4 min read

How (And Why) You Should Refresh Old Content

How (And Why) You Should Refresh Old Content

There’s no denying that running a successful content marketing strategy requires brands to create a lot of content on an ongoing basis. Producing high-quality articles is a foundational aspect of many digital marketing strategies, but there’s another, often-overlooked component of content marketing that many brands neglect: refreshing their existing content. 

If you’ve been committed to content marketing for any significant length of time, you have dozens or maybe even hundreds of articles on your site. Some will perform well, driving lots of new traffic every month, but others collect dust, bringing in just a few clicks a month. 

That doesn’t have to be the case. Refreshing existing articles can provide a huge boost to your overall site performance, helping you achieve your marketing goals on an accelerated timeline. Allocating the time to work on outdated, under-performing content is a great investment. Doing so enables your business to maximize its existing content resources, easing the pressure to relentlessly create new content. 

Refreshing content doesn’t necessarily have to be a ton of work either. It’s actually relatively straightforward. In this article, we’ll share three actionable tips you can use to upgrade the existing content on your site. But first, let’s explore the benefits your brand stands to realize by committing to a content refresh. 

Why Should I Refresh Old Content?

There’s no shortage of reasons to refresh old content, but they all essentially boil down to the same core principle: search engines prioritize fresh, accurate content over outdated, stale content. Here are some of the key benefits brands can realize from refreshing their old content:

  • Improve Search Rankings: updating existing content can improve your search rankings. That’s true not only for the page you update but for your website as a whole. 
  • Drive More Traffic: search engines prioritize more recent, high-quality content. By adding new content and links to existing articles, it’s possible to drive more traffic to your site.  
  • Accuracy: it’s likely that content that you wrote a couple of years ago may no longer be completely accurate. You probably don’t need to do a full rewrite: but adding some new sections that explore emerging trends and best practices ensures you’re always giving web visitors the most accurate information on any given topic. 
  • Ensure a Consistent User Experience: reading a piece of content is often the first time a prospective customer interacts with your brand. It’s crucial that you use this opportunity to add as many new leads as possible into your sales funnel. Add updated Calls to Action (CTAs) and share your latest offers. 
  • Fix Underperforming Articles: some articles may have delivered an underwhelming performance since their publication. Identifying these articles, diagnosing the issues that caused this poor performance, and optimizing the on-page SEO for each article offers brands a chance to address these issues and improve performance. 

Refreshing older articles represents a huge opportunity for brands to supercharge their SEO, but it’s not as simple as just editing a few words here and there. Instead, there are several proven strategies that marketers can apply as they refresh their old content. Let’s take a closer look at them. 

3 Simple Ways to Refresh Old Content

There’s practically an unlimited number of ways that marketers can refresh old content: from completely rewriting an article to making a few subtle tweaks. 

The strategies you should use to refresh your brand’s content will be driven by several variables, including the resources you have available, the age and quality of the existing content, and the emergence of relevant new information. While the majority of a content refresh strategy is driven by these situational variables, there are a few common tactics that are often used. These include:

  • Updating internal and external links
  • Adding new statistics, recommendations, or best practices
  • Rewriting page titles and meta descriptions

Let’s explore how you can use each of these strategies to refresh your existing content. 

1. Update Internal and External Links

An effective linking strategy is integral to good SEO. If you’ve left a piece of content untouched since you first published it, you’re leaving linking opportunities on the table. Since the article was published, you’ve probably produced countless new pieces of content. Many of these will be relevant to older articles.

This is true for both internal and external links. As a first step, check none of the existing links in the article are broken or route to outdated web pages. Once you’ve cleared up any broken links, identify opportunities to add new links that provide value to your reader. This could be a link to a pillar article you recently published or a link to a page describing a relevant new product feature. 

When it comes to external links, it’s possible that there is newer or better information available now than there was when the article was originally published. Identify these resources and consider replacing existing external links with outbound links to more recent, higher-quality resources. 

content business resources

2. Add New Statistics, Recommendations, and Best Practices

If an article has been live on your site for a year or two, there’s a good chance that there have been some new developments in the field since then. There are all kinds of examples here: a new technology might be shaking up an industry. Or there may have been a major research report with surprising findings that contradicted the accepted status quo. Provided you keep your finger on the pulse of your industry, you probably already intrinsically know how the thinking on the topic has evolved. 

Here’s one example. Let’s say you’re a digital marketing agency, and you have a three year old article titled “5 Social Media Channels to Grow Your eCommerce Business”. 

A lot of the content in that existing article would still be relevant and might just need a light update. After all, social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube remain just as important an eCommerce growth driver today as they were three years ago. 

But crucially, the article would likely make no mention of a newer platform like TikTok, which now represents one of the primary growth channels for eCommerce brands. Adding in a short section on TikTok would dramatically improve the value the article offers to readers and offer your agency a platform to share cutting-edge insights on how marketers are using TikTok.

3. Rewrite Page Titles and Meta Descriptions

Page titles and meta descriptions play an important role in SEO, essentially summarizing your content to search engines and readers. To rank effectively in search engines, and achieve a high click through rate from search results, it’s important to take the time to fully optimize your page titles and meta descriptions. 

As you evaluate your existing page titles and meta descriptions, compare them to pages that are currently ranking highly for your focus keywords. Consider including phrases like “Updated for 2022” to signal the freshness and relevance of your content. 

Partner With a Professional Writer

Depending on the quantity of content your business has published, finding the time to refresh all of your old articles can be challenging. Often, the best place to start is with a full content audit. A content audit enables you to clearly understand how different pieces of content on your site are performing and identify opportunities for improvement. 

If you need support with a content audit, content refresh, or ongoing content production needs, the team at Hire a Writer is here to help. Get in touch today to learn more about how our team of expert writers can help your business meet its goals.


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