For most Christian bloggers, SEO wasn’t something that you understood or even worried about in the early days of launching your site. But hopefully, you eventually started learning how it works and are now writing content using sound SEO practices.
But what about all those older posts that really only got traffic the day you published?
Part of your SEO strategy should include a plan for updating some of those older posts to make them more SEO- friendly and Pinterest-friendly. Here are 11 things to do when updating older posts for SEO on your Christian blog.
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How to Update Older Posts for Better SEO
When getting ready to start updating older posts for SEO, it is important that you have a plan. Don’t just randomly start picking posts to update. First, take a look at your Google Analytics to see if any of those older posts are, in fact, already getting organic traffic from search engines or from Pinterest. If so, start with those.
- If you find posts that are already getting organic (keyword) traffic, you’ll probably skip some of these steps (like changing the keyword), but you will want to update the content to make it fresh, check affiliate links, and definitely update the pinnable image.
- Additionally, if you have posts that are getting organic Google traffic and have some posts that are somewhat related to those posts, you should work on updating the SEO on the related posts since Google is already seeing the keyword association for that topic.
- If you find content that is getting traffic from Pinterest but not Google, these would be a great start for major overhauls to see if you can start generating organic traffic in addition to what Pinterest is sending.
- If you aren’t getting any traffic from anywhere (other than sharing in blogger groups), then determine which posts actually have value that relates to your audience and aren’t just posts about random things.
1 – Categories and Tags
Hopefully, you’ve spent some time getting your categories and tags cleaned up. If not, be sure to read about how to correctly use categories and tags. Then make sure each older post is assigned to the best category and only given relevant tags.
Chances are that when you first wrote those earlier posts, you had no clue how to pick the right keyword to rank a post. Now that you understand how SEO works, you can do some keyword research to find a better keyphrase that has a better chance at ranking (and that people are actually searching for). Once you’ve found the best one for the post, be sure you change it in the Yoast keyphrase block.
Related: Picking the Right Keyword
3 – Headings and Content
Updating your headings and content will require a little more work. You don’t necessarily have to re-write the entire post, but you do want to update it by adding your new keyword (and some additional related keywords) into some headings as well as into the actual content.
If your older content really had no rhyme or reason to it, then a full content overhaul might be in order.
**Do not change the slug for the post even if the old slug doesn’t have the right keyword. Changing the slug changes the entire address for the post. If you do change it, you’ll need to install a redirection plugin so your old links won’t cause error codes.
4 – Post Title
If your original post title wasn’t very creative or catchy and/or didn’t really have the SEO keyword in it, you’ll want to edit it to make it better. Remember, when your updated post makes it to Google search results, a great title is what gets readers to click on it.
5 – Meta Description
Once you’ve chosen your new keyphrase and updated the content, you’ll want to edit the meta description. This should be a couple of sentences that sum up the post content and includes the new SEO keyword phrase.
6 – Internal Links
As you are updating an older post for SEO, be sure you are checking any internal links that are in it. Make sure that you are linking to other related content on your site – preferably by using anchor text that has SEO value related to the content of the destination post. Since writing all the older content, you’ve most likely written quite a bit of newer content that could be linked in those older posts. This is important for SEO, but also for giving readers links to click through to more related content.
Related: The Importance of Internal Linking
7 – Affiliate Links
As you are updating older posts for SEO, be sure to check any affiliate links that you may have added.
- Make sure they are still valid. If not, change them out for new ones.
- Make sure all affiliate links are “NoFollow” and are set to open in a new window.
- Make sure your affiliate disclosure is visible on the post.
If you didn’t have affiliate links in the older posts and are now monetizing, be sure to add an affiliate link when updating the post (when appropriate). If I can’t think of a specific product that makes sense to link to in a post, I’ll simply add an Amazon widget at the end of the post.
8 – Other External Links
Check all other outbound (external) links in the post. These could be links to other blogs or regular websites. Make sure they are still valid sites. Also, make sure that all external links are set to open in a new window.
9 – Images and Pinnable Image
One thing you’ll definitely want to update are the images on those older blog posts! Be sure that you have permission to use any images that you’ve uploaded. Never just grab an image from Google because those often have Copyright and you can get in hot water for doing so. It is best to get your images from free sites, stock photo subscription sites, or simply take your own images.
For each image that you upload, ensure the image has the new keyword as the image alt text. If you are using a plugin such as Tasty Pins, be sure to select “disable pinning” for all but the intended pinnable image.
Chances are that your original post didn’t have a proper pinnable image. In order for this new post to do well on Pinterest, it is important that you offer readers an image that is fully optimized for Pinterest. Create a new pinnable image and switch it out for the old one or simply add it at the end of your post.
10 – Edit the Publish Date
Since search engine crawlers prefer new content, it is a good practice to edit the publish date when you make major edits to an older post. Once you make the edits, simply change the publish date to the current date and hit “update.” If you permalink format (how your post URL displays) includes the date, then I don’t’ recommend updating the publish date as this could confuse readers.
11 – Full Overhaul vs Minor Edits
If you don’t have time to go back and do a full overhaul on every single post, you can still benefit from those older posts by simply creating a new pinnable image for them. This should be a normal part of your blog strategy anyway. Don’t just publish and forget them. It is a great practice to continually create new images for older posts. While you do want to ensure every single older post has a fully optimized pinnable image, you can also continually make new pins and add them directly to Pinterest without adding them physically to the blog post.
Related: Making New Pins for Older Posts
If you are planning a full overhaul of a post, one in which you make major edits that include the keyword, headings, content, etc., you’ll want to resubmit that post for crawling. This is done in Google Search Console where you initially submitted your sitemap. Instead of submitting the full sitemap, you will only submit the specific post URL for re-crawling and indexing.
Updating Older Posts for SEO Can Boost Traffic
While the primary focus of your blog strategy should be to create brand new content, there is significant value in updating those older posts for SEO. These older posts shouldn’t be forgotten because you did put effort into writing them. Setting aside time to go back and make some edits and tweaks, can have a significant impact on increasing your organic and Pinterest traffic.
Don’t worry about updating them all at once! Simply add this as part of your regular blog content plan and balance it with writing new content. Also, as you do write new content, be sure that you are including links to those older posts (when they are relevant) which will also boost page views and traffic to them.
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