A Tactical Guide to Making Old Pages Rank in Google Again

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A Tactical Guide to Making Old Pages Rank in Google Again

Have you ever had a prize page that was winning rankings for a specific keyword? And then, gradually, over time, it dropped from the SERPs?

I’ve had it happen before. Why? There are plenty of reasons. The algorithm changes. Competitors rise. The search landscape fluctuates.

When it does happen, you want to make sure you have an arsenal of techniques that will allow you to win back rank for the page. Here are 12 methods for doing just that.

1. Build Fresh Internal Links to the Page

If you haven’t done it yet, add internal links to the page. Find other high-traffic pages on your site and link them back to the page you want to rank again.

Internal links have some ability to pass pagerank, but the real reason you want to build internal links is because they help to solidify and strengthen the internal site structure.

As you create links to and from various pages on the site, you’re more likely to drive referral traffic to the page, too.

2. Create a Main Navigation Menu to the Page

When you are trying to make an old page gain rank again, your main goal is to make the page a big deal. You want it to have popularity, lots of traffic, and more recognition.

One of the easiest things that you can do to improve ranking is simply to link to your target page from your main navigation menu.

Your main navigation menus contains your most site’s significant and helpful pages. When you have a valuable page that you want to rank again, then you can give it more traffic through a high visibility link.

For example, on my site, neilpatel.com, I’ve added three pages in my top navigation menu that I consider to be most important. This simple menu helps to drive additional traffic to the Consulting and Testimonial pages, which in turn pushes those pages upward in search as well.

A Guide to Making Old Pages Rank in Google Again | SEJ

3. Redirect Old Resources to the Page

If you have pages that are 404ing, try redirecting them to the page to gain any additional search traffic that might come their way. If you do this, make sure the pages do not have negative or spammy links directed at them.

4. Create Other Pages That Support It

The more pages you create on your site as a whole, the better it will rank. Cyrus Shepard, who wrote an excellent article on Google’s Fresh Factor, advised a site should add 20-30% more pages each year.

A Guide to Making Old Pages Rank in Google Again | SEJ

Image from Moz

The more pages you’re able to create, the better your site as a whole will be able to support the page you’re trying to promote.

5. Make it More Relevant

Content can lose its relevance over time, especially if you’re discussing technology issues. Make sure that you review your content from the perspective of relevancy.

  • Do a quick check for these four factors.
  • Do the outbound links go to the right pages?
  • Am I referencing any old or outdated technology?
  • Does the page contain information that is useful for readers today?
  • Does the page consider any recent changes to the industry or niche? Google tends to reward pages that contain keyword phrases corresponding to high-volume queries or trending topics.
  • Am I using diluted and non-keyword-intensive anchor texts? Are the pages on my site that link to the target page non-keyword intensive?

6. Add a Lot More Content

It’s fairly obvious that you need to add more content. But just how much content should you add?

Google’s 2005 patent has this line regarding new and updated content:

Also, a document having a relatively large amount of its content updated over time might be scored differently than a document having a relatively small amount of its content updated over time.

A Guide to Making Old Pages Rank in Google Again | SEJ

In other words, the more content you add, the higher score that page will have.

7. Change the Page Frequently

Frequent change leads to better ranking. Google’s patent, referenced above, describes this as “content that is edited often.” The algorithm wants to see a regular updating of content and quality.

If you conduct a Google search for pages that have been updated recently, you’ll find that they correspond to the highest ranked pages that are un-adjusted by chronological search parameters.

A Guide to Making Old Pages Rank in Google Again | SEJ

The easy thing to remember is – update your content often. This applies to the site as a whole in addition to the specific page that you’re trying to get to rank again.

8. Add Resources

One issue that will dramatically improve the page’s ability to rank is natural and high-quality backlinks.

How do you earn such awesome backlinks? The only way is through great content and resources. One strategy many marketers have found to be successful is adding a small resources library to the page.

For example, on your page, you can include a list of PDF resources, videos, documents, infographics, or other resources. The idea is to improve the overall quality of the page through links. If other sites find that these resources are useful, then they are more likely to link to the page.

As Moz has described, a higher rate of link growth will improve the page’s freshness, which can improve its ranking:

A Guide to Making Old Pages Rank in Google Again | SEJ

Image from Moz

9. Resubmit a Sitemap

After you’ve made all the changes you want to make, go ahead and generate and submit a new sitemap. As your site changes, either through additional content generation or internal linking, it will need a fresh sitemap. You’re more likely to gain rank faster that way.

10. Promote the Piece in Social Media

Content alone doesn’t generate its own traffic. You have to spark the generation by helping other people engage with it.

Chances are, you promoted the page heavily when you first launched it or wrote it. Now, do it again. Drive direct traffic to the page by linking to it in an e-blast, tweeting it to your followers several times, posting it on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and anywhere else you have an active audience.

Promoting the piece again will drive fresh traffic to the site and increase its activity level, social signals, and sharing.

11. Use the Target Keyword in Pages Across the Website as a Whole

Keep in mind that your single page is backed by an entire website. It’s just as important that the entire site be optimized for that keyword, too.

To see approximately how many times your website contains a specific keyword, simply use this query on Google:

inurl:example.com “specific keyword”

Here is a search for “SEO” on my site, Quicksprout.com.

A Guide to Making Old Pages Rank in Google Again | SEJ

You can see that I’ve used the term more than 3,540 times on the site. That’s why this page will do pretty well for queries terms that contain the head term “SEO.”

A Guide to Making Old Pages Rank in Google Again | SEJ

Make sure your website has a focus on the subject and keyword family for which you’re trying to rank.

12. Notify Industry Leaders About the Updated Page

If you have a page that you believe is a high quality page, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell other people about it! Let your industry associates know you’ve recently updated a valuable page, and you’d appreciate their thoughts and/or a share. The more you share the page, the more traffic and exposure it gets, increasing its likelihood to gain links, get shared even more, and explode in popularity.

Conclusion

Don’t assume that great content is going to consistently get top ranks for all time. You have to be working strategically to ensure you keep your top spot in the SERPs.

What are some ways you’ve found to get old pages to rank in Google again?

Editor Note: Neil was the opening speaker for our SEJ Summit in Santa Monica this year. Want to learn more from speakers like him at our Summits throughout the year: in NYC, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Miami, and London? Sign up for a FREE ticket, covered by our partner, Searchmetrics.

 

Image Credits

Featured Image: Denys Prykhodov via Shutterstock
All screenshots taken January 2015

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Neil Patel
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, an analytics provider that helps companies make better business decisions. Neil also blogs about marketing and entrepreneurship at... Read Full Bio
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