How do you make sure that the content on your website is still relevant? Why is that even important? For some people, writing new blog posts is the biggest challenge of blogging. However, it’s also important to keep an eye on your existing posts and whether they’re still up to date. And funnily enough, that can be an even bigger challenge! In this post, I’ll explain why it’s worth investing time in your existing content and give you some tips on how to keep your content fresh and up to date!

Why is up-to-date content important?

Updating content is essential because you don’t want people to find information on your website that isn’t valid anymore. If you’ve written a high-quality blog post and optimized it well, chances are that people will find that post in the search engines. That was probably the whole point of writing and optimizing that post in the first place.

Imagine a blog that hands out SEO advice to its readers. Although the basics of SEO stay the same, it is a field with a lot of nuances that can change over time. To make sure that people invest their time in SEO strategies that work nowadays, the older posts on this blog shouldn’t contain advice that isn’t valid anymore. This goes for every type of website out there. You need to keep your content and website fit.

Why is fresh content important for SEO?

Keeping your content fresh is important for SEO reasons as well. If you rewrite an article, Google will notice changes in that particular article. If you make sure your content stays up-to-date, you’re actually showing Google that your site is alive and kicking. You could either update an article – without changing the date – or you could republish the post.

Tips on how to keep your content fresh

1. Crucial: update those cornerstones

My most important tip on keeping content up to date is to focus on your cornerstone articles. These are the articles on your website that are most important to you and your business. These articles should be the best ones on your website. They are the ones you want to be found for. That’s why they should be on the top of your list when it comes to updating content.

Yoast SEO Premium comes with a stale cornerstone content filter. This feature lets you know when your cornerstone content hasn’t been updated for 6 months or longer and should be refreshed.

Let me give you an example from Yoast.com. I mostly write about blogging and about content SEO. The most important article Let me give you an example from Yoast.com. I write a lot about blogging and content SEO. Our most important article about content writing is the ultimate guide to SEO copywriting. Regularly, I write a new blog post about content SEO or copywriting. I do some research for each and every one of those (I really do!) and I discover some new things. These new discoveries should be covered – briefly – in my cornerstone article as well. So, I take the time to update my ultimate guide every now and then. And you should do the same!

2. Update posts that generate a lot of traffic

Updating your content can be a lot of work. And if your site becomes really large, this could be a day job! If you have to make choices which articles to tackle and update first, take a look at which of your pages generate a lot of traffic. Start with those. These are the pages that are actually seen by your audience most often. These pages have the highest priority when it comes to showing fresh content.

3. Delete really outdated posts

As your blog is growing and you’re writing tons of blog posts, some of your content slowly becomes really old. Some of your posts are evergreens, but some posts just aren’t. If, on top of that, these articles aren’t read by anyone you could decide to delete them altogether. This will clean up your site nicely and is an important part of content SEO. Not sure whether to delete or update a post? Read our post on cleaning up old content on your website. And if you do decide to delete a post, make sure to read Joost’s blog post about properly deleting a post.

4. Merge posts that are very similar

If you publish lots of posts – as we do – you’ll end up with some posts on the same topic that are quite similar. When you’re updating old content, check if you have posts that are very similar to the one you’re updating. Those posts might diminish the chance of ranking for the one you’re working on! This phenomenon is called keyword cannibalization. You can solve this by checking which of these posts perform best in the search engines. Update the one that ranks highest and merge the other posts into that one, high quality and complete, blog post.

5. Don’t forget your other pages

Not only your blog posts should have up-to-date content, but other pages are also important. Don’t forget to update those FAQs. Perhaps new questions have emerged among your audience. Make sure to add those. While updating your website, don’t forget the ‘about page’, the ‘contact page’ and other static pages on your website. I understand that this content doesn’t change that often, but make sure that the right changes are actually being made! This will increase the trust between you and your audience.

How to keep content fresh?

Keeping the content of your website up to date and fresh is important if you want to attract readers from the search engines with (somewhat) older posts. While rewriting and refreshing old content, make sure to start with those cornerstones and most popular articles first! To help you get started, we wrote an article on how to update your content in 10 steps. Make sure to give that a read. And make sure to add new articles to your website from time to time, to show your audience and search engines that your website is active and that you’re keeping up with everything that’s happening! For new blog ideas, read our post with 11 tips to get new blog post ideas.

When you’re updating content, it can be useful to use our Duplicate Post plugin. This plugin makes it possible to clone your article to a draft and work on your article without these changes going live right away. You’ll be able to save this draft in between and when you’re ready for the update to go live, you can overwrite the older version with the click of a button!

Is your content SEO fit?

Keeping your content fresh is just one of the aspects of content SEO maintenance. You also need to work on internal linking, keyword research, and more. Make sure to take the test to find out how SEO fit your content is and get it back in shape with the SEO workouts in Yoast SEO Premium!

Read more: Content maintenance strategy: 6 tips for a cleaner website »

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