Keeping your content up-to-date and publishing fresh and engaging content on a regular basis is tricky – it takes time to create new content that means something to your audience and adds value but a recent Whiteboard Friday from Moz confirmed something we have been advocating with our clients for some time; if you have high performing content, don’t be afraid to improve on it and re-publish it. Not only does this keep your content publishing up to date, Google actually rewards companies and individuals who republish, especially if you add further value to that content when you republish.
Don’t rest on your content laurels
If like many companies, you have a solid content plan in place which you execute on a regular basis, you probably publish in a similar way each week; create the content, publish to your blog or website, share via social media and then…hope for the best. For some, there will be measurement in place to track how well that piece performs but typically, however well it performs, you note it and move on to the next piece of content, perhaps making a note to do something different/similar this time next year.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. If you have produced a successful piece of content, a blog post for example, that has added real value to your customers (and performed well in search), you shouldn’t just rest on that and give yourself a pat on the back. If you know your audience enjoyed the piece, then it’s pretty likely that they will appreciate and enjoy an update to that content that adds further value. It’s also quite possible that your content missed a whole bunch of people the first time around so when you re-publish, also think about how the content will be distributed and try and hit new audiences.
Republishing and repurposing successful content
Another great option is to repurpose a successful piece of content and turn it into something new. You might for example have written a really nice blog post about ‘X’ which has had a lot of engagement. Now if ‘X’ happens to relate to a core product or service that you offer, you may then choose to repurpose that content and update it but instead of it sitting on your blog, it may now sit under the relevant product or category section on your site. By linking to this from the original blog or linking back to the blog from this new piece of content, you are able to create topical relevance across your site and help Google to see that you are an authority on a particular subject. By providing multiple pieces of quality content that appeals to your target audience, you are also increasing your opportunities to attract relevant links, earn social shares and engagement and therefore improve ranking signals.
Republishing can boost rankings
Fresh publishing of content can provide a ranking boost. We recently saw this with a client whose blog we manage. We made a number of updates to old blog posts, updating the content, freshening up the tone but keeping the main messages the same. When the updates were carried out, we also updated the publish date rather than just clicking update as we wanted people browsing the latest posts to come across this ‘new’ content rather than having to search back a couple of years to find it. We found that when we republished the posts, not only did they achieve good levels of engagement through social media sharing, we also saw an uplift in web visits and an improvement in ranking around related keywords.
Dominate the SERPs
One thing that has surfaced recently is the power of having multiple results on page one of the SERPs for a particular keyword. By producing two slightly different pieces of quality content around a similar subject but targeting keyword variants, it is possible to get multiple pages ranking on page one. If you already have a successful piece ranking in say position 2 or 3, we know that Google will bump any other piece of content that ranks on the first page so it sits right next to that original piece of content so instead of ranking 3 and 8, you will instead rank at 3 and 4 and that is very powerful.
Updating and republishing content doesn’t have to take a long time. Sometime an update to a piece of content can be simply updating some of the timeline information, specific details about an event if it is held on an annual basis etc and other times it can take longer as you research new and relevant information. You then have two options – you can update the publish date as per our tactic above or you can publish it as a completely new piece of content. You may in that case wish to add a 301 redirect from the original piece of content to ensure you take those ranking signals across with you to the new piece of content or add a canonical tag.
Creating fresh, exciting content is great but don’t neglect your already strong performing content – if you can, look at where you can make improvements and republish that content to get ranking boosts and generate even more engagement with your audience.