One of the first things I always do when we take over content development for a new client is to perform a quick content audit on their current blog. I do this for one main reason: It almost always highlights a few low-hanging fruit (blog posts) that can be optimized to immediately start ranking better in search results and drive more traffic.
In fact, this works so often that it kind of shocks me that companies don’t immediately turn to old blog posts to help drive more traffic. It seems like once a blog post is published, tweeted and “liked” on Facebook, it’s forgotten – forever to be buried in the archives and never heard from again.
This is such an enormous waste of an investment that it makes me want to pull my hair out and violently shake our clients. You pay money for your content – even if it’s created by internal staff, it still takes time and expertise. So make use of your old blogs. Don’t waste that investment!
How to Stop Wasting Valuable Content
The next time you find yourself with a spare half hour to work on your company blog, go through this quick process to get more traction out of your old posts.
1. Sort. Sort through your analytics to find the top 10 or 20 most popular blog posts on your website. Organize them (I like to use a spreadsheet like this one) in a list with headings for the blog title, permalink, blog topic, and keywords targeted.
2. Identify topics. Start with the first blog post and ask yourself this question: If I had to sum up this blog topic in 3 to 4 words, what would it be? Use that as a starting point for your keyword research. For instance, this blog post is about “optimizing old blog posts.” On your spreadsheet under the “blog topic” column, type the corresponding word or phase.
3. Research keywords. Now, once you’ve got a concise blog topic pinpointed, it’s time to figure out what people searching on Google are typing in when they’re looking for the content that your blog post contains. Pull up Google’s Keyword Tool in your browser, pop in your blog topic description (those 3-4 words that described your post), and Google will generate your results.
The first result will be the exact phrase you typed in and the list of results afterwards are similar keywords/keyword phrases that other people are searching for. Your results will look something like this:
For instance, when I looked up “optimizing old blog posts,” guess what I found? The number of monthly searches is so negligible, Google doesn’t report it. That means that if I use that keyword phrase in my content and my title, it’s not going to do me any good, because no one is searching for it.