.
This strategy ensures this content keeps on evolving and morphing into content that lives multiple lives and attracts a larger audience over a longer period of time.
It requires you to pay close attention to your blog content and see what people are interacting with most in order to gain that traffic.
It works in a few parts…
Go Where The Traffic Is… AND BEYOND!
In your initial article you discussed a certain ‘hot topic’, and that topic got a lot of attention both socially and via organic search. But, 3 months down the track that ‘hot topic’ has gone a bit cold, and has now been replaced by a similar topic that is still relevant to your article.
By revisiting your original article and updating with this latest addition, your old article has now become completely relevant again, all by changing or adding one example.
This opens the door up for attracting long tail search traffic of people looking for that specific topic; a topic that although your post was likely relevant for initially, it now contains specifics relevant for the latest ‘hot topic’ as well.
Similarly, sharing the content once again via social platforms becomes an option. The content is now updated with a current topic that appeals to an online audience. Use it!
Here is an example of traffic to a single post over a three-month period
The first arrow is the initial post. The second arrow displays additional reach due to changing an example used in the content.
The new example attracted long tail search, and addressed a ‘hot topic’. It allowed the content to go viral again.
A simple tweak, without changing 95% of the original topic helped keep the post relevant and attract a new audience.
Analytics is Your Best Buddy
If your site doesn’t have analytics – get the hell off my page. You disgust me.
Na, I’m just kidding.
But seriously, it can give you some of the greatest insights into your content and audience that can make the difference between throwing content out into the Internet and hoping it sticks, and writing something you know there is a demand for.
Here are some tips to help you along the way:
Google search your topic and see what’s out there.
Know the competition and what it is you need to do better than them to get good rankings or better audience interaction.
Google search your post’s title
Seems similar to the above tip huh. But this one can help you define a title that will work organically or a title that you may need to put in significant effort to promote.
Utilise the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to get an idea of Exact Matches for your title. Better yet, put in a few of the most popular ways you think your topic could be titled and see what the traffic for that term looks like.
It’s not gospel, but it will give you insight into if a title of ‘The Worlds Greatest List of WordPress Plugins for Bloggers’ is more searched for than ‘Blogging Plug-ins for WordPress’ – it could mean the difference between a top 5 position for that term or a spot on page 5.
Check your Analytics Organic Queries
This is where the long tail comes into it. Have a look at the queries that generate traffic for your post. You could be getting 20 clicks a month, of which it’s a term you rank 9th for. There’s your insight to go in and tweak the content a little bit to try and rank higher for that term. Higher rankings = higher clicks after all.
Small tweaks to titles and paragraphs (please note: I do not suggest massive rewrites here), even Image Alt tags and file names, can have huge impacts on your rankings. Give it a look.
Here’s an example of an article I tweaked over a few months, and the resulting organic traffic boosts because of it. Cool huh!
Old Toys Need Love Too
You invested a fair amount of time over the months/years into all that content. Why let it gather dust, when it could be kicking ass for your site?
All you gotta do to get some pretty great wins on the board is to show your older content a little bit of love now and then. Just drop by the pages analytics and say ‘hi’ occasionally.
Just like Wheezy, it could help you remember exactly what was so great about it when you first played with it.