In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I had a blogging hack to get more pageviews to old blog posts.
I’m sure anyone who has been blogging for a few years has got old posts that barely get any views. Maybe they ranked well years ago or maybe they just never took off?
It’s frustrating to spend days creating a post that then doesn’t get many views, but the good thing about blogging is that you can always treak old posts and update them. There’s always potential to get more views and make them relevant again.
That’s one of the nice things about blogging over print journalism and it means that with some simple tweaks, your posts can be well read for years and years! And if you have your posts monetised, you can be earning from them for years.
I really geek out over how these simple tweaks can have such an impact on your blog pageviews and your earnings. I made a few tweaks to a packing post two months ago and my daily affiliate earnings from that post have risen by £20 a day. Admittedly, it’s not exactly going to make me rich but that’s over £7,000 a year – just with a few tweaks to my blog title and my headers!
My SEO strategy
I’m the kind of blogger who writes from the heart and tends to think about SEO afterwards.
Writing comes quite naturally to me and I can easily write a 3-4,000 word blog post in one sitting.
But as soon as I start thinking about SEO I go blank. Writing becomes boring and methodical and I don’t enjoy it at all.
So I tend to begin by writing blog posts I’m passionate about without thinking too much about SEO.
For me, this has been a great way to work because it means I still love it and haven’t lost my passion or interest in blogging. (I did temporarily lose my passion for travel while my kids were young but I’ve never stopped loving blogging!)
So I basically write about what I love and then publish it immediately because I’m too excited to wait!
Sometimes my posts do really well, sometimes they flop and after the initial interest in a new post they don’t get many views at all.
So that’s when I come back and update them.
Emphasising the keyphrases your posts already rank for
I’ve found that some posts will quite naturally choose their own keyphrase.
Let’s say I wrote a post about things to do in Chester and I wrote a huge section about afternoon tea in Chester. I might find that the post isn’t getting many views for ‘things to do in Chester’ but is actually getting a fair few views for ‘afternoon tea in Chester’.
Rather than try and tweak the blog post and add more content around ‘things to do in Chester’, I’ll change the emphasis and give it more of a focus on ‘where to go for afternoon tea in Chester’.
Does that make sense?
The keyphrase ‘things to do in Chester’ might get more searches but I’m not getting any of them and my post is already ranking for afternoon tea so I might as well roll with that.
How do you find out what keyphrase your post is ranking for?
Go into Google Search Console.
If you haven’t set that up for your blog yet then I highly recommend you do.
- Login to Google search console
- On the left hand side under ‘Performance’ click ‘Search Results’
- At the top of the page click ‘+ New’
- From the drop down select ‘Page’
- Insert the URL of a page you’d like to analyse
- I’ve used this post about free things to do in every city https://thetravelhack.com/travel-tips/10-free-things-to-do-in-every-city/
- This is a very old post that gets a little bit of traffic, but not a lot. It averages about 50 views a day.
- From the results I can see that the post is getting most of the search traffic for ‘things to do in a city’ or ‘things to do in city’ (meaning the city of London). There is no reference in the search terms about ‘free’.
- This suggests to me that the fact that these activities are free isn’t relevant and many people are actually looking for things to do in the city of London.
- If I were to update this article, I won’t feel restricted to only include free activities and I can flesh the post out with lots of additional things and possibly more of a focus on the city of London.
Sometimes I’ll use Google Search Console in this way and the results are way more obvious.
I had a blog post about visiting Oia in Greece. It wasn’t getting a lot of traffic but when I checked which search terms were leading to click throughs I realised everyone was coming to that post searching for information about ‘visiting Oia from a cruise ship’.
The article essentially stayed the same but I changed the title and url and added more information for cruise passengers. I moved all the cruise information to the top of the post and now this blog gets about 100 more views every single day!
Again, these are all little numbers that won’t change my life, but when you add them all together it can make a big difference.
Updating an old blog post
Blogging has changed a lot over the past few years and it’s all for the better. Standards have risen enormously and 500 word blog posts that used to rank well will be overshadowed by longer, more detailed and more informative posts.
I think this is an amazing thing.
More and more people are blogging full time so the standards in content creation have risen enormously.
Blogging isn’t just a side hustle or something people are doing on a Sunday afternoon. Bloggers are spending weeks researching and writing, taking photos and creating videos to accompany their blog posts.
You can’t just bash out a quick 500 word post and expect it to rank well anymore.
Blog posts need to be long, informative, well-written and have lots of lovely imagery.
And when I say long, I’m talking 3,000-5,000 words.
And that can’t be 5,000 words of waffle!
If you’re reading this and thinking, ‘I can’t write 3,000 words!’ then I’m sorry to say that blogging probably isn’t for you anymore.
301 redirects for changed urls
If you change the url of a blog post then you’ll need to do a 301 redirect to let Google know the url has changed.
This also helps direct traffic to the new url if you’ve got any links to that post.
Don’t be scared to change your URLs by the way. I change mine all the time. You might see an initial dip in traffic but it’ll pick back up and be stronger than ever.
You can use a plugin such as ‘Simple 301 redirects’ (Thanks to Vicky Flip Flop for that suggestion)
My update strategy
Something I’ve been doing for the past few weeks is going into my Google Analytics and seeing which blog post was my #100 from the previous day.
My 100th post is usually something that gets a bit of traffic but not a lot, so it’s ranking for something.
I’ll then check it out in Google Search Console and make sure I’m using an appropriate keyphrase for the post.
I’ll tweak the post, update it, add more information, add some backlinks etc.
I try and do this 2-3 times a week and I can see this strategy having a huge impact on rankings, pageviews and my overall income.
What happens if you have old guest posts?
Something I struggle with is updating old posts that I didn’t write.
If I didn’t originally write the post then it would take me all day to update it because I’d have to do so much extra research.
At the moment, I’m not updating old guest posts but I may start approaching the original writers to see if they’re able to update posts for a fee.
I’ve had one guest blogger offer to update an old post in return for a backlink to his site and this worked well for me because he did a brilliant job and his new site is fantastic so I was happy to do this.
So that’s what I’ve been doing to update my old posts! If you have any more suggestions for how you update your old posts then please do let us know in the comments!