Update older posts

By Daniel Scocco

Most bloggers write posts and forget about them. That is a mistake; updating your older posts can increase your traffic and improve your search engine rankings.

Every time that you write a new post with relevant or complementary information to an older post you should update that older post. Just edit it including a line at the bottom with the following text:

Update: You can read more about this on the article โ€œNew articleโ€.

This link will generate more page views from the people that are reading the posts on your archives.

Apart from adding a link to newer posts you can also update the older posts with new content. Suppose there are some new developments on a topic that you wrote a couple of months ago. Just add an update with a paragraph or two talking about those changes.

The practice of updating older posts will also improve your search engine rankings because Google loves websites that are updated regularly. So make you sure you get busy with those posts on the archive!

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29 Responses to “Update older posts”

  • Roberto Alamos

    This is a good technique to keep fresh content through all your blog. Maybe we need a plugin that shows a list of ‘last updated articles’ to give them more visibility ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Shawn Blanc

    Another reason to update old posts is to improve the content on your site. As you write more you get into a better rhythm. Going back to older articles and editing them is a great idea.

  • Daniel

    Roberto, that would be a nice plugin, let me know if you start working on it.

    Shawn, yeah if you get used to updating older posts it can definetely contribute to a richer content on your site.

  • bill

    I do this frequently and you’re right, it’s a great practice. Along with increasing page views it also makes your site easier to navigate too.

    Beside showing Google that the content is updated frequently, this also points to relationships between your pages. I’m pretty sure it makes spidering your site easier and helps show how certain topics are relevant across your content.

    I make time every weekend to review old posts for everything from grammatical errors (which I make a lot of) to potential updates.

  • Andrew Flusche

    Daniel,

    This is a really good tip. I have done this a little, but definitely not as much as I should.

    If you write a new post on a topic and link to older posts, the trackback will show up. Isn’t that just as good as manually adding the new link to the old post, at least from Google’s perspective?

    Thanks,
    Andrew

  • Bes

    Nice tip, and very easy to implement. This should also work for people who are worried that editing their older posts would be unethical.

  • Andrew Flusche

    Bes,

    Are people really worried about ethics in editing old posts? I guess it’s problematic if you don’t visible note the change (with text like “update”). But if you make it obvious, is there still a problem?

    Curious,
    Andrew

  • Bes

    Hi Andrew,

    Good question. Yes, many people I know do not like changing old posts. I do not like editing old posts myself unless I list all the changes made also, as people are used to what I originally wrote and I do not like others changing what they wrote originally later on. It can cause confusion, and if writing controversial topics of any kind, might create more disagreements as people may say “You changed it and removed a few lines because you knew you were wrong and I was right!”

    I think for some people it can be considered along the same lines as writing in a book or a newspaper. One writes something, changes something later on and people don’t know what was changed or why, and thus readers might get upset that the author simply edits old posts to hide things without notifying people why or when they changed it.

    Like you mentioned, if you mention an update and list the changes that you did even inside the old post itself, it should be good, like a small change log maybe. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Does that make sense?

  • Andrew Flusche

    Bes,

    That makes perfect sense. I can see why changing a post without notice seems unfair. You’ve made some great distinctions here.

    Thanks,
    Andrew

  • SDtektiv

    That is such a good idea. I never thought of it before!

  • Dave Olson

    Excellent tip Daniel. Now I’m off to do some editing…:-)

  • Daniel

    Bes and Andrew, I also agree that you should always make it explicit when you change things on older posts. As a mentioned just add a line like “Update: bla bla bla” and you should be fine.

  • Maki :: DoshDosh

    Franceso Mapelli has written something similar, although his article focuses on revamping old post titles for better SERP rankings.

    Thought I’ll give him a friendly plug ๐Ÿ™‚

    Link:
    Change Title of Your Older Posts to Target Popular Search Terms

  • Daniel

    Maki, thanks for sharing that, I read Francesco’s blog often but I had not come across this post.

    Changing the title of older posts could be an idea, but it might also reduce your search engine ranking because the title keywords and the URL keywords will no longer match.

  • Maki :: DoshDosh

    I agree, Daniel.. perhaps changing the post slug as well would help.

    A WordPress plugin that redirects old to new post slugs
    http://txfx.net/code/wordpress/redirect-old-slugs/

  • Sean

    I guess that makes sense! I’ll definitely have to get around to updating my older posts sometime. Thanks for the tip!

  • surjit

    A very useful and practical information.Best wishes.

  • Ashish Mohta

    I had been doing this from long time. It results in internal link as well google bots search for them as they think its updated.

    There is one more advantage is if your old posts are updated to newer news you have the benefit

  • Sabri Peluang Perniagaan

    Thanks for the tips!

    I will definitely start editing a little bit my older post…

    Thanks again!

    Sabri

  • Britt Malka

    I’ve never thought about that! Great tip; thanks!

  • Jacob Share

    What do you guys think – at what point does editing an older post merit updating the timestamp too?

  • Andrew Flusche

    Jacob,

    I would never change a post’s timestamp. You don’t want to make the original content look newer, for copyright reasons. If someone stole your original content and you update your timestamp, it looks like you’re the thief. Also, it’s just confusing to readers.

    My method is to put the time/date of the update by the updated text. I’ll do something like “Update – Apr. 25, 12 PM – …” That way it’s clear when things were written.

    Andrew

  • John Simpson

    I’ve also found that updating older posts will make them show up as new posts in some RSS readers (Outlook 2007 included).

  • Bang Kritikus

    Update and resubmit

  • Almostds

    Good idea! Cheers!

  • Nail

    Updating older posts is something that I neglected up to a certain point. Once I started to update them and improve the linking structure of my blog, I noticed an increase in the pageview count.

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