Content publishers and strategists often find themselves doing some content maintenance in order to keep the content quality high at all times and maintain a strong topical authority.
But does content maintenance actually impact topical authority?
Some older posts may include outdated information. They may be following an outline or content strategy that could be improved. Shorter blog posts may have been a direction you took in the past. You recently realized this is penalizing your topical SEO strategy and want to change it.
Regardless of why you perform regular content maintenance on your blog, every content marketer has to go through it. If you give up on your old content, at best you are missing out on some great topic-driven SEO and ranking opportunities, and at worst you are being unknowingly penalized in your SERPS.
What is content maintenance for a blog?
Content maintenance is the process of removing, merging or updating a blog’s older content to make it more accurate, relevant, and visible. A content maintenance specialist is an individual in charge of keeping old blog posts and articles up to date with today’s information at hand.
Content maintenance tasks are split in five core categories: aesthetics, content, merges, deletes, and linking. They are all required but most blog editors perform link edits more often than the rest because the results of an improved internal linking are more obvious.
Content maintenance means upgrading your blog posts by removing outdated or inaccurate data and adding more relevant pieces of information. However, it is a wonderful occasion to add multimedia and engaging pieces of content. Try adding embedded Youtube videos, polls and infographics.
A good way of improving old blog posts is to schedule one hour per week to work on an old article. Read it through and refresh it thoroughly. Obviously, if the article is amongst your top performing pages, avoid changing it up too much. On the other hand, if you only get an odd visitor every week for this post, devote more energy to it. Go ahead and restructure it completely.
A cornerstone blog post is an old blog post is core to your business strategy. If it has not increased its average search position over time, give it a good maintenance. Perhaps from the ground up.
To know the evolution of your page, use the Performance report in your Google Search Console. It gives your accurate figures for your target keywords. Also, you see the traffic the page received organically and its average ranking positions for various keywords.
If you have published pillar pages, update them more frequently. Ideally, pillar content should be updated whenever a new blog post about the same topic has gone live.
Merge Blog Posts
Merging blog posts takes a group of short blog posts about the same topic in to merge them into one long piece of content. It is generally done to increase content depth and topic coverage. Long blog posts tend to show more authority over a given topic.
Having a longer blog post is much more beneficial for SEO purposes than having a bunch of short articles. One long piece of content show a deeper knowledge and coverage of a topic. Long articles make searchers more engaged and make them spend more time on the page itself, avoiding bounces.
Keyword cannibalization is another reason for content maintenance specialists to merge competing articles. However, if you merge closely related blog posts, it may be time to switch some repetitive keywords with some synonyms and other semantically related terms.
In the old days of SEO, writing short articles targeting a single keyword each was a good call. Today, it tanks your rankings and may even cause manual penalties. So without reading another word, you should go back to these article. Simply delete them in a safe and sound way using redirect codes.
Often, when removing a blog post altogether, read it one last time. This is to see if you couldn’t save parts of it to make an existing related blog post more substantial. Unless your old content was extremely thin, there are always a few sentences to save. Keep these aside and add in other places on your website.
Enhance Internal Links
Add relevant links from old blog posts pointing to your newer and fresher content. This is a content maintenance task you should perform on a very regular basis. Let’s say you just published a new blog post about a given topic. Take a minute to search for existing old content discussing it and add relevant internal links.
Avoid adding new links from old articles to new ones using the same anchor text all over. If you publish a post about
Coffee beans, avoid finding
Coffee beans in all of your old articles to link these to your new article. This is too spammy.
Often times, our old content is not so much inaccurate than it is ugly. In the early days of a blog, blog writers tend to have a high throughput in order to fill the void of a newborn blog. And with such a large number of articles published in such a short timespan comes issues with formatting and other forgotten enhancements.
Some edits can be done in one template file and would affect all blog posts while other alterations must be performed on an individual blog post basis. On-page SEO tactics are very important here so make sure you get updated on the latest techniques in order to put all the chances on your side.
Always try to refine and better your outline and sections. Break up long paragraphs into shorter blocks that are easier to digest. The same goes for endless sentences that should absolutely be broken down into separate short sentences, pieces together using transition words.
How often should I refresh my blog posts?
Any blog editor will tell you… There is no magic frequency for content maintenance! There are too many variables that influence the ideal rate of content updates. Some are domain-specific while others are article-specific.
The main factors helping you decide how often should I update my old blog posts include:
- evergreenness of the domain — some topics are set in stone and therefore most content about it is going to be accurate for quite a while (if not forever)
- knowledge at the time of writing — a lot of content writers were not as knowledgeable back then in comparison to right now
- SEO tactics used — structuring a blog post has a lot to do with SEO trends at the time of writing, and trends change
- team size — large organizations can afford regular content refresh but solo-bloggers won’t be able to cope with the workload as often
- content inventory — the more articles you have the more old content you need to audit and processes must be put in place
- cornerstone content — an old successful piece of content should be audited and maintained regularly to avoid losing prospects and leads
As a rule of thumb, content editors should audit their old content every few months. Obviously, the ideal frequency of content audits varies a lot depending on the resources you have at your disposal. Some content marketing teams prefer to focus on one post a week while others spend an entire day batching ten old blog posts.
Try different content maintenance methods and stick with the one that makes you be consistent.
What is the best content maintenance strategy for topical authority?
A blog is a moving and morphing organism. Topic is that mattered initially may matter less few months down the line. An SEO trend your writing style was based on maye have gone bust. The problem is, blog editors forget about their older content. Some even go on to write about the very same keywords over again. They hope that each article will rank in some magical way for a new batch of keywords.
As a content editor, your role to is put somebody in charge of auditing a piece of content regularly. For instance, if you use a project management tool like Asana or ClickUp, set up a recurring task.
Batching the content maintenance process can result in a rushed work. After all, the content is published so it’s hard to be caught cheating. Rewording a couple of sentences and delivering the updated article isn’t going to improve your topical authority, Therefore, working on one old blog post at a time helps the team member focus on it thoroughly. They can take an hour finding fresher related content to improve internal linking. They can even do some outreach to topically relevant websites in the space to get backlinks.
A last benefit of a well-organized content upkeep is the new content ideas it yields. Looking at old articles with more informed eyes is a sweet treat when you run out of ideas. What used to be a subheading in a blog post published years ago can give birth to a brand new article today. Furthermore, this would help your internal linking profile, and topical SEO as a whole.