Blog Title: The Happier Homemaker
About Melissa: Melissa has been blogging for 8 years at The Happier Homemaker. Over that time her content has evolved from mostly DIY and decor posting to a lifestyle blog with heavy focus on recipes. After blogging 3-5 times per week for years, she realized the importance of working old content to revitalize it and republish it rather than constantly churning out new ideas.
Notes from Episode #029: How to Boost Your Blog by Revitalizing Old Content for Modern SEO
- Fun fact: Melissa’s a military wife – they’ve been married 14 years, moved 10x in that time including living in Italy and England. Her husband is retiring next year and will be working on the blog with Melissa.
- Melissa scheduled an audit with Casey Markee and while waiting for the audit (about 6 mos) she had time to listen to several of his webinars and take advantage of the information out there that was free. Melissa realized she’d been constantly churning out new content 3-5x a week but the old stuff, while not great, had a lot of potential and she needed to give those some attention. She also realized it would help her optimize older content that already had traction and not have to work so hard on new content.
- To start out, Melissa looked at recipes that were good but were surrounded by a diary format, that was missing a lot of instructions or actual steps to the recipe, missing steps and tips. She began to fill that in. She realized she’d also missed out on Google finding her recipes because she had made up names to the recipes that aren’t searchable and Google never looked for them. So she had to establish what she wanted to rank by evaluating each post.
- Melissa had a unique ability to look at this process because she had purchased a 2nd blog from someone that wasn’t going to be blogging anymore. Melissa started by looking at the first blog post on the site ever and then deleted and no indexed many posts. She found tools like yoast to help her accomplish this task. She deleted a lot of link party posts. Melissa also found original recipes and then several recipes that had be completely redone but a new post had been created and no redirect created.
- Melissa took Casey’s advice and began to create “buckets”. These help you organize what to do with the posts and then get started. So posts were sorted into “deleted” recipes, recipes to improve on, and then from improving on to either “seasonal” or “year round” recipes. This gave her a list and somewhere to start. For established bloggers, this is an area that is often overlooked and a huge traffic opportunity
- Recipe plugins with schema weren’t there before in her site. No rich snippets were included so now Melissa’s spent time fixing over 300 of them.
- Melissa acknowledges its sometimes a slow process because it’s an exercise in patience. But then you know it’s going to pay off in a few months when your traffic picks up and all that you’ve done to help your blog will be noticed by Google and your audience will find more of what you’re offering.
- 3 main tools Melissa recommends when analyzing old content:
- #1-SEMrush – This isn’t a free tool but it’s a useful tool with a lot of parts to help you. It’s especially helpful at working on low hanging fruit – posts that are ranking 11-20. If you use the magic from that site to help them get to the first page, you’re winning. They also have a One Page SEO Checker too within SR that gives you high impact steps to take for your overall blog and that’s useful to know where to focus some of your time. It’s great at prioritizing these steps and for non-technical people or someone overwhelmed by the process, this is helpful.
- #2-Google Console and Google Analytics – A post might not be great in Google but doing great in Pinterest. So it’s important to look at a post from multiple angles. Take the URL and check it in Google Console and look at what’s it ranking for: clicks, key words. Then also put it into Analytics to see total traffic. A Pinterest post of Melissa’s has over a million pins but that same recipe is on page 7 on search engines. You don’t want to lose that good traffic on Pinterest.
- #3 – plug ins – Melissa used to have an editorial calendar plug in. Right now she’s revising old posts and so she’s using a paper calendar now. Plug in tools she uses are Revision Manager TMZ – it lets her make a revision copy of the post without changing the post that’s published. She doesn’t want to save the work until she’s ready and then ping the search engines. Enable Media Replace — lets her pull up the old picture and replace it without changing the URL.
- Melissa has seen the value in adding key word rich text before the first picture on a post to help Google analyze your post. Researching keywords and then finding questions people are asking and including those Q&As to those within the posts are also good strategies. Then go back into SR to see how that post is situating with your links and word count and SEO.
- Having an audit with Casey and deep diving into SEO has taught Melissa that pretty food/pictures is the last thing that Google is looking at. She had to focus on speeding up her site, she had to fix broken links and no amount of pretty pictures was going to address it. Google sees alt-text.
- Its ok to update your posts and dig into the written word and do pictures/videos as you have time. Look to break up big long paragraphs, add H2 text and add questions in a phase – then republish. You can return to that post to add video and updated pictures. Incomplete or incorrect information makes Google skip over what you’re sharing so get that corrected first. The pictures are important (to your audience) but not your priority.
- Video: it is time consuming to add video and costs a lot so Melissa wants a balance of videos and photos but doesn’t want a huge emphasis on videos themselves right now. Video is evolving and the styles are always changing. She realizes she gets more bang for her buck by focusing on key words and SEO than just putting videos up.
- Every website is different. If your site gets a ton of traffic from Facebook and Instagram traffic, then video is more important and you’d get a better ROI. But Google and Pinterest are where she gets her traffic so she spends her time there. When she has extra time she can then work on those other platforms. To get the results from the time she’s investing, she’s going to focus on where she’s already getting good results and try to improve there. Down the line when she has her husband working with her, she might focus on video more but there’s only so much she can do at this time and where she’s at with her 2 blogs, her priorities aren’t with video right now.
- Melissa does recognize that Pinterest offers video now and there’s a place for boosting your site with video so when she’s got a good video to add, she’ll definitely place it on Pinterest. She sees that they perform well but it’s just not her main focus at this time.
- Melissa has hired a photographer to help get caught up on old content because she can only do so many herself and do the posts too.
- When an old piece of content has had a full makeover, Melissa tracks this by using a spreadsheet to see where its ranking and what key words it ranks for. Then she has a system where she’ll check on it every 30 days.
- Melissa is working on 2 republish recipes to each new recipe she adds but you can’t tell with all the updates on photography and SEO used, to the audience it all looks valuable and new.
- When you get one thing tackled, it helps you to have a win under your belt to keep and give you motivation to keep going.
- Final tip: Once you’ve improved a URL and updated it, made it pretty, go back into google search console and click “inspect a URL” and request re-indexing.
Helpful references from the episode:
Enable Media Replace Plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/enable-media-replace/
Yoast Pro (for redirection) https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/
Redirection (if you don’t have Yoast Pro) https://wordpress.org/plugins/redirection/
Revision Manger TMC https://wordpress.org/plugins/revision-manager-tmc/