3 Creative Ways To Drive More Traffic To Old Blog Posts

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In many ways it makes as much sense to promote existing content on your blog as it does to create new content. Every site needs its share of new content to be successful, but it’s important to recognize many opportunities available to get more visitors to old content.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Optimization For Relevant Keywords Already Driving Traffic.

Look at a page-by-page breakdown of which keywords are bringing traffic to your site. With those keywords, you can determine where you already rank in the search results, and what the overall keyword volumes are for the terms. You can then improve the optimization of your content for these keywords by (1) improving on-page optimization with exact match usage of the keywords in the content and/or page title, (2) use internal links on your site to point to the page with the corresponding anchor text links for the keywords, (3) consider building backlinks to the page if search volumes or relevancy justify it.

  • Freshen Up Content By Removing Aging Signs

When content is old, it shows. But old doesn’t necessarily mean outdated. You can prepare old content for new waves of popularity by modifying or removing many of the post attributes that say “old.” Doing so is likely to increase exposure and lifespan.

  • Post dates: Many great posts I run across have publication dates removed both from the post as well as the URL. This may seem odd to a visitor at first glance, but this gives the content a greater opportunity to shine without the “recency bias.”
  • Comments/Trackbacks: You may consider removing old comments and trackbacks completely if they allude to the age of the post.
  • Dated references: (remove and update): You may have dated your content without realizing it just by what you’ve written. If it’s summer and you refer to the snow; or if you refer to a recent holiday or other event that dates the post, you may consider removing those references. You should also consider updating some references to refer to more current events.
  • Make Your Old Post Titles More Boring (Functional))

I always face the dilemma of creativity vs. functionality when I write post titles. Somehow, I often end up more on the creative side. This usually means that the post ends up attracting readers that never would have come to the site otherwise. The dark side of this is that many of these posts will never be found organically.

Consider changing old post titles to include terms or phrases that people might logically search. Having looked at a lot of client blog analytics, I can tell you that the posts most frequently found by organic search have instructional titles because people are often searching for instructions, how-to’s, etc.

For example, a Search Engine Journal post titled “When Do You Pull The Plug On A Keyword?” is a great, creative title, but the title isn’t likely to correspond to what someone actually searches for. After an initial “newness” phase, I might consider changing the title to something boring, but more search-functional. After some quick keyword research, you might change the title to “How To Identify The Wrong SEO Keywords (So You Can Choose The Right Ones).” We’re not shooting for literary eloquence here. After all, isn’t it better to get your content read than let it go unfound?

But I Love My Old Content

Don’t be deterred by the prospect of changing things, even drastically, on old content. If you love your old content, you’ll stop treating it like scripture and start treating it like the business tool it was meant to be.

Scott Cowley
Scott Cowley is an SEO consultant by night, marketing PhD student by day. He was previously head of SEO at ZAGG and SEO manager at... Read Full Bio
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  • Harsh Agrawal

    Scott some nice tips and I follow point 1 always.. instead of working on new post all the time..It's always a better idea to work on old post and make them much better by optimizing it for search engine.. I select the post which is on the 2nd page of Google (Thanks Google webmaster tool) and after that I optimize it more…. and if possible write guest post on other blog to optimize the particular post for better search engine ranking..
    Nice post and very useful for bloggers!!

    • Scott Cowley

      Thank you, Harsh! How frequently do you go back and look at old posts to improve optimization? I find that unless I set myself a reminder at least once a month, I won't make time to look at old posts.

      • Harsh Agrawal

        I do that at every last week of the month..If I see any perticular keyword has potential to drive great traffic.. I work on mindmap and add atleast 3-4 posts like that which can help in internal linking and write atleast 2-3 posts for other blogs so that I can make them rank better..
        If you are not using any mindmap software like Free mindmap or any other..I would suggest give a shot to Post idea+ wordPress plugin.. This one is really useful in such cases…..

  • Mritunjay

    Great tips. It is quite common for old posts to remain lost if you are churning new posts regularly. But almost all the successful blogger use internal links or anchor texts to drive traffic to old posts. I liked the idea of removing dates which makes sense.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Harsh Agrawal

      Mritunjay some how I don't like the idea of removing the post date.. Thinking from a reader point of view it's quite annoying.. But in case if you write blog post which last forever and ever like about yoga or other meditation tips which never dies or fade with time..it can be a good practice … but for a blogging niche where thing fades with time, better keep the date for sake of readers..
      What do you think Scott??

      • Scott Cowley

        There's an inherent difference between “timeless” and “date-relevant” posts, like you mention, Harsh. If value is added to the post because of the date, then it shouldn't be removed. Most old blog posts are probably hurt more by displaying the date though.

        I'm always looking for the most recent information on a topic. If the post is about a general topic, I give the most weight to a post written this year, but I usually weigh a post without a date more highly than one with an old date. This isn't the case for everything, but it's a rule I use because niches are always changing.

  • Alex

    Awesome tips. Love the refreshing post titles to be more functional!

  • Michele @ NewBizBlogger

    Great tips Scott! Refreshing the post by changing the title is a very good idea. I tend to go the “boring” less creative route with my post titles, but every so often stick in some creative ones. =)

    I agree with Harsh as well. I rely on good ole' Google (Anlaytics in this case) and see which articles have had less view over the course of 6 months and attempt to go back and optimize them a bit..,not an exact science but worth the effort.

    Thanks again!

    • Harsh Agrawal

      Thanks Michele for liking my idea.. Though my 2cents..
      I would suggest when you try to pull up any old post ranking also check keyword trend and see if it's a good idea to work on such keyword/post..
      I would suggest better work on blog post which are on 2nd or 3rd page of search engine ranking.. Pulling something from beyond that page is really a tough task and better work on other posts with better ranking!!

      • Michele @ NewBizBlogger

        Thanks for pointing that out Harsh….will be sure to look into that! =)

  • Legado

    I found the “removing the aging signs” really interesting. I'll start doing some test by tomorrow, but I don't really get the last tip.

    Changing the Title would mean a significant drop down in organic search results, so what about choosing the right title in the appropriate moment instead of renaming the content again, plus reoptimizing posts is just the same odd way of dropping your possible status in the organic results.

    If you really want to bring alive those old posts what about a “you might also be interested in:” and here is where the links to old posts go. Or even, optimized links within your new posts directing to the old one. An accesible file of posts, remembering the good old time posts and a lot of other initiatives which are very effective and not so “aggressive”.

    By the way. Sorry for the grammatical and spelling mistakes. I'm not a native english Speaker.

    • Scott Cowley

      The last tip is meant to improve titles that are interesting, but weren't previously optimized for specific keywords. These types of posts, unless the content is really groundbreaking, usually get a good share of referral traffic, but not a lot of organic traffic (so any change in title usually means an improvement in organic traffic).

  • Emily @ 3 Birds Marketing

    Great tips! I'm just getting started with SEO on the content side and I'm learning everything I can. I'd never thought of changing the title of a post to freshen it up, but what a great idea! I just subscribed to the RSS feed, so I'm excited for more useful information. Thanks for sharing.

  • Vinicius B. Peixoto

    Simply great tips, Scott!

    Another tip that drives more traffic is sharing old content on social networking websites. And MAYBE, you can even get some new links.

    HOWEVER, the point is NOT only about sharing old content. The point is sharing old (and GOOD) content being NOW dicussed. 🙂

    When Google announced their change to the ranking algorithm, that now displays more results from a domain on a single page, I've seen some great old content about SERP Domination being shared on Twitter. Some days later, reading new discussions about the change, links to one of the old and shared content could be found on the new article.

    • Scott Cowley

      Sharing old posts is a great tip, Vinicius. I think your point goes well with my second suggestion to remove signs that the post is old. Those two tactics would work very well together.

      • Winter tires

        I agree Scott with this entire piece. I am now doing just that and going back and freshening up things a bit. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Arnold Arnan

    I appreciate the tips. One of my clients is a food blogger so it would be good to go through her old posts and spruce up a bit. Thanks for sharing.

  • modified cars

    this is really interesting post and you have made it very clear. Even when i look into the analytics, i do get traffic for old posts rather than new posts. So i think this is a good approach to optimize old posts. thanks for sharing useful info.

  • Santosh Bhandarkar

    Do some research on long tail keywords (based on the keywords that get you traffic to the old page). Add comments to your blog posts using those long tail keywords. Also find some related keywords (long tail) and add comments or modify your blog. use bold or italics for your key phrases in the newly inserted text.

    • Scott Cowley

      I like some of those ideas Santosh, but I think they work better in the short-term, soon after you've posted. It would look very unnatural to add comments to your own blog months after the post has been up.

      I also haven't seen any benefit to using bold or italics on keywords. My experience is that it doesn't help SEO at all.

      • Santosh Bhandarkar

        OK, maybe comments won't suit all posts. That would really vary on a case by case basis. But you can surely tweak the main content (body) by adding a few related long tail keywords – so it gels well into the already existing content. About, “bold” or “italics” – as long as we do not overdo it, they do seem to have some impact.


  • Cheap Trip BG

    Thank you for your tips. Useful info.

  • Steve Jobs

    Old posts can never be discarded as it s of more value than the newer ones. But the problem lies if you had currently changed your blog’s niche and your old posts is irrelevant to your current niche. Your old post is invaluable (even if it as a higher page rank) to your current niche but still must not be discarded or deleted.

  • Wilcoxaj

    Scott, great post! One thing I would add to the freshness is continuing to bring up good content. When you write a new post, and the old one is still relevant (after following your other guidelines of course), mention the old post and bring people back to it. I personally keep a list of home-run content that I can refer to. Continued links from around do much for keeping content fresh.

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  • Ingrid Abboud

    These are great tips Scott.
    I must admit that I often go with the creative title instead of the more functional or “boring” one. I tend to think that they're more attractive to readers who are on my site – but unfortunately as you pointed out – I need to get them there first!

    However, I have been making an effort with the newer posts by keeping the titles 101 SEO friendly and straight to the point. It's also good in the sense that readers know exactly what to expect.

    Thanks a lot for bringing these useful tips to my attention. I'll definitely take your advice and change some of the older posts.


  • Douglas Park

    How do I remove the aging signs from my post and/or URL? I'm on WordPress.

    Will doing this hurt my SEO, and if so for how long?


  • Stephanie

    Great tips – thank you! However, can't you run into an issue by changing the post title if your permalinks are set to display the post name (/%category%/%postname%.php)? Any backlinking or trackbacks will return a '404 page not found' and you'll lose all your link juice. If you keep the post title the same and just change the title, won't readers see/feel the disconnect?

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  • yuregininsesi

    Do some research on long tail keywords (based on the keywords that get you traffic to the old page). Add comments to your blog posts using those long tail keywords. Also find some related keywords (long tail) and add comments or modify your blog. use bold or italics for your key phrases in the newly inserted text.

  • Imran Anwar

    hi scott, i adopt your method about re-posting and further optimizing tips which get my post better then before in sense of getting higher number of visits. i also agree which harsh that guest posting also helps it also depend on competition on particular keyword.