“Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign.”

Jon Buscall, CEO of Moondog Marketing & Media

Content is a foundational cornerstone to SEO. No matter how many SEO tools, tricks and best practices you leverage, you won’t attain significant results without content incorporated into strategy.

Content marketing is a highly successful and widely used modality of driving traffic, educating consumers, escalating sales and pushing a site higher in the SERPs. As we all know, however, the space is becoming more competitive by the day as more and more brands generate content. Despite the massive spike in content creation, content demand remains static because people can only consume so much. This means that creating more content may not be the best solution to improve rankings. Investing time in revamping old content, however, can help to save time, energy, and still greatly contribute to your SEO efforts. One 2014 Forrester report revealed that as much as 50 percent of an enterprise’s content goes entirely unused; this is a prime example of wasted time and energy.

If you aren’t sure where to begin in this revitalization process, let’s take a look at how to identify content that may need a bit of an overhaul.

Rejuvenating Crumbling Content

Just because a piece of content was created months or years ago doesn’t mean it no longer holds value; a little modernization is all that is often needed. In order to determine if a particular post needs to be updated, start first by looking at similar content to see if more recent publications are trumping yours.

Google’s patent denotes that pages are assigned “freshness scores” in accordance with its publication date. That score will continue to corrode as time goes on. If the content’s age is not much different than similar results, however, it will not negatively impact its ranking. This information is noted in Google’s Document Scoring Based on Document Content Update patent, which states:

“For some queries, older documents may be more favorable than newer ones. As a result, it may be beneficial to adjust the score of a document based on the difference (in age) from the average age of the result set.”

If a certain topic has had recent updates or changes, it is best to amend the outdated content to reflect those modifications.

Additionally, if a piece of content does not meet today’s content best practices as set forth by Google’s Panda algorithm, it is time to refurbish the publication. Today, content needs to be much longer and more comprehensive in order to rank well. If many of your older posts are 500 to 1,000 words and merely skim the surface of a subject, it is time to go back and beef it up with more information  and new developments.

One of the last signs that a blog or article needs to be refurbished is that it no longer receives traffic, drives conversions, or helps to reach any other goals. If any of these scenarios are prevalent in your more senior offerings, you can always bring them back to life and drive fruitful SEO results once more.

From Ashes to Rebirth

Once you have compiled your list of cadaverous content, you can begin reworking these pieces to drive a new wave of results.

The first step in this process is to determine if there have been any new happenings or recent developments on your topic since the original piece was produced; you want your content to be as up-to-date and accurate as possible.

Next, it’s wise to conduct keyword research again. If your content is more than a year old, the best words and phrases to leverage may have changed. A few years back, long-tailed keywords did not have the power they do today. Mobile and voice-to-text search have both greatly altered the way people present queries; this needs to be taken into consideration when formulating your keyword strategy. Also, be sure to optimize your publication for semantic search by including companion keywords, utilizing synonyms and variations of words, and writing in your audience’s organic language.

With older pieces of content, there is a good chance that many of the links that were once present are now broken; remove any of these defunct portals. Take things further by strengthening your internal linking through incorporating hyperlinks to other relevant content that holds authority. Additionally, you will want to bolster the number of links to respected websites. High authority sites are those such as reputable news sources, educational sites and other trusted and high-ranking pages. Search engines take into consideration these types of links, giving your content credit as a more trustworthy destination.

Once you have updated your content to include more current information, relevant and high-ranking keywords, and plenty of authoritative internal and external links, it is time to promote it all over again. Publish the piece on various social media websites, send out the update to your email subscribers, push it to the homepage of your webpage; use all the tricks in your marketing toolkit. People won’t be interested in your newly revamped content if they don’t know that it exists.

Not all content needs to be deeply researched and created from scratch. You can save tons of time and energy by simply resurrecting old content with new information and allowing it to work its magic all over again. The key is to make sure that you abide by today’s best practices, incorporate the most cutting edge information possible, and to be sure that your offerings are useful by offering up direct answers to some of the most common questions your audience has. Don’t let your old brilliant ideas become irrelevant. Repurposed content is an SEO goldmine.