As content creators, there’s always a push on to create more content. Bloggers know that on average, the more often they create content, the quicker their traffic and readership grows.
But one of the best ways to grow your traffic is to actually improve your existing content. For the past year, I’ve been ‘remastering’ my posts by following the process outlined here. I wanted to walk you through the results I’ve seen for one of my posts.
The post is this one: Want to Create a Brand Ambassador Program? Here’s 10 Things to Remember When You Do. By improving this post over the last year, it’s traffic by 255% this year versus the same period last year.
On the above graph, the orange line is the post’s weekly traffic from last year for Jan 1st – June 19th. The blue line is this year’s weekly traffic. You can see that traffic for this year is much higher than last year, and growing. You can also see that the orange line for last year was already starting to increase in April, which is when I first started working to improve this post.
So what did I do? First, let me address the elephant in the room: Probably the biggest improvement you can make in the traffic to an old post is to change the date. Simply giving an old post a new date typically results in a lift in traffic. However, I would advise that you never change the date of a post without also changing the content of that post. If you get in the habit of simply giving your old posts a new date to get more traffic, you run the risk of alienating your readers and possibly risk the wrath of Google if they start to penalize publishers for using this practice.
If I can’t improve the post, I don’t get to change the date. This is the rule I go by when applying this process. This post was first published in 2011. Over the years I’d made minor changes to the post, maybe correcting a typo or the like. But last year for the first time I went through and significantly changed and improved the post. That was when I first changed the date to 2017. Then earlier this year, I changed it again, and updated the date again.
Here’s the process I followed:
1 – Proofread the existing post. I go through and see if there’s anything I need to change or improve about the post as is. Any typos that need to be corrected, or grammar that needs to be addressed.
2 – Can I do a better job of explaining the topic or flesh out my ideas more completely? This makes the post more in-depth and comprehensive, which also increases social sharing.
3 – Is there any new research or case studies on the topic that I can reference and add to the post? This also makes the post more valuable to readers, and a better resource on the topic.
4 – Can any new visual elements be added that are relevant to the topic? It’s great to improve and expand an existing post, but you don’t want to risk turning the post into the dreaded ‘wall of text’. A good way to avoid this is by adding additionally images to break up the flow and make the post more engaging. There are several sites that offer free images, such as Pixabay, Unsplash and Pexels.
5 – What questions does this post answer? Think about how someone would find your post if they did a google search. What search query would your post answer? For my post, questions like ‘What is a Brand Ambassador?’ or ‘What is a Brand Ambassador Program?” might be questions someone would ask before finding my post in search results. In fact, I recently edited the post to add definitions for both terms at the start of the post. If you want to apply this same methodology to your own post, the site Answer the Public is a good place to start generating ideas.
For this particular post, I also used the Headline Optimizer plugin from Thrive to give the post a new headline. The old headline for the post was 10 Things to Remember When Creating a Brand Ambassador Program. The new headline, Want to Create a Brand Ambassador Program? Here’s 10 Things to Remember When You Do drew a 19% increase in engagement. Plus, I liked the fact that the post’s main keyword phrase, ‘brand ambassador program’ was closer to the start of the headline. It’s been shown to improve search rankings if the post’s keyword phrase is at the start of the headline.
In fact, this post typically ranks first or second in Google search results for the term ‘brand ambassador program’. A big reason why is because I continually improve and expand the post. When I first published this post in 2011, it had 1230 words. Today’s version has 1600, along with additional images and links.
Seven years ago when I first published this post, up till 2016, this post averaged around 100 pageviews a week. Today, it’s the 2nd most popular post on this blog, and last week it had its best week ever with 461 pageviews. I expect it to have close to 500 pageviews this week.
All of this shows that by consistently improving a post, you can see big gains, over time. If you’re interested in learning how to apply this process to your own content to improve traffic and search rankings, check out my new offering, the Digital Optimization Playbook, which goes into how to execute this process in detail.