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SEO
11
min read
January 29, 2024

Content Refreshes: How to Update a Page for SEO

Parthi Loganathan
CEO of Letterdrop, former Product Manager on Google Search

TL;DR:

  • Refreshing existing content can maximize traffic and conversions without spending a lot of time or money
  • Identify pages to update by looking at pages that used to drive traffic, pages ranking low for unrelated keywords, pages with high engagement but low traffic, pages that are almost ranking, and pages competing for the same keyword.
  • Follow SEO best practices, build links, offer unique perspectives and data, and write good meta descriptions to optimize existing content for SEO.

You know how pricy new content campaigns can be as a Content Marketer, especially if there's an agency involved. And your CFO has their eye on every penny.

But you don't always need new content. You already have a bunch of pages on your site that could drive the same value as spending money on net new content. Some of those pages are gathering dust and not driving conversions right now — but you can change that.

They say, "A penny saved is a penny earned," and you'll be saving lots of pennies. The average company that conducts a proper content audit and refresh sees a 106% increase in organic traffic, too. Kaching!


Why Should I Refresh Content?

B2B SaaS companies spend a lot of money creating new content. We're talking upwards of $3,000 a month for an average campaign.

Before dropping the case, it would be prudent of you to see if you can simply update content you've already published.

You probably have existing pages that could deliver more value with just one or two changes. This could be as simple as fixing a broken internal link URL, updating metadata, or adding a section.

A steady ROI 73% of bloggers who update their blog posts are 2.8x more likely to see better results, according to data from Orbit Media.

You've built your initial base of content. It's important to focus now on refreshing existing content to keep it relevant, up-to-date, and optimized.


How do I Identify Which Pages to Update?

You can track which pages need SEO refreshes manually using free tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console. In some cases, a simple Google search can point you in the right direction.

You should be looking out for six primary issues and opportunities:

  1. Pages that used to drive traffic but don't anymore
  2. Pages ranking low for more than one unrelated keyword
  3. Pages with high engagement but low traffic
  4. Pages that are almost ranking
  5. Multiple pages ranking for the same keyword
  6. Missed opportunities to feature in the "People Also Ask" box on the SERP


1. Pages that Used to Drive Traffic but No Longer Do

These pages used to bring in visitors, so you know they were valuable at some point. Evaluate where traffic was coming from and why it stopped — it may have been increased competition for search terms or changing trends.

Whatever it may be, it's worth a look to understand if you lost traffic because your ranking dropped and if your page needs a refresh to boost it back up.

How to find them on Google Analytics: Go to Reports — Engagement — Pages and Screens — Type in the Page Name


Tracking whether traffic is declining for a specific page in GA4


2. Pages Ranking Low for More than One Unrelated Keyword

If your page is not ranking well for its target keyword but is ranking for many separate, unrelated keywords, it may be trying to do too much.

To fix this, you can split the page into multiple more targeted pages or combine them to improve the search ranking of the combined page.



How to find them in Google Search Console: Go to Search Results — Go the Pages tab — Turn on "Average Position" up top — Look for unrelated queries



You can see the different keywords your page is ranking for and average ranking for each in Google Search Console


3. Pages with High Engagement but Low Traffic

Pages with high engagement but low traffic indicate that you have a distribution problem.

Visitors are spending a fair amount of time on these pages, which shows that they're actually reading it. It also means you have a high chance of making them take the next step to conversion with compelling CTAs.

You need to get more qualified visitors on them by distributing to appropriate channels.


How to find them on Google Analytics: Go to Reports — Engagement — Pages and Screens — Customize Report — Metrics — Add Metric — Type "Engagement Rate" — Look for pages with a high Engagement Rate but low numbers of Views

A high engagement percentage and low views means people like the page but don't know how to find it

4. Pages that Are Almost Ranking

Oh, so close! You published a page, and it's not quite there.

It needs a little push to get into the top three positions on Google. These positions usually receive more than half (54.4%) of all clicks.

Pay extra attention to these pages and see if you can push them into the top three, whether by cleaning up your technical SEO or adding unique insights to benefit from information gain scoring.

How to find them in Google Search Console: Go to Search Results — Go to the Queries tab — Click on the page you want to view — Select "Average Position" up top — sort by Position and check for pages in the 5 to 20 range.


An example of a page that is almost in the top 5, as shown in Google Search Console


5. Multiple Pages Ranking for the Same Keyword

This is also known as "keyword cannibalization." This happens when pages on your site compete for the same keyword.

This can negatively impact a website's SEO efforts, as search engines may struggle to determine which page to rank for that keyword. You'd benefit from combining them to improve the search ranking of the combined page.

How to check for keyword cannibalization: Type "site.yourwebsite.com (topic)" into Google — you'll be able to spot any similar articles from your site.

An example of keyword cannibalization
An example of keyword cannibalization | Seoquake


You probably want to run this sort of audit process outlined above at least once a month. This is A LOT of work to do regularly and can probably take up a day or two of your time.

You can waste time manually wading through data using Google Search Console and GA4. Or you can save yourself some time and use a tool like Letterdrop to automatically identify these pages for you.

The Letterdrop "Pages to Refresh" dashboard gives you an immediate overview of:

  • Pages that are almost ranking
  • Decaying pages
  • Pages that need to be split
  • Pages that need to be distributed
  • Opportunities for People Also Ask

You can resolve and publish changes automatically.

Letterdrop monitors your pages and alerts you to ones that might need to be refreshed
Letterdrop monitors your pages and alerts you to ones that might need to be refreshed


6. Missed Opportunities for a People Also Ask Box

Google prioritizes accurate results that answer user search intent. PAA boxes let you do this quickly and effectively, which is why they're an important facet of SEO.

Finding out whether you feature in PAA boxes is fairly easy — just do a Google search using your target keyword and analyze the SERPs.


What do I Actually Change About My Pages when Refreshing?

Your fix depends on the issue. Here are some in-depth, technical refresh solutions for the page issues above:

1. Solution for Pages with Distribution Issues

This includes pages with declining traffic or high engagement and low traffic. You need to get them in front of prospects and customers. Here are some ways you can fix distribution:

  • Post about them on social media
  • Share them in your email newsletter
  • Link to them from other high-traffic pages on your site. Internal linking is a great way to get your pages noticed
  • Get backlinks to them from other sites — it's a pretty manual process to ask people for this and you don't really control who links to you, so this is the least actionable suggestion

2. Solution for Pages that Are Almost Ranking

For pages that are almost ranking in the top five positions, you can use Letterdrop's topical optimization features to understand how your page compares to the currently ranking top pages and see if there are topics you should cover to give it that extra push.

Covering top page topics with Letterdrop
Covering top page topics with Letterdrop


Covering new angles gives you an advantage when it comes to ranking, especially if you include proprietary data.

Letterdrop's information gain feature can inspire new angles.


Adding new angles with Letterdrop
Adding new angles with Letterdrop's information gain feature


3. Solution for Pages that Need to Be Split or Combined

For pages ranking low for more than one unrelated keyword, either:

  1. Turn the page into a hub page or content pillar and cover the other ranking keywords in separate pages that link to this pillar piece.
  2. Split the article into multiple more targeted pages for each keyword. Individual pages then have a better chance of ranking higher.

For pages competing against one another facing keyword cannibalization, combine them. Only do this if the existence of similar pages is hurting organic website performance.

4. Solution for Featuring in a People Also Ask Box

We have a guide on optimizing for PAA boxes, but the TL;DR is:

  • target long-tail, high-volume keywords
  • understand search intent
  • keep answers concise
  • structure pages with headers and schema markup
  • follow technical SEO best practices

You can also use Letterdrop's PAA feature, which lets you find PAA boxes in bulk for you across all your pages and auto-publish them to any site.

It lets you see what you've:

  1. answered and are ranking for
  2. answered but not ranking for, so you can refine the answer
  3. not answered, so that you need to go answer it

You can then auto-publish these directly to your site.



Other Best Practices When Updating Pages for SEO

1. Follow SEO Best Practices For Every Content Page

You've invested the money and time to create a helpful page.

You're wasting that by not optimizing it for SEO so that it actually gets discovered and ranked by Google.

Use Letterdrop's Technical SEO tool to automatically fix structural issues like keyword placement in headings, identifying broken links, and naming images.


Cleaning up on-page SEO automatically with Letterdrop
Cleaning up on-page SEO automatically with Letterdrop


And this doesn't only apply to your blog pages. You need to make sure that the content on your product pages, landing pages, and support pages are also updated and optimized. Delete old and irrelevant content.

It's also good practice to update your FAQ section.


2. Build Links — Both Internal and Backlinks

Links help Google understand what your page is about and who is "vouching" for it. Letterdrop can help you build internal links across all your pages automatically.

There are tactics to build backlinks, but since they're out of your control, it's a little harder. You can try guest blogging, publishing original research and tools, or requesting partners to link to you on high-traffic pages.

You also need to make sure your links are healthy and directing prospects (and Google) to the right pages.

You can track and auto-publish link fixes using Letterdrop.


Tracking and auto-publishing link fixes in Letterdrop
Tracking and auto-publishing link fixes in Letterdrop



3. Offer Unique Perspectives and Data

The internet is full of regurgitated information, so offering a fresh take in your content goes a long way.

Create unique content that is cemented in personal anecdotes and customer stories to build credibility and offer perspectives you can't find elsewhere.

This could be a recent learning from a sales call or a problem your team solved internally that other companies might be facing.


4. Write a Good Meta Description

Your users are more likely to click on your article if the meta description is helpful to them. Google also uses them to understand your content.

An example of a good meta description

While it's important to optimize your content for SEO, remember that you're writing for people, not bots.


Save Time and Money By Refreshing Existing Content for SEO

98% of companies miss out on low-cost and high-return opportunities with content because they're so focused on creating new content instead of refreshing what they have.

You can increase the efficiency of your marketing spend if you perform a content audit every month. You'll have more budget to improve your tooling or hire another teammate so you're less overwhelmed.

A little sprucing up of existing content can drive more traffic, and it costs a lot less than creating net new content. Most companies don't do this becaue

  • they don't know what to look for or how to refresh content — you're covered because you just read this guide; lucky you!
  • it's time-consuming to wade through the data and figure out what to update — Letterdrop can automate that for you
  • they're not sure how to SEO optimize their content — once again, Letterdrop makes it as simple as one click

If you're thinking about standing up a content audit process, talk to us, and we can help you establish it at your company and even automate it.

Ready to put SEO refreshes on autopilot?

Save 6hrs + on manual SEO ops with automation tools built by ex-Googlers.

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