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Increase organic traffic by updating old content
How I managed to increase organic traffic from 3000 monthly sessions to 20.000+ monthly sessions in just 12 months by applying only one SEO tactic: updating old content.
When I first took this client, neither of us knew what to expect. It was a medical niche based website with lots of articles, all written over the years and all around medical keywords.
The SEO work done before me we decent although the content wasn't very optimized and the general rule was: "the more content, the better."
After analyzing everything, I concluded that this website could benefit a lot with only one type of SEO tactic: optimizing old content, updating it and merge articles when necessary.
Of course, the client becomes hugely defensive because over time he paid a lot of money to copywriters to gain all that content and now I was telling him everything was no good and some of the articles would have to go.
So, can you increase your organic traffic by applying a similar strategy of updating old content?
First of all, if you have a big website with a lot of content you need to understand this won't be an easy task. You can't do it overnight, and depending on the client budget it may take quite a while to update everything.
1. Google Analytics is your best friend and should be your first stop. Export all the top 100 pages that drive organic traffic, set a time frame of more than one month.
Make sure you flag pages that have the same subject. There was an awful practice a couple of years ago when the same subject was written and posted time and time again in different forms. This produces keyword cannibalization and can essentially destroy your chances to rank with most of the duplicate subject articles. You need to have one page per subject or keyword, one complete, high-quality article.
2. Extract top performing articles based on subject. As I said, you may have multiple articles talking about the same subject. In the end, you will need only one. The article you want to update it is the top performing one that brings in the most organic traffic.
3. Start updating the top performing articles while you import content from the other, weaker articles. When everything is set and done, you will need to apply a 301 redirect for all the secondary articles to your main updated article. This will transfer all the authority of the secondary articles into one place making it stronger from an SEO perspective.
4. Make sure you have a complete article. Before you start updating your articles, make sure you implement a comprehensive keyword research for every subject. Your content may be outdated and in need of fresh information, add everything a reader may need into one page. If you are going to work with a copywriter, make sure you provide clear instructions on what keywords to use and which smaller subjects may need to be developed.
5. Article structure. Pay close attention to your headline and main subheadings, make sure you subheadings target relevant keywords of great importance. Also, include bullet points, numbers, bolded words, italic text, quotes and everything in between, all of this will help with the overall optimization process.
6. Add pictures, infographics, and videos. This is a significant step. Most old articles have only text or at the most one picture. You need to change that by developing a modern, interactive piece of content!
7. Learn from your competitors, especially the ones at the top. This is the last step. You can learn a great deal analyzing your competitors! Steal from them ideas that work and make sure you touch points they haven't, in the end; you need to have resulting articles that are more complex, answer more questions and have a higher overall quality.
This is what I did, and it worked like magic! It takes time and effort, but in the end, I managed to dramatically increase the organic traffic without the need of a single backlink.
This method was so effective I manage to position myself in the first position for more than 20 keywords and rank on the first page for at least a hundred more.